Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Cold season and wet cough

Natural Expectorants / Mucolytics... Wet Cough / Phlegm (Mucus)

If you have a congested cough, also known as a wet cough, phlegm (mucus), consider relief in natural expectorants. These substances thin out and break up the mucus stuck in your lungs, making it easier to breathe and your cough more productive. Remember to spit out any mucus that's dislodged, rather than swallowing it. 

Also, using natural expectorants can provide symptomatic relief, but be sure to address the underlying cause of your cough. In the meantime, drink lots of fluids--staying hydrated helps thin the mucus in your lungs.

What Is Phlegm?
Phlegm is a thick and sticky fluid that is secreted in your chest. Although this secretion is the result of a natural process, in some cases, it may be the result of an underlying disease. When you are running a cold or flu and cough phlegm up, it is termed as sputum. Your body doesn’t usually produce too much phlegm unless you are sick. The best way to find whether your phlegm is an indication of any disease is to look for its color. 

Given below is a phlegm color guide that can help you:

Green Or Yellow Phlegm
Green or yellow phlegm is usually an indication that your body is fighting a disease. Medical conditions like bronchitis, pneumonia, sinusitis, and cystic fibrosis may result in green or yellow phlegm. But you must also look for other symptoms to identify which one of these you are actually suffering from.
White Phlegm
The most common conditions that lead to the formation of white phlegm include viral bronchitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and congestive heart failure.

Brown Phlegm
Brown phlegm is usually rusty and most often hints at old blood. It is usually caused by bacterial pneumonia and bacterial bronchitis.
Red Or Pink Phlegm
The main cause of pink or red phlegm is blood. Infections like pneumonia, tuberculosis, congestive heart failure, pulmonary embolism, and even lung cancer may be the underlying cause of pink or red sputum.
Black Phlegm
Melanoptysis is another term used for black sputum. Black sputum is usually a sign that you have inhaled high amounts of something black, say coal dust or kohl. It is commonly caused by smoking, pneumoconiosis or a fungal infection caused by a black yeast called Exophiala dermatitidis.

Excessive phlegm is usually the result of an allergy or infection. It can also be caused by certain foods like milk and other dairy products, chemotherapy, pregnancy, or even candida infections.

The symptoms that surface with the build-up of phlegm usually vary depending on its cause. However, some common signs and symptoms of phlegm associated with excessive fluid build-up are mentioned below.

Signs And Symptoms Of Phlegm
The most common signs and symptoms of an excessive phlegm build-up include the following:
  • Coughing up mucus and phlegm
  • A runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • A sinus headache
  • A sore and congested throat
  • Shortness of breath

Most cases of phlegm build-up are a result of infections like a cold or flu and can be cured easily. 

Natural Expectorants / Mucolytics… 

N-acetylcysteine (NAC)

NAC is a supplement that can be used to thin the mucus in the airways and reduce the frequency and severity of a cough.

After analyzing 13 studies, researchers found that people with chronic bronchitis can benefit from taking 600 milligrams (mg) of NAC daily if no airway obstruction is present. Those with an airway obstruction may need to take up to 1,200 mg daily.


Bromelain is an enzyme that comes from pineapples. It is most plentiful in the core of the fruit. Bromelain has anti-inflammatory properties and may also have mucolytic properties, which means that it can break down mucus and remove it from the body.


Probiotics do not directly relieve a cough, but they may boost the immune system by balancing the bacteria in the gut. A superior immune system can help to fight off infections or allergens that may be causing the cough.


Licorice is not only a natural expectorant, it soothes irritated throats and inflamed lungs and it acts as a cough suppressant as well. Drink a tea made with 1/2 tsp. licorice root three times a day, or use purchased lozenges as directed. Do not take licorice if you have high blood pressure.

Sage Tea

Sage is another natural herbal expectorant and is easy to take in the form of sage tea. Use 2 tsp. of fresh leaves or 1 tsp. of dried sage per cup of hot water. Drink two to three times daily; sweeten with honey if desired. The book Smart Medicine For Healthier Living suggests combining sage with thyme as a tea; thyme is another excellent expectorant. Pregnant and nursing women should avoid large medicinal doses of sage. Culinary use is permitted.


Many herbalists recommend horehound as an effective natural expectorant. It also acts as a relaxant and cough suppressant, soothing irritated lungs. It is believed that marrubin, one of the compounds found in horehound, helps stimulate bronchial secretions. Horehound is very bitter, so sweetened lozenges are the usual remedy recommended; tablets are also available.


Eucaplytus acts as both a decongestant and an expectorant. Most people are familiar with it in lozenge form, but in the case of a persistent cough, it is perhaps more effective as a steam or chest rub. Health 911 suggests using 10 to 15 drops of eucalyptus oil plus three drops of hyssop oil, another strong expectorant, in a pot of boiling water; inhale the steam that results.


Cayenne thins and loosens mucus, making it easier to expel from the lungs. It also stimulates the body, including the chest. Home remedies include eating hot peppers and adding a dash of red pepper to medicinal teas. You can also take it in capsule form.


Garlic has earned its reputation as an herbal cure-all. As an expectorant, it can be used as a steam inhalant, a chest rub or taken internally. Eat a raw garlic clove one to three times daily. Alternatively, you can prepare a garlic-based cough syrup. The easiest method is simply to grate a clove of garlic into a teaspoon of honey and eat.

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