Chest congestion is an antagonizing condition almost all of us go through at one time or another. Whether it’s due to a cold, the flu, or something else entirely, chest congestion is an annoying pest, one that can make us feel bad all over. Here is a look at some causes as well as natural remedies that can help clear up chest congestion.
The Causes of Chest Congestion
Chest congestion occurs when mucus production inside our bodies is ramped up, leading to bronchi in the lungs to fill with mucus and swell. Inflammation of the airways happens alongside mucus buildup. Physical symptoms that accompany chest congestion include wheezing and shortness of breath, heaviness and tightness in the chest, and a hacking cough and expulsion of mucus. This is often called a “chest cold,” and it often comes after a sinus infection.
There are other causes of chest congestion as well. These include bacterial and viral infections (e.g., flu, bronchitis, pneumonia), acid reflux, allergies (e.g., pollen, dust), and asthma. Each of these conditions are different, and should be approached as such. However, the methods to alleviate chest congestion could be used for any of them, if done properly.
Natural Remedies for Chest Congestion
Relieving chest congestion can take a some work, because coughing is what works best to expel mucus. Certain herbs and supplements have the potential to facilitate the expulsion of mucus. Others can assist in soothing the discomfort that accompanies chest congestion. Following are five products that can help treat chest congestion:
Eucalyptus oil is a valuable essential oil that can bring relief if you’re experiencing chest congestion. Eucalyptus oil can alleviate shortness of breath, and reduce the exacerbation that a bronchitis infection can have on chest congestion. Cineole, a component of eucalyptus oil, can also help reduce inflammation of the airways. A few drops of eucalyptus oil can be added to water and steamed. Gently inhaling this steam allows eucalyptus oil to bring relief to the airways.
Ginger can have a mitigating effect on the inflammation that occurs alongside a cough, such as cough due to mucus buildup in the chest. By diminishing inflammation, ginger could potentially encourage the expulsion of mucus. Ginger also has the potential to relieve pain, including pain associated with mucus buildup in the chest.
Astragalus root can be helpful for the lungs during an infection. There is evidence to suggest that astragalus can be extremely helpful to the body during an infection. By strengthening lungs that are weak, astragalus could help the mucus expulsion that is necessary during a bout of mucus buildup in the chest.
Bromelain is an enzyme with strong anti-inflammatory properties, as well as a reputation for its mucolytic (mucus-expelling) properties. Bromelain can break down mucus, and expel it from the body. By doing so, it can alleviate cough, and clear up chest congestion.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is an amino acid that can benefit the body when mucus buildup has occurred due to an infection. Taking NAC daily can help reduce mucus buildup, and reduce cough.
Treating chest congestion and its associated symptoms is possible with these natural supplements and remedies. Some of these can have interactions with certain medications. We recommend talking to your healthcare provider before using any of these supplements to target chest congestion.