What Does the Color of Phlegm Mean and How to Get Rid of It

Phlegm and mucus are disgusting, and they make it difficult to breathe. But what’s even more frustrating is that there often seems to be no way to get rid of them.

Phlegm and mucus are both a normal part of the body’s immune response. When too much phlegm and mucus accumulate in the chest and throat, it can be difficult to breathe and can cause a cough. There are several ways to get rid of phlegm and mucus, including using over-the-counter medications, drinking plenty of fluids, and using saline nasal sprays or irrigation. In some cases, it may also be necessary to see a doctor for additional help.

But before those OTCs and that doctor “thing”, one way to help with this annoying and discomforting situation, is to try some home remedies that will help you. By combining and consuming certain products, you can help yourself to get rid of this unpleasant situation.

The phlegm color spectrum

It is not always possible to determine the cause of a phlegmy cough or runny nose, but they are indicators that your health problem exists. Often is nothing serious but sometimes can be more serious than it appears.

The color of the phlegm itself is one of the best and most visible indicators of whether the situation is more serious than it should be or not.

Yellow/Green color

Green phlegm, which is pale yellow and green, is probably caused by an infection. However, the color itself can’t tell for sure what is the infection and what caused it.

If you are one of those who will immediately run to the doctor, they will ask you a series of questions about your symptoms and how long you have been sick. This information will help them to determine whether or not antibiotics are necessary. In some cases, they may also order additional tests, such as a blood test, to help make a more accurate diagnosis.

If your doctor does prescribe antibiotics, it is important that you take them exactly as directed and finish the entire course, even if you are feeling better. This helps to ensure that the infection is completely cleared and reduces the risk of developing antibiotic resistance.

White color

White phlegm or phlegm with a little color is caused by allergies, asthma, and very frequent – viral infections. It is difficult to describe. It all depends on the situation. If it’s connected with underlying inflammatory diseases like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), your condition may not be adequately handled and your chronic illness management may need to be enhanced.

If it’s caused by a viral upper respiratory infection, you should be able to wait it out. If you know that you have allergies, you may need to follow a more intensive allergy therapy, such as taking an antihistamine or a nasal steroid. Or best to visit an allergist.

Charcoal/gray color

In people who work in coal mines or industries, or who smoke heavily, we often notice black or sooty phlegm. If you work in a smoke-filled factory and don’t wear a mask, you’re breathing in all of the smoke and triggering an inflammatory response in your airways, resulting in phlegm. The irritants are combined with phlegm and ejected when you cough.

It’s the same thing with cigarette smoking: we occasionally encounter individuals who smoke more than two packs a day and have a productive cough. Because of smoking, many people have a little bit of gray or smoky color to their phlegm.

In this case, if there are any symptoms of an infection, you’ll have to use antibiotics accompanied by some steroids in order to put the inflammation down.

If you’re only exposed to hazards at work, as in a smoke-filled environment or construction, and don’t use masks properly, we’ll advise you to be more cautious by using the corresponding professional protection equipment.

Brown color

When the respiratory tract is severely inflamed, especially in those who have severe chronic lung disease, individuals might cough up a brown or tenacious-looking phlegm that isn’t as frequent as other colors.

In individuals with cystic fibrosis or bronchiectasis, which is a persistent lung illness, dark brown, tenacious phlegm can be seen. The color is brown due to blood circulation and the high degree of chronic inflammation that comes with the chronic disease state. Bacteria establish colonies in the lungs, which leads to tiny gradual changes in the consistency and hue of phlegm.

Pink, red or bloody color

If you’re coughing up red, or bloody phlegm, make an appointment with your doctor. It might be caused by an infection or cancer. If you’re a smoker and your cough is producing blood, you should be concerned. Before determining what is wrong with you, your doctor may conduct a more detailed health history and order an x-ray of your chest.

Get rid of phlegm with all-natural ingredients


Ginger is a well-known natural antihistamine. Also has antibacterial properties and is an awesome decongestant that is beneficial in treating chest and throat discomfort.

The issue comes down to whether you enjoy the flavor of ginger or not, and depending on that either eat three to four slices or drink two cups of this tea:

  • 1 to 2 inches of raw ginger
  • 1 tsp of organic honey
  • 1 tsp of black pepper (not grounded)
  • 2 cups of water

Directions: After the water starts boiling, add the ginger and the black pepper. Cover it and leave it for around 5 minutes. Next, pour it into a cup wait for a bit to cool down, and add the honey.


Curcumin, the active chemical in turmeric, has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and antibacterial properties. It is one of the best when it comes to respiratory problems as well. Needed:

  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 glass of warm water

Directions: Add the turmeric and salt to a cup of water and mix well. Gargle with it for several minutes before spitting it out. Repeat the procedure four times each day for the best results.

Honey + lemon

Lemons are high in vitamin C, which will help your immune system function better and reduce congestion. Honey, on the other hand, has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that can benefit your health. When combined, these two components will provide the needed help. Needed:

  • 1 tbsp of organic honey
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice

Directions: Mix the honey and the lemon juice in a glass and drink it. Do this three times per day.

Steaming with herbs

Steaming is a fantastic way to ease chest congestion by dissolving the congested mucus in your chest. Place half a teaspoon of thyme and rosemary in a pot of boiling water. Over the pot, drape a towel over the head, and gently breathe in the steam for 5 minutes or so. Do it two or three times per day.

Apple cider vinegar

It will rest the body’s pH and prevent excessive phlegm production. Gargle with a tbsp of it and a glass of water.

In the end, just to remind you that your body is performing its function when phlegm is being produced. It demonstrates that it is reacting to a type of assault, be it an infection or an allergy … – it is your body’s response to such assaults.

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