There are several home remedies for chest congestion that have been used for generations. One of the most popular is aromatherapy. Other options include drinking warm liquids such as tea and coffee, steam therapy, or eating foods containing onion, garlic, and ginger.
Aromatherapy and essential oils have been used for ages to treat chest congestion. Adding oils derived from eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender to vaporizers, aroma lamps, or a humidifier can help to clear air passages and lungs of mucus. Some studies have found that eucalyptus essential oil can help to kill bacteria, which may be beneficial if chest congestion is caused by a bacterial infection.
For a concentrated dose, a few drops of eucalyptus, peppermint, or lavender oil can be added to a simmering pot of hot water. Those suffering from the common cold or chest congestion can inhale the steam from the pot, often making it easier to breathe. These oils can also be added to a carrier oil or petroleum jelly and rubbed over the chest and back to help to eliminate phlegm and ease chest congestion.
Drinking herbal teas infused with honey or lemon juice can also be effective home remedies. Lemon juice aids in breaking up mucus and opening airways, while honey helps to ease the pain of a sore throat that is common with chest congestion. The juice of half a lemon can be added to hot water at the same time as the tea bags, and honey can be stirred into the cup after the tea has steeped, right before it is served.
Drinking a hot cup of coffee, preferably without cream, may also help relieve chest congestion. Caffeine can help to expand the airways, making it easier for those suffering from congestion to breathe. The heat from the coffee can help to break up mucus, relieving the tight feeling in the chest common with buildup in the lungs. While a little bit of cream may be okay, milk products are believed to increase mucus production and may worsen chest congestion.
Taking a hot shower with the bathroom door closed can help to break up mucus in the lungs. The steam created by the water can make it easier to breath. A hot shower also has the added benefit of relieving any soreness or aching; these symptoms are common with chest congestion caused by a severe cold or flu.
Eating foods that contain aromatics such as onion, garlic, or ginger can also help make it easier to breath and relieve pressure in the lungs. These ingredients, commonly found in chicken soup, are the reason the dish is often recommended for those suffering from a cold or flu. Adding lemon juice to the soup or other dishes is one of the most commonly recommended home remedies for chest congestion, and can help break up mucus in the lungs in the same manner it does when added to tea.