It affects many kids and adults too. Chest congestion is a symptom of numerous conditions like sinusitis, pneumonia and other respiratory tract infections like bronchitis. If it is due to a disease or a condition, then it is important to cure that condition. However, one can get relief from acute or chronic chest congestion by using the following remedies which can be found easily.
It is actually a feeling of heaviness in the chest , caused mainly due to excessive phlegm and mucus production inside the lungs. Mucus is produced to get rid of pathogens and protect the lining of the air tubes ( bronchioles ) in the lungs. When there is an active inection, an allergy or any respiratory stress, this production increases. As a result, bronchioles narrow and become congested. In some cases, an inflammation of the cartilage surrounding the ribs ( called costochondritis ) causes severe chest congestion and pain while breathing.
Chest congestion is common in any condition that causes coughing. It can be quickly relieved using simple home based treatments.
( Photo Courtesy: anjanettew )
Natural home remedies for chest congestion :
These natural substances relieve pressure on the chest, heavy breathing and respiratory discomfort.
1. Vapor rub ( the best remedy for chest congestion )
This is a mixture of numerous ingredients which help in chest congestion. One can apply it directly on the chest and back to get relief. It is used by millions of people worldwide for this condition.That’s what vapor rub is actually meant. It is the best natural decongestant product. It is safe for kids and adults.
How to apply ?
Take a tablespoon sized amount of vapor rub. For kids, use a smaller amount. Then massage it all over the chest, in the front, sides and the back. If the person feels too cold ( because of menthol in it ), then give him or her a blanket.Why it works ?
Vapor rub can get rid of congestion within minutes. It is fast acting and very relieving. Vapor rub has many ingredients which contribute to this effect. It contains menthol ( from peppermint ), nutmeg oil, thymol ( from thyme ), eucalyptol ( from eucalyptus oil ) and many others. The composition varies with the company, but the effect is dramatic.
2. Peppermint Oil
This is one of the finest natural decongestants is peppermint. This is how one can use it to relieve chest congestion.
Peppermint essential oil
- Directions / How to use
Add 5 – 8 drops of peppermint essential oil to about 100 ml of olive oil. Stir it well. Now, warm it up gently before applying. Massage the oil onto the chest and back. It should clear chest congestion within a few applications. Keep it overnight.
- Why it works ?
Peppermint is the main ingredient here. It provides menthol which has the ability to lower inflammation. This helps bronchi and trachea to relax and dilate, thus relieving congestion.
3. Take A Hot Shower
When you feel congested and heavy in the chest, unable to breathe nicely, then a hot shower helps. Steam coming up from hot water in an enclosed environment reduces inflammation ( swelling and redness ) inside the lungs. This relieves chest congestion. It is especially effective at night. It also relaxes our muscles and nerves so that we can get sound sleep.
4. Perform slower and deep breathing
Studies suggest that anxious and shallow breathing can worsen breathing difficulties. If you are unable to draw in air nicely, then do not panic. Relax your lungs and start taking deep and slow breaths. This also prevents the muscles in lungs from falling into a spasm. Try yoga breathing technique, also called as Pranayama.
5. A cup of chamomile
Chamomile is a natural decongestant of the lungs.So, prepare a strong chamomile tea and drink it warm. Do this 3 times a day. Chamomile has a sleep inducing effect as well, helping one forget about chest congestion and get sleep.
6. Honey ( for the cough )
If your chest congestion is accompanied by coughing, like in bronchitis, then take honey. It is the easiest available natural cough suppressant. Just take 1 – 2 tablespoon of honey ( organic is better ) directly. Avoid drinking any liquids for some time after this. Honey soothes irritation in throat, curbing the cough. This provides lot of relief. Coughing with a congested chest leads to fatigue and pain in chest muscles. Honey prevents this too.
7. Steam from Eucalyptus Oil
The essential oil of Eucalyptus is a nice chest decongestant. It is also an expectorant, so it helps you to cough out phlegm.
Eucalyptus essential oil
- Directions / How to use
Take a large bowl of water. Put it to boil. When it starts releasing steam, add about 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Stir the liquid and start taking steam from this bowl. Make sure the steam is not too hot, or it will burn your face. Steam actually has more heat than water at same temperature, so it can cause a burn in no time. Keep taking the steam till you feel the need to expel phlegm. Once you release copious amount of phlegm, congestion subsides.
- Why it works ?
The decongestant properties of eucalyptus oil are great for sinus and respiratory health.
Take 3 – 4 garlic cloves. Put them on the pan with some olive oil. Saute the garlic in olive oil. Now, strain the oil, leaving away the garlic cloves. Use this oil to massage on the chest. Garlic infused oil works for chest congestion. It also helps in clearing any infection.
9. Black pepper
Eat a few black peppers with food to relieve congestion in the chest and throat. If you have black pepper powder instead, then put 1 tablespoon of black pepper powder in a bowl of water. Heat this mixture and then strain the liquid. Add honey to it and drink this. It relieves chest congestion.
10. Olive oil massage
Performing it on the chest is warming for the body. While doing the massage, rub with pressure to warm up the oil. Its heat is then soaked by the skin and chest congestion clears out.
Crush peppermint and add it to boiling water. Then, put this boiling water in your bathing water. The water quickly mixes and the whole bathroom has a smell of peppermint. Inhale this smell while bathing in warm water. Add some salt in water after the peppermint smell fades out to relieve the chest and back muscles which are strained by constant coughing.
12. Percussion of the lungs as a chest massage
This is a diagnostic procedure which is performed by doctors to know more about the chest . This procedure can also be turned into a chest massage which can relieve chest congestion. It is actually a massage called tapotement which employs percussion of the lungs. One can learn this practice and use it to release chest congestion of another person ( like children or babies ).
Natural expectorants : To expel the phlegm ( mucus ) out of the chest, one can use the following things.
- Eucalyptus oil in hot water. Inhale this steam.
- Eat thyme with food. It helps to relieve congestion in the chest by expelling the mucus clinging to the chest.
- Chili peppers : Eat a chili pepper with food. It releases heat in the body and improves blood circulation throughout.
- Eating onion with food as salad also works to remove phlegm from the lungs.
2. Percussion (medicine ) Wikipedia