You are probably familiar with that disturbing feeling at the back of your throat.
Throat mucus, also known as phlegm, can be described as that uncomfortable feeling that you experience when mucus clogs up your throat or drips from the back of your nose. The glands of your throat and nose produce about 1 to 2 liters of mucus per day.
This mucus consists of cells that line the sinus passages and has several important functions. It moistens and cleanses the nasal passages, traps foreign particles, stops them from filtering into the respiratory system, fights infection and humidifies the air. Most times we are not even aware that we swallow mucus.
When excessive mucus in the throat occurs, it is often the result of a post nasal drip, cold or flu, sinusitis or an allergic reaction. Throat disorders such as tonsillitis, strep throat, catarrh, laryngitis often have symptoms of mucus in the throat. Viral infections such as chicken pox, measles, mononucleosis, whooping cough or croup may also cause throat mucus.
If the throat is irritated by cigarette smoke, polluted air or chemical fumes, mucus can also settle on the lining of the throat and nasal lining. Throat mucus also causes bad breath because it contains high protein content and produces anaerobic bacteria.
Throat Mucus as a Symptom
Post Nasal Drip: Post nasal drip occurs when an excessive amount of mucus accumulation in the nose and throat creates phlegm and causes coughing. Phlegm seems to build up in the throat overnight, which leads to congestion in the morning.
Cold or Flu: During a cold or the flu, there is a production of clear, thin mucus in the nose and back of the throat. When the body starts to react to the virus, the once thin mucus thickens and turns yellow or green. This is one of the noticeable symptoms of the cold or flu virus.
Pregnancy: Many women experience symptoms of nasal congestion, coughing and sneezing during pregnancy. These symptoms are very common and rank right along with backaches and morning sickness. Estrogen is known to exacerbate mucus production and cause the mucus to get very thick or thin.
Seasonal Allergies: A number of people suffer from seasonal allergies every year. Unlike the common cold, the symptoms of seasonal allergies such as sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, and of course throat mucus, will occur all at once.
Throat Mucus in Children
Children are prone to colds and the flu, it is common for an excess of mucus in the throat following a respiratory infection to last 4 to 6 weeks. A phlegm producing cough sounds “wet” in a child’s chest and throat. Children have an average of 6-12 upper respiratory infections a year, leading to phlegm in the throat and excessive coughing.
Foods that Impact Throat Mucus
Milk and milk products like yogurt, cottage cheese and butter, cause excess mucus in the throat. These items carry protein molecules called casein which increases secretions of mucus and is difficult to digest. Along with milk products, caffeine, sugar, salt, non- herbal teas, (especially black tea), all create excess mucus. Soy is one of the most mucus making plant foods.
Natural Remedies for Throat Mucus
A spoonful of honey and ginger can help the body to get rid of excess mucus; this is a popular remedy for many sufferers. Spicy foods like cayenne pepper, wasabi, and chili peppers will all help the body release mucus build up in the nose and throat. It is important to make sure you are drinking an adequate intake of fluids a day to help mucus to pass through the throat. Water is the number one help for throat mucus; pair it with vitamins C, E and Zinc for a natural remedy for throat mucus.
- Inhale steam from a tub of boiling water or hot shower to loosen mucus in the throat and sinus congestion.
- Gargle regularly with warm water and salt.
- Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a vaporizer to loosen phlegm and relieve congestion.
- Drink hot liquids such as herbal tea or chicken broth to moisten the airways and break up the mucus.
- Add a teaspoon of turmeric to half a glass of milk – turmeric contains antiseptic properties that fights infection.
- Use a humidifier or cool mist vaporizer in your bedroom at night to thin the mucus – this helps to moisten the air and is particularly helpful during winter.
- Limit exposure to irritants such as household cleaners, paint fumes, chemicals or cigarette smoke.
Honey & Lemon Tea
Honey improves the immune power of the body and has antiseptic properties. Lemon has antibacterial property, and the vitamin C present in them improves the resistance power of the body against infections.
Ginger & Cinnamon
Ginger is effective in reducing throat and respiratory tract infections as it has antibacterial properties. It has been used for centuries in treating cold and sinus. Mix ginger, cinnamon and carnation. Add a cup of hot water to this mixture. Stir and strain and drink the strained mixture with a teaspoon of honey in it.
The sulfur presents in garlic fight the bacteria and other infection causing organisms. When the infection reduces phlegm production also reduces. Consume a few cloves of raw garlic before going to bed. You may use them in all food preparations too.
Deep Diaphragmatic Breathing
Deep breathing activates the immune and lymphatic system to remove toxins, phlegm, and mucus from your body. By practicing the yogic complete breath, breathe first into your abdomen, then middle chest and then upper chest, hold the breath for 6 counts and breathe out for the count of 12. Practice 10 deep complete breaths 3 times per day and watch your general wellbeing improve rapidly.