Mucus is an essential part of many bodily functions, though excessive production of it can become a nuisance. For some people, taking a medication, such as an expectorant, will help get rid of excess mucus. In other cases a dietary change can help, while yet others may benefit from an herbal or natural solution. In order for one of these remedies to get rid of your excess mucus, you must first determine why your body is making too much of it in the first place. While mucus production can be the result of something as simple as an allergy, it may be something as serious as cystic fibrosis, and sometimes only a medical professional will be qualified to determine the cause.
Mucus membranes produce mucus for a variety of reasons. In the esophagus, mucus is meant to protect the cell lining from food that passes through on the way to the stomach. Mucus also plays a role there, where it protects the lining of the stomach from the powerful acids that are used to digest food. The respiratory system also uses mucus to capture foreign materials within the lungs, and even tears are a component of nasal mucus.
Some of the most common sources of excess mucus are the sinus and the respiratory system. Too much mucus in the sinuses can result in a runny nose, while too much mucus in the lungs can lead to a feeling of heaviness when breathing. Symptoms like these are often indicative of a larger problem, and if the mucus is not clear, it may indicate an infection. Expectorants can often help clear the mucus, but if it is green or yellow in color there may be a secondary infection. Medical care is typically recommended in such cases, since it is possible a serious condition like pneumonia may have set in.
If the mucus is clear and simply an annoyance, it may be possible to take supplements such as vitamin C and vitamin E to curtail mucus production. Various herbal remedies, like echinacea, along with plenty of water may also help symptoms of excess mucus.
Sometimes, excess mucus might be caused by a person's diet. Some people have experienced a build-up of mucus when consuming food or drink, such as milk, though scientific studies suggest there may be no connection between the two. It may still be useful for some people to track consumption of things like MSG and other food additives though, to determine if there is any correlation.