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Natural Ways to Clear Lungs of Pneumonia : Steam Therapy, Controlled Coughing, Postural Drainage, and More

What is Pneumonia?

Infection of the lungs caused by any organism is known as pneumonia. Pneumonia is characterized by inflammation of the air sacs present in the lungs and accumulation of pus and fluid in them causes problems with breathing.(1) Symptoms of pneumonia are cough, chills, fever and difficulty in breathing.(1)

Pneumonia treatment depends on the cause of pneumonia and other factors, such as age and overall health and it consists of medications and hospitalization in severe cases.

One doesn’t always have to rely on medications to clear your lungs of the pneumonia infection, as there are other ways, such as lifestyle changes and breathing exercises, which help in clearing the lungs by removing the buildup of mucus and helps with the symptoms of pneumonia, especially in breathing.

Natural Ways to Clear Lungs of Pneumonia

Steam Therapy to Clear Pneumonia from the Lungs

Steam inhalation or steam therapy where one inhales water vapor, which enables opening of the lung airways to thin the mucus so it can be expelled easily.(2) For people living in dry climate, steam adds moisture and warmth to the air and helps in thinning the mucus and helping with the breathing problems associated with pneumonia. Steam inhalation can also help with sore throat and is beneficial after being exposed to the toxins and pollution from the atmosphere.

Controlled Coughing to Help Clear Lungs from Pneumonia

Coughing is not bad as people think it is. Actually it is the body’s natural way of expelling the mucus and toxins it contains.(3, 4) Controlled coughing helps in loosening the mucus accumulated in the lungs and pushing it through the airways and providing much needed relief to the patient suffering from pneumonia.(5)

This Exercise Helps in Clearing the Lungs from Pneumonia (5)

First sit down on a chair and keep your shoulders relaxed with both the feet flat on the ground. Next fold your arms over the abdomen and inhale slowly through the nose. After this, slowly exhale as you lean forward while pressing the arms into your abdomen. While exhaling, cough two or three times while keeping the mouth open slightly. Rest and repeat if needed.

Postural Drainage for Removing Mucus From the Lungs

Postural drainage is where you use gravity for clearing the mucus from the lungs by lying in different positions.(6) Doing this helps with the breathing and treating or preventing lung infections. The techniques of postural drainage depend on the position and include:

On the Back: Lie down on the bed or the floor and keep pillows beneath your hips so that the chest is placed lower than the hips. Now slowly inhale via nose and exhale through the mouth. It is important to ensure that every exhale should be twice as long as the inhale. This is known as 1:2 breathing. Repeat this for some minutes.

On Your Stomach: Keep some pillows on the floor and lie down such that your abdomen is placed over the pillows. The hips should be above the chest. Now fold your arms beneath your head and practice the 1:2 breathing for some minutes.

On Your Side: Lie down on one side with your head on pillow or an arm. Again keep the pillows under the hips and practice the 1:2 breathing pattern for few minutes. Repeat the same on the other side.

Green Tea Is Beneficial In Clearing Lungs from Pneumonia

Green tea has various antioxidants, which help in decreasing the lung inflammation and can also help in protecting the lung tissue from the side effects of smoke inhalation. A study done in 2018 in Korea showed that individuals who drank a minimum of two cups of green tea in a day had improved lung function when compared to those who did not drink green tea at all.(7)

Chest Percussion for Removing the Excess Mucus from the Lungs in Pneumonia

Percussion is another good technique to remove the excess mucus collected in the lungs.(6, 8) This can be done by a respiratory therapist or a healthcare professional where they will use their cupped hand to tap rhythmically on the chest wall, so the trapped mucus gets dislodged.

Combining postural drainage with chest percussion is more beneficial in removing the excess mucus from the airways.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Clear Lungs from Pneumonia

When the airways are inflamed, then it becomes difficult to breathe and causes the chest to feel congested and heavy. Consumption of anti-inflammatory foods helps in relieving the inflammation and its symptoms. Some of the beneficial anti-inflammatory foods are: leafy greens, turmeric, blueberries, cherries, walnuts, olives, lentils and beans.

Avoiding Pollutants As Prevention Is Better Than Cure

As mentioned before, there is no specific treatment available for clearing the lungs. That’s why it is recommended to prevent the problem itself by avoiding potential pollutants and this can be done by changing the diet; avoiding exposure to second hand smoke and quitting smoking and also engaging in regular exercise to improve lung health, as well as overall health.


Toxins, air pollution or cigarette smoke when enter the lungs tend to affect the entire body. As time goes by, these toxins gradually accumulate within the mucus in the lungs. Removal of the mucus from the airways and lungs ensures good respiratory health.

Individuals with damaged lungs will have to try harder to clear the mucus from their lungs. Certain chronic conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, asthma and COPD cause the production of excess mucus or thick mucus which then leads to obstruction in the lungs.

To help clear such mucus from the lungs, it is important to do lung cleansing techniques, such as chest percussion, postural drainage and breathing exercises. Steam therapy is also beneficial; however, it provides temporary relief to patients who experience chronic respiratory conditions and congestion.

Consumption of a healthy diet, consistent exercise and drinking green tea helps in improving the health of the lungs and in cutting down the risk of development of other health conditions as well.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 10, 2023

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