Sputum is mucus produced from the lining of the respiratory tract, which moistens and traps dirt and bacteria in the air when inhaled. Expectorants are substances that add moisture to mucus, making it less sticky and easier to cough up. Coughing is a way to help clear phlegm and mucus from the respiratory tract.
1. How do expectorants work?
Expectorants, although a class of medicines used to treat coughs, do not stop the cough but help prevent mucus from building up in the respiratory system. This is important because coughing up mucus is the body’s way of removing microorganisms, foreign bodies, and excess mucus from the airways.
An expectorant is also used as an adjunct treatment along with other medications to help with a cough. Besides medication, a number of natural remedies can help loosen phlegm.
2. Some natural remedies to help loosen phlegm
Water: Water increases moisture in the mucus, making it easier to expel. You can use water as an expectorant by drinking plenty of water or taking it as an herbal tea.
In addition, you can gargle with salt water, use a humidifier or through steam inhalation… also get the same effects.
Honey: Honey has long been used to relieve coughs and congestion, with studies proving it to be an effective expectorant. To use honey as an expectorant, dissolve a teaspoon of honey in a cup of warm water. Drink the mixture throughout the day. However, do not give honey to children under 1 year of age.