Chest congestion is very much similar to blocked or stuffy nose. It is the accumulation of mucus in the lower part of the respiratory system as well as inflammation of the airways. Many people suffer from chest congestion. This is a common problem and this condition indicates other health problems or diseases. Chest congestion can be caused by ailments affecting the respiratory system (1), due to common cold or due to heart diseases. The feeling of tightness, heaviness or pressure in the chest region is considered as chest congestion. Here are natural ways to ease chest congestion relief.
Breathing becomes difficult due to certain tightness or pressure in the chest. Chest congestion is the obstruction in the flow of oxygen in to the lungs. Since chest congestion actually indicates the underlying health condition it is necessary to seek a medical diagnosis as some of the causes may be life threatening. The inflammation in the lower respiratory tract is an immune response to any infection, allergy, foreign body, bacteria or virus. The mucus accumulates in the chest region causing congestion.
Chest congestion causes
The main cause behind chest congestion is the deposition of bacteria and viruses on mucous membranes. Some other causes are:
- Common cold
- Respiratory infections
- Heart diseases
- Viral infection
- Excess deposition of fluid in the lungs
- Lungs cancer
- Airborne allergies
- Tuberculosis (2)
- Post-nasal drip
Chest congestion symptoms
When a person suffers from chest congestion, they experience a lot of troubles, like chest pain, difficulty in breathing, etc. Some major signs of chest congestion are:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Loud noise while breathing
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Tightened chest
- Swollen or discolored lips
- Phlegm in lungs
- Throat pain
Home remedies for Chest congestion relief
Take a pan of steaming hot water. You may optionally add a few drops of eucalyptus oil or any vapor rub or balm to the water for chest congestion relief. Deeply inhale the steam for about 10 minutes and feel immediate relief from congestion, headache and postnasal drip. While sleeping after steam treatment, cover your head and forehead as it will prevent cold air from coming in contact with the face and creating discomfort for chest congestion relief.
Onions can be used cooked or raw for reducing chest congestion which is the most effective remedy. The sulfur and quercetin (3) present in the onion helps to break down the mucus and eases the chest congestion. You can use the raw small onions or the shallots along with sugar to thin the mucus present in the chest.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Apple cider vinegar fights against chest congestion. It helps in killing bacteria, which causes excess mucus production in the chest and throat. It relieves chest congestion and helps in breathing better than before. To a cup of warm water, add 2 tsp of unfiltered ACV. Add some honey to taste and drink it. Repeat 2-3 times a day for a week to chest congestion relief.
Do gargle for at least 5 minutes, 2-3 times a day. Take a glass of water as hot as your mouth can bear. To it, add half a tsp of salt and a pinch of turmeric. Now gargle with this mixture deeply and avoid ingesting it as it might trigger vomiting. Deep gargling provides medicated vapors to the respiratory tract. Both salt and turmeric have anti-bacterial properties. This works best when done just before rest.
Radish is a good source of skin hydration. It not only acts as a natural exfoliator but also fights against chest congestion. It is effective in clearing congestion related to bronchitis, allergies, and cold. Take one radish and chop it. Put some lemon juice on it and consume it every morning. Radish oil is also effective for chest congestion relief and can be used as an expectorant.
Honey and Pepper
Honey and pepper are effective in reducing the thickness of phlegm and helps in the easy removal of the phlegm from the respiratory tract and from the lungs. Honey also helps in reducing infections as they have antiseptic properties. Take half a tsp of powdered black pepper and mix it with honey to make a paste. Swallow this paste at least thrice a day to get faster relief from the chest congestion problem.
Curcumin (4), an active compound present in turmeric expels the mucus and provides complete relief from the chest congestion. Turmeric is a natural antioxidant that contains anti-inflammatory properties that help to get rid of numerous health problems, especially ailments of the respiratory system.
Take 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and add this to a cup of warm water. Add 2 tsp of honey and a pinch of black pepper to the mixture. Stir the mixture well and drink it hot 2 or 3 times daily.
How to Prevent Chest Congestion
- Exercise as it will help with the health of your lungs, breathing muscles and air circulation.
- Get enough sleep.
- Practice a relaxation technique (yoga, meditation, mindfulness).
- Stay sufficiently hydrated.
- Limit unhealthy fats, salt, and processed foods – enjoy a balanced diet.
- Avoid foods that produce mucus: dairy products, salt, sugar, fried foods.
- Get enough vitamin D and sun exposure. A lack of vitamin D can cause 12 common diseases.
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid taking suppressants – These are drugs that stop you coughing and bringing up phlegm. Coughing is your body’s way of getting rid of thickened mucus in your chest and clearing your lungs, so don’t try to stop the body’s natural mechanisms.
Home remedies for chest congestion are a safe, affordable, and easy way to ease discomfort. Warm drinks and heat loosen the mucus from the respiratory tract, making it easier to remove. If the congestion lasts for longer than five days, see a doctor and know if the underlying cause is something worse than flu or a cold.