Excessive mucus can be a symptom of a wide range of diseases, such as bronchitis and sinusitis, which is when the nasal cavities become swollen, obstructing the passage of mucus, according to the Mayo Clinic. Mucus secretion happens in all mucus membranes of the body, and to remove excessive mucus with herbs, you must make sure the herbs have expectorant qualities, which help expel phlegm, according to Simon Mills in his book "The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism." Always consult your doctor when seeking herbal remedies, especially if you are taking medication.
Elecampane, also known botanically as Inula helenium, is a member of the Compositae family. Only the rhizome is used in folk medicine as a potent expectorant herb that specifically triggers the removal of mucus from conditions such as irritating bronchial coughs and catarrh, writes herbalist David Hoffmann in his book "The New Holistic Herbal." In addition to its expectorant properties, elecampane is also mucilogenous, which means it contains a complex carbohydrate called mucilage that becomes slimy when it comes in contact with moisture and coats the mucus membranes, soothing irritation, while stimulating the essential oils to prompt mucus removal, says Hoffmann. It is also used successfully to treat bronchitic asthma.
Make an elecampane infusion by adding 1 tsp. of elecampane shredded root to a cup of cold water an let it steep for at least eight hours. Heat it in a pot and drink it before it cools off three times per day, recommends Hoffmann. You can also take elecampane tincture, which refers to the extraction of the herbs medicinal properties in glycerin or alcohol, also three times per day.
Botanically known as Lobelia inflata, lobelia is a member of the Campanulaceae familly. According to acupuncturist Michael Tierra in his book "The Way of Herbs," lobelia is labeled as an anticatarrhal. Anticatarrhal herbs actively eliminate and counteract the formation of mucus. It is also a relaxant, due to its high content of isolobelanine, that will promote the removal of mucus without generating coughing spasms. It is used in folk medicine to treat bronchitis.
Prepare a lobelia infusion by pouring a cup of boiling water onto 1/4 tsp. of dry lobelia leaves and letting the steep for up to 15 minutes. Drink one to three times per day. Dilute your infusion with water if the acrid taste of lobelia proves to be too strong, or take it in the form of a tincture, 15 drops thrice daily diluted in filtered water.
Lungwort moss is a member of the Stictaceae family and is known botanically as Lobaria pulmonaria. It grows on oak bark and is considered both an expectorant and pulmonary demulcent, which means it soothes the mucus membranes as it releases mucus. It is a popular remedy for children, says Hoffmann in his book "The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal." Take 30 to 60 drops of lungwort moss tincture thrice daily.
- Mayo Clinic: Chronic Sinusitis
- "The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism"; Simon Y. Mills M.A., M.N.I.M.H.; 1988
- "The New Holistic Herbal"; David Hoffmann; 1995
- "The Way of Herbs"; Michael Tierra; 1983
- "The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal"; David Hoffmann; 1996
Ana Cassis began writing professionally in 1995. She has been published in the magazines "Cancunissimo," "Mesa Visions" and in online heath publications. Cassis is a nutrition counselor and herbalist with experience in fitness, nutrition and yoga. She holds an Associate of Arts in architecture from San Diego Mesa College.