Chest congestion is a very common condition that most people have at some point during their lifetime. It is characterized by a buildup of mucus in the trachea and the respiratory tract that leaves your chest feeling heavy. If not treated timely, it can cause an infection in your respiratory tract.
The most common cause of chest congestion is the common cold. Allergens, bacteria and fungi can also cause chest congestion and infection. Some other causes include asthma, bronchitis, the flu, pneumonia and tuberculosis.
Symptoms of chest congestion can make you very uncomfortable and tired due to the short supply of oxygen. Common symptoms include a tightened chest, irritation in the throat, mild chest pain, cough, shortness of breath, dizziness and difficulty breathing.
Both over-the-counter and prescribed medicines can help treat chest congestion. You can also use some simple, natural home remedies to get rid of chest congestion.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for chest congestion.
1. Salt Water
Gargling with salt water several times a day is an effective treatment for chest congestion. While the salt helps remove mucus from the respiratory tract, the hot water reduces irritation in the throat.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water.
- Mix well until the salt is dissolved thoroughly.
- Gargle with it 2 or 3 times daily until your congestion clears.
Inhaling steam is another very effective way to get quick relief from chest congestion as the steam’s heat and moisture help break up and dissolve mucus.
- Fill a bowl with very hot water. Add a few drops of eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil. Place your face over the bowl and a towel over your head. Inhale the steam for as long as you can and breathe deeply.
- You can also take a hot shower and breathe in the steam vapors for 5 minutes.
Follow either of these remedies 2 or 3 times daily until the congestion goes away.
Note: These remedies may not be suitable for young children, pregnant women and people suffering from high blood pressure or heart conditions.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another effective remedy against chest congestion. It helps thin the mucus in the chest, thus relieving congestion and helping you breathe better. Apple cider vinegar also boosts your immunity, which greatly helps prevent chest congestion in the first place.
- Add 2 teaspoons of organic raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a cup of warm water.
- Mix in 1 teaspoon of raw honey.
- Drink this solution 2 or 3 times a day for a week.
Turmeric has an active compound called curcumin that helps expectorate the mucus and give you quick relief from chest congestion. Also, its anti-inflammatory property helps deal with cough, pain and other symptoms of chest congestion.
- Mix a pinch of turmeric powder in a glass of warm water. Gargle with it a few times daily.
- You can also add ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of milk and boil it. Mix in 2 teaspoons of honey and a pinch of black pepper. Drink it hot 2 or 3 times daily.
- Alternatively, thoroughly mix 2 tablespoons each of turmeric powder and apple cider vinegar. Take it 2 times daily.
Follow these treatments until the symptoms of chest congestion go away.
Note: Turmeric is not recommended for people who have gallstones, hyperacidity or stomach ulcers.
Ginger can also help with chest congestion due to its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. The polyphenols present in ginger help inhibit the secretion of mucus. Plus, ginger fights infection to get rid of the underlying cause of chest congestion.
- Add 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped raw ginger pieces to a cup of hot water. Cover and allow it to steep for 5 minutes. Strain, then add a little honey. Drink up to 3 cups of this warm tea daily.
- Alternatively, grind together 1 teaspoon each of dry ginger, black pepper and cloves to form a powder. Divide it into 3 doses and take it 3 times a day with honey or milk.
- You can even chew small ginger pieces or ginger candies throughout the day to get rid of congestion.
Follow these remedies for a few days or until your chest congestion is treated completely.
Onion is a good remedy for chest congestion. It has quercetin that helps dissolve the mucus. Plus, it prevents further buildup of mucus in the chest. Its antimicrobial properties also help prevent infection.
- Extract the juice of 1 onion. Add equal amounts of lemon juice, honey and water. Heat this mixture until it is lukewarm. Drink this solution 3 or 4 times a day.
- Alternatively, chew and swallow 5 or 6 small onions or shallots along with sugar before you go to bed at night.
- You can also eat raw, baked or cooked onions to help mucus flow easily.
Follow these remedies daily until the chest congestion is gone.