Congestion in the body, especially in the lungs, is the result of phlegm or mucus. Congestion is very common for adults, children and babies who consume meat, dairy, refined grains and starches.
A normal body function when there is congestion in the chest area is a cough. A cough is a reflex action.
Causes and Risk Factors
Most cases of congestion pertain to congestion or accumulation of mucus in the lungs. Congestion, or mucus congestion.
Causes of congestion are:
- Respiratory infection
- Deviated septum
- Common cold and influenza
- Pulmonary edema
- Lung cancer
- Heart failure
- Cystic fibrosis
Symptoms of congestion are:
- Coughing (a reflex action)
- Shortness of breath
- Labored breathing
- Chest pain
- Runny nose
- Chest discomfort
- Blood in cough
- Noise while breathing
Healing Congestion and Coughing Naturally
When there is congestion, drink plenty of water. Alkaline water is best, as alkalinity counteracts acidity. For more of an effect, squeeze lemon juice in the water (warm water is best) and add a pinch of cayenne pepper, stir well and drink. You can do this as much as you like. It will only help remedy the congestion and cough as it will help dissolve the stubborn and hardened mucus.
Individual herbs that are excellent and efficacious in cases of congestion include:
- Blood Root
- Mullein (leaf)
- Euclayptus (leaf)
- White Pine Bark
- Lung Moss, and
Cayenne, though not a mucilaginous or demulcent herb, works wonderfully well in conditions of mucus congestion. So does Black Pepper, Ginger Root, and Horseradish (used to make Wasabi for sushi).
Marijuana (in tea form) is a powerful herb for congestion and coughing bouts. Unfortunately however, the herb is banned here in the U.S. (due to political reasons). So you would be wise to stay away from this herb (to prevent getting yourself in trouble with the federal government).
The single best herb for coughing is Wild Cherry Bark, which provides natural codeine (bio-codeine). Wild Cherry Bark, unlike many pharmaceutical grade medications on the market, does not suppress a cough or coughing, but instead works with the cough (a normal body reflex) and facilitates the coughing process. Wild Cherry Bark works well with White Pine Bark (or Spruce).
Remember, we never want to suppress a cough because suppressing a cough keeps the mucus or phlegm in the body and thus, the congestion will return at a later date.
There are essential oils known to be effective in cases of congestion and coughing include:
- White Camphor
- Black Pepper
- White Pine Bark
- Peppermint, and
Eucalyptus is by far the best herb to use to counteract congestion. It should be inhaled, added to bath or soak water, and rubbed on the chest (especially before bedtime).
To apply to the chest, first rub on a little carrier oil (like olive or coconut oil) to your (or another person’s) chest, then add about 5-7 drops of Eucalyptus to your palm and rub or massage into the chest area. Make sure you open your window too as this oil works in tandem with the natural air that helps to dissolve hardened and stubborn mucus.
You can also add one drop of essential oil of Eucalyptus to a glass of warm water, stir well, and drink. You can do this 2-3 times a day.
In hot bath water, add 5-8 drops of Eucalyptus oil and 1-2 boxes of sea salt and soak for about 30-45 minutes. This is a great anti-congestion soak that I highly recommend. For infants and babies: use only 2-3 drops of oil and only half a box of sea salt and let the child soak for about 20-30 minutes.
Zoisite is also known to be effective in cases of congestion and coughing. It’s believed that Zoisite can help neutralize overacidification and reduce inflammation.
Margarite is another recommended crystal for mucus accumulation. It’s a form of mica that helps balance the acidity level of the body and to improve acidosis conditions.
These crystals and stones can be directly applied to the chest area or placed in a glass of water overnight and drank the next morning as an elixir.
Natural Healing Options for Children
For babies suffering with mucus congestion, add carrier oil to his/her chest and add only 1-2 drops of essential oil of Eucalyptus (and/or White Pine Bark) and rub into the child’s chest. Afterwards, dress the child with warm clothing and make sure the window is cracked (slightly opened) so a nice breeze can come into the room, as this works along with the oil and warmth caused by the clothing to cause the hardened mucus to dissolve.
Infants with congestion: 1-2 drops of essential oil Babies with congestion: 2-3 drops of essential oil Small children with congestion: 3-4 drops of essential oil
Carrier oils include: olive oil, coconut oil, grape seed oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, rose hip seed oil, etc. Shea butter can also serve as a carrier.
Try a preparation of tea of Mullein leaves, Eucalyptus Leaves, White Pine Bark, and Wild Cherry Bark (or any one of these herbs individually), let it cool down, add a little lemon or lime juice, and some maple syrup (Grade B or C) or agave nectar or vegetable glycerine to sweeten, stir well, and pour contents into a baby bottle and let the baby drink this wonderful tea which should stimulate expectoration of mucus or phlegm.
These teas can be bought separately and mixed together (adding the various teabags to one cup of hot water).
Any demulcent formula tea is also good to give to the baby following the instructions above.
Beware of all commercial pharmaceutical grade brands of antitussive and demulcent medications (cough syrup), especially Nyquil, due to the alcohol content and other ingredients. These harmful products impair motor skills, the nervous system, and the blood and liver among other things.
There are few good alternative brands of cough syrups (most made of elder berries) on the market at good health food stores that are safe and ideal to use. However, some of them may be made with honey, so make sure you read the labels. Honey should not be given to babies under the age of two.