Get The Phlegm Out Naturally

We all would at some point in life have experienced that bout of a cough and cold which comes along with phlegm. And how that expectoration erupts exactly when you try to speak, sleep or do any form of exercise. Most often these common bouts of a cough with phlegm are usually self-limiting and not very serious, but it still causes a lot of discomforts.

To help deal with this irritating phlegm, there may be many over the counter medications available. But there are also many natural ways with which this condition can be dealt with.​

When suffering from a congestive cough, are you always worried about that cough coming up with phlegm each time your boss calls? Or embarrassed of hacking that cough out while trying to run on the treadmill? Trying to get a good night’s sleep can also be a challenge with the phlegm stuck in your chest.

Let us first get some insight about a common cough and cold and some natural ways to deal with it.

What is a congestive cough?​

A congestive cough is usually one of the most common reasons for difficulty in breathing. It is a result of an infection of the respiratory tract. This infection leads to an inflammatory condition within the lungs which gives rise to a collection of mucus. This mucus changes color as the infection progresses. It begins as a thin watery and translucent substance, progresses to becoming thicker and white. As the infection progresses the mucus becomes yellow and thick and finally has a greenish tinge to it.

While it is normal for the air passages to be lined with mucus, it causes difficulty in breathing only when the mucus membranes become inflamed or irritated due to any external factors.

How do the external factors play a role?​

When we breathe in any external factors that include:​

  • Bacteria
  • Virus
  • Allergens
  • Dust etc.

With lowered immunity, any of these factors will cause irritation or inflammation of the mucous membranes that line the airways. And eventually, cause an infection that leads to the thickening of the mucous membranes.

With lowered immunity, any of these factors will cause irritation or inflammation of the mucous membranes that line the airways. And eventually, cause an infection that leads to the thickening of the mucous membranes.

Even though we call it a common cold and cough, it causes a lot of grief to the affected person. They experience symptoms like:​

  • Headache
  • Stuffy nose
  • Tightness of chest
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Wheezing in chest
  • Expectoration

All these symptoms disturb the regular life. A cough may have a sudden onset, run its course and settle down and sometimes may require an intervention. Various due reasons could cause a cough. Let us consider some common causative factors:

Causes of a congestive cough​



This is typically an infection of the bronchial passages of the lungs. In bronchitis, the small airways get blocked due to infection. This causes breathlessness and phlegm that congests the chest.

These infections are usually viral in nature. One must take enough care to avoid causative factors that lead to repeated attacks of bronchitis. As this gives rise to chronic bronchitis, which may cause difficulty in normal breathing.​



This condition along with a congested cough also presents itself with fever with chills, headaches and other symptoms. The causative factors of a pneumonic attack include fungal, bacterial, viral or parasitic infections as well. The degree of infection may vary and also depend on the immune system of the affected person.



This is a bacterial infection caused by Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. This disease causes some very severe symptoms like relentless coughing, congestion in the chest, shortness of breath, loss of weight, fever and may become life threatening if left untreated. Tuberculosis also affects other organs of the body that include the spine, brain, kidneys, uterus etc.

Heart Failure


Lung congestion often causes the heart to fail to pump sufficient blood effectively. While the lung congestion, in turn, is caused due to fluid accumulation within the lining of the lungs.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder


The inflammation of the bronchial passage sometimes gives rise to an obstructive lung condition. COPD tends to cause permanent damage to the lungs.

Cystic Fibrosis


This is a condition where a person’s body is genetically inclined to produce more mucus. This excessive mucus production eventually clogs the lungs and causes a congestion of the chest.

Other common conditions that lead to a congested chest include:

  • Common cold: This is the most common cause of a congested chest. It may simply be caused due to the eating of cold foods, over exposure to a cold atmosphere, a sudden drop in temperature etc.
  • Flu
  • Asthma
  • Allergic reaction: When exposed to allergy causing agents, many suffer from symptoms like a congested chest, wheezing, breathlessness etc.
  • Pollution
  • Occupational Hazard: Often people working in industries that involve components like tobacco, cement, asbestos and other such suffer from this. While working an individual is exposed to particles of these components which are constantly inhaled by them. These inhaled particles over time get accumulated in the lungs and cause obstruction and difficulty in breathing.

How Can One Deal With The Chest Congestion?

Chest Congestion | Best ways to get rid of chest congestion | Natural Cure of Chest Congestion (Source:

First and one of the most important things is to expectorate and get as much phlegm out as possible. Though gagging and purposefully trying to get a cough out will end up making you nauseous, you must spit out only the phlegm that naturally comes out.

Sometimes when the congestion is severe, the mucus thickens and becomes difficult to remove. In such cases, there are some simple natural home measures that you can take. These natural remedies help loosen up the phlegm which comes out more easily. Thereby giving a lot of relief to the affected person.​

Natural Ways To Relieve Chest Congestion​

1. Salt Water Gargles

Every time you have a sore throat and that cough tickle your throat, salt water gargles can do wonders. It is a simple practice that is proven to give relief to an inflamed throat.

Here you would wonder why gargle when you can simply sip the salt water and spit it out. But gargling causes a rumbling acting in the mouth and throat. This helps to stir the congestion and helps to loosen it up.

The salt in the water helps to loosen and remove all the mucus that is stuck in the lining of the throat. This way the mucus is easier to get out. Plus it helps to provide relief in the chest congestion as well.

How does one do it?​

Each time you have a sore throat, you simply warm some water. Make sure the water is warm enough for you to handle. Never bring the water to boil, or you will end up with a scalded throat instead. To the warm water, you add a teaspoon of salt along with a pinch of turmeric. The turmeric here will help soothe the inflammation of the throat.

You then take small sips of this solution, gargle it and spit it out. Repeat this 3-4 times in a day, and you will be able to see visible improvements in your sore throat.​

2. Hot Fomentation


Hot fomentation can do wonders to a congested chest. With progressed infection, the mucus thickens and sticks within the air passages. This makes normal breathing difficult and is also very difficult to loosen and remove out.

Any form of heat when applied to the chest helps to break the thick mucus membranes in the lungs and dissolve them. This mucus can then be easily resolved.​

One of the simplest ways to apply hot fomentation is to have a hot shower. A hot shower will not only provide the much-required heat to the chest but the steam was coming out of the hot water will also give a great relief to the nose. So if you have a clogged and stuffy nose along with a congested chest, this is the best solution for you.​

Yet another miraculous method of relieving congestion by applying heat is as follows:

You fill a bowl with boiling hot water. Cover your head with a thick towel. This is to trap the steam within so make sure almost no steam is escaping out of open ends of the towel.

You then inhale the steam as deeply as you can. This activity provides almost instantaneous relief to a congested chest. As the steam enters right up to your lungs and causes the mucus to dissolve.​

3. Sleeping

Though getting a good night’s sleep may seem difficult with a congested chest. Getting a good night’s sleep will help feel rejuvenated and help you carry on with daily functions in a better fashion.

To avoid getting a blocked nose and promote proper drainage of mucus while sleeping, you can try and elevate your position while sleeping. This you can do by propping your headrest with 2-3 pillows.​

4. Humidifier

A humidifier will keep your nasal passages moist and prevent drying up causing a blockage. You can choose a humidifier from two options hot and cold. Depending upon the season and your room temperature you can make your choice. Also if you have children and pets at home, you might want to avoid the hot humidifier.

5. Drink Plenty of Water

This is an important factor that we tend to miss. If a person with a congested chest is dehydrated, the mucus will thicken within the lungs and get coagulated. This will make it very difficult to get out. Drinking plenty of water will help to thin out the mucus. Drinking warm water is preferable.

6. Use a Decongestant Salve

You can try any of the decongestant salves that are easily available. You can also try making your own salve by simply warming up a small quantity of coconut oil and add to it a drop of other oils like olive oil, a drop of peppermint oil and a few drops of eucalyptus oil. Cool this mixture and use it to rub on your chest. This will give some great results and give remarkable relief in the chest congestion. This salve can be easily stored for about 6 months when stored in a cool dry place.

These were some simple measures that one can take to get significant relief from chest congestion. But while discussing natural ways to remove phlegm from the chest, we cannot miss out the age-old home remedies. These foods and recipes can be tried along with the options provided above. These are home remedies which are all natural and absolutely safe. Let us check some food out.

Home remedies from the Kitchen to help a congested chest​

Chicken Soup

There could be nothing more heart warming than a bowl of this comfort food. No matter the weather or even if you have anything other than a congested chest, a bowl of chicken soup will make you feel better almost instantaneously. Not only is this warm and comforting, chicken soup is also known to have anti-inflammatory effects. It also promotes the activity of white blood cells which are typically the body’s defense mechanism. This helps a person fight whatever causative agent of the infection and promote good health.

Spicy Food

Do you not remember having a running nose and perspiring each time you have something spicy? This action is exactly what helps relieve a congested chest. Having a hot a spicy soup or foods with loads of peppers will help loosen up the mucus stuck within the lungs and run out of your nose. It is one of the simplest and tried and tested methods of all times.

One must avoid spicy food which is too greasy as that might come in the way of relief.​


This natural spice is yet another proven all natural remedy for a congested chest. Turmeric is known to have anti-inflammatory effects that can help resolve internal infection.

A simple home remedy is to add a pinch of turmeric to a glass of warm milk and drink this twice a day. Research has proven this solution to cause a significant relief from a sore throat as well as relieve chest congestion.

Turmeric is also known to help greatly in relieving symptoms of conditions like cystic fibrosis which is a genetic disorder.​


Another spice which is known to relieve chest congestion. Ginger also helps in loosening of the mucus that is stuck in the chest. There are many options by which you can include ginger to your daily routine. For example, you can make yourself a hot cup of ginger tea that will help thin out the mucus. Add chopped pieces of ginger to your salads and stir fry which will add a zing to the flavor along with helping your chest congestion as well.

There are also various concoctions that you can try at home, like add a few pieces of ginger to water and boil it along with peppercorns for a few minutes. Boil it for 4-5 minutes and strain the solution, add honey and drink this twice a day to see remarkable relief.​


This is an amazing herb which though may appear small has some powerful qualities.

It has been used by Greeks since ancient times as a natural expectorant.

It helps the mucus come out of the lungs in the form of phlegm. It also has some great antioxidant properties which can free many free radicals within the system. Certain components in thyme are known to stimulate the cilia or the hair like structures in the lungs which can help flushing the mucus out from the lungs.

Thyme also is known to act as a natural antibiotic and can fight various bacteria and disease causing agents. It can also boost the immunity of a person and help fight infections like bacteria and fungus which are causing the chest congestion. You can simply add fresh thyme in all your salads or make a concoction with boiled water and drink it. Using thyme oil is also known to have many beneficial effects.​


This is one of the most common components of all natural cough medicines. It is known to reduce the irritation caused by a cough by creating a layer in the mouth and throat. Honey has some strong antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help fight the chest infections. It plays a powerful role is reducing the thickness of the phlegm.

We all know that once phlegm is thinned out, it can be easily removed. A simple remedy is to boil water and add to it a few drops of lemon honey to help relieve chest congestion.​


This plays a vital role in bringing up the phlegm in the form of a productive cough which can be expectorated. It does this by thinning out the mucus and reducing chest congestion. It is also known to cause great help relieve bronchial spasm which can be debilitating. Licorice teas are popular for the same reason.

You must simply bring water to boil, add to it a few licorice roots and let it sit. You then strain the solution and drink it with honey for relief from symptoms.​


Common coughs and colds may cause discomfort but are often self-limiting. And so it is always a better option to try natural remedies to get instant relief. If symptoms persist you must visit a doctor.

Tracy Ream

A professional freelance writer with wide-ranging interests in medicine, fitness, health, psychology, tech, and fashion, Kim’s unique composition of life experiences includes working as an aide for a Democratic member of Congress, a senatorial nomination to West Point, extensive work with women’s relief and aide organizations, and a life-long commitment to helping others obtain and further their education goals.

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