Home Remedies For A Congested Chest
A Bit Of Nostalgia - There are a number of things that can cause a congested chest, a few of them serious, most of them not. As youngsters, many of us felt the effects of chest congestion and it sometimes meant sitting over a pot of simmering water on a hot plate, with a glob of Vicks Vaporub in the water and a large towel over our head. That seemed to work most of the time, and the smell of the Vicks wasn't all that bad.
If we had a particularly bad congested chest, the mustard plaster was the weapon of choice. Given the heat a mustard plaster can produce, combined with the smell, it would seem that it was designed to drive out evil spirits as much as to relieve a congested chest. If we felt tired in addition to feeling congestion, we might not have given much thought as to the connection. Eventually we learned that when your breathing is impaired in any way, your whole body suffers the effects of a deficiency in oxygen.
Sometimes a congested chest is a symptom of something worse, in which case you don't want to be messing around with home remedies. You want to see a doctor. If you aren't improving or are getting more and more congested, or if you're running a fever and can't knock it down, you could be feeling the effects of pneumonia and you should seek medical attention. Asthma and allergy attacks can also contribute to chest congestion, as do lung cancer and emphysema. Here the chest condition is more a symptom than the problem.
Home Remedies - Let's assume that your chest problems are brought on by the ever-present cold virus. If you have no medical conditions where a common cold could put you in danger, home remedies are probably your best method of attack. The great thing about home remedies for a congested chest is that there are so many of them, and most of them seem to work. Some work better than others, some work well for some people and not so well for other people. You might have to try more than one, but with a little luck you can find a remedy that either tastes good or feels good, or both, and does the trick.
Liquids Are A Help - Clear liquids, tea, water, or fruit juice will provide some relief. For one thing, your body is probably in need of hydration, and by giving yourself ample liquids, healing what ails you should progress more quickly. Also liquids help to bring phlegm up out of the lungs. If tea is your choice, an herbal tea might work best. A warm cup of herbal tea is in itself soothing and is a good means of fighting chest congestion. Don't put milk or cream in your tea, or drink milk for that matter. Dairy products often make the congestion worse.
Steam, Tabasco Sauce, And Oils - Even if you don't have Vicks, steam in itself can relieve congestion. Take a hot shower and inhale the steam, or if that's a little too warm for your comfort, inhale the steam from a pot of boiling water. On the subject of something warm, try Tabasco source or chili peppers. If you enjoy Mexican cuisine you're no doubt familiar with the effects very hot salsa can have. You get wet on top of your head, your eyes water, and any congestion you might have had disappears, at least for the moment. Cayenne pepper is a very good congestion fighter, horseradish isn't bad either. If you choose cayenne pepper, just put a teaspoon of it in a glass of water and gargle it.
Back to the boiling water. Add a few drops of an essential oil to the water. Eucalyptus oil is an excellent decongestant and an expectorant as well. Also cypress oil, juniper oil, and oil of cedar can work wonders. You can also put a few drops of any of these in a tablespoon or so of olive oil and rub it in your chest. Inhaling seems to work more quickly though.
A Cough Drop That Works - While cough drops and cough medicines may ease some of your symptoms, they usually don't attack the problem, in this case a congested chest. An exception is the horehound cough drop. While primarily used to stop a cough, horehound cough drops also aid in breaking up congestion by stimulating bronchial secretions.
And the list goes on. Try honey and lemon tea, bee balm leaf tea, or thyme (boil a couple of tablespoons for a few minutes, let it cool a bit, and drink it). It's claimed that sautéed onions will do the trick. Sauté thinly sliced onions with a little curry powder added. The curry is there for more than the taste. It loosens phlegm. A few cups of warm onion broth taken during the day is yet another remedy some people swear by.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to deal with a congested chest. Many of them work through heat; others do the job by chemical reactions. All seem to work reasonably well.