Best 8 Expectorant Herbs You Should Know

best Expectorant herbs

Cough or congestion is a common health condition that everyone experiences at some point in life. Though usually not serious, occasional cough or congestion is often disruptive. They are mostly cured with home remedies such as expectorant herbs. But what are they? Let’s explore together.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best expectorant herbs along with possible side effects and necessary precautions. But before we get into how expectorant herbs can help with respiratory wellness, it’s worth knowing the basics of expectorants a little bit more. So, let’s get started.

What is an expectorant herb?

An expectorant herb is an herb that contains plant chemicals that help thin or loosen phlegm or mucus and support clearing the respiratory tract or airways. These herbs add hydration to the mucus or phlegm, making it less sticky and easier to clear up.

How expectorants work

Clearing up mucus or phlegm is important because this is the body’s own way of removing foreign bodies, microorganisms, and excess mucus from the respiratory system or airways. Expectorants are substances that add moisture to the phlegm and help stop building up in the respiratory system. So, eventually, expectorant herbs can help give more sustained relief.

Expectorant herbs are also used as supplementary therapy along with other prescription medications to help recover from mucus formation or coughing. They are considered naturally occurring cough remedies.

Best expectorant herbs

There are several expectorant herbs grown naturally and available in the market as over-the-counter (OTC) cough remedies. Let’s take a look at some of the best expectorant herbs and how they can help human health:


Licorice is a perennial medicinal herb of the pea family endemic to some parts of Asia and Europe. It is scientifically known as Glycyrrhiza glabra. It contains phytochemicals that can help thin mucus formations and soothe the throats.


Peppermint is a medicinal herb botanically known as Mentha piperita. It is often used in the prevention and management of cough. It contains a plant ingredient known as menthol. Menthol may help thin phlegm and loosen mucus, making them easier to clear up.


Ginger is obtained from the rhizomes of the ginger plant which is botanically known as Zingiber officinale. It is widely used in flavoring cooking and as medicine. Ginger acts as an expectorant and helps relieve congestion. It has many other medicinal uses as well.


Eucalyptus is a medicinal herb botanically known as Eucalyptus teriticornis and is native to Australia. It helps loosen mucus and ease congestion. This is the reason why eucalyptus is widely used in cough lozenges, vaporizers, and inhalants.


Turmeric is obtained from the turmeric plant botanically known as Curcuma longa. It is well-known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunomodulating properties. It is also famous as a bronchodilator and natural expectorant. Turmeric is often used with raw honey and other pungent spices and herbs to ease congestion and prevent mucus buildup in the respiratory system.

Fennel seed

Fennel is a perennial herb scientifically known as Foeniculum vulgare that belongs to the carrot family known as Apiaceae. The seeds of the plant have many medicinal uses, especially as a digestive support and expectorant. It helps promote ciliary motility, a bodily function required for normal clearance of fluid from the airways.

Long pepper

Long pepper is a flowering vine botanically known as Piper longum. The fruit of the plant is usually dried and used as a spice or medicine. Long pepper is widely used in Indian traditional medicine known as Ayurveda. In fact, it’s a part of the famous Ayurvedic detoxification formula called Trikatu. The natural spiciness of long pepper helps increase the secretion of mucus from the throat and nose.

Here you can see our pure natural Long Pepper Tincture

Holy basil

Holy basil is a flowering plant that belongs to the mint family Lamiaceae. Its scientific name is Ocimum tenuiflorum. In Indian traditional medicine Ayurveda, holy basil is famous as Tulsi or Tulasi. It can act as an expectorant and may help thin mucus.

How to use expectorant herbs

Expectorant herbs can be used in many different ways. They can be consumed as teas or water decoction as well as can be inhaled as a steam inhalation. Most of them are also available as tinctures which can be used with water or favorite juices. Follow the instructions written on the label of the products or you can consider asking a certified natural healthcare provider prior to using them to determine your method of use and dosage.

Side effects and precautions

Expectorant herbs are generally safe and well-tolerable for most people. However, some people may experience side effects such as digestive system upsets, nausea, and heartburn. Besides, some herbs may interact with prescription medications as well. Therefore, it’s best to consult with a certified natural healthcare provider prior to using them.

Final words

Expectorant herbs help loosen the phlegm or mucus, making it less sticky and easier to clear up from the respiratory tract or airways. These effects help ease congestion and provide more sustained relief. Consider working with a certified natural healthcare provider prior to using them to avoid any adverse effects.


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