12 Quick Ways to Get Rid of Mucus Naturally


Everyone has mucus, a “stringy gooey” substance that you blow into a tissue when you have cold or sinusitis [1].

It is produced in the mouth, nose, throat, sinuses, and gastrointestinal tract [1].

Many people are not aware of how important mucus is.

Not only does it keep tissue surfaces from drying and cracking, it also traps harmful invaders such as bacteria before they can enter the body [1].

Mucus only becomes bothersome when there’s too much of it, as it results in stuffy nose, itchy throat and difficulty in breathing [2].

These symptoms can signal a cold, allergy, or other viral or bacterial infections [3].

To help expel excess mucus and get relief from these symptoms, make use of these natural remedies.

1. Steam

Steam inhalation is said to be beneficial for people who have excessive mucus.

People believe that steam has a cleaning effect on the airways, and at the same time, it helps loosen and soften the mucus to make it easier to expel.

WebMD describes this natural method as a “simple way of relieving nasal congestion”.

An animal study done in 2010 reports that inhalation of steam can expel phlegm and relieve cough [4].

Apart from being highly effective, this remedy is also very simple to put together.

If you don’t have a vaporizer, you can simply boil water, put it in a bowl, and inhale the steam.

Adding volatile compounds into the steam may also prove to be helpful, although researchers recommend further studies done on this matter [5].

Essential oils, for example, can facilitate a quicker drainage of the mucus.

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of peppermint oil
  • 1 teaspoon of almond oil
  • 1 bowl of hot water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Combine the two oils.
  2. Apply mixture on your throat.
  3. Take a steam shower.
  4. Or you can add peppermint oil to a bowl of hot water.
  5. Inhale the steam coming from the bowl.
  6. Do this twice a day for one week.

2. Peppermint

A cross between water mint and spearmint, peppermint is a plant that’s native to Europe but has been naturalized in Canada and northern parts of the United States [6].

It is most widely used as a flavoring agent for foods and fragrance for perfumes [6].

Its active compound called menthol benefits the respiratory tract by stimulating the cold receptors [7].

When you apply in on the throat area, you’ll feel a cooling sensation that immediately relieves congestion and makes you feel better.

In a clinical trial involving 62 subjects suffering from nasal congestion, half of the participants were given a lonzenge with 11 mg of menthol while the other half received a placebo [7].

Results show that those who received menthol recovered more quickly compared to those who were in the placebo group [7].

It was reported that menthol can improve nasal airflow in as short as 10 minutes [7].

As if these aren’t enough, peppermint also demonstrates powerful antibacterial properties that can control harmful pathogens that cause excess production of mucus, as proven in various studies [8, 9, 10, 11, 12].

What You’ll Need:

  • 20 drops of peppermint oil
  • 1 bowl of hot water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Add peppermint oil to water.
  2. Inhale the steam from the bowl.
  3. Repeat several times a day until you feel better.

3. Anise

Arabs, Egyptians, Chinese, Greeks and Romans were among the first to use anise as an herbal remedy during the ancient times [13].

Today, it remains a go-to solution for many types of health problems, including excess mucus.

Anise is often used as an expectorant to expel phlegm and suppress cough [13].

It is also a staple in aromatherapy to help alleviate difficulty in breathing caused by nasal congestion [13].

Inhalation of anise oil can also induce relaxation, which can help you a lot in cases when nasal congestion prevents you from getting a good night sleep [13].

As you know, it’s very important to get enough rest when you’re sick, as this will help you recover more quickly.

If not, the immune system will weaken even more, and it would become more difficult to combat the illness.

What You’ll Need:

  • 10 drops of anise oil
  • 2 cups of hot water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Add anise oil to hot water.
  2. Take in the steam.
  3. Do this remedy several times a day.

4. Salt Water

Cystic fibrosis is a condition characterized by an infection in the lungs and digestive system that can affect the production of mucus [14].

It makes the mucus “thick and sticky”, causing an obstruction in the passageways [15].

A study featured in The New England Journal of Medicine reveals that saline solution can help “restore mucus clearance and improve lung function” in patients suffering from this particular health problem [16].

A similar clinical trial performed by Australian researchers yielded the same positive results regarding the use of salt water mixture for people with cystic fibrosis [17].

Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, and you simply have a minor viral or bacterial infection, you can still make use of this remedy, which is very easy and simple to put together.

All you have to do is to gargle a mixture made with salt and water, and that’s it!

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 glass of warm water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Mix salt and water.
  2. Gargle the mixture.
  3. Repeat three to four times a day.

5. Ginger

The antibacterial and antiviral properties of ginger have been demonstrated in several studies [18, 19].

This means, that it has the ability to control infections that cause an increased production of mucus.

One such condition is asthma [20].

According to research conducted in 2015, the use of ginger as treatment for respiratory disorders results in a significant reduction in airway inflammation [21].

It also works to alleviate nasal and vascular congestion in asthmatic patients [21].

While ginger is particularly useful for asthma conditions, you can also employ this remedy for other types of respiratory ailments that congest the nasal passages and make it hard for you to breathe comfortably.

Simply drink a tea made with grated ginger, and you’ll feel better after a short while.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of grated ginger
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 1 teaspoon of honey

Recommended Directions:

  1. Steep ginger in water for 15 minutes.
  2. Add honey.
  3. Stir well.
  4. Drink the tea several times a day.

6. Honey

Cough, sinusitis and other similar respiratory ailments also cause the body to produce more mucus.

It’s a good thing these conditions can be curbed with the use of honey.

Sinusitis sufferers experienced great relief after using honey for 30 days, reports a 2011 study [22].

Honey is also an excellent way to treat cough and reduce mucus, thanks to its anti-phlegm actions [23, 24, 25].

In 2014, Nigerian scientists evaluated three randomized controlled trials involving more than 500 children to determine the efficacy of honey as a cough treatment [23].

The children were given cough medications, honey or a placebo, while others were not given any treatment [23].

Findings reveal that honey effectively reduced the frequency and severity of cough, and worked better than the placebo and the no treatment method [23].

Honey has also been shown to have similar efficacy as the medications commonly prescribed for this condition [23].

On top of all these, honey also boosts the body’s immune defense so that it can better fight off viral and bacterial infections that cause mucus overproduction [26].

Researchers conclude that honey is a cheap and excellent natural intervention for upper respiratory tract infections [23].

Take note that honey is not advisable for children under one year of age as it can increase the risk of infant botulism [23].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of honey

Recommended Directions:

  1. Consume honey twice a day for one month.

7. Turmeric

A popular medicinal rhizome, turmeric belongs to the Zingiberaceae plant family along with ginger [27].

Its yellow pigment comes from a compound called curcumin, which is also what’s responsible for many of its pharmacological properties [27].

For centuries, it has been widely used for treating numerous ailments including inflammatory diseases, fungal and viral infections, and even cancer [27].

For those suffering from excess mucus, turmeric can also provide immediate relief.

Scientific experiments suggest that turmeric powder is a good remedy for various respiratory diseases including cough and dyspnea [28].

These conditions have been known to cause increased production of mucus and impaired breathing respectively [28].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 glass of hot milk

Recommended Directions:

  1. Add turmeric to milk.
  2. Drink in the morning, and before sleeping.

8. Echinacea

A team composed of scientists from Armenia, Sweden and Germany investigated the effects of an herbal preparation that makes use of Echinacea as one of the ingredients in patients suffering from respiratory problems [29].

They discover that the Echinacea mixture reduced frequency of coughing, alleviated nasal congestion, and improved overall feeling of sickness [29].

It was also found that the medication enhanced the body’s ability to discharge mucus from the respiratory tract [29].

On top of these, Echinacea works to prevent as well as kill the source of many types of viral and bacterial diseases [30, 31, 32].

A 2010 study reports that Echinacea plants can efficiently inactivate different infection-causing viruses such as those that cause cold, flu, and rhinoviral infection [30].

It can also inhibit the activities of bacteria that cause sore throat like Streptococcus pyogenes [30].

While getting to the root of the problem, this remedy also alleviates symptoms by reversing the pro-inflammatory response of the body [30].

In an extensive analysis of 24 double blind trials that included more than 4,600 participants, Echinacea has been found to reduce the duration and severity of colds by 10 to 20 percent [31].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 1 teaspoon of Echinacea
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of honey

Recommended Directions:

  1. Put herbs in a cup.
  2. Pour hot water into the cup.
  3. Steep for 15 minutes.
  4. Add lemon juice and honey.
  5. Mix well.
  6. Drink two to three times a day until symptoms improve.

9. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a popular household remedy for a number of respiratory problems.

And it’s not hard to understand why.

Vitamin C in lemon juice has been proven many times as an effective way to treat common cold, flu and other respiratory infections [33, 34].

In research done by American scientists, it was found that vitamin C in large doses can alleviate the symptoms of cold and flu by up to 85 percent [35].

One of the symptoms alleviated is excess mucus in the respiratory tract.

Since vitamin C is an efficient immune booster, it can make the body more resistant to many kinds of viral and bacterial infections that cause over production of phlegm and mucus.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 glass of warm water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Pour lemon juice into the glass of water.
  2. Drink solution three times a day for four weeks.

10. Eucalyptus

In Brazilian folk medicine, eucalyptus was used to treat colds, flu, and infections in the bronchial tubes [36].

Its wide range of medicinal benefits has been confirmed in scientific research [37, 38, 39].

A study published in the Respiration Journal found that inhalation of aromatic vapor such as from eucalyptus can improve airway function [40].

Researchers arrived at this conclusion after investigating the effects of eucalyptus and other aromatic oils on 24 non-smoking participants with common cold [40].

Eucalyptus can also alleviate symptoms of common cold including difficulty in breathing due to excess mucus [40].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of eucalyptus oil
  • 1 cup of water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Boil water in a pot.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Transfer water to a bowl.
  4. Add eucalyptus oil.
  5. Inhale the steam.
  6. Repeat three to four times a day.

11. Black Pepper

If you think that black pepper does nothing more than spice up your dishes or make you sneeze, then you’re wrong.

This highly medicinal spice can actually control an array of respiratory pathogens, according to a study conducted in the University of Karachi in Pakistan [41].

Since the ancient times, it has been the go-to solution for asthma, sinusitis, cold, and nasal congestion, among others [41].

Scientific investigations show that pepper has strong antibacterial activity against bacteria that have grown resistant to penicillin and other antibiotics [41].

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s also an easy and effective way to get rid of mucus.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

Recommended Directions:

  1. Put these two ingredients in a pan.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Warm the mixture for 30 seconds.
  4. Consume the mixture.
  5. Take this three times a day for one week.

12. Nutmeg Oil

Here’s another way you can finally put an end to the problem of mucus: nutmeg oil.

In an experiment involving animal subjects, rabbits were made to inhale nutmeg oil [42].

Afterwards, respiratory tract fluid was collected from each of the rabbits [42].

It was found that the higher the concentration of the nutmeg oil, the lesser the fluid was [42].

Researchers explain that the expectorant actions of this volatile oil can be attributed to the presence of camphene, which appears to have the ability to thin the mucus and expel it more efficiently [42].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of nutmeg oil
  • 1 bowl of water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Boil water in a pot.
  2. Remove from the stove.
  3. Pour water into a bowl.
  4. Stir in nutmeg oil drops.
  5. Inhale the steam coming from the bowl.
  6. Do this two to three times a day until condition improves.

The problem of mucus can make it hard for you to function optimally.

Get rid of this by using these proven safe and effective home remedies.

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