Chest congestion is the accumulation of excess fluid and mucus in the lungs. It is a symptom of many illnesses, some benign and some of a more serious type. The common symptoms of this illness are: cough,difficulty breathing, pain in the chest and runny nose.
If you don’t have any concerns regarding the origin of your congestion and it can be attributed to the common cold or the flu, it’s best to try and treat it naturally before reaching for the artificial chemical substances.
Natural ways to treat chest congestion:
1- Increase your fluid intake
Drinking plenty of fluids is essential. It helps the body stay hydrated (when you’re ill, you’re more likely to suffer dehydration) and thins the mucus, so it’s easier to cough it out. In addition to pure water, drink herbal teas. Chamomile and ginger teas can be particularly soothing.
Avoid fluids with high sugar content, coffee and alcohol.
2- Use Steam and Essential Oils
Steam, too, will help you soften the mucus and clear your chest. It can be used in different ways:
•Steam vaporizer – If you have access to one, use it to create warm and humid conditions in your room during the night.
•Hot showers – Treat yourself to a steamy shower or sit in the bathroom whilst a hot shower is running.
•Steam inhalations – This is my favorite steaming method. Boil some water and pour it into a bowl. Add a few drops of essential oils (good for congestion are eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, tea tree and thyme oils). Then, cover your head with a large towel, lean over the bowl and inhale for 10 minutes or more.
•Sauna – If you can, and your condition is not contagious, visit to a steam sauna might be beneficial and will help ease the congestion, as well as detox the whole body.
3- Spice up your meals
•Garlic – This natural antibiotic acts in an anti-microbial way and boosts the immune system.
•Ginger – You can eat it raw, make a hot drink or use it as a spice. You can also combine it with some other spices to make a delicious and potent beverage. Try adding a teaspoon of ginger to a cup of hot water and add some ground cloves and cinnamon. Sweeten with raw honey.
•Chili peppers – Full of antioxidants, they will provide a kick to your meal and act as a natural decongestant and expectorants (aiding the clearance of mucus).
•Turmeric – This anti-inflammatory ‘king of spices’ should also be included in your diet. Make a hot drink such as this turmeric golden milk or prepare a more exotic meal. Turmeric has low absorption and rapid metabolism but there are natural ways to improve its absorption in your body.
4- Drink hot tea with lemon and honey
This is one of the simplest home remedies that will help you relieve the symptoms and up your fluid intake. The vitamin C in lemons helps strengthen the immune system, while honey has anti-viral and anti-microbial properties.
5- Use apple cider vinegar
You might not like the taste, but ACV will improve your breathing and deal with bacteria that cause the extra mucus. You can combine it with some turmeric and add raw honey to improve the taste. Drink a shot every 8 hours, but don’t overdo it or you might end up with an upset stomach.
You can also try this combination of ACV and honey (which is also helpful for sinus infections):
– a glass of warm water
– 1 teaspoon of honey
– 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
6- Make a hot pack
Put a steaming hot cloth on your chest and throat and leave it there for 10 to 15 minutes (lay down with your head elevated). You can also roast some fenugreek, cloves and carom (ajwain) seeds and put them in a cloth to create a pack that will provide you with immense relief.