Herbal Tea For Congestion

Feeling chest congestion and tightness in your lungs can be one of the most frustrating and uncomfortable parts of dealing with seasonal illness, allergies, or pollution. Congestion often makes us feel as though we can’t breathe as fully as we should, and that we have to put out a lot of extra energy just to breathe properly. The good news is that there are a handful of amazing herbal tea for congestion options that can help loosen the chest and lungs, remove excess mucous, relax the muscles in your chest, and get you breathing free once again.

What’s Happening In There?

There are many reasons why we can feel congestion during a seasonal illness or allergy flare up. Usually, chest congestion happens when excess mucous builds up to help cleanse and protect the lungs. We need this mucous to trap the bad stuff and help the lungs expel it from the body, but when it builds up too fast, we can feel bogged down. Mucous is often heavy, so drinking lots of water and herbal tea can help loosen it.

Inflammation is another cause of chest congestion. If our lungs are irritated by pollution, allergens in the air, or cold symptoms, they can become inflamed. This inflammation can feel really constricting and be extremely uncomfortable.

If you are concerned that your chest congestion may be more serious than a common cold or irritation due to allergens, or if it persists, see your doctor immediately.

Herbs For Congestion

All of these herbs have a long history of being used to help soothe, clear, and cleanse the lungs. Check out a recipe I love using at the bottom of the list.



Thyme is a perennial favorite for all things congestion because it acts as a gentle bronchial dilator and has some pretty impressive antiseptic, antiviral, antimicrobial, antibiotic, and antifungal properties. Thyme herbal tea helps open up the breathing passages while joining your body in fighting off anything that may be causing problems. Adding thyme to your favorite comforting or calming tea is a great tonic for dealing with a cold!

Get organic Thyme here.



One of my favorites! You can sip peppermint herbal tea while taking time to inhale the steam to get the best benefits. The menthol in peppermint helps clear the nose and chest of congestion while giving you some calm energy at the same time. A really blessing when illness has you feeling stuck and tired!

The Peppermint I use in tea blends can be found here.



Plantain gets to work fast ridding the lungs of excess phlegm while calming the respiratory system and helping your body build a healthy new lining of protective and soothing mucous. If coughing is behind your congestion, plantain can soothe and heal which makes is a must-have for the cold season!

Find my favorite organic Plantain Leaf here.



Cleanse your respiratory system from top to bottom with this amazing herbal blessing! Hyssop can help remove phlegm that feels stuck in the chest, it can cleanse the mucous lining of the lungs, and it aids in healthy expectoration and overall lung health. This is a must-add to any congestion tea blend!

Get organic Hyssop here.


Mullein Leaf

If your lungs feel congested, dry, stuck, and stressed, Mullein may be the perfect herb for you. This lovely leaf has demulcent properties which means it can soothe the delicate linings of the lungs while also helping them expel whatever shouldn’t be there.

I love Mullein Lead! My favorite variety for herbal tea can be found here.


Elecampane Root

If your congestion feels wet, heavy, or damp, Elecampane root is a great herb to look into. It helps dry out the lungs while allowing easy expectoration.

Get vibrant, organic Elecampane Root here.


Yerba Santa

Another one of my favorite herbs for congestion, Yerba Santa helps clear out the lungs when they’re bogged down and damp.

Pick up beautiful Yerba Santa here.


Marshmallow Root

This great-tasting root is a wonderful addition to any herbal tea for congestion. It adds a slippery quality (demulcent) that aids the lungs in purging built up phlegm and mucous.

Get my favorite Marshmallow Root for use in herbal tea here.


Licorice Root

Licorice Root is both demulcent and expectorant – this means that it soothes and coats the respiratory system while helping the lungs expel stuck mucous and phlegm. It also tastes wonderful, so it can be a great addition to decongestant herbal tea recipes to make them taste better.

Get the sweetest Licorice Root here.

Decongestant Herbal Tea Recipe

This simple herbal tea for congestion can be made in your kitchen using just a few common medicinal herbs. I like to make a big jar of it and keep it stored away for whenever it’s needed.

When creating a blend, a part can be anything you choose. If you’re making a big batch, you may want a part to be 1/2 cup. A smaller batch might have a part be just a Tablespoon. If the recipe calls for 5 parts, you’d add 5 Tablespoons or whatever measurement you choose.


Herbal Tea For Congestion Recipe

5 parts Mullein Leaf

1 part Thyme

1 part Peppermint

1 part Elecampane Root

1 part Licorice Root (optional)

Special variations

For wet, cold, damp congestion, add 1 part Elecampane Root

For dry, irritated, hot-feeling congestion, add 1 part Marshmallow Root

Combine herbs. Steep 1 heaping Tablespoon in 8-10 ounces boiled water for 6 minutes.
Enjoy several times daily, not to exceed 2 weeks. If your congestion persists, seek the support of a healthcare professional.



Here’s to a season of easy, healthy breathing!

Josh Williams Herbalist