Chest congestion is a very common infection in the respiratory system. It involves inflammation of the lower tract of the respiratory system, which ultimately causes difficulty in breathing. It is followed by chest pain and discomfort. In simple words, chest congestion is the accumulation of excess mucus and fluid in the lungs. When we breathe, we inhale several particles, like dust, viruses, allergens, bacteria, etc. These particles get trapped by mucus, which covers the mucus membranes. The mucus is then transported to throat, from where, it is either swallowed or coughed out. Excess mucus results in chest congestion.
According to Ayurveda, congestion and irritation of the respiratory tract are usually due to aggravated Kapha dosha (for example due to excess cold, damp, heavy foods). If food is not digested properly it will turn into ‘ama’ (undigested matter, toxins) which also increases Kapha, especially if it is deposited in the Kapha sites in the body (chest, lungs, head, neck and stomach). Aggravated Vata and Pitta doshas can also play a role but treatment of respiratory congestion is usually focused on pacifying aggravated Kapha and clearing the body of ama.
An ayurvedic treatment could also be very helpful. Instead of taking pills directly, you can try these home remedies if the condition is not serious. The people who have faith in natural products might find the solutions given below useful enough. These remedies are associated with preparing herbal solutions with the ingredients that are readily available in households. Such preparations are either taken orally or they are rubbed over the chest like a balm. Here are some remedies that are believed to be the most effective for this condition.
Preventive measures for chest congestion
- Inhaling steam vapours four times a day is a great solution. Boil water in a large container and mix one spoon of peppermint oil, four cloves, and a few drops of eucalyptus oil. Cover your head with a towel and bring it near the container. Inhale the steam as it comes out.
- A solution prepared from one tsp. of cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1/4 tablespoon ginger paste works wonders on congestion like symptoms. Now, mix these ingredients with 2 tablespoon of water and one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Drink this syrup early in the morning and before going to bed.
- One should drink herbal teas and beverages. These are active agents for curing this discomfort associated with the chest. Green tea, chamomile tea, red clover tea, and fenugreek tea have a soothing effect on the body offering complete relief from intermittent cough.
- One of the most effective chest decongestants is the solution prepared by melting two tablespoon of butter, and mixing 1 tablespoon of black pepper, and a little garlic paste, clove powder, and ginger paste to it. Heat them together and drink it in one shot.
- The delicious Ayurvedic jam, Chywanaprash, can be taken daily to strengthen the lungs and boost the immune system (you can try it on toast for breakfast). It acts to rejuvenate all the body tissues, increasing strength and virility, as well as alleviating respiratory conditions. For persistent colds, you may also want to try Trikatu made of ginger, black pepper and long pepper which dry up mucous and clear channels. It is traditionally taken with raw honey which aids this effect. It should not be taken if you are pregnant or suffering from the effects of aggravated Pitta dosha (e.g. heartburn, hyperacidity, ulcers).
- Turmeric is a potent natural antibiotic and can be used all respiratory tract infections. Boil half a cup of water with 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric add a little milk then use as a gargle.
To stay away from chest congestion
, follow the below given preventive measures:
- Practise pranayama or yoga
- Maintain a balanced diet
- Stay hydrated
- Get enough sleep
- Avoid oily, fatty and salty foods
- Consume citrus fruits and spicy foods
- Drink herbal tea and coffee
- Avoid smoking
- Use a menthol rub
- Avoid suppressants