Few things are as irritating as chest congestion. It is characterised by struggling to breathe, wheezing, fever, coughing, and even breathlessness. Closely related to this is asthma, a condition in which your airways narrow and swell and may produce extra mucus. The two conditions can have you bedridden for days. Chest congestion should never be taken lightly because it means your body is not receiving the proper amounts of oxygen.
The thing is, none of us wants to keep going to the hospital, and especially when we can treat ourselves through natural remedies. Going to the hospital is expensive, time-consuming and mentally draining. That’s why you might want to try out these natural remedies for chest congestion and asthma.
- Warm fluids
During the cold season, we experience more problems to do with chest congestion. The cold season also tends to be dehydrating because sweat evaporates more rapidly in the cold dry air. If you are dehydrated, the body will produce histamine. Asthmatics have excessive levels of histamine in their lung tissue which can cause bronchoconstriction and increased mucus buildup in the lungs. That’s where warm fluids come in.
Staying hydrated thins mucus, making it easier to expel by coughing. According to a 2008 study, hot beverages provide “immediate and sustained relief” from congestion and accompanying symptoms, such as sneezing, a nagging cough, a sore throat, and chills.
- Omega-3 oils
Fish is a major source of Omega-3 oil, and that’s what makes it so nutritious. Compounds derived from omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in salmon, might be the key to helping the body combat lung infections, according to researchers at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. A different study of children from Baltimore City by Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers has added to evidence that having more omega-3 fatty acids in the diet results in fewer asthma symptoms triggered by indoor air pollution.
Foods that are high in Omega 3s include Salmon, Chia seeds, Flax Seeds, Walnuts, Soybeans, Nile Perch, Mackerel, Sardines, Cod Liver Oil, Herrings, Oysters, and Omena (silver cyprinid). 8 Health And Nutritional Benefits Of Fish
Other foods that have some omega 3s include eggs, meats and dairy products from grass-fed animals, hemp seeds, and vegetables like spinach and brussels sprouts.
If you are trying to ease the symptoms of a congested chest, then steaming is a very viable option. You can do it with just hot water, but adding eucalyptus oil will give you added benefits. Eucalyptus oil contains analgesic properties and antibacterial properties that ease up chest congestion. Warm steam helps to ease feelings of irritation and swollen blood vessels in the nasal passages. The moisture may also help thin the mucus in your sinuses, which allows them to empty more easily. This can allow your breathing to return to normal. You can also use other products like Vicks ease up on chest congestion. Here are The Benefits Of Steaming And How To Do It At Home
- The Buteyko technique
This is a complementary physical treatment comprising of breathing exercises that deal with asthma and other respiratory conditions. It involves a series of planned exercises including holding the breath to decongest the nose, therefore allowing the person to make the switch to nasal breathing on a permanent basis.
The Buteyko technique quickly produces a reduction in mucus, thereby lessening coughing and so diminishing two of the most distressing symptoms of bronchitis. With the practice of the exercises, the body becomes more efficient at resisting infection.
It has four key principles. One, breathing slowly. Second, breathe consistently and regularly. Third, to breathe through the nose. Lastly, breathe deep into the diaphragm.
Garlic can also help you with chest congestion. Researchers found that allicin, a compound found in garlic can kill bacteria that trigger lung infections. The compound also helps thin the mucus blocking your nasal passages. It contains anti-inflammatory compounds and can, therefore, relieve the symptoms of asthma. Apart from eating it, try steaming with it.
Garlic milk is a traditional remedy for asthma made by boiling the two together. Simply peel and crush eight raw garlic cloves, and place them in a small heat resistant pot. Add 1/4 cup of cold milk and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula. Then, strain the garlic from the hot milk and let the liquid cool down. Lifestyle: 10 Health Benefits Of Adding Garlic To Your Food
Closely related, ginger also has the ability to relieve the symptoms of chest congestion. Not only does it act as a natural decongestant, but it also has a soothing effect on your chest. It clears your chest of mucus and causes almost instant relief. It also contains anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties of ginger that congestion is reduced effectively. It dries out any excess mucous and stimulates the removal of its build-up.
Eat a small piece of raw ginger or add it to hot water and drink it as a tea to relieve chest congestion. You can also make a dawa concoction to drink. What you need to do is boil some water with ground garlic, ginger, lemon, turmeric root and honey to taste. These ingredients contain anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties that reduce the severity of symptoms, as well as help clear your chest.
Honey is a must-have in many households, and for a good reason. On top of all its health benefits, it can also ease chest congestion. Being a natural decongestant, honey soothes the throat and chest. It has antiviral and antibacterial properties.
A 2007 study tested the effects of buckwheat honey on upper respiratory tract infections in children. Parents consistently reported that honey provided the best relief from symptoms, compared with standard medication or no treatment.
- Gargling with salt water
Gargling is one of the most effective traditional remedies for both throat and chest congestion. It can remove phlegm and mucus thereby easing the symptoms. The American Journal of Preventive Medicine published a study that reported that gargling may be beneficial in preventing upper respiratory tract infections in generally healthy people.
Add half a teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water. Stir until the salt dissolves. Gargle with the mixture and allow it to sit in the back of the throat momentarily then spit it out. Repeat twice a day.
This spice is a staple in many of our homes. It contains a rich colour, flavour and aroma. Other than this, it can also ease the symptoms of chest congestion. Chest congestion is caused by excess mucus in the respiratory tract. Turmeric is loaded with an active compound referred to as curcumin that helps in dissolving mucus. It also relieves chest congestion and its healing properties kill bacteria and treats cough and cold.
10. Onion extract
People may have mixed feelings about onions but one thing is for sure inions are necessary to cook most of our meals. Other than this, onion extract can ease chest congestion. Onion has quercetin which eradicates mucus and also prevents further build-up of mucus.
Take an onion and extract the juice out of it. Add lemon juice, honey and water with the onion juice and heat it for a while. Drink this mixture 3-4 times a day.
11. Black coffee
Here’s another good reason why you should love coffee. It, in fact, it can decongest the chest. Caffeine is a drug that is very similar to theophylline. Theophylline is a bronchodilator drug that is taken to open up the airways in the lungs and therefore relieves the symptoms of asthma, such as wheezing, coughing, and breathlessness.