Cough is a common symptom that most of us experience. There can be a multitude of reasons behind its occurrence such as weather changes, exposure to irritants, mucus triggering foods, etc. Constant coughing that is accompanied by gooey phlegm can bring immense irritation and embarrassment.
It can lead to congestion in the chest. To get from this discomforting condition, you need to understand its causes and take effective preventive measures. In this article, we will share with you some home remedies that help treat excess phlegm in throat naturally.
What Is Phlegm in Throat?
Phlegm is a part of a healthy respiratory system. It is a gluey and gummy fluid that is produced in the chest. It builds-up in the back of the throat. It is also called sputum. A certain amount of mucus is required by the body to support and safeguard the respiratory system. It helps line the mouth, nose, throat, sinuses, and lungs.
However, the sudden accumulation of mucus/phlegm in the chest is a sign of an infection. It happens when the person gets sick. Over build-up of stress can also indicate an underlying disease. The healthy form of mucus is thin and less visible. A sticky mucus can trap allergens, viruses, and dust. This makes it thicker, and more noticeable.
What Does The Color Of Phlegm in Throat Indicates?
The color of the phlegm is a great way to find whether it is due to any disease. So, let us see what the different colors of phlegm and their meaning are.
Yellow or Green Color Phlegm
This color of phlegm indicates that your body is presently fighting with a disease. It can be due to certain medical conditions that include sinusitis, pneumonia, bronchitis, and cystic fibrosis.
The phlegm of this color is formed due to gastroesophageal reflux disease, congestive heart failure, and viral bronchitis.
Bacterial infection can also lead to the deposition of mucus in the chest. This rusty phlegm indicates the presence of old blood in the body. This is caused due to bacteria-induced bronchitis, and pneumonia.
Pink or Red Phlegm
The primary cause of this type of sputum is the presence of blood in it. It can be caused due to infections like pulmonary embolism, TB, congestive heart failure, pneumonia, and lung cancer too.
This condition is also called Melanoptysis. It is a symptom that shows inhaling any black-colored substance i.e., the dust of coal or kohl. Smoking or fungal infection due to black yeast are key causes of this condition.
Symptoms Of Build-Up Of Phlegm in Throat
The symptoms that you observe with the accumulation of phlegm depends on the cause. The common signs of excessive accumulation of sputum are as follows:
- Sleep issues,
- A sinus headache
- A runny nose
- Congestion in the nasal passage
- Soreness in throat
- Shortness of breath
Causes of Build-Up of Phlegm in Throat
The following conditions can cause an accumulation of mucus in the chest:
- acid reflux,
- chronic bronchitis,
- bacterial infection,
- viral infections,
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,
- cystic fibrosis,
- candida infections,
- smoking tobacco,
- irritation of the throat, lungs, and nose,
- gastroesophageal reflux disease,
- consumption of dairy products,
- pneumonia, and
- lung cancer,
When Should I Call The Doctor?
Contact the doctor if you find that mucus has been troubling you for one month or more. If you find the below signs along with mucus, then you should definitely get medical assistance:
- Coughing up blood
- Excess mucus remains in the chest for over three days
- Congestion and pain in the chest worsen
- Breathing difficulties
- The mucus becomes yellow or green.
- A fever
Home Remedies To Get Relief From Mucus or Phlegm in Throat
If you have been suffering from phlegm following disease and wish to get rid of it soon, the following remedies are just for you.
1. Moisten the air
This is one potent way to keep mucus thin. Dry air has a tendency to irritate the throat and nose. Due to which, your body has to produce more mucus to act as a lubricant. Steam has the ability to clear congestion and phlegm in the chest. A cool-mist humidifier will greatly help to reduce the thickness of mucus.
It also promotes peaceful sleep, clears the nose, and prevent a tender throat. Ensure to clean the device daily to avoid the build-up of bacteria and pathogens. Failing to do so may worsen symptoms and result in infection.
2. Drink Warm fluids
Warm fluids and hot beverages are a wonderful means to get instant and sustained respite from thick sputum in the chest. Staying adequately hydrated helps expel it via coughing. It is effective in controlling sneezing, chills, a sore throat, and a niggling cough.
Some of the ideal warm fluids choices in this condition are:
- Herbal teas
- Vegetable soups or chicken soup
- Decaffeinated black tea or green tea
- Warm water
3. Gargle with Saltwater
Another beneficial remedy to treat excess mucus is salt water gargle. The combination of warm water and salt helps eliminate phlegm from the throat and gives comfort. It even helps destroy germs and calm your aching throat.
All you need is to add half a tsp of salt to one cup of lukewarm water. Mix the content thoroughly till it dissolves completely. Now gargle with this mixture. Let it stay in the throat for a few seconds before you spit it out. Repeat the procedure three to four times a day.
4. Consume Honey
Honey possesses antibacterial and antiviral properties that makes it another widely used and popular remedy to treat phlegm. Buckwheat honey is effective in treating infections of the upper respiratory tract in infants and children. Include honey in your existing treatment. Consume a tbsp of honey in every three hours. It will increase the rate of recovery.
5. Blow The Nose Gently
Along with performing ways to dry the mucus in the chest, try to expel it out from the body. Blowing the nose is a good way to clear the nasal passage.
6. Avoid foods that stimulate mucus formation
Alcohol, caffeinated beverages, fried, and oily foods lead to an increase in mucus. These foods cause dehydration and acid reflux in the body. Drink warm water, warm foods, garlic, lemon, ginger, fruit juices, capsaicin, chili peppers, berries, licorice root, pomegranate, ginseng and soy as they result in fewer respiratory issues.
These ingredients clear sinuses temporarily and facilitate in the movement of mucus. In this way, including these foods in your daily diet promotes respiratory health.
7. Apply a wet and warm cloth to your face
Chest congestion can cause pain in the head. This is a soothing remedy that helps reduce headaches. Soak a cloth in the water and keep it on the face. Inhale through it. This remedy works by returning moisture to the throat and nose. The heat helps relieve pressure and pain associated with phlegm build-up.
8. Keep the head in a raised state
Lying flat may cause discomfort while sleeping. It may feel like mucus gets collected in the throat. An easy remedy to relieve this problem is to put a few pillows below your head to elevate the head. Alternatively, you can try sleeping on a reclining chair.
9. Avoid irritants
You may feel irritation in the throat, lower airways, and noise when exposed to chemicals, pollution, and fragrance. This increases mucus synthesis in the body. So, the best course of action would be to reduce your exposure to these irritants.
10. Taking a hot shower
Steam is therapeutic. It is encouraged to take steam to loosen up and remove mucus in the throat and nose. It will bring a good amount of relief from sinus pressure.
11. Use Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil has eucalyptol that makes it a powerful decongestant. It is a wonderful microbe-fighting agent too. Inhaling the oil helps break up the phlegm and combats infections. Eucalyptus-enriched balms and other products when applied on the chest also helps pacify coughs and lessen mucus.
You can also add some drops of eucalyptus oil to a warm bath or a diffuser and inhale vapors to reap its advantages. Always consult your doctor before you use essential oils to treat your children. Boil water and add six to eight drops of eucalyptus oil to it. Cover the head using a towel. Inhale the decongesting vapors. Perform the remedy once or twice a day.
12. Use Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a natural decongestant. It possesses remarkable antibacterial and antiviral properties. Intake of diluted ACV helps fight off infections that lead to excessive production of mucus in the chest. The high potassium content in ACV makes it beneficial in the treatment of runny noses.
To avail the benefits of ACV, add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water. Mix everything well. Drink it thrice daily to obtain its advantages.
13. Peppermint Oil
Just like eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil is also a widely used natural remedy to clear congestion. It has menthol, that works as a natural expectorant in the body. It also has antispasmodic properties that go straight into the lungs and breaks down the deposition of mucus in the body. The antibacterial nature of peppermint oil help fights away infections that cause excessive deposition of phlegm in the body. It is soothing and relaxing on the lung muscles. Add 7 to 8 drops of peppermint oil in a bowl of hot water. Cover the head via a blanket and a towel. Deeply inhale the steam. Do this daily.
Onion is another natural agent that has the potential to give you relief from phlegm. It has quercetin that helps get rid of a wide range of diseases. Onion also helps improve the immunity of a person.
It is an anti-allergic agent that makes it effective against respiratory infections and allergies. Quercetin also helps prevent the accumulation of mucus in the respiratory tract. All you need is to prepare a mixture of a tablespoon of crushed onion and a half tbsp of honey. Consume this mixture two to three times daily to see visible relief in a few days.
Turmeric has curcumin that exhibits remarkable healing properties. It is a natural antimicrobial and antiseptic agent that effectively fights against fungi, viruses, and bacteria in the body. Turmeric clears obstructed airways to loosen up the accumulation of mucus in the throat and chest. Add a tsp of turmeric, ACV, and honey in a glass of water. Drink it two to three times daily.
Ginger is composed of flavonoids and polyphenols that displays impeccable antiviral, antispasmodic and antibacterial properties. It can help prevent congestion and combat infections due to the high build-up of phlegm. Ginger is also a natural expectorant that can relieve the symptoms of excess mucus in the body.
Consuming ginger tea soothes lung muscles and reduce chest decongestion. Steep one-inch ginger in a cup of hot water. Add honey to it. Strain the mixture and cool it. Consume it warm. Drink this tea thrice daily to obtain its advantages.
Garlic is one of the best anti-inflammatory agents. It has allicin that is known for its therapeutic properties. This herb is also an effective natural expectorant that makes the mucus thin. This compound also shows remarkable antimicrobial properties that keep bacterial, fungal and viral, infections at bay. It can cause respiratory glands to secrete more mucus in the chest. Boil four to five cloves of garlic in a cup of warm water. Consume it every morning three times a day daily.
18. Herbal Teas
Warm beverages are very helpful in melting the stubborn phlegm in the chest. Herbal concoctions such as chamomile tea, green tea, peppermint tea, and thyme offer immediate relief from the build-up of phlegm in the chest and throat. The herbs calm your inflamed glands and fight off microbial infections in the throat.
19. Cayenne Pepper
Spicy foods are an exceptional way to naturally expel the excess phlegm from the body. Its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties help combat inflammation and infection that boosts the synthesis of mucus in the body. Mix 2 tbsp of water, 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper powder, and a tbsp of honey. Consume it twice daily to get considerable relief.
Tips To Prevent Build-Up Of Mucus
Here are a few tips that will help prevent the accumulation of mucus in the chest:
- Avoid exposure to allergens, chemicals irritants, cigarettes, paint, dust, and pet dander. All these can cause allergy and stimulate mucus formation.
- Wear masks and increase air circulation at a place.
- Quit smoking and refrain from second-hand smoke.
- Wash your hands many times a day to stay protected from viruses.
- Maintain distance from infected people.
- Avoid dairy products, fried foods, and meat, as they are seen to increase the production of mucus in the system.
- Drink a minimum of eight glasses of water daily.
- Consume spicy and hot fluids foods to loosen the mucus.
- Inhale steam several times daily.
- Blow your nose to eliminate mucus from the body.
- Manage stress
- Eat a healthy diet
- Exercising regularly
- Get proper sleep
- Address lung conditions that result in the build-up of mucus.
- Take supplements that include vitamin C, zinc, and probiotics. It helps lessen colds and lower congestion.
Frequently Asked Questions About Phlegm in Throat or Mucus
1. What will happen if I gulp the phlegm?
It will not do any harm. The stomach contains certain acids that will help digest it and neutralize the cellular bacteria and debris in the stomach.
2. Do mucus and phlegm differ or they are the same?
Mucus is a gluey and thick fluid that is produced by the membranes of the nose. When it is produced from the respiratory region, then it is called phlegm.
3. What can I do to eliminate the build-up of mucus in the throat?
Consuming spicy and hot foods, inhaling steam, gargling with salt water will all help bring mucus to healthy levels in the body.
4. Do milk and milk products cause the build-up of mucus?
Though dairy products don’t result in the build-up of mucus in the throat but can make the congestion worse. It can even make the phlegm thick and cause irritation in the throat.
5. What is the medical treatment available to treat the condition?
If you feel that home medical is ineffective in treating your issue, then you may require over-the-counter or prescription-based treatments. These includes:
- Vapor rubs,
- A nasal decongestant spray or decongestants capsules that help lower mucus in the chest, and
- Expectorant makes the mucus thin and helps eject it from the body.
Over presence of phlegm in throat is due to an infection or illness in the body. The sooner you deal with it, the quicker you will recover. You should look for ways to eliminate it from the body. In a majority of cases, the symptoms tend to resolve on its own in just a few days.
Drinking plenty of fluids, using nasal sprays, and raising the head will help get rid of mucus. All the above home remedies will surely help resolve the condition. Consult a healthcare professional if you find that the problem is persistent, severe, or doesn’t reduce with home remedies and rest.