There is absolutely nothing pleasant about mucus and phlegm – we’ve all experienced the feeling!
The desire to get rid of such nasty results of colds, flus and allergies, damage to vocal cords and smoking is always a number one priority when we are experiencing them. We often underestimate the home remedies and natural ways to help us cope with the problems when they arise, while there are so many things we can do without going to a pharmacy!
A phlegm cough, known as a productive cough, is the body’s natural way of keeping the lungs and airways clear of mucus. Phlegm often goes hand in hand with colds and other upper respiratory infections. While not a serious health problem, if left untreated, it can clog and irritate the bronchial tubes and in turn cause a secondary upper respiratory infection.
The presence of phlegm is usually indicated by a constant need for throat clearing, cough, runny nose, difficulty breathing, fatigue and sometimes fever. It tends to collect and congest in the chest and throat and is usually expelled through coughing. Doesn’t sound very nice does it?
Here are a few really good tips on how to defeat the cause and beat the unpleasant symptoms:
1. Drinking Warm Liquids
They provide you with some degree of comfort and help to loosen the mucus in the chest and nasal passages. Herbal teas are always the best option! For example, lemon tea with honey: the citric acid in lemon and antiseptic properties of honey help to loosen the phlegm and soothe the throat. Even if making black tea, you can add a spoon of fresh lemon juice and honey to it.
2. Taking Honey
Honey is a popular home remedy for a cough, and with good reason. In 2007, ABC News reported that a study performed by the Penn State College of Medicine found that giving honey to children between ages 2 and 18 before bedtime caused them to sleep better and cough less! Two teaspoons of honey can be taken straight or mixed into hot water or tea. (See point 1!)
3. Blowing Your Nose Properly
Probably the most obvious way to clear mucus from the nasal passages is to blow your nose! However, you have to make sure you’re doing it correctly or it may cause more problems. The right way to blow your nose is to clear only one nostril at a time, blowing gently. (Blowing too hard can cause small openings in the sinus areas and can force irritants and bacteria further back into the body – you do not want that!). Make sure to use clean tissues and wash your hands thoroughly afterward to prevent spreading bacteria.
4. Eucalyptus Oil
Inhaling the vapors of eucalyptus essential oil can rather quickly help to calm a cough. Use the steam inhalation method by adding two or three drops of eucalyptus oil to a steaming hot bowl of water and inhale the vapors for 10 to 15 minutes. Be careful though as it may cause severe allergic reactions in some cases if it touches the skin undiluted. Some other essential oils that work great are:
- Tea Tree – an effective antimicrobial, expectorant and antiseptic.
- Peppermint – helps to open nasal passages.
- Thyme – powerful antiseptic and great for colds, flu and chills.
- Basil – an antiseptic that helps open nasal passages.
- Rosemary – an antiseptic that helps open nasal passages.
- Pine – decongestant and antimicrobial.
- Lavender – antihistamine, antiseptic and antimicrobial.
- Chamomile – relieves and soothes congestion.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
According to the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, Apple Cider Vinegar helps to break up mucus in the body and relieves chronic sinusitis and allergy symptoms. Because it is also rich in potassium, it helps get rid of runny noses. Adding a tablespoon of the raw, unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar to a glass of water and drinking it three times a day can make the symptoms clear within a few days. It doesn’t taste very nice but it’s worth it!
6. Chicken Soup
Have some chicken soup a couple of times a day to clear phlegm from your throat! Warm homemade chicken soup will help to moisturize the airways and thin the consistency of the phlegm. It also helps to soothe your irritated throat and induce relaxation. For increased benefits, add ginger and garlic to the soup.
7. Milk and Turmeric
Turmeric has strong antiseptic properties that help reduce phlegm by killing the bacteria that cause excessive mucus production. Besides, turmeric helps to strengthen your immune system in general. Drinking milk and turmeric improves the immune system of the body and make it more effective in fighting infections. Taking a glass of hot milk, adding a teaspoon of turmeric to it and drinking the mixture before bed definitely helps!
Sulphur in shallots clears the infection of the airways and reduces the irritation of the mucus membrane. Peel 6-8 shallots and eat them with sugar! If you feel burning sensation in your airways, it means this remedy is working.
9. Sea Salt
Mix a 1/4 tsp sea salt in 1/8 cup water warm enough to dissolve the salt. Tilt your head back and using a dropper or nose syringe drop a half dropper full of the salt water into each of your nostrils. Allow the salt water to run back out. Repeat two to three times a day as needed. For throat mucus gargle with the same salt water mixture.
10. Avoid Smoking
One of the most important things to do when you have a throat infection is to avoid smoking. Anything you inhale affects your respiratory system. Smoke from cigarettes or cigars can worsen the throat condition as the compounds from these will interfere with the natural healing of the body. Cut the smoking habit at least until your nose and throat are clear or better give up for good!
By Anastasia T.