I've experienced chest congestion and found helpful, natural remedies to provide some relief.
Five Home Remedies to Reduce Chest Congestion
If you want to avoid taking medicine when you experience chest congestion, here are five easy ways to reduce chest congestion at home:
Apple Cider Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is one of the best remedies for chest congestion because it loosens and thins the mucus in your body. This then helps clear your airways and reduces coughing. You could drink it raw, but I recommend pouring two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into a glass of water. Drink this mixture twice a day, and you will see results within the first day. It may not completely get rid of the chest congestion, but it helps a lot!
- Try to use organic apple cider vinegar with the "mother" in it. This specific vinegar still has the culture of good bacteria that turns apple cider into apple cider vinegar. You can find this in most grocery stores' organic sections.
- Drain. Raise the head of the bed a few inches by putting a phone book under the legs. This helps promote drainage in your lungs.
- Humidify. Use a humidifier to help loosen your chest. The water vapors will help decongest your airways.
- Water. Drink plenty of water to loosen any mucus in your body.
- Honey. Add honey to water to coat your throat and control your coughs. It doesn't clear the lungs, but it can help you get through coughing fits with less discomfort.
Other Methods for Chest Congestion Relief
If you want take more active steps to reduce your coughing fits, try the three methods below:
- Yoga: There are a number of great yoga poses and stretches that can help release congestion from your chest. Any stretch that stretches out the chest area also helps to expand the lungs, which helps release congestion from your chest/lung area.
- Deep Breathing: Take slow, deep breaths and completely fill your lungs with air. Hold them in for a few seconds and then release the air from your lungs to reduce some of the congestion. Repeat this breathing pattern for a few minutes at a time, a few times a day.
- Light Activity: I find that when I have chest congestion and I perform light cardio, the breathing required helps me clear out my lungs. Try going for a brisk walk or using cardio equipment at the gym on a low setting so you don't strain yourself too much, but still relieve some of the congestion in your chest.
Traditional Medicine for Chest Congestion
If you've tried the natural methods above and still want to try the traditional method, use cough drops to stop the tickle in the back of your throat. This should decrease the number of times you need to cough.
If you've had a cough for more than two weeks and it's not getting better, you should see a doctor. This may be a symptom of an infection or illness you can't fix at home , and you may need antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. If you do develop an infection, it's best to go to the doctor as quickly as possible because letting it sit for too long can result in something more serious (like pneumonia).
Symptoms of Chest Congestion
Here are a few common chest congestion symptoms:
- You're affected by coughing fits during the day and night.
- You wake up more frequently during the night because you need to cough.
- Your coughs are either dry or productive (bringing up phlegm).
- You make a wheezing sound when you cough. Mucus-congested lungs cause this because it partially blocks the airway.
- You feel a tightness around your chest when your lungs are congested.
- You have trouble getting air through your lungs, forcing them to work extra hard.
Herbal Home Remedies You Can Try
What Causes Chest Congestion?
Chest congestion can be caused by any number of things. You can find a few potential culprits below:
- Chest Cold. A cold can move from your nasal passage into your chest and cause chest congestion.
- Asthma. An asthma flare-up occurs when too much mucus is produced in the lungs, blocking the bronchi in the lungs.
- Bronchitis. Bronchitis happens when a chest cold turns into a bacterial infection. It is more severe than a chest cold. Bronchitis means an inflammation of the bronchial tubes.
- Allergies. Allergies can cause a nagging cough and chest congestion. Your lungs naturally secrete mucus to carry away debris, but an allergen in the lungs causes excess mucus production and congestion. Prolonged, it could turn into bronchitis, pneumonia or asthma.
- Pneumonia. Pneumonia may cause you to feel severe lethargy, chest congestion, coughing, aches, and pains. This can be life-threatening, so you may need to stay in the hospital for antibiotic treatments.
If you have chest congestion for more than two weeks, make sure to see a doctor for further medical treatment.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Questions & Answers
Question: What can help get rid of the wheezing and congestion in my chest?
Answer: Drinking a lot of liquids like water, hot tea, or a mix of honey, lemon, and hot water will help. If you could get in a steam room and do some deep breathing exercises that would also help to get the congestion that causes the wheezing out of your lungs. If all else fails, take a Mucinex or guaifenesin with a lot of water to help thin the congestion and get it out.
Question: I have anxiety & get a lot of mucus & phlegm. Does ACV work?
Answer: Apple Cider Vinegar will help to cut through the mucus, but will not help with the anxiety.
© 2013 Melanie Casey
Evelyn on April 04, 2019:
Can you use drink apple cider vinegar if you're on antibiotics it's the question I don't know why anybody but still have congestion I just wanted apple cider vinegar be a good idea to drink with apple without apple cider vinegar someone let me know please thank you everyone
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Stella Aligizaki from Greece on November 23, 2017:
Your advice is helpful. I will try it. I believe in natural remedies.
Daniele M Robbers from Clearlake on November 20, 2017:
I am around to colds progressing into bigger lung issues my asthma only acts up once I get sick. Two things I found to he very helpful is strong coffee and eucalyptus oil and peppermints oil. I knew that acv with lemon and honey was great for sore throats but had no idea it would thin the mucus for congestions. Being I have a horrible cold right this is very helpful to add to my arsenal.
Melanie Casey (author) from Indiana on October 16, 2014:
Try it out. It even helps you stay regular. I developed asthma three years ago and I have been using Bragg's for a few years. It seems to help a bit!
Margaret Schindel from Massachusetts on October 15, 2014:
@caseymel, I have had chest colds progress to bronchitis more times than I can count, and even as far as pneumonia twice. I do most of what you recommend already (although when I'm in that state I usually haven't enough energy to do even light cardio), but I was unaware that organic vinegar with the "mother" was helpful in clearing congestion. I just bought some Bragg's organic vinegar the other day to try making honeygar, so I'll have some on hand during the upcoming cold and flu season. Thanks again for this information!
Magdaleen on April 28, 2014:
I'm Magdaleen here in South Africa I stragle a lot whit my asma and my bronchitis 1 the docter told me I haw bronchitis then hie tel me I haw asma my longs pyn so I can hardly sleep ad nyt I swet like I jst cam out of a shower when I sleep sam time it pyn so then it feel like I can pas out at work I don't now what 2 do if sam 1 can jst tel me wht I can us I wil be gled I haw it for 9 mans now plc I stragle a lot
Melanie Casey (author) from Indiana on January 21, 2014:
Thanks miriam! I will have to try that! I always drink apple cider vinegar in a cup of water. It is not the most pleasant taste. Drinking with maple syrup and lemon sounds much more appealing!
miriam on January 21, 2014:
I can tolorate the apple cider vinegar by making it like a hot tea with a teaspoon of lemon and teaspoon of organic maple syrup for taste..immediately after about 3 sips I couch up a hairball size mucous...heard no wheezing that quick
Healthy World on June 29, 2013:
Our entire panel of doctors prescribe Apple Cider Vinegar for a host of issues, including chest congestion. For the entire range of ACVs available in India, and for Free Home Delivery, you can check the link here - http://www.healthyworld.in/SearchResults.asp?Searc...
Melanie Casey (author) from Indiana on April 18, 2013:
Thanks ChristinS! You're right! The taste of apple cider isn't that great. I usually put a few tablespoons in a glass of water and drink it quickly. It seems to loosen congestion in my lungs so I have less asthma issues. I love that it has so many different health benefits and that it is natural!!!
Christin Sander from Midwest on April 18, 2013:
good advice. I take cider vinegar but in capsule form since I can't deal with the taste of it drinking it. I think it works very well for so many things. I also use a neti pot to clear the sinuses before they can drain and trigger asthma - also very simple and easy :) Voted up and passed on.
Melanie Casey (author) from Indiana on January 09, 2013:
I think Mucinex is expensive too. Mucinex comes out with coupons regularly that you can use to bring the price down. You can find them on the Mucinex website and in the Sunday newspaper. You could also get the generic version, Guaifenesin, and it works just as well as Mucinex for a fraction of the price!
peachy from Home Sweet Home on January 08, 2013:
i had tried mucinet, expensive but really helpful in coughing up the phlegm. A hairball of mucous.