By Ugochi Obiajunwa
Mucus is seen as something disgusting, little do we know that it plays a vital role in the body. Mucus is produced by cells in your upper airways and lungs and made of proteins, water, and salt. Mucus forms a protective layer that keeps your nose and airways from drying out and traps dirt and germs to stop them from entering further into your body. Antibodies in mucus also kill germs and protect you from infection. And thick, sticky mucus isn’t just irritating to your throat it can be difficult to clear too.
Causes of Mucus
Allergies or viral illness like the common cold can produce excess mucus, so can an infection in the upper airways or your lungs, for example, a condition like tuberculosis, pneumonia, or bronchitis. It may also be an indication of chronic lung disease (for instance, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or asthma.
Home remedies that can help get rid of mucus:
Take Lots Of Water
Make sure you have lots of fluids. Fluids can thin mucus, making it easier to expectorate.
Try A Salt With Water Gargle
A teaspoon of salt dissolved into eight ounces of warm water makes a great gargle. Gargling with this helps you bring up mucus and also soothes a sore throat.
Try Chicken Soup
A warm bowl of chicken soup can help when you’re down with a nasty cold. It Turns out the amino acid cysteine which is found in chicken meat can help thin mucus. So stick with the tried and tested chicken soup to get rid of mucus.
Boil water in a wide rimmed pot. Once the water stops bubbling inhale the steam. It helps to drape a towel over your head and the pot as this will prevent the steam from escaping. Five to ten minutes of steam can help loosen and remove mucus.
Eucalyptus is commonly used to treat respiratory problems and eucalyptus oil can loosen phlegm. Make a gargle with fresh eucalyptus leaves to soothe your throat. Adding a few drops of the essential oil to a steam inhalation can up its power and quickly clear congestion too. But do keep in mind that this remedy is not recommended for children or pregnant or breastfeeding women. However, you can still benefit from a plain steam inhalation
The menthol in peppermint can loosen phlegm and thin mucus. A tea made from peppermint leaves should help clear congestion. A few drops of peppermint oil added to a steam inhalation can also help remove phlegm. But do keep in mind that this remedy is not recommended for children as inhaling menthol may be harmful for them.
Lemon and Honey
Lemon and honey have long been used traditionally to treat coughs and colds. Honey has antibacterial properties and is thought to soothe the throat while lemon is rich in vitamin C which boosts the immune system and is a powerful antioxidant. Lemons also have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Add about three tablespoons of lemon juice and a little honey to a cup of warm water.