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Natural Home Remedies For Chest Congestion

By Dr Smita Barode +2 more

Introduction    

People of all ages can complain about chest congestion from time to time. Chest congestion might cause chest tightness and occurs because of swelling of the airways and accumulation of mucus in the lungs, which makes breathing difficult. It is the result of bacterial or viral infection. These infections affect the lungs, either in larger airways (bronchitis) or smaller air sacs (pneumonia). People of all ages may experience chest congestion, but the elderly, children, smokers, and people who suffer from long-term illnesses are more at risk.1,2 If you are wondering about chest congestion home remedies or how to remove cough from chest, there are many natural remedies that can help you get rid of chest congestion within the comforts of your home. Continue reading to find out.    

home remedies for chest congestion

What Causes Chest Congestion?  

Chest congestion can be a symptom of chest infections. There are several types of chest infections, like bronchitis and pneumonia. These infections are caused by:  

  • Virus 
  • Bacteria (including Mycoplasma)1 

These infections are contagious and spread rapidly when the infected person coughs or sneezes and tiny droplets in the air are inhaled by other people. The infection can also spread if the infected person coughs or sneezes onto his or her hand, any surface or object and other people get in touch with these surfaces.2  

Symptoms of Chest Congestion 

The most common sign of chest congestion is the swelling of the airways and the buildup of mucus in the lungs, making breathing difficult.1 If you have chest congestion, you might also experience:  

  • Chest pain 
  • Cough with green or brown coloured mucus 
  • Fever, accompanied by sweating and chills  
  • Appetite loss 
  • Difficulty breathing   
  • Headache  
  • Uneasiness  
  • Stomach pain 
  • Bluish discolouration of the skin around the lips1  

Children may also experience:  

  • Diarrhoea  
  • Lethargy  
  • Vomiting1  

Suggested Home Remedies for Chest Congestion 

Some home remedies for managing chest congestion that you can try are: 

1. Drinking Liquids   

Drinking plenty of fluids will help loosen up the chest mucus and also prevent dehydration. A loose mucus is easier to cough out.2 You can increase your fluid intake by drinking plenty of warm water. You can also drink soups to help loosen up the mucus.    

2. Steam Inhalation    

You can try steam inhalation with a bowl of hot water. This steam will ease your cough. Do not use hot water for kids, as the kids might get hurt.2        

Get rid of chest congestion with Pharmeasy All-In -One Vaporizer

3. Ginger  

Ginger is a widely used herb that helps in various ailments, including cough, cold, bronchitis, and respiratory problems. To use ginger,  

  • You can crush some fresh ginger, put it in water and boil it. Drinking this ginger water gives relief from cough as well as congestion. You can even put some honey and lemon juice in it.  
  • You can chew on some fresh pieces of ginger to get relief from the cough.    
  • You can also use ginger with tulsi by crushing tulsi leaves, putting some ginger juice in it, and putting an equal quantity of honey. You can swallow this mixture to get rid of cough and congestion.3  

4. Turmeric  

Turmeric presents many health benefits for humans. Turmeric is also good for managing cough and chest congestion. There are many ways by which you can make use of turmeric.  

  • Turmeric tea can be made by boiling turmeric with carom seeds. The solution is boiled till it is reduced to half of its initial quantity. You can drink this tea to improve the symptoms. You can also put some honey in it.  
  • You can mix turmeric powder with black pepper in water and bring this solution to a boil. Adding cinnamon sticks is optional. You can also put honey in it. You can drink this solution daily till your symptoms improve.    
  • You can also inhale the smoke coming out after burning dried turmeric root. It helps in managing cold and cough symptoms like chest congestion.3    

5. Thyme    

Thyme can be used to manage a lot of respiratory problems, including cough and bronchitis. Flavonoids present in thyme leaves also help by reducing inflammation (swelling). It also relaxes the muscles of the lungs and opens up the airways. To use thyme, you can make a thyme tea by boiling crushed leaves of thyme. After boiling, the cup of thyme water is covered, left for some time, and strained afterwards. You can drink this tea to get the benefits.3  

6. Lemon    

Lemon is a valuable fruit with many health benefits. It contains vitamin C in ample amounts. Vitamin C helps in fighting infections. Lemon also helps in reducing swelling and inflammation. You can make a syrup using lemon juice to help fight cough. To use lemon juice, you may combine it with honey to make a syrup. You can drink this solution for chest congestion relief.3   

7. Jaggery    

Jaggery is helpful in relieving cough and chest congestion. The buildup of mucus is responsible for causing the feeling of congestion in the chest. Jaggery helps by aiding the expulsion of the mucus. To use jaggery, you can boil black pepper in water and put cumin and jaggery. You can drink this solution to get the benefits.3  

8. Liquorice    

Liquorice root possesses properties like expectorant (expulsion of sputum) and demulcent (relieving inflammation, irritation and swelling). It aids in dealing with chest congestion by thinning the mucus and soothing the airways. To use liquorice, you can make herbal tea. You can drink this tea to get the benefits of liquorice.3    

Also Read: Decoding The Causes Of Bumps On The Back Of The Throat

Essential Oils  

1. Lavender oil    

You can use lavender oil by inhaling its vapours. You can directly put a few drops of lavender oil in hot water and inhale its vapours. If you have lavender flowers, go ahead, and put the flowers in a bowl of steaming water and inhale those vapours. Lavender oil vapour inhalation is an effective remedy for cold cough, bronchitis, and asthma. Therefore, it can be used to manage chest congestion.3    

How to get rid of chest congestion – Soulflower Lavender Essential Oil

Peppermint oil  

Peppermint leaves have healing properties. Peppermint contains menthol, which helps in breaking down the mucus. To get the benefits of peppermint, you can drink peppermint tea or inhale peppermint vapours by putting a few drops of peppermint oil in a bowl of hot water.3    

How to get rid of chest congestion – Khadi Natural Peppermint Essential Oil  

When to Seek Medical Help? 

If you are still confused about how to get rid of chest congestion fast, even after trying home remedies, it may be time to seek medical help. You should seek medical help if you:  

  • Have a cough that lasts more than three weeks  
  • Have weak immunity (you frequently fall ill) 
  • Are overweight and face difficulty breathing  
  • Are pregnant  
  • Are over 65 years  
  • Notice blood in the cough 
  • Experience a chest pain accompanied by breathing difficulty 
  • Notice that your skin or lips turn blue  
  • Notice symptoms that don’t improve 
  • Feel confused and drowsy  
  • Have chronic or long-term health condition2  

All these may signify something severe and require immediate medical intervention.  

Also Read: Essential Oils for Congestion: A Research-Based Guide for Relief

Conclusion 

Having chest congestion is quite common in people of all age groups. It is primarily a result of viral or bacterial infection. People at higher risk of developing chest infections need to take extra precautions. Also, if you are someone suffering from any chronic illness, you must take extra care. Although there are many remedies that you can try at home, natural herbs like thyme, lavender, and peppermint are quite effective in relieving chest congestion. Commonly found kitchen ingredients like ginger, turmeric, lemon, and jaggery can also be used. However, if your symptoms don’t improve even after using these remedies, you should immediately contact your healthcare provider.    

Also Read: Effective Home Remedies For Dry Throat

Frequently Asked Questions  

What are some home remedies to relieve chest congestion?  

Some of the home remedies to relieve chest congestion are steam inhalation and, drinking lots of fluids to ease the cough, using natural ingredients such as turmeric, ginger, jaggery, lemon, thyme, and essential oils like lavender and peppermint.2,3  

How common is chest congestion?  

Chest congestion is a common occurrence in people of all ages. But certain groups are more at risk; these groups are the elderly and children. Also, people suffering from long-term illness and smokers have a higher chance of having chest congestion.1  

Is it possible to prevent chest congestion?  

Chest infections are the leading cause of chest congestion. To avoid chest infections, you need to maintain good personal hygiene, have a proper diet, and avoid alcohol misuse and smoking.2 

Can I use jaggery to relieve chest congestion?  

Yes, you can use jaggery to relieve the symptoms of chest congestion. Jaggery provides several health benefits like aiding the expulsion of sputum that helps in dealing with chest congestion.3    

Is chest congestion more common in certain seasons?

Chest congestion is often more prevalent during colder months when respiratory infections are more common, but it can occur year-round due to various factors.

Is it safe to exercise with chest congestion?

It’s generally advisable to avoid strenuous exercise while experiencing chest congestion, as it can worsen symptoms. Light activities and rest are recommended until congestion improves.

Can chest congestion lead to pneumonia?

In some cases, untreated or severe chest congestion can lead to respiratory complications like pneumonia, especially if the underlying cause is a bacterial infection.

Also Read: Home Remedies for Runny Nose

References  

1. Chest infections – Better Health Channel [Internet]. [cited 2022 May 2]. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/chest-infections 

2. Chest infection. NHS inform [Internet]. Last updated on: 2021 Apr 1. Available from: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/chest-infection 

3. Sultana S, Khan A, Alhazmi HA, Safhi MM. Cough Suppressant Herbal Drugs: A Review. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Science Invention [Internet]. 2016;5(5):15–28. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Andleeb-Khan/publication/308369657_Cough_Suppressant_Herbal_Drugs_A_Review/links/5e8ba13692851c2f52866c8c/Cough-Suppressant-Herbal-Drugs-A-Review.pdf 

Also Read: What Does It Mean When You Cough Up Blood: Decoding the Alarming Signs

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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