When you have a cold or cough, one of the most irritating things about dealing with it is chest congestion. With all the recalls in over-the-counter medications, it makes sense to focus on alternative means of getting relief. Even if you’re not concerned about commercial medicines – like Tylenol and Mucinex, which both contain the main ingredient, guaifenesin – sometimes it’s just not practical to go out when there are a number of home remedies for chest congestion right in your household. Either way, whether you have them in your home already or not, home remedies can work wonders in ways that OTC oral medicines can’t.
So, if you’re dealing with chest congestion, don’t just suffer through it! Try some of these home remedies to help alleviate your chest congestion and help you feel more comfortable again:
The way steam works to alleviate chest congestion is the hot, moist air can loosen phlegm that has hardened, as well as moisten the throat and irritated airways. This method actually has a dual purpose, as it will not only help relieve chest congestion, but will also help with sinus pressure relief as well. Taking a long hot shower works well, but you may use a pot of boiled water. Simply head over the pot and cover your head with a towel, making an enclosed space to breathe in the hot steam.
Utilizing essential oils as a therapeutic tool, aromatherapy uses steam as a means transferring the healing properties of the essential oils – it’s basically steam therapy with a kick. You may even have some of these oils already in your home, like peppermint or lavender oil . The most popular oil by far, though, is eucalyptus oil. Eucalyptus has a century-old reputation for its healing properties and has been known to be extremely effective in treating respiratory infections. In order to use this method, simply add a few drops of essential oil to the steaming water, then allow it to penetrate and heal your body as you breathe in the hot, oil-infused steam.
There are a number of types of tea that can help with chest congestion. Again, heat is a factor in the therapeutic effect that results from drinking tea, so any tea will help in a moderate way. In order to get a more beneficial result, however, you should try ginger tea. Ginger works because it is an anti-inflammatory and has been known to speed recovery time in colds. How do you make ginger tea? Simple use approximately 3 ounces of freshly cut ginger, pour about 3 cups of hot water over it, and let it sit for a few minutes before drinking. You may also add a natural sweetener like honey, or add lemon if you like (Vitamin C!), but avoid processed white sugar, because that can toy with your immune system.
Menthol Creams or Rubs
As a topical treatment, one of the quickest ways to ease chest congestion is with a menthol cream or rub. While it’s possible to make your own menthol rub or cream at home (it is technically menthol camphor eucalyptus) , it’s much easier to buy one in the store. The most popular is Vicks Vapor Rub, which has long been one of the most valuable home remedies for chest congestion. When rubbed on the skin of the chest, neck and back, or a tiny amount is placed on the skin just under your nose (another aromatherapy method), it penetrates the body and dilates blood vessels, giving quick relief to congestion sufferers.
Add Parsley to Your Chicken Soup
Chop up some parsley and add it to a bowl of hot, steaming chicken soup. You will get three benefits here: the first is that eating parsley – especially close to raw form – releases histamines into your body, to help act as a natural cough suppressant and congestion reliever; second, you have the steam from the soup to breathe in; and third, you get the healing benefits of chicken soup. You can eat parsley on its own, of course, if you don’t mind the taste.
Try a Mustard Plaster
This is an old home remedy that you have to be careful with because you can blister the skin, but it involves using dry yellow mustard, flour and warm water. You then apply it not directly to the skin, but by a secondary source (like a flour sack towel) that you place on the skin. It is applied to the chest, neck and back, and is followed up with a coating of lard or Vaseline jelly. The mustard itself is believed to have healing properties, but it also infuses heat into the body, which is why you really have to watch the timing of this process. This is also not a method that is recommended for children.
Remember, you don’t have to suffer! Using any or all of these home remedies for chest congestion can help you feel better in no time.