Home Remedies: Chest Congestion

With all of the creepy crud going around, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite tips for helping a cold stay out of the chest and break up congestion.

There is nothing more alarming than one of your kids with junk in their chest making it difficult for them to breath. (Please don’t take this as advice to try at home if your child is labored in their breathing, call your doctor or head to the ER) These are something that have helped us PREVENT trips to the doctor.

Home Remedies: Chest Congestion

Home Remedies: Chest Congestion

1.) Onion Poultices. Onions have been used for centuries as a common treatment for colds. A natural expectorant, onions used in a poultice or as a syrup are wonderful for helping break up congestion that has settled in the chest. I follow the instructions used in the link.

2.) Steam bathes/showers. After we have sat with an onion poultice on the chest, we pop over to a nice steam bath. Get the bathroom nice and warm and steam it up. Stuff a towel under the door so the steam stays in.

During the steam bath/shower, I like to use lavender oil in the bath and eucalyptus oil on a rag hanging over the drain. (I find eucalyptus to be too ‘hot’ for in the water so having it on the rag allows your child to breath it in while in the steam)

3.) After the bath shower, we like to use X-Ceptic tincture applied to the chest and back. I dilute it down in a bit of olive oil. X-Ceptic tincture contains oak bark, golden seal root, garlic, comfrey, myrrh and capsicum. This can help kill infection that may be present in the lungs.

4.) Apply essential oils on the feet. OnGuard from doTerra or natural vapor rubs are a great choice. Winter Breeze from Beeyoutiful is also a good option if you don’t make your own.

Home Remedies: Chest Congestion

5.) TriLight tinctures have quickly replaced many things I’ve been using over the years. ASMA, Glow, Scout Out, Flew Away and Lungs Plus are all ones that I like to have one hand. They each have a purpose for different illnesses and as the illness pans out.

6.) Diffuse eucalyptus oil while the little ones are sleeping. If you don’t have a diffuser, you can put some oil on a rag and hang it near their bed. This helps keep the lungs open while they are sleeping.

Something to be mindful of when trying to break up chest congestion is to do it slowly. Small children have difficulty getting the mucus up and out once it is breaking up. Watch them and be mindful. You don’t want them to choke.

It is important to give the body rest, fluids and nourishment during times of illness. When those things are neglected, sickness can rear it’s ugly head. The list above are just my go to’s for helping keep the lungs open if you think mucus is trying to settle in.

What are your favorite remedies for helping keep a cold out of the chest? 

This post is linked at Grassfed Mama’s Simply Saturdays.

*For the record, my thoughts and advice are only my experiences or what others have allowed me to share. We don’t claim to diagnose, treat or cure.*


  1. says

    This is a great list. Thank you. I’m going to keep this handy for the next time someone in the family has chest congestion. I use a homemade vapor rub, but I’m always in need of other ideas.

    • says

      Yes, homemade vapor rub is great. I just get lazy and end up using essential oils with a carrier oil. I need to make the vapor rub BEFORE we get sick! 😉

  2. says

    This is a great list! Thanks for putting it together. We do a lot of what you mentioned here. I’ve never heard of the X-Ceptic tincture before though so I’m definitely going to have to look into that. Sounds awesome. Some other things I try to do, beyond what you’ve mentioned, is to do a good amount of back percussion (semi-forceful pats to the back) because this helps to break up and loosen mucous in the lungs so they can cough it up instead of letting it sit there and turn to pneumonia or something. I also use my cheapo steam vaporizer from WalMart every night to keep the mucous thin or to help keep the air moisturized. I also make homemade essential oil menthol pads to use in it to help as well since I don’t have an EO vaporizer/diffuser yet.

  3. says

    Great ideas! I’ve never done the onion one before. When our kids were sick this winter I used homemade chest rub with essential oils, the baths (and did the eucalyptus on a wash cloth like you do), diffused it at night, elderberry syrup, and extra cod liver oil. I’ll remember the others for next time.


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