12 Home Remedies for Chest Congestion

Chest congestion is a condition resulting when mucus membranes become inflamed and mucus and fluid build up in the lungs, trachea, and/or respiratory tract. This can cause chest tightness and pressure, a cough, and breathing difficulties. Since these symptoms are usually painful, you want to find relief quickly. You may try over-the-counter medications but there are natural remedies that are just as effective and less expensive. These chest congestion home remedies are also more appropriate for senior citizens, children, and pregnant women who cannot take medications. Here are the most effective home remedies for chest congestion and how to use them.

Try the natural home remedies for chest congestion to get rid of the discomfort.

1. Steam

As water is heated, it creates steam. The steam’s heat and moisture liquefies and dissolves the mucus. Once it is dissolved in this way, the body can then eliminate it. Adding a few drops of peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil to the water also helps to dissolve phlegm.


  • Pour boiling water into a large bowl.
  • Place a bath towel over your head.
  • Lean over the bowl until you are directly over the steam.
  • Inhale the vapors deeply.
  • Continue until the steam dissipates.

2. Salt Water

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Salt draws liquid and moisture from any object that it contacts. When you gargle, the salt draws the mucus from your tissues, pulling the congestion from your chest. The heated water acts as a conduit for the salt and also reduces any irritation in your throat. This combination helps the body flush the congestion from the system.


  • Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of salt to an 8-ounce glass of warm water.
  • Mix well until the salt is thoroughly dissolved.
  • Gargle for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Repeat this gargle 4 to 5 times a day.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar thins the mucus in the chest so that you can breathe more easily. It kills bacteria so it helps your body fight the infection. Vinegar’s anti-microbes boost your immune system to help you prevent infections and chest congestion in the future. Apple cider vinegar is also recommended as a home remedy for stuffy nose. You should wait at least 6 hours between each dose to avoid stomach upset.


  • Place 2 teaspoons of organic raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar into a cup of warm water.
  • Mix in 1 teaspoon of raw honey (the honey is used to improve the taste of the vinegar).
  • Drink this solution 2 to 3 times a day until symptoms subside.

Another way to use apple cider vinegar as a chest congestion home remedy is to inhale it.

  • Boil 1 cup of apple cider vinegar in a large pot.
  • Pour the boiling vinegar into a large bowl.
  • Place a towel over your head and lean over the bowl.
  • Inhale the vapors until the steam dissipates.

4. Turmeric

Turmeric is one of the most flexible spices, providing a variety of health benefits. It is a natural anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory so it is used to treat a number of respiratory ailments. It contains a compound called curcumin which acts as an expectorant to help you eliminate mucus. For this reason, turmeric is one of the most effective home remedies for chest congestion. It also works to treat your cough and reduce your throat pain. Turmeric is very acidic so it is not recommended for those with hyperacidity issues or stomach ulcers.


  • Heat 8 ounces of milk just to the boiling point.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric to the boiling milk.
  • Drink this mixture while hot.
  • Enjoy this drink 2 times a day.

5. Ginger

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Ginger is also an anti-inflammatory and can soothe throat pain. It contains polyphenols that actually work to reduce the inflammation of the mucus membranes and restrict mucus secretion. Ginger’s immunity building properties attack the underlying causes of your chest congestion.


  • Chop 1 tablespoon of raw ginger into small pieces.
  • Add the ginger to an 8-ounce cup of hot water.
  • Cover the mixture and allow it to steep for 5 minutes.
  • Strain the mixture and add 1 teaspoon of honey.
  • Drink up to 3 cups of this ginger tea daily.

6. Onion

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Onions contain sulfur and quercetin which makes them effective in dissolving mucus that collects in the chest. They also contain anti-microbes which help you fight infection. Though they work in your system in a similar way to ginger, they are prepared very differently.


  • Extract the juice of a medium or large onion.
  • Mix the onion juice with equal amounts of lemon juice, honey, and water.
  • Heat the mixture until it is lukewarm.
  • Drink this mixture 3 to 4 times a day.

7. Fennel

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Fennel is another versatile herb which is among the most effective home remedies for chest congestion. It is used to treat a variety of digestive disorders and to prevent some forms of cancer. In addition, it has decongestant properties that allow it to clear mucus from the lungs. It contains creosol and alpha-pinene, two chemicals that work to loosen congestion and make your cough more productive. The best part is that you can use the entire fennel plant.


The fronds:

  • Remove the fronds from the fennel plant.
  • Sautee the fronds with a pinch of curry powder.
  • Add to your entree for a flavor boost and to clear your congestion.

The stems:

  • Cut the stems of the fennel plant into strips.
  • Serve as a crudite with your favorite dip.
  • As an added boost, add chopped fennel fronds to your dip.

8. Garlic

Garlic has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, and not just to ward off vampires. It has been prescribed to boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, and reduce cholesterol. According to Livestrong.com it is also an effective home remedy for chest congestion and many other common cold symptoms. The variety of sulfur-containing, amino acids in garlic is what provides its medicinal qualities.


  • Crush 2 to 3 cloves of garlic.
  • Mix the crushed garlic into 8 ounces of milk or water.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of honey.
  • Drink 2 times a day.

9. Oregano Oil

Oregano contains carvacrol, flavonoids, and rosmarinic acid, which all have natural decongestant and anti-histamine properties. Studies have shown,that rosmarinic acid reduces swelling and fluid buildup during allergy attacks. These facts make oregano oil an effective chest congestion home remedy. This is particularly true when the congestion is due to asthma or an allergic reaction.


  • Mix 1 part pure oregano oil with 3 parts water.
  • Rub the mixture directly onto chest and throat to reduce swelling and remove congestion.

10. Eucalyptus and Peppermint Herbal Hot Packs

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Volatile essential herbs are natural decongestants and expectorants that thin mucus and ease breathing. These herbs and the oils made from them, work in a variety of ways to relieve your congestion. Many also kill bacteria and germs, contributing to your overall good health. Eucalyptus and peppermint are two or the most effective chest congestion home remedies. As an added bonus, you can use the oils in a diffuser or humidifier and inhale the vapors as you sleep.


  • Roast a small amount of eucalyptus and peppermint for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Tightly pack this combination and wrap in a thin muslin cloth.
  • Place this pack on your chest or throat, wherever you need it most, for a few seconds.

11. Mustard Plaster

A mustard plaster is not only one of the best home remedies for chest congestion, but it is also effective in the treatment of more serious respiratory infections like bronchitis and pneumonia. However, you need to be careful to remove the plaster immediately if it causes a skin burning sensation.


  • Mix 1 tablespoon of dry mustard with 4 tablespoons of flour.
  • Add just enough water and a little olive oil to make a thin paste.
  • Spread the paste onto a clean muslin cloth and place it on your chest. Leave it on until it cools.

12. Chicken Soup

It is not simply an old wives’ tale that chicken soup has medicinal properties. It is among the most popular home remedies for chest congestion for good reason as it thins mucus in the lungs and nasal passages. Chicken soup, especially when it contains vegetables, supports white blood cells in fighting any infection that may exist in the body. The carnosine and calcium that are in the chicken, make the soup an effective anti-inflammatory. Best of all, it’s the tastiest of all the home remedies for chest congestion.


  • Halve 4 carrots, 4 celery stalks, and 1 large onion.
  • Place in a large soup pot with 1 whole chicken or 2 large split chicken breasts.
  • Cover the contents with cold water.
  • Heat to a boil and then simmer until chicken falls off the bone.
  • Remove everything from the broth. Remove the chicken from the bone and chop the carrots, celery, and onion.
  • Season the broth with salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon of chicken bouillon granules.
  • Return chicken, carrots, celery, and onion to the broth.
  • Heat and serve.

Chest congestion is caused by bacteria, a virus, or an allergen, and is generally a symptom of some other disease. If your chest is congested, you may have a cold or the flu, or you may have something more serious like asthma or pneumonia. Using home remedies for chest congestion, like the ones listed above, should provide you with relief within the first few days. If your symptoms persist, you should consult your health care professional because treatment of a more serious illness may be necessary.

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