When autumn season rolls in with its associated viral colds and respiratory influenza, we often have to just ride out our symptoms as antibiotics don't work with viruses. With chest congestion, though, this is difficult; we can't breathe and we can't sleep and coughing is painful. Instead of just suffering, try some old family remedies.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Cheesecloth bag (or cotton T-shirt)
- Large onions
- Hot air steamer
Place a hot air steamer by your bed, directing the steam towards the head of the bed. The hot, moist air cuts through the phlegm allowing you to breathe better. Or, sit in a steamy bathroom for 10 minutes an hour, running a full hot shower with the fan off, to relieve your breathing difficulties.
Drink a hot, lemon tea with honey every couple of hours. When you feel like eating, a chicken soup broth will continue the process of thinning the phlegm that makes breathing so painful.
Apply an onion poultice to your chest, changing it out every four to five hours until the worst of the congestion has passed. This consists of a bag of warmed (not cooked), chopped onions mixed with a tablespoon of cornmeal, placed on the sternum and chest, around your breasts. (A mustard plaster can be used instead, but can be more irritating to the skin than onion).
Tips and warnings
- Don't make the poultice too hot. You don't want to cook the onions and you don't want to burn your skin. It should be as warm as can be tolerated.