10 Home Remedies for Mucus and Phlegm
The Mucus and Phlegm produced by your body are essential to help protect you from infections and to prevent internal tissues from dehydrating or drying out. Although mucus and phlegm are always present, we notice these substances much more when we become sick.
Although the two substances are similar in some ways, there are some key differences. Mucus is a less viscous substance that is secreted by your nose and your sinuses, while phlegm is thicker and is produced by your throat and your lungs.
Both of these substances are a by-product your the immune system. They help keep you healthy by traping particles that would otherwise be breathed in, including bacteria and viruses. Up to 80 percent of the particles you breathe in are filtered out through the mucus lining. Cilia, the tiny hairs located in the lungs and the nose are what is respnsible for moving the mucus and phlegm up to the throat.
It’s often thought that the color of mucus and phlegm is a good indicator of what is going on in your body, although it’s important to note that it isn’t always the case.
- Clear mucus is the normal and healthy state
- Black or brown can mean very polluted air and/or heavy smoking and/or a sign of a fungal infection
- Pink/Red means that there is blood present in the mucus. If you experience this you should see a doctor right away
- Dark green/yellow are a sign that the infection present is getting worse, particularily if it is accompanies by a cough, fever and sneezing
- Light yellow and green means that your body is fighting an infection
Excess mucus and phlegm are a symptom of something else going on in your body. If you experience a fever and dark yellow and green mucus and phlegm it’s probably a good idea to see a doctor. If you think you can handle the problem on your own, here are 10 home remedies for mucus and phlegm:
#1 – Apple cider vinegar ACV is often used as a decongestant because of it’s potassium content. ACV also has strong anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties that are great at fighting infections. If you want to try ACV to help with your mucus and phlegm, mix a tablespoon of ACV with a glass of warm water and drink it down. It’s recommended to repeat this 3-4 times per day.
#2 – Keep the air properly humidified Keeping the proper amount of moisture in the air helps keep mucus less viscous. There are no scientific studies supporting this theory, but it’s something that has been used in one form or another as a remedy for phlegm and mucus going back a long time.
If you’re experiencing an excess amount of phlegm, just keep the humidifier on during the day and during the night. It should help ease your symptoms.
#3 – Keep yourself hydrated Drinking enough liquids is important if you’re sick. Warm liquids are particularily good at helping your mucus flow, but drinking at least 8 glasses of water is recommended on top of any warm liquids3. Here are some ideas for warm liquids to consume to help that mucus and phlegm flow:
- Warm water with lemon
- Warm broth (chicken or vegetable)
- Warm fruit juices
- Teas (Especially camomile with lemon, giner and honey)
- Avoid coffee
#4 – Peppermint oil inhalations Peppermint oil is an old remedy used to help clear congestion. Peppermint oil contains menthol which is an expectorant and it also has antispasmatic properties. When inhaled, the vapors enter the lungs and help break down the phlegm build up. Due to the anti-bacterial properties that peppermint oil has, it can also help fight infections.
Take a bown of hot water, put a drop of peppermint oil in and put your head over it covered with a towel. It’s important to note that this may be overwhelming at first, especially when the water if very hot. So be careful and approach the bowl slowly with your head. You can do this 3 times per day until you feel better
#5 – Salt water Gargling salt water is a great natural way to help clear phlegm from the back of your throat and help kill germs. Mix 3 teaspoons of sea salt with a glass of warm water until the salt dissolves. Take a small sip of the salt water and tilt your head back and gargle for up to a minute. You can repeat this 5-6 times per day.
#6 – Eucalyptus oil inhalations Inhalations are a great way to deliver an essential oil down into your airways and lungs and has been used as a natural treatment for a very long time. Eucalyptus oil is antimicrobial and it can help fight infections, it also has some strong decongesting properties.
Put a few drops into a bowl of hot water and position your head over it, cover your head with a towel. breathe deeply in with your nose and out with your mouth for about 10 minutes. You can repeat this up to 3 times per day. Just like any other steam inhalation with any other essential oil, it is important to remember that the fumes may be overwhelming, especially when the water is very hot.
#7 – Ginger Ginger is rich in several compounds that are antibacterial, anti-viral and antispasmatic. These properties are effective at fighting infections and helping with congestion. Ginger also has a relaxing effect on your lung muscles helping to minimize coughing.
Simply steep 2 inches of ginger in a cup of hot water, let it cool and drink. You can also add lemon and honey to help with the taste and to boost the effectiveness of the mixture.
#8 – Garlic Garlic is one of the few naturally occuring antibiotics, and it can also help with excess mucus and phlegm. Garlic has the ability to help break down the build up of phlegm, as well as possesing antimicrobial properties that can help fight bacterial and viral infections.
Crush a few cloves of garlic and consume with warm water every morning.
#9 – Turmeric Turmeric contains curcumin that has antimicrobial properties, helps fight inflammation and also works to decrease congestion and obstructed airways by loosening the phlegm in the chest and throat.
Add a teaspoon of turmeric to a glass of warm water and mix until it has dissolved. Drink this 2-3 times per day until you feel better.
#10 – Honey Honey is a natural remedy that helps with many different health issues, and it can also help ease excess mucus and phlegm. Honey has been shown to effectively treat upper resperatory issues, it’s an effective decongestant and it also tastes great.
You can take a spoonful of honey and consume it as is, or add a teaspoon to a glass of warm water and drink. This should be done 3-4 times per day. It’s important to note that honey should not be added to very hot water, as it’s medicinal properties will cease to work.
These natural remedies are a great way of avoiding the pharmaceutical option, if you’re looking for a natural and healthy way of dealing with phlegm and mucus.
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Mucus and Phlegm References and Mucus and Phlegm Information
- Priemier Health: https://www.premierhealth.com/your-health/articles/women-wisdom-wellness-/mucus-and-phlegm-barometers-of-your-health#:~:text=Though%20they’re%20always%20at,by%20your%20throat%20and%20lungs
- The Beauty Detox Foods (Book):https://books.google.co.in/books?id=hcZCZf4rkcMC&pg=PA109&dq=apple+cider+vinegar+antibacterial+antiviral+antifungal+properties&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiYstnooKfYAhUMp48KHfpTA4kQ6AEINjAD#v=onepage&q=apple%20cider%20vinegar%20antibacterial%20antiviral%20antifungal%20properties&f=false
- US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2658694/
- Pub Med: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20488237/
- US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3609378/
- US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/
- Pub Med: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10594976/
- US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4190737/
- US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4264806/