Drink more water
Increasing fluids is a typical recommendation made by Western doctors to patients suffering from colds, coughs, and sinus infections. Drinking more fluid is safe and seems to help most patients.
Increase fluid intake to loosen phlegm
- Drink more fluids, especially hot tea and juice
- Use a humidifier to increase fluid in the air.
- Irrigate your sinuses using a bulb syringe or neti pot. Use warm water and ¼ teaspoon of salt, or warm water, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda. (The latter may be gentler on your sinuses.)
Why It Works
Producing mucus uses up the body's reserves of fluid, causing it to become dehydrated. If enough fluid is consumed, the body can add fluid to the mucus, thinning it out and making it easier to expel. Increasing fluids may also cause a patient to decrease solid intake. If cold and bronchitis sufferers eat more lightly, their bodies do not have to use as much energy digesting solid food, and can divert that energy to the immune system.
There are no known side effects to increasing fluids unless you ingest so much water that you risk death from dangerously low salt and electrolyte levels. Avoid drinking beverages with high sugar, alcohol or caffeine content. Always consult a doctor if you have chronic excess phlegm.