Excess phlegm can be a problem in spring or winter, and can arise from a wide range of different conditions. It’s uncomfortable, can make it seem difficult to swallow or breath, and may induce a cough. While whatever causes the phlegm may take some time to resolve itself, these natural remedies may help manage the symptom until it’s gone.
I know there are dozens of decongestants and throat lozenges on the market that promise similar things, but I’m always leery of these chemical-laden things. Try clearing excess phlegm with these simple techniques or food items that are readily available in most grocery stores.
Reduce your dairy intake
Dairy is a healthy part of a balanced diet that provides many essential nutrients. However, dairy can make the issue of excess phlegm even worse. It’s a proteinaceous product that thickens the phlegm and can make it even harder to break up. Just until you get better, consider limiting the number of dairy servings you consume every day.
Break it up with gargling
Water is usually enough to control phlegm levels in your throat, but conditions that produce too much phlegm usually necessitate something a little stronger. Gargling with warm salt water helps dissolve the phlegm. If the excess phlegm is caused by bacteria or fungus in your throat, salt water may also help resolve this underlying issue. Apple cider vinegar also makes an effective gargle. If a child is sick, even gargling with soda pop or juice is better than nothing.
Herbal remedies for excess phlegm
Spicy food is often effective as a decongestant, especially those containing concentrated amounts of horseradish or wasabi. If you really love the taste of horseradish, a small amount of the pulverized root taken without anything else will clear up sinus congestion and excess phlegm very fast. It’s strong enough that most people can’t take it this way. Garlic and onions may also be helpful, either eaten fresh or cooked into a soup or stew.
Fresh ginger or ginger tea often helps breaks up congestion and contains antiviral compounds that may be useful for the underlying problem. A tea that includes ginger and anise, another popular anti-phlegm herb, and chamomile, lemon, and/or mint can be the perfect mix for a cough or cold. The soothing properties of chamomile, lemongrass and most mints may help sore throat or the irritation that leads to cough.
Persistent excess phlegm may indicate a more serious condition. Always consult a qualified healthcare provider about your health concerns, and discuss any potential problems with herbal remedies. If the condition persists, talk to your doctor about what may be causing the problems.