A congested throat, just as the name suggests, is a condition that occurs when the throat is filled with mucus. This is a common condition which is not only uncomfortable, but which can also interfere with one’s daily routines depending on the extent of the congestion.
Throat congestion makes breathing difficult. It is also pretty hard to talk as usual or even eat regularly. In many cases, a congested throat also causes erratic sleeping patterns due to the inability to breathe well.
Some of the symptoms that characterize a congested throat include pain in the throat area, increased production of mucus, difficulty when swallowing as well as a peculiar burning sensation in the throat as well as swelling. In severe cases such as asthma and pneumonia, throat congestion causes wheezing that is often accompanied by a dry cough. Throat congestion may occur as a result of an infection, the common cold or even a condition that targets the sinuses.
In some cases, it is caused by pneumonia and asthma, both of which require immediate medical attention. As a general guide, if you experience very intense symptoms, or they do not ease after a week of using the natural remedies, then it becomes important to see a doctor in order to make a proper diagnosis of any underlying conditions that may be present. Below are some of the home remedies that you can use to clear throat congestion.
1. Practice Deep Breathing Techniques:
Time Required: 5-10 Min
What You Need: A comfortable place.
Throat congestion is particularly unnerving because it makes even the most basic things like talking and eating an upward task. Depending on the extent of the congestion, this may interfere with your daily routines especially if your job involves talking a lot. A simple remedy to use is to practice deep breathing as indicated in the steps below. The purpose of doing so is to stimulate coughing, which in turn allows the breaking up of mucus so that it is easy to expel. In doing so, the throat congestion should ease when used alongside the remedies listed below.
- Inhale as deeply as you can through your nose.
- Follow this up by exhaling deeply through your mouth.
- Doing this severally allows for coughing to ease the congestion in the throat.
- Use this home remedy on the go and remember to combine it with any of the home remedies mentioned below.
2. Steam Therapy:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Hot water in a basin and a clean towel. Eucalyptus oil is optional. A hot shower is also a practical alternative for this remedy.
Make use of steam therapy to get rid of a congested throat. This works well because the steam helps break up the accumulated mucus in the throat, effectively reducing the congestion. The warmth of the steam as it rises in the nasal passages also goes a long way in soothing the irritated throat and alleviating the symptoms associated with throat congestion. Eucalyptus oil is an excellent addition to this remedy because it has decongestant properties which are needed to clear the throat.
You must take caution however, to avoid burn injuries which may result from the scalding. Since this remedy uses extremely hot water, it is important to use steam therapy with caution. In addition to this, this remedy is not intended for use in small children, invalids and the elderly.
- Once the water has boiled, transfer it from the pan to the basin.
- Lower your head gently until you are a safe distance from the surface of the water, but can still feel the steam.
- Cover your head with the towel so that you are able to contain the steam with ease and prevent it from escaping.
- Take deep breaths by inhaling through your nose so that the steam dislodges the mucus causing the congestion.
- Combine steam therapy with the first remedy (breathing technique) to help treat the congested throat.
- Do this until the water cools down.
- Repeat as often as needed until the congestion is completely cleared.
- Alternatively, enjoy a hot shower to get rid of a congested throat.
3. Stay Hydrated
Time Required: This intake is spread across the day.
What You Need: Adequate drinking water and fluids.
One of the golden rules when it comes to treating a congested throat is to ensure that you stay hydrated. Adequate drinking water, coupled with high fluid intake allows for the clearance of the congestion. This is because when hydrated, the body is able to thin the mucus and make it easy to expel altogether. What’s more, even after the congestion clears, this is an excellent habit to keep up with.
- Make sure you take enough water during the day. Do not wait until you start feeling thirsty as by this time, the body is already dehydrated, which makes the mucus thicker and harder to get rid of.
- In addition to water, other fluids that you may want to include during your mealtimes include fresh fruit juices, broth and herbal teas among others. In the same breath, stay away from beverages that cause dehydration. Coffee, tea and fizzy drinks rank high up in the list of beverages to stay away from for quick recovery from a congested throat.
- Chicken soup is not just an old take; the soup does in fact have excellent benefits for the body. When used to treat a congested throat, the warm soup speeds up the elimination of the mucus by aiding its passage through the nasal cavity. Additional benefits of using chicken soup include its excellent anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to soothe the throat.
4. Saline Nasal Spray:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1/2 Teaspoon of salt, 1 cup of warm water and nasal spray.
One of the causes of throat congestion has been attributed to post-nasal drip. This is a condition where excess mucus drips into the nasal cavities and end up in the throat. This excess mucus accumulation makes breathing difficult, and often causes congestion in the throat. One of the time-tested and proven ways in which you can manage the congestion as a result of the post-nasal dripping is to use saline nasal spray.
This is simply salty water contained in a nasal spray bottle for easy application. You may purchase saline from the local chemist, or opt to make your own because it is a simple remedy to use. The salt used is ideal for this remedy because it clears up the sinuses and deals with the post-nasal drip. By reducing the amount of mucus dripping in the throat, saline nasal spray effectively treats throat congestion. Use saline nasal spray to treat and relieve you of the symptoms associated with throat congestion.
- Add the salt to the water and stir for complete dissolution.
- Transfer a small amount of the saline water to the nasal spray.
- Spray a small amount of the saline water in each nostril and then tilt your head backwards for maximum efficiency.
- Use the nasal spray twice daily.
- Avoid overusing this remedy because excessive salt application may cause the nasal membranes to dry up and cause irritation.
5. Lemon + Honey Mixture:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: The juice of half a lemon, 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 glass of warm water.
Use lemon and honey, a traditional remedy that has long been used to treat different conditions affecting the respiratory system. This combination is an effective congestion-buster, thanks to the combined healing properties of the constituent home remedies. Honey is a humectant, and what this means is that it attracts moisture and prevents the throat from drying up. A dry throat easily causes irritation when congested. Additionally, honey also has antimicrobial properties which help treat any throat infections. Lastly, the honey acts as natural sweetener that tones down the bitterness of the lemon juice.
The juice’s benefits on the other hand include increased Vitamin C which is needed to boost the immune system as well as an easy way to remain hydrated. Use warm water to prepare this remedy so as to allow the warmth to soothe the congested throat and reduce pain in the throat area. This also helps loosen the mucus accumulated at the back of the throat. Follow the simple steps outlined in the directions below to prepare this remedy.
- Mix the honey with the juice of half a lemon and stir well.
- Add in the warm water and stir once more.
- Drink this water at least thrice daily for quick recovery from a congested throat.
6. Prepare Soft Foods:
Time Required: Varies depending on your choice food.
What You Need: You preferred food. Great options include potatoes, spinach and plantain among others.
A congested throat is almost always accompanied by pain in the throat area as well as inability to chew or swallow food properly. To counter this, it is important to take soft foods that make it easy to chew and swallow. Such foods are not only easy to swallow, they also do not cause further throat irritation. In the quest to prepare such foods, do not forget to include nutritious options to provide a balanced diet. As a general guide, choose foods that are soft and can be mashed with ease.
- Depending on your preferred foods, the method of preparation will vary accordingly.
- Typically, you should choose foods that can be boiled and mashed.
7. Raw Onion Juice:
Time Required: 45 Min
What You Need: 1 Red onion, a knife and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar.
Raw onion is known for its potent anti-inflammatory and antibiotic healing properties that help reduce the pain and inflammation of the congested throat. By relaxing the throat, the active ingredients in onion are also known to boost the immune system and improve its response in clearing throat infections. Add some sugar to the raw onion and the remedy is able to reduce the mucus viscosity so that it is easy to get rid of from the respiratory passages. Make the best of this simple remedy by using it twice daily until the congestion clears.
- Peel the onion and proceed to wash it well.
- Chop the onion into small pieces and transfer to a bowl.
- Sprinkle the sugar on the finely chopped onion pieces and toss to mix together.
- The sugar creates a an osmotic pressure that pulls out the water and active ingredients from the chopped onions resulting in a thick syrupy mixture after approximately 45 minuets. This is the specific remedy that you will need.
- Take 1 tablespoon of the onion juice every couple of hours as needed.
- The advantage of using this remedy is that you may refrigerate the remaining mixture for a day.
- Discard any unused onion syrup after a day as the active ingredients lose their potency over a period of time.
8. Cayenne Pepper:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1/2 Teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger, 1 tablespoon each of apple cider vinegar and raw organic honey as well as 2 tablespoons of warm water.
Cayenne pepper is best known for its fiery taste, but this red pepper is a great remedy for throat congestion. The pepper helps the body get rid of accumulated mucus in the throat, thanks to its stimulating and invigorating healing traits. Cayenne pepper is also an excellent anti-inflammatory and this makes it effective in the management of throat pain. The pepper’s warmth is a soothing trait that comes in handy for the natural treatment of a congested throat.
Ginger on the other hand, is a natural decongestant whose healing properties have been sought after since time immemorial. Its anti-inflammatory properties also help reduce pain in the throat area. Raw honey is a great addition to the cayenne pepper, thanks to its healing and moisturizing properties. Lastly, add apple cider vinegar for its ability to soothe the throat and deal with the pain. The water forms a base for mixing all the remedy items, in addition to hydrating the body.
- Mix all the ingredients together and stir well.
- Take the cayenne pepper mixture at least thrice daily to manage a congested throat.
- It also helps to cook with cayenne pepper to ease the elimination of mucus accumulated in the throat.
You may also use turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties or opt for oil of oregano for its ability to clear infections in the congested throat. In addition to the aforementioned home remedies, there are also preventive measures that you can take to ease throat congestion. The first is to avoid dairy and dairy products as these are known to thicken the mucus and cause more congestion.
Secondly, identify any potential allergens that may trigger throat congestion. These may include food allergens as well as those found in the environment. Lastly, avoid sharing items of personal nature to avoid catching contagious infections. If the symptoms do not subside after a week of natural remedies,. or they get more intense especially when accompanied by wheezing, seek medical attention immediately. Whenever in doubt about a remedy, consult a qualified medical practitioner.