The feeling of something not being able to swallow can be best described as one of the symptoms of chest congestion. It happens when the membranes (mucous or mucosa) lining the airways (respiratory tract) are activated in full force due to the attack from a foreign invader such as virus, bacteria, or dust. The membranes are inflamed, irritated, and your body creates extra mucus to eliminate the unwanted guests. Imagine yourself coughing uncontrollably in a public space? Wouldn’t the scene be awkward? So, to help you out, here are some herbal and home remedies for chest congestion. Before we list them to you, we will know its causes and symptoms.
What Is Mucus And How It Helps You?
Mucus is a jelly-like substance (white-yellowish or green) that is produced within the body to allow the smooth passage of irritants and unwanted foreign particles from the air pipes. They protect the lining of the lungs, which are pipes that connect your nose and mouth. These areas are often vulnerable to irritants, which then have to be pushed outside through coughing, sneezing, or have to be pushed into the body, which can later be dealt with.
It is important for the air passage to remain free to avoid choking and causing difficulty in breathing. However, this yellowish white substance sometimes even green needs to stay in control so that you do not feel heavy in the chest. As the name describes, chest congestion is something where you feel that your chest is congested with the mucus.
Chest congestion leads to a feeling of being ill; sometimes you are not able to taste and swallow your food properly, and nothing seems to help at that moment. Too much mucus in the body leads to constant coughing and even a blocked nose or maybe sometimes even a runny nose. This is not something to be worried about, but it can spoil your day’s events, and if not treated at the right time, it can be a symptom of some other major disease.
Causes of Chest Congestion
- Viral Infections: Viral Infections that can cause a cough are everywhere. We simply cannot flee encountering them. However, while some of us have a strong immunity system, some might not have the power to fight against them. Viruses can enter the body through the air we breathe, the food we eat, or the water we drink. They are smaller than bacteria, fungus, or parasites.
- Common cold: Common cold when neglected can lead to chest congestion. The mucus is easily stored and can give you a feeling as if your chest is heavy. The common cold is usually caused when there is a drastic change in the climate. For example; during the beginning of the rainy season or when the winter is coming. This is the peak time when doctors get many patients complaining about the common cold and eventual chest congestion.
- Bronchitis: A severe form of the common cold can soon turn into bronchitis (if not paid attention). When the airways in your lungs are inflamed, they produce a lot of mucus. There are two types of bronchitis: acute and chronic. The causes and period for coughing in the two types vary. Acute bronchitis is usually resolved within two weeks, but chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, can only be controlled but not cured, as warned by many.
- Pneumonia: Chronic cold can be pneumonia. It sometimes may be difficult to differentiate whether it is just normal cold or pneumonia. It damages the tissue lining your air passage, and you may cough out mucus. Pneumonia victims face difficulty in breathing, as the tissue becomes inflamed making it difficult for the oxygen to reach your lungs. The difference between bronchitis and pneumonia is that bronchitis causes a swollen throat whereas pneumonia infection causes fluids in the lungs.
- Smoking: Smoking kills and everyone knows this. Smoking is a major cause of chronic bronchitis. If not anything, smoking does hamper treatment for chest congestion. Your lungs are already sick of inhaling the toxic air that goes in through those cigarettes and to add on to it; you would not want to carry the extra load of the extra mucus. The tar that is stored in the lungs due to cigarette smoking affects the lining of the lungs, which are furthermore damaged. Even a slight cough can be painful in such a scenario.
- Irritants and Pollution: The air is filled with pollutants that can be troublesome at times. Indoor air pollution, wood or oil fumes can also cause irritation in your nasal passage. If you have been having difficulty to breathe for a prolonged period, then it may be COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and needs special care.
- Allergy: If you are allergic to any particular thing, especially something that can be inhaled for example dust or pollen grains, then it may lead to chest congestion. Allergens can trigger a series of immune reactions that can widely affect your respiratory organs including your lungs and become a source of chest congestion.
Symptoms Of Chest Congestion
The symptoms are very difficult to distinguish from other ailments. Since the body does not get sufficient quantity of oxygen, you feel tired. Some of the common symptoms of chest congestion are chest pain and tightened chest. Coughing can be described as the most natural response of throat and lungs to eliminate the mucous deposited in the surrounding areas of the chest. In the mucous (or phlegm), you can find pollutants, pathogens, and allergens. A few of the common symptoms are listed below:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Drawing breaths in a loud noise
- Constant coughing
- Loud noises while breathing (extreme snoring while sleeping)
- Thick tongue
- Chest pain
- Running nose
Note: Chest congestion sometimes can also be confused with other diseases like influenza or pneumonia. Chest congestion can be a symptom of some other disease or can be a disease in itself. The reason being that chest congestion can be a sign of future pneumonia or bronchitis. If difficulty in breathing is consistent for more than a week and too painful for your airways, then it is better to consult a doctor immediately and go through some tests.
12 Natural Home Remedies For Chest Congestion
Note: Chest congestion may be the result of a minor infection, but if the person suffering from it has low immunity, then the condition can lead to bronchitis or pneumonia. So, make sure to give the treatment at the appropriate time. Normal chest congestion will be cured within 4 to 5 days. If the conditions prolong after a week, a visit to the physician is required.
12. Justicia Adhatoda + Solanum Trilobatum + Black Pepper
Justicia Adhotoda: It is also commonly known in the English language as Malabar nut or Adulsa. It is a medicinal plant as one can notice its mention in Siddha medicine, Ayurveda and Unani methods of medication. Adhatoda herb is well known to cure fever, cold, cough, diarrhea, and so on. This evergreen plant grows upto a height of two meters in tropical climates. The leaves are bitter tasting and oppositely arranged. The flowers of this plant are white in color. It can be found in Asian countries including India, Pakistan, China, Nepal, etc.
Black Pepper: More than a spice, it is a medicinal herb. In ancient times, Greeks used them as currency. Black, round and pungent seeds of black pepper are a strong answer to the tough mucus that is refusing to come out. Pepper is highly recommended as one of the home remedies for chest congestion (if it is due to cold or a cough). Indian moms use these dried seeds of black pepper to add a spicy tinge to it. It adds flavor as well as acts as a medicine. Its effect can be seen immediately. Apart from treating congestion problems, it aids in digestion, improves skin texture, heals depression, etc.
Solanum Trilobatum: This is a widely known thorny creeper herb. The flowers are bluish-purple, and the plant bears small sized fruits. The whole plant; its leaves, fruits, and flowers are known to have rich medicinal powers. It is also called as Thai nightshade or purple-fruited pea eggplant in the common language. The plant is full of thorns, and these thorns are believed to be mildly toxic, so you had better remove these thorns before using the leaves. You can even store these leaves for a longer period if you dry and churn them into a powder. But, store it in a moist free clean container. To try this remedy, follow the steps given below:
- Step 1: Take some Adathodha leaves and Solanum Trilobatum leaves.
- Step 2: Boil them in water. Add a few black pepper seeds to it. Boil them again
- Step 3: Filter and drink it weekly once to reduce the mucus.
How Does This Work?
This concoction is a perfect and one of the sure shot chest congestion remedies. The leaves of Adhatoda Vasica contain alkaloids, tannins, flavonoids that work effectively to treat chest congestion. Solanum Trilobatum on the other side is said to be a natural rejuvenator and has been used to treat respiratory diseases since ages. Experts also say that the plant possesses some antibacterial, antifungal, and antitumor properties. Black pepper adds some spicy flavor to the concoction and fastens the treatment process.
The Remedy Is Not Good If:
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding. It can cause miscarriage.
- You consume in high doses. It can cause diarrhea and vomiting.
- You are undergoing treatment for thyroid. It is better to avoid black pepper.
- You are allergic to any of these herbs or their compounds.
- You are continuing the remedy for a long time.