Table of Contents
- Get Rid Of Excess Mucus And Phlegm
- 1. Use a Humidifier
- 2. Drink Plenty of Water
- 3. Cough to Get Rid of Phlegm
- 4. Use a Nebulizer
- 5. Use a Saline Nasal Spray
- 6. Gargle With Salt Water
- 7. Use Some Eucalyptus & Elderflower
- 8. Avoid Smoking and Second-hand Smoke
- 9. Lay Off the Decongestants and Use the Right Medicine
- 10. Avoid Allergens and Irritants
- 11. Minimize or Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
- 12. Avoid Acid Reflux
- 13. Eat More Fruits & Veggies
- 14. Anti-inflammatory Oils
- 16. Herbal Remedies
- 17. Drug Therapies
- 18. Use The Right Supplements
Is excess mucus in your lungs making it harder to breathe and you don’t know what to do?
The mucus produced by your lungs and lower respiratory tract is called “phlegm”. Phlegm is usually present when a person is sick or has a chronic condition.
While mucus has been given a bad rap, it’s actually helpful to our body.
Mucus normally lines certain parts of our body, even if we’re healthy. Mucus traps moisture and protects against viruses and bacteria.
That being said, sometimes our body simply produces too much mucus. This can be due to several causes like irritation (of the nose, throat, and lungs), infections, smoking of tobacco products, or various lung diseases [1, 2, 3].
A quick overview of what causes the build-up of mucus in the lungs before proceeding to tips to reduce the build-up:
A hereditary disease, caused mainly due to a genetic defect that interferes with the natural production of mucus in the body. The mucus becomes abnormally thick and sticky and patients are often prone to various respiratory infections, lung problems and growths in the nasal passage.
The perspiration of patients with cystic fibrosis is very salty due to an imbalance in salt and water in the body.
Smoking is most often the primary cause for chronic bronchitis; in fact it is often referred to being a smoker’s disease. Present in the lungs are bronchial tubes which are useful in transporting air into and out of the lungs.
With bronchitis, the tubes become inflamed and there is a build-up of mucus that needs constant clearing. Other symptoms of bronchitis include wheezing, fatigue, shortness of breath and a cough that simply will not go away. This disease is referred to as COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
A cough that produces mucus that is yellow or green in colour and possibly spotted with blood, it is generally the most common symptom of pneumonia. It is a disease of the lungs that becomes inflamed due to a fungal, viral or bacterial infection.
Other symptoms of the disease include fever, chills, breathing difficulty, headache, fatigue and confusion. Pneumonia can be a fatal disease if not checked in time.
There are small air sacs called alveoli in the lungs; it is here that the lifesaving exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide occurs. When the sac walls lose their elasticity, they become inflamed and lead to emphysema. Instead of the free flow of oxygen in the lungs, it gets trapped.
Emphysema is characterised by a build-up of mucus causing a chronic cough, respiratory infection, loss of appetite and fatigue. Emphysema is classified as COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease caused mainly due to smoking.
Get Rid Of Excess Mucus And Phlegm
What 93% Of Mucus, Snot & Phlegm is Caused By…
93% of all Chronic Sinusitis and Mucus is due to an immune/allergic reaction to fungi, mold, yeast or Candida. I highly recommend you check out Yeast No More, a great eBook on how to reduce and even cure your Candida/Yeast and get rid of that mucus!
While mucus normally plays an integral part in a healthy body, too much mucus simply makes breathing uncomfortable. Too much phlegm may result in wheezing, difficulty sleeping, a sore throat, and chest congestion. This is why you might want to get rid of excess phlegm in your lungs.
1. Use a Humidifier
If you’re in a place with a dry climate, you may want to get a cool mist humidifier.
Dry air can irritate your nose and throat. Your body reacts to this irritation by producing more mucus to prevent moisture from escaping. This can be problematic when you’re trying to sleep as it may wake you up or prevent you from sleeping altogether.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
Drink plenty of fluids to thin your mucus and drain the sinuses.
It is possible to naturally cut the build-up of mucus by drinking lots of water. Water is known to flush the system and clear toxins. At times the build-up of toxins in the body can cause the infection to worsen, producing excess mucus.
Sometimes, coughing without straining and then drinking water stops the mucus from building up. Staying well hydrated helps to thin out the mucus and expels it as well.
Your body loses more fluids the more mucus you blow through your nose or spit out. Dehydration can lead to the thickening of your mucus as well as fatigue, dizziness, and confusion.
Drinking plenty of fluids won’t just keep you hydrated, but it helps thin your mucus. One study suggests that drinking hot chicken soup actually helps drain your sinuses even faster than cold fluids.
3. Cough to Get Rid of Phlegm
Not suppressing a cough can help you get rid of phlegm faster.
Coughing is not pleasant. It draws attention, is thought to be rude, and actually irritates your throat when done repetitively. You may be tempted to take cough suppressants to stop you from coughing.
However, you may want to lay off the cough syrup and instead let that cough out. Coughing is the body’s way of expelling objects and secretions from the lungs and throat. By preventing coughing, you’re only allowing your phlegm to build up in your lungs.
Once you do cough up your phlegm, remember to spit it out and get rid of it responsibly. Never swallow it. Instead, spit it out and make sure to keep it away where other people may come into contact with it [8, 9].
4. Use a Nebulizer
If your phlegm seems particularly thick and hard to cough out, you might want to use a nebulizer.
When your suffering from particularly thick phlegm, drinking more water won’t solve the problem. You need a way to soften that phlegm quickly so you can hack it out easier. This is why you need a nebulizer.
5. Use a Saline Nasal Spray
Salt can also be used in the form of a nasal spray or rinse to decongest your nose and sinuses.
When looking for a nasal spray, choose one that contains only sodium chloride. If using a rinse to irrigate your sinuses, make sure to use only sterile or distilled water. Ordinary water can contain bacteria or viruses that can make things worse once they enter your sinuses [12, 13].
6. Gargle With Salt Water
Another trick you can do with saltwater is to use it to gargle with.
Repeated coughing and the movement of mucus can cause irritation and inflammation in your throat. Gargling with salt water can soothe an irritated throat and get rid of mucus traces left behind. Just mix one teaspoon of salt in a glass of clean warm water and gargle every few hours [14, 15, 16].
7. Use Some Eucalyptus & Elderflower
You can use various eucalyptus products to help reduce mucus buildup.
Eucalyptus is a tree native to Australia (it’s what Koalas eat) but can also be found on other continents. Its leaves and flowers have been known to help respiratory ailments.
You can apply eucalyptus products directly to your chest. You can also add a few drops of eucalyptus oil in a diffuser or in a warm bath to help clear your sinuses.
A mixture of dried elder flowers with cool water is said to reduce the production of mucus. It is recommended by alternative medicine practitioners and appears to work well for some people.
The mixture needs to be left to sit for a period of two hours and then heated to drinkable temperature prior to consumption. This practice should be followed at least thrice daily to reduce mucus.
8. Avoid Smoking and Second-hand Smoke
Irritating the respiratory system will cause it to produce more phlegm and mucus. So it should be a no-brainer to stop smoking and avoid second-hand smoke.
Smoking is the number one cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The more cigarettes you smoke each day, the more this problem worsens.
Smokers with mucus problems need to stop smoking, there is simply no other way to clear the mucus and stop the infection. If not a smoker then avoiding smoke laden areas is essential to prevent mucus from building up.
Smoke inhalation and nicotine are notorious for causing production of mucus; it is also the primary cause of bronchitis and emphysema. A “no smoking” policy combined with exercise will help to reduce the mucus build-up in the lungs considerably.
I go much more in depth on what “not to do” in the ‘Holy Grail’ of Why Am I Unhealthy…
9. Lay Off the Decongestants and Use the Right Medicine
Don’t rely on decongestants to relieve excess mucus.
You may be tempted to take OTC medicine, like decongestants, to relieve a clogged nose. Don’t do it. While decongestants can dry secretions and relieve your runny nose, they actually make it harder to eliminate phlegm and mucus by making it thicker.
In the same breath (pun not intended), be cautious of the OTC medicines you take. Expectorants will be more helpful in the long run as they thin mucus and phlegm, making them easier to expel. However, make sure to read the active ingredients and make sure they don’t contain decongestants [22, 23, 24].
10. Avoid Allergens and Irritants
Make sure to avoid anything that can cause your allergies to flare up.
Allergies, especially the seasonal ones, will irritate your respiratory system. This will cause your nose to run and produce excess mucus and phlegm.
Watching for allergens includes making sure you don’t eat anything you’re allergic to. We recommend making a list of everything you’re allergic to and saving it on your phone to act as a constant reminder.
Also, avoid any known irritants like chemicals, fragrances, and pollution. Irritants cause the same problems as allergens: irritate your nose, throat, and lower airways, and cause mucus production [25, 26, 27].
11. Minimize or Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
While we did say “drink plenty of fluids”, this doesn’t include alcohol and caffeine.
Both of these substances can actually cause dehydration. This can lead to several respiratory problems like chronic bronchitis, breathing problems, allergies, asthma, and make mucus harder to expel.
12. Avoid Acid Reflux
If you’re prone to heartburn, avoid foods that trigger it to avoid acid reflux.
Acid reflux, that is stomach acids refluxing back up the esophagus and into the larynx, actually causes damage. This damage causes the production of more phlegm and mucus to protect against the acid.
This results in symptoms like cough, constant throat clearing, voice changes, and a feeling of fullness in the throat due to the thick phlegm.
13. Eat More Fruits & Veggies
Research suggests that a fiber-rich diet, preferably from fruit and soy, helps avoid respiratory problems that cause phlegm.
Just make sure you’re not allergic to soy or any of the fruit you’re eating.
In order to boost the defense mechanisms of the body, it requires antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. Fresh vegetables and fruits are excellent sources of these vital antioxidants.
The antioxidants work had to promote healing and prevent infection related to mucus production and build-up.
Some of the best fruits and vegetables to reduce mucus build up include onions, bell peppers, leafy greens, celery, parsley, garlic, horseradish, lemon, watercress, broccoli, tomatoes, berries, kiwi, citrus fruits and cherries.
It is recommended that people with mucus problems limit their intake or avoid altogether cabbages, bananas and potatoes, which are believed to increase the production of mucus.
14. Anti-inflammatory Oils
Most often inflammation in the lungs leads to excessive mucus production. According to research done by the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), a regular intake of anti-inflammatory oils can help to reduce the build-up of mucus.
Omega-3 fatty acids that come from these foods is specifically linked to reducing inflammation, which in turn can reduce the mucus build-up in the lungs. The oil is found in a variety of foods including several cold water fish such as mackerel, tuna, salmon, lake trout and sardines; walnuts, flaxseed, flaxseed oil and walnut oil.
15. Soy As A Dairy Alternative
I know soy has gotten a bad wrap over the years, especially in the bodybuilding communities, but it definitely has value.
Soy is naturally rich in protein. It is a legume and belongs to the Asian variety of vegetarian foods. Soy beans, soy milk, soy yoghurt and soy cheese provide calcium and do not cause mucus to build-up. It is considered the ideal alternative to regular dairy products such as milk that tends to thicken the mucus.
Herbs are known for their antibiotic and other health benefits. Herbs such as Echinacea and Goldenseal can be used to treat infections causing the production of mucus.
The most powerful herbal remedy I’ve ever seen or personally used is a natural tincture called Mucus-Clear. After couple of drops I could immediately feel my lungs releasing and mucus clearing out.
Mucus-Clear, is an FDA-registered natural remedy containing 100% homeopathic ingredients selected to reduce phlegm and relieve throat clearing from thick mucus.
Herbal remedies combined with some exercise and fresh air can considerably help in reducing the build-up of mucus by detoxifying your body, bringing a balance to the flora in the intestines. This helps to boost the immune system and promote improvement in health.
17. Drug Therapies
I never recommend potentially harmful synthetic substances as a treatment option… especially when HIGHLY effective natural remedies like Mucus-Clear, utilizing Kali bich (6C), Kali mur (6X), Kali sulph (6X) are available without a prescription.
Other treatments include: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce declines in lung function that results in mucus build-up; Bronchodilators that help to widen breathing tubes; Decongestants that help in reducing membrane swelling; Mucolytics to thin out the mucus; antibiotics to cure lung infections and stop the production of mucus.
18. Use The Right Supplements
Maintaining a healthy diet supplemented with vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and cod liver oil helps to prevent the build-up of mucus. These supplements help to breakdown and eliminate mucus effectively.
Mucus helps our bodies by protecting our organs and trapping germs. Excess mucus and phlegm, however, makes breathing harder and uncomfortable and can lead to more problems down the line. Follow these tips to help reduce mucus buildup in your lungs [26, 27, 28].
Health by choice, not by chance.