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How to Treat and Reduce Mucus Production/Phlegm levels in Throat

Updated on April 29, 2016

What Is Throat Mucus?

Throat mucus or phlegm is substance that accumulates from dripping that takes place in the back of your nose and from throat glands. Nose and throat glands produce one to two liters of mucus per day. Mucus contains cells which have a number of key functions:

Cleansing and moistening nasal passages

Trapping foreign particles

Humidifying the air

Stopping foreign particles from getting into the respiratory system

Fighting infection

Symptoms that accompany throat mucus are throat congestion, Coughing and shortness of breath.

Causes of Throat Mucus

There are many airborne toxins and pollutants such as chemicals, smoke, dust, dander and pollens that try to invade our bodies daily. If throat mucus has become a chronic problem it is usually caused by food or environmental allergies. Other possible causes are bronchitis, a sinus infection, smoking, heavy metal accumulation in the body, nutrient deficiencies and mucus forming foods such as dairy products.

Help For Throat Mucus

The type of diet we consume determines whether food allergies which lead to mucus production will develop. Diets low in nutrients and high in processed foods containing simple sugars, carbohydrates, chemicals and unhealthy fats lead to food allergies. Eating a healthy diet will not only eliminate many food allergies but will eliminate mucus production due to nutrient deficiencies in the diet.

Supplementing the diet with vitamin C, E and zinc and cod liver oil will help prevent excess mucus buildup. Vitamin C should be in a supplement combined with bioflavonoids which will greatly enhance it's effectiveness. Reduced L-glutathione is useful for breaking down and eliminating excess mucus. It is has the ability to bind to heavy metals and transport them out of the body. Dosages are as follows: Vitamin C with bioflavonoids - 1000mg 3 times per day, Vitamin E - 400 iu per day, Zinc - 30mg per day, reduced L-glutathione - 150mg twice per day and cod liver oil - one teaspoon per day.

Herbs with antibiotic properties such as echinacea, calendula and goldenseal can treat the infection that leads to mucus production. These herbs also are effective at bringing balance to intestinal flora vital to body health and boosting the immune system. Fresh air and exercise help detoxify the body which will help reduce mucus production.

Ginger powder and honey have been found effective at reducing throat mucus. Make a mixture by combining one tablespoon ginger powder with two tablespoons of honey. Take one tablespoon of the mixture three times daily. Gargle regularly with warm water and salt. Do not swallow because excess salt intake can lead to dehydration. Drink eight glasses of water daily to thin and loosen mucus. Add eucalyptus oil to a vaporizer and then breath deeply to help loosen phlegm and lessen congestion.

Homeopathic treatments have been found effective at improving overall lung condition and help to reduce phlegm. Kali mur is known for it’s effectiveness at easing and soothing persistent coughs. Kali sulph excellent at reducing excess phlegm, nasal congestion and inflammation.

Avoid mucus forming foods such as fried foods, meat and dairy products. Foods that help loosen mucus include spicy foods, hot chili peppers and horseradish. Drink plenty of hot liquids such as herbal teas to moisten the airways and break up mucus. Using a humidifier at night will help thin mucus. Avoid toxins that contribute to mucus buildup such as cigarette smoke, household cleaners, paint fumes and pet dander.

Avoid all pharmaceutical cough suppressants because they will not reduce phlegm but cause it to build up in the lungs and lengthen the duration of the infection. Drink 8 eight ounce glasses of water daily to help loosen mucus and wash away the excess in the throat.


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    • profile image

      Ravi.B.G 4 years ago

      Hi Steve

      Thanks for giving useful information.


    • profile image

      RogerM 4 years ago

      I’ve been reading the many posts about chronic mucus in the throat. I’ve been there – done that for many years. I’ve seen 4 different doctors without any positive results and tried MANY - MANY Rx’s. I’ve been tested for allergies, asthma and GERD and I’m not a smoker. I not knocking the medical community but they seem to have tunnel vision when it comes to this condition. With the help of some on-line postings and some research, I’ve come upon some promising results.

      Antibiotics seem to be a common denominator. When a doctor prescribes an antibiotic it kills all the bacteria [good and bad] in your system – this is good when you are ill since it eliminates what was making you ill. However the elimination of the good bacteria has consequences. [Please note that I’m not a medical professional so my descriptions/explanations may not be stated well but this is what I’ve pieced together with some research] There is a relationship in the body between mucus and good bacteria. If the good bacteria are not adequate, the body produces mucus as protection.

      With my condition, I separated it to a mucus problem and a post-nasal drip problem. First the mucus - Probiotics are designed to replace the good bacteria. They are not new and have been around for a long time and there is a lot of information available on them – doing your own research is recommended. In my case, I’ve been prescribed antibiotics many times over the years but never replaced the good bacteria. So I started with a low dose of Probiotic and worked up. [I currently take 3 capsules 2X daily] This has reduced the mucus in my throat a lot – maybe 80% or more. [I’m reluctant to say that I’m cured]

      Next the post-nasal drip. This is still a work in progress. Over-the-counter decongestants aren’t a solution for me – Sudafed-like compounds mess with my blood pressure but I still use Flonase. So thanks to another on-line posting, I’m trying Quercetin which you can find in the health food/vitamin store. So far, so good! It seems to be working.

      I hope this information works. Good luck.

    • profile image

      chloe 5 years ago

      Im only 15 and haven't slept in 2 days due to being unable to breath properly, chesty coughing, headaches and being so weak and unable to move and walk properly.

      I've been tossing and turning in my bed trying every sleeping position eg sitting up, with out pillows etc.

      I told my mum and shes been giving me a drink that consists of; hot lemonade, one squeezed lemon and a tablespoon of honey.

      It's not working though, it allows me to breath properly for about 10 mins then I start stuggling again. I cant get in touch with my mum at the moment because shes in work and I really need help, I don't know whether to go to the doctor or not. I think before I take any visits to the walk-in centre i'll try some of these tips first.

      Lets hope it works!

    • profile image

      Morven 5 years ago

      Mucous is caused from allergies, food and environment. Read Eating 4 your Blood Type by Dr. Peter A'damo. Likely you are all Blood Type A, like I am and have been having this problem for about 4 years now.

    • profile image

      cinny58 5 years ago

      I need some questions answered about the ginger powder and honey. Is there anyone out there that can help me.

    • profile image

      Cindy Odahlen 5 years ago

      I have a question. If you make up 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 tablespoon, is this divided into 3 doses per day. Or is this 2 doses and need to make more for the 3rd dose.

    • profile image

      Sandy 5 years ago

      Do any of you have a chronic cough with this mucus problem. I have for 9 years and it is wearing. My doc and specialists have yet to find out wheat is wrong, other than a minor thyroid problem.

    • profile image

      Kathryn K. 5 years ago

      Folks, please look into the possibility of a Candida infection because that can cause a whole lot of different symptoms. Also, digestive enzymes are beneficial with cooked food.

    • profile image

      paw9 5 years ago

      Yes thanks Joa Joa, I now believe that's what it is. I don't feel any symptoms but that's the only thing that adds up so now taking Nexium to reduce acid - no success yet (3 wks) but hopeful. Thanks

    • profile image

      Joa Joa 5 years ago

      to paw 9

      Have you thought about acid re flux? your symptoms can be caused by acid reflux

    • profile image

      Mensah Bonsu 5 years ago

      I have been suffering from the same illness for 3yrs been to hospitals taken sort of drugs ,kind of blood text,ENT specialist,x-ray but of no solution.Just last month i visited a herbal shop and i was told throat mucus.Being in this problem for three years is it going to cause damages cause i can feel heat in my body, burns in my chest,my heart pants and feel weak.

      Mensah Bonsu

      Thank You

    • profile image

      Puppy luv 5 years ago

      Thanks I have been sick for past 2 days with fever, bad sore throat, and coughing. These symptoms seem to be gone, but I woke up with excessive mucus. I will definitely try these tips.

    • profile image

      Lucho 6 years ago

      Interesting article. I also have the same problem. Its my second or third year and nothing helps. Took medicine for allergies, saw an ENT and they sent me a test for allergies, had a Scan in my sinuses done and finally was told to live with it. The only thing that helps a little is mucinex. I was also told to try nasal irrigation but I only did it a few times. I just bought an air purifier and see if it helps.

      It is really bothersome.

    • profile image

      ashiali 6 years ago

      I m really grateful to u for this info steve. My daughter is suffering from this prob. It will help me . Thanks a lot

    • profile image

      paw9 6 years ago


      I have suffered from mucus dropping onto my vocal chords for 12 months now all day every day. It started with a severe cold contracted as I returned from Europe. My partner caught the same bug and we BOTH have the mucus problem 12 months later. This affects my day to day life but has completely destroyed my other job as a singer.

      I am otherwise healthy - don't eat meat, very little alcohol, almost no dairy, very little wheat. The problem appears to be unrelated to my diet although sometimes appears worse after food but no particular type. I have tried many natural remedies and some pretty nasty drugs (steroids, antihistamines, reflux drugs, antibiotics and more), have seen many specialists including 2 ENT surgeons. No-one has any idea what is wrong - you would think that an ENT specialist would know everything there is to know about the throat but there appears to be little interest in why this is happening. I have had blood tests and mucus/sputum tests - all good. CT scan of sinuses shows no problems - in fact my head is very clean - no congestion, no 'allergy' type symptoms. Lungs are also clean and clear. The only issue is that mucus drips constantly from somewhere behind my nasal cavity and sticks to my vocal chords 24/7 - it is clear and stringy and takes some hacking away. I live in a healthy environment and drink regular herb teas + ginger, lemon, tumeric, fenugreek. If anyone has any suggestions they would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • profile image

      D. 6 years ago

      Frank, is it your home or work environment that's the cause? Have you tried getting an air purifier?

    • profile image

      Frank 6 years ago

      None of this works. It's so distressing, tried every medicine, had every test, tried the food, eat healthy, drink lots. Doctors are no help. Tried experimenting by spraying things in the nose, burned the heck out the lining and caused bleeding. Anesthetic spray gives some relief by hiding the dripping / choking sensation. But it causes bleeding. I would be fine with the mucus if I couldn't feel it.

    • profile image

      LARI G 6 years ago


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      KBEE 7 years ago

      Thanks so much! Honey and ginger worked really well :)

    • profile image

      karen 7 years ago

      thanks... in my household we have been having this problem lately...

    • profile image

      Ileana E Simba 8 years ago

      I have mucus in my throat for the past three years .Can I use goat milk instead or soya milk? Thank you very much Ileana

    • profile image

      diane 8 years ago

      great I will try it

    • profile image

      Arvin 8 years ago

      okay il try

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      I haven't been eating lead lately, so it must be the milk :-) Informative article again! Maybe you could talk about the different kinds of milk out there, such as raw milk and goat's milk. Thanks for the hub.

    • C.S.Alexis profile image

      C.S.Alexis 8 years ago from NW Indiana

      With allergy season on us this is great info to know because of the increase in throat irritants in the environment. Thumbs up.

    • Hawkesdream profile image

      Hawkesdream 8 years ago from Cornwall

      Ginger powder and honey, I have that. great tips Steve.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 8 years ago from Indonesia

      thanks Steve for those practical tips.

    • aabasha profile image

      basha 8 years ago from kochi

      Thanks Steve. Quite informative.



    • Steve Orris profile image

      Steve Orris 8 years ago from NE Ohio

      Great info that I can use today. Thanks.

    • profile image

      casi 8 years ago

      Great hub!