Home Remedies For Chest Congestion and Aromatherapy Oils

Dr. Jayakumar Arjun

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Jayakumar Arjun

General Physician

9 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Chest congestion occurs when there is inflammation and a build-up of mucus in the chest
  • It was found that warm beverages do the trick best, providing chest congestion relief near-instantly
  • Exercise helps loosen mucus build-up and it is advisable to do some light walking or brisk running

Falling sick during the seasonal flu is quite common, especially when there’s a change in the climate. During this period of sickness, it is normal for you to experience a stuffy nose or some cases, chest congestion. This happens when there is inflammation and a build-up of mucus in the chest that can cause symptoms like coughing, sore throat, or even wheezing. Having occasional mucus build-up isn’t out of the ordinary but it is a matter of concern if this congestion persists. So, knowing how to get rid of mucus with home remedies for chest congestion can be quite helpful.

Depending on the severity of your cold, you may be able to address all your symptoms without the need for any specialised care. Sometimes all you need is a chest decongestant that you can get at any pharmacy. However, if you’d rather avoid medications and are looking to clear chest congestion naturally, you will need to fall back on trusted practices.

Chest Congestion Causes

Congestion in the chest might be a sign of a chest infection. Chest infections get classified into numerous categories, including bronchitis and pneumonia. Viruses and bacteria cause these infections (including Mycoplasma)

When an infected individual coughs or sneeze, tiny droplets in the air get inhaled by others, and the virus spreads quickly. If infected individuals cough or sneeze into their hands, any surface, object, and other persons come into contact with these surfaces, the virus can spread.

Home Remedies For Chest Congestion

To help you learn how to get rid of phlegm, here are some home and natural remedies for chest congestion.

Drink Liquids

Drinking plenty of water will help release the chest mucous and keep you hydrated. It is easier to cough out loose mucous. Drink plenty of warm water to enhance your fluid intake. You can also consume soups to assist in the release of mucus.

Inhalation of steam

You can experiment with steam inhalation using a bowl of boiling water. This steam will help to relieve your cough. However, children should not be exposed to hot water since they could get burned.


Ginger is a popular herbal remedy for several diseases, including coughs, colds, bronchitis, and respiratory difficulties. To make use of ginger,

You can boil fresh ginger after crushing it in water. Drinking this ginger water relieves coughing and congestion. 

You can relieve your cough by chewing on fresh ginger slices. You can also combine ginger and tulsi by crushing tulsi leaves, adding ginger juice, and an equal amount of honey. This mixture can get swallowed to relieve cough and congestion.


Turmeric has numerous health benefits. It can also help with coughs and chest congestion.

Prepare turmeric tea by mixing turmeric and carom seeds in a pot. The solution gets heated until it reduces to half its original volume. You can drink this tea to alleviate your discomfort. 

You can make a turmeric-black pepper solution by combining turmeric powder and black pepper in water and bringing it to a boil. The addition of cinnamon sticks is optional. You can also add honey for taste. You can drink this solution every day until your symptoms go away.

You can also breathe in the smoke produced by burning dried turmeric root.


Thyme can help with several respiratory issues, including cough and bronchitis. Thyme leaves contain flavonoids, which assist in reducing inflammation (swelling). It also relaxes the lungs' muscles and opens the airways. To utilize thyme, prepare thyme tea by boiling crushed thyme leaves. After that, the cup of thyme water is covered, set aside for a while, and then filtered. You can reap the benefits by drinking this tea.


Lemon has numerous health benefits. It has a lot of vitamin C in it and helps in the fight against illnesses. Lemon also aids in the reduction of oedema and inflammation. To help with coughing, make syrup out of lemon juice. Lemon juice can get combined with honey to form a syrup. To relieve chest congestion, consume this solution.


Jaggery can help relieve coughs and chest congestion. The feeling of congestion in the chest is due to the build-up of mucus. Jaggery assists in the evacuation of mucus. To make jaggery, simmer black pepper in water with cumin and jaggery. You can reap the benefits by drinking this solution.

Consume honey

Honey is a home remedy for several common illnesses, and it works just as well if you have a congested chest. This is mainly because it has antibacterial and antiviral properties, both of which can help provide relief. In fact, a study found that buckwheat honey may be more effective than certain traditional medications. For this natural decongestant to work effectively, consume a tablespoon every 3 to 4 hours until your symptoms start to lessen. However, avoid giving honey to infants as it could lead to complications such as botulism.

Use a vapour rub

While it may not be a natural chest decongestant, vapour rubs have ingredients that possess decongestant properties. Studies found that these are a better alternative to petrolatum ointments when it comes to clearing chest congestion. These are easily available at any pharmacy and you should look for vapour rubs that contain camphor and menthol. One of the best chest decongestants is Vicks VapoRub and it isn’t hard to find or heavy on the pocket.

Hydrate yourself

Consuming enough fluids, and the right ones keeps you hydrated. This is important for thinning the mucus, which makes it easier to expel. In fact, it was found that warm beverages do the trick best, providing chest congestion relief near-instantly and also alleviating related symptoms like wheezing, chills, and sore throat.

Ideally, you should try to consume broths, soups, warm water, and herbal teas. The goal is to keep the mucus hydrated enough to get expelled easily. In a similar vein, avoid consuming drinks that could dehydrate you. A few examples are caffeinated drinks, alcohol, and coffee. Dehydration thickens the mucus and helps it linger in the system.

Gargle with saltwater

When you have chest congestion, you are bound to experience some form of irritation in the back of your neck or throat. This is due to mucus and it is important to expel it in order to feel relief. One of the best and oldest ways of doing so is to gargle with salt water. Saltwater solutions work effectively at removing phlegm from the throat, thus providing relief. Here, all you need to do is add a teaspoon of salt to warm water, gargle for a few seconds, and rinse. Do this several times a day for maximum effect and constant relief.

Do some form of physical exercise

Exercise helps loosen mucus build-up and it is advisable to do some light walking or brisk running. However, due to your unwell state, you are weaker than normal, and so it is important to recognise your limits. Do not over exhaust yourself as this can slow down recovery.

Try using a humidifier

Steam helps with clear chest congestion as it loosens up the mucus. This is where a humidifier comes into play as it helps create steam or cool mist. Ideally, you should use a humidifier at night, as you sleep, as this helps ease chest congestion while you’re asleep.

Get a decongestant

These are available at any pharmacy and do not require a prescription. They can offer instant relief and come in the form of tablets, nasal sprays, or liquids. Some of the common options include pseudoephedrine and oxymetazoline. These may speed up your heart rate, so avoid using them before bedtime as they can make it harder for you to sleep.

Aromatherapy Oils For Chest Congestion

Lavender essential oil

Lavender oil can be used by inhaling its vapors. You can immediately inhale the vapors of lavender oil by placing a few drops in hot water. For example, if you have lavender flowers, place them in a bowl of heating water and inhale the vapors. Inhaling lavender oil vapors is a helpful treatment for colds, coughs, bronchitis, and asthma. As a result, it can get used to treat chest congestion.

Peppermint essential oil

Peppermint leaves contain anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, Peppermint includes menthol, which aids in mucus breakdown. To reap the advantages of peppermint, drink peppermint tea or inhale peppermint vapours created by dissolving a few drops of peppermint oil in a bowl of hot water.

Inhale essential oils

Essential oils play an important role in chest decongestion. This is because some of their properties help loosen the mucus build-up in the chest and others can inhibit the growth of infectious bacteria.

Some of the common essential oils include:

  • Rosemary
  • Tea tree
  • Peppermint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemongrass
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Cinnamon bark
  • Thyme

You can inhale these directly from the bottle or use a diffuser if that’s more comfortable. Additionally, you can also add oil to hot water and do steam inhalation.

Chest Congestion Home Remedies For Children

Similar home cures for chest congestion apply to children, such as relaxing, drinking plenty of fluids, and breathing in cold air from vaporizers or humidifiers. Some children's cold medicines should be used with caution.

Consider the following home remedies for children who have chest congestion:

  • Some over-the-counter pain relievers, including ibuprofen or acetaminophen, are for children. Follow the directions on the label and verify the active components to ensure your child is not taking more than the prescribed dose. You should also consult with your child's doctor about the dosage.
  • Cough syrup may help relieve symptoms of chest congestion in children. Cough syrup is available over the counter or by prescription. Read the label for pain medicines to ensure your child does not take too much at once.
  • Lozenges may get administered to children over the age of four but not to children under the age of four.
  • If your child is over the age of one, give them a teaspoon of honey or mix the same amount with warm water in a cup. Honey thins mucous and loosens coughs. According to several studies, it is more effective than store-bought cough medication at relieving a severe cough. However, do not give to infants under one year since it can cause infant botulism.

Squeeze saline drops into your child's nose to release mucus, then gently suction the nostrils and remove extra mucus with a rubber bulb syringe. 

Relying on home remedies for chest congestion can be cost-effective and easier than visiting a doctor, especially if you’re on a busy schedule. However, it is important to recognize when your symptoms start getting worse and the chest congestion remedies aren’t working. This is a sign of a greater underlying problem, that may require a doctor-prescribed medicine for chest congestion. Even the best chest decongestant in the pharmacy may not be able to solve your problems and prolonging professional care can cause lasting damage to your lungs or throat. To avoid this, consult the best physician in your area and do so in a timely manner with the help of Bajaj Finserv Health.

Gone are the days when you must consult only your family physician. Your search for top general physicians ends with Bajaj Finserv Health. You can view a list of top GPs near you in your city. You can also book an online appointment or opt for an in-clinic appointment at your convenience. In doing so, you get access to exciting discounts and deals from empanelled healthcare partners. These benefits and others like it are just one step away.

Published on 15 Feb 2021Last updated on 21 Feb 2023
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  7. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-get-rid-of-mucus-in-chest#overthecounter-medicine
  8. https://www.medicinenet.com/treating_congestion/article.htm
  9. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321549#natural-home-remedies

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

Dr. Jayakumar Arjun

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Jayakumar Arjun

, MBBS 1

Dr.Jayakumar Arjun is a General Physician in Thamarai Nagar, Pondicherry and has an experience of 4years in this field. Dr. Jayakumar Arjun practices at JK Clinic, Thamarai Nagar, Pondicherry. He completed MBBS from Sri Venkateshwaraa Medical College Hospital and Research Centre Pondicherry in 2018.


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