Phlegm is a bodily fluid secreted by the mucosa of the respiratory system and its main function is to keep the lower respiratory passages lubricated and protected, as well as to trap and facilitate the movement of foreign particles to the outside. A build-up of phlegm can result from infection, irritation, or chronic lung disease, and can cause chest discomfort and coughing.
Increased phlegm is one of the most common symptoms of colds and respiratory illnesses and, despite being a defense mechanism, it is the main cause of nasal and chest congestion. Its segregation in small quantities is normal and does not usually represent any discomfort. However, when it is produced in excessive amounts it can become a problem, since the body tends to eliminate it through coughing and expectoration.
Dr. Herbert Vides, medical advisor, explains that phlegm must begin to be treated as soon as it appears and it is necessary to stop the symptoms associated with obstruction in the airways because the accumulation of secretions increases respiratory symptoms and predisposes to complications such as bacterial superinfectious processes or obstruction of a bronchus or bronchiole (tubes where air circulates within the lung).
A flu with strong phlegm and congestion can lead to superinfections in the upper and lower airways and their obstruction. The medication to treat the cold should be one that helps to solve the problem and the symptoms it generates. In the case of phlegm, for choosing the drug that helps eliminate or expel phlegm from the respiratory tract, always consult with a doctor.
As home treatments that help eliminate phlegm, naturopaths recommend:
1. Gargle hot water with salt.
2. Take honey with lemon.
3. Drink ginger infusion with honey and lemon.
4. Drink infusions of minced garlic with honey and lemon, as hot as possible.
5. Drink plenty of water at the same time and nothing that is very cold.
6. Avoid dairy.
For the homeopath Emilia Cruz, the most important thing to prevent phlegm from causing infection is to keep the bronchi hydrated, drink plenty of water to make the phlegm more liquid and avoid dairy products that tend to thicken phlegm.