Mucus builds a protective lining to prevent your body from drying up while it defends your body against invaders. However, too much mucus can cause you to be uncomfortable and get sick.
Do you want to get rid of phlegm naturally?
You can start by keeping the air moist. Drink plenty of fluids. Keep your head in an elevated position and use a warm, wet washcloth. There are so many other natural ways of how to get rid of phlegm aside from these.
Phlegm is cause when mucus builds up in your respiratory system. When the mucus is infected, this will contain viruses and bacteria. Normally, phlegm is not dangerous however, in large amounts it can block your airways. As a result, your body will try to cough out excess mucus.
What Causes Phlegm?
Typically, mucus is clear, thin and harmless. Your body needs this to prevent dryness in your respiratory system. Mucus thickens and changes its color when you suffer from cold or an infection. Infected mucus turns into phlegm. The color of your phlegm shows you the condition of your lungs and other organs of your respiratory system. Infected phlegm is present when you suffer from these:
Coughing is your body’s normal protective reaction to clear your airways of mucus and irritants. Coughing ensures that the air flows freely into your airways. When it becomes severe chronic coughing you might vomit, feel light-headed or even suffer from rib fractures. Chronic coughing will interrupt your sleep and will leave you exhausted.
- Nasal congestion
Nasal congestion is sometimes referred to as stuffy nose or runny because there is too much mucus clogging your sinuses. Your nasal passages become irritated and swollen making it difficult for you to breath.
Excess mucus runs down the back of your throat causing you to cough or have a sore throat. This can cause by common cold, flu and sinus infection.
- Sinus headache
You might have headaches caused by sinus disease that can last for days or longer. This is usually accompanied by thick colored nasal discharge. Other symptoms include a decreased sense of smell and fever.
- Sore throat
Your nose and throat make mucus all the time. Mucus clears away bacteria caused by infection and allergies. You don’t even notice when you swallow mucus. However, when mucus builds up and thickens this causes postnasal drip which in turns makes your throat hurt.
The sore throat starts as a cough. Your cough will start to get worse at night. You will feel nauseous when excess mucus moves into your stomach. You will notice your breath going rancid then comes a scratchy throat.
What Are The Types of Phlegm?
Phlegm texture normally changes. Phlegm can be from frothy to thick and sticky. As infection progresses your phlegm grows darker in color. Phlegm is normally thicker when you wake up in the morning or if your body is dehydrated.
Thin and clear mucus means you are normally healthy
This shows you that infection is starting to build up. You will also feel a form of respiratory congestion. The white color is produced by an excessive amount of white blood cells. When you suffer from asthma, white phlegm means you airways are inflamed.
- Light Yellow
Your body is fighting an infection.
- Dark Yellow
This color is a sign that your condition is getting worse. It is usually accompanied by fever, coughing and sneezing.
A combination of white blood cells, germs and proteins causes your immune system to produce a greenish discoloration. The viral infection produces a green color. Some signs include breathing difficulties, chest pain and coughing up blood.
- Pink or Reddish
When you got phlegm that is pinkish or reddish in color this means it is tinged with blood. Frothy and pinkish phlegm can be a sign of severe left-sided heart failure when it is accompanied by these signs:
- Chest Pain
- Shortness of breathing
Dried blood, dirt particles, and residue from smoking can cause your mucus to turn into this “rusty” color. Smoking can trigger your asthma attack.
Air pollution and heavy smoking can cause your mucus to turn black. Colored black mucus does not mean that you got a fungal infection.
If your phlegm is white and turns frothy this can be a sign of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. If your phlegm turns pink and frothy this means you are suffering from congestive heart failure in its early stages.
How to Get Rid of Phlegm Naturally
Phlegm isn’t toxic or harmful even if you swallow it. When you swallow phlegm this is digested and absorbed by your body. Phlegm does not prolong your sickness or lead to further health complications in other parts of your body. Having phlegm can cause you wheezing, nasal or chest congestion, sleeping difficulties and sore throat. You can get rid of phlegm using these natural methods:
- Elevate your head
If excess mucus builds up in your chest this can interrupt your sleep. To get rid of phlegm buildup try to elevate your head. Use extra pillows to prevent mucus drainage. This will reduce coughing and discomfort.
- Warm fluids
Keep yourself properly hydrated by taking warm fluids. This will make it easier for you to expel phlegm through coughing. Warm fluids do not mean only hot or lukewarm water but also includes drinking these liquids:
- Clear soup
- Decaffeinated black or green tea
- Herbal tea
According to research honey is antiviral and antibacterial. Buckwheat honey gives relief to children who have upper respiratory tract infection. A tablespoon of honey must be taken every 3 or 4 hours until the symptoms disappear. However, honey cannot be used for children who are under 12 months old.
Mint is a natural cooling ingredient is found in plants. The minty sensation can treat coughs and common cold by interacting with your cold receptors in the nose and throat. Because of its minty sensation, you stop coughing.
- Foods and herbs
There is certain food that alleviates mucus and gets rid of phlegm buildup which includes the following:
- Spices and types of chili pepper
Here are other kinds of food that will treat respiratory viruses responsible for mucus and phlegm buildup:
- Peppermint tea
Taking peppermint tea acts as a natural decongestant. Peppermint tea will get rid of phlegm and mucus buildup. Drinking this tea loosens chest congestion. You stop coughing when your chest is decongested. The secret is found in the leaves of the peppermint herb. These leaves are known for their healing properties since time immemorial. Boil leaves in hot water and allows to steep. Remove the leaves and drink the warm water peppermint mixture. You can add honey or stevia leaves if you want something sweeter.
NAC can thin the mucus in your airways. Taking a daily dose of at least 600 milligrams of N-acetylcysteine reduces coughing. However, if you suffer from severe airway obstruction you need to increase the dose to 1,200 milligrams.
Gargle using a mixture of rock salt and warm water. This mixture can remove phlegm and mucus from the back of your throat. Repeat this several times a day. Saltwater mixture is a natural sore throat reliever.
Keep your windows closed when you use a cool-mist humidifier to steam vaporizer. Using steam to loosen the mucus will reduce congestion and coughing. This will make you sleep better at night. Keep the humidifier clean up the humidifier to keep it bacteria-free.
- Using a saline spray solution
The effect of using the saline spray solution is similar to when you use steam. The goal is to fight off dryness. Salt attracts water into the airways, this causes the mucus to avoid going too sticky. It will be easier for you to cough out phlegm with thinner mucus secretion.
- Use of essential oils
Some types of essential oils can get rid of phlegm and help you breath better. Some of these can even stop bacterial growth in your infected respiratory tract. Here is a partial list of suggested beneficial essential oils:
- Cinnamon bark
- Tea tree
The Bottom Line
Generally, the natural methods mentioned above works for light cases of phlegm buildup. These solutions will help you rid of phlegm naturally. The earlier you follow the suggestions given above it will help you fight infection.
Otherwise, if you have excess mucus in your chest for more than 3 days you need to consult your doctor. If your chest feels congested, has chest pains, fever, wheezing and coughing out blood you need to see a doctor.
You need to strengthen your immune system to help it fight mucus build-up and underlying health complications. Symptoms usually disappear within a week and these home remedies can ease up the symptoms in most cases.