Phlegm and mucus in the throat may be an acute or chronic condition commonly seen in an acupuncture and herbal medicine clinic. Phlegm and mucus are seen as a damp toxic product, commonly caused by eating wrong foods, worry, rushed eating and overthinking.
In a Chinese medicine clinic, phlegm and mucus in the throat are treated with acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietary advise and lifestyle changes to change your internal energy system to eliminate phlegm and mucus in throat. Below are a list of commonly prescribed foods that should be focused on to to reduce phlegm and mucus in throat.
For the best results, always consult your Chinese medicine practitioner for a Chinese medicine diagnosis. When a Chinese medicine practitioner observes your tongue and feels your pulse, the root cause of your condition may be uncovered and therefore more specific foods, herbs and acupuncture given for faster results.
Foods to eliminate phlegm and mucus from your throat
Peanuts: sweet neutral nature and goes to the lung and spleen energy channel (meridian). Nourishes the spleen and dissolves phlegm and mucus in throat. Fresh peanuts are best. Avoid if diarrhea or loose bowels.
Pumpkin: Sweet warm nature which goes to the spleen and stomach qi channels (meridians). Increases digestive energy, dissolves phlegm and mucus in throat, reduces pus and worms. Boil pumpkin with beef for dissolving phlegm and increasing energy (qi). Avoid if yellow phlegm or stuffiness through the chest.
Onion: pungent, bitter flavour, warm nature that goes to the lung, stomach and large intestine channels. Stimulates yang energy, disolves hard lumps and treats mucus in throat if from yang energy not circulating properly. To reduce phlegm and mucus in throat take raw onion juice. Avoid if you have signs of heat, yellow/green mucus, fever or insomnia problems.
Turnips: acrid, sweet and cool in nature, goes to the stomach and lung channels. Clears heat, dissolves phlegm, promotes urination, strengthens the digestion and sends qi downwards. To reduce phlegm and mucus in throat take turnip juice raw with ginger juice. Avoid if bloating and loose bowels.
Bamboo Shoots: Sweet and slightly bitter, cold in nature and goes to the lung, stomach and large intestine channels. Bamboo shoots clear yellow phlegm and mucus in throat and chest. Take cooked bamboo with ginger and vinegar. Avoid if loose bowels.
Agar (algae of Gelidium amansii): sweet, salty and cold nature goes to the lung and large intestine channel. Moistens dryness, dissolves phlegm and mucus in throat, moves bowels. To reduce yellow sticky phlegm and mucus in throat, combine agar and turnips into a salad. Avoid if loose bowels.
Pear: sweet and slightly salt flavour, cool nature and goes to the lung and stomach channels. Clears heat, dissolves yellow/ green phlegm and mucus in throat, moistens the lungs. To reduce phlegm and mucus in throat, combine juice of pear, ginger and add honey. Pear juice from your local health food shop can also be used.
Kumquat: pungent, sweet and sour flavour with a warm nature that goes to the lung, stomach and liver channels. Kumquat dissolves white and clear phlegm and mucus in throat as well as relieving cough. To reduce cough, white/ clear phlegm and mucus in throat, boil kumquat and ginger and drink tea. If phlegm and mucus in throat is yellow, combine kumquat and turnip juice.
Grapefruit: sweet and sour cold nature that goes to the stomach and lung channels. Dissolves phlegm and mucus in throat, reduces cough, eases thirst, restores appetite. To decrease phlegm and mucus in throat with cough, cut grapefruit, remove seeds, soak in rice wine overnight and boil the following day till soft, add honey and sip throughout the day.
Pineapple: sweet, slightly sour and slightly cold nature and goes to the stomach and bladder. Not traditionally used for phlegm and mucus in throat however the enzyme bromelain is known to reduce phlegm and mucus in throat. To reduce phlegm and mucus in throat, sip on pineapple juice throughout the day.
Common herbs to eliminate phlegm and mucus in throat
Ginger: pungent, slightly warm and goes to the lungs, spleen and stomach channels. Reduces coughing and white phlegm and mucus in throat, reduces nausea and vomiting and induces sweating. To reduce white phlegm and mucus in throat take cooked kumquat and ginger juice. Avoid if yellow/ green phlegm, heat and fever in the body.
Foods to avoid when there’s phlegm and mucus in throat
Dairy: milk, cream, cheese, butter are all considered cold and damp in nature which weakens the spleen energy to produce phlegm and mucus in throat.
Bananas: cold and damp in nature, bananas are known in Chinese medicine to produce dampness, phlegm and mucus in throat.
Wheat: considered damp in nature are known to create phlegm and mucus in throat conditions.
Soy: soy bean products were traditionally used in China in very small quantities. Unfortunately when people switch from dairy to soy products they consume soy in huge quantities. Soy bean products such as soy milk and tofu are considered cold damp in nature and can produce just as much phlegm and mucus in throat as dairy. To reduce phlegm and mucus in the throat cut out soy based products.
Additional tips to reduce phlegm and mucus from your throat
Inhale Steam: inhaling steam over a tub of boiling water can certainly loosen phlegm and mucus from the sinuses and throat. You can also add eucalyptus oil to the water to open the airways.
Limit exposure to smoke and pollutants: smoke and pollutants can stimulate your immune system to create phlegm and mucus in throat.
Deep Diaphragmatic Breathing: deep breathing activates the immune and lymphatic system to remove toxins, phlegm and mucus from your body. By practicing the yogic complete breath, breathe first into your abdomen, then middle chest and then upper chest, hold the breath for 6 counts and breath out for the count of 12. Practice 10 deep complete breaths 3 times per day and watch your general wellbeing improve rapidly. For a fantastic yogic breathing manual written in 1903, download the pdf of “The Science of Breath”.
Get your teeth checked out. Many chronic sinus infections are caused by dental problems. Get your teeth and sinus cavities checked out by your medical doctor and dentist.
Go surfing: surfing and swimming in salt water is one of the best ways to clear your sinuses and reduce phlegm and mucus from throat.
For effective treatment to eliminate phlegm and mucus from your throat, always consult your medical doctor and local acupuncturist and herbalist for specialised treatment
Dr Paul CarterDr Paul Carter is a registered acupuncturist and herbalist in Melbourne Australia who’s been in the natural medicine industry over 15 years. Paul has helped thousands of people to increase energy, calm the mind and optimise their health. You can find out more about Dr Paul Carter on his website or visit his Facebook page.