How to Thin Lung Mucus

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Mucus in the lungs can result from smoking, asthma and certain illnesses like bronchitis or upper respiratory infections. You can do several things to thin secretions and help expel them from your body. Alternative medicine expert Dr. Andrew Weil and the University of Maryland Medical Center offer several suggestions.

  • Consume warm liquids in the form of clear broths and teas. The combination of liquid and warmth thins secretions.

  • Drink at least six to eight glasses of water daily.

  • Avoid dairy products (particularly milk) as they may thicken mucus.

  • Use mullein extract, an herb known to be an expectorant. It thins and helps expel mucus secretions. Dr. Weil recommends one tablespoon in a bit of warm water every four hours.

  • Take cough medicines that include guaifenesin or potassium iodide as directed on the product label.

  • Eat hot foods like wasabi, hot mustard or horseradish; they liquefy secretions. Eat as much as you can tolerate.

  • Use a combination of steam and certain essential oils to thin mucus. You can try a humidifier or steaming bowl of water. Add an essential oil to the steam. Recommended oils include eucalyptus, sage, cedarwood, bergamot, myrrh, sweet fennel, jasmine, lavender, tea tree or majoram. You only need to pick one.

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