Expectorant Herbs : Loosen Chest Congestion



Expectorants help loosen congestion in the lungs by reducing the thickness of mucus, making coughing more productive and clearing the lungs. Expectorant herbs are very important in the treatment of coughs, congestion and bronchitis, to the extent that the term is sometimes incorrectly applied to any cough medicine.


Use the alphabetical list or the herb property list to find information on the healing properties and actions of medicinal plants.

  • Herb Properties
  • Herbs Alphabetical by Common Name

  • A_ B_ C_ D_ E_ F_ G_ H_ I_ J_ K_ L_ M_ N_ O_ P_ Q_ R_ S_ T_ U_ V_ W_ X_ Y_ Z_

    See List Herbs by Botanical Name

  • Angelica root Angelica root, Angelica archangelica : Choraka
    Biennial/Tender Perennial herb : Angelica is a good herb to add to treatments for colds, congestion, and fevers. Angelica root is warming and stimulating to the lungs, helping to ease chest congestion...
  • Anise Seed Anise Seed, Pimpinella anisum : Aniseed
    Annual : Sweet and very aromatic, anise is commonly used to break up congestion, ease coughing and relieve gas and indigestion....
  • Balsam Fir Balsam Fir, Abies balsamea (L.)Mill. : Christmas tree, North American fir
    Evergreen tree : As a popular Christmas tree the balsam fir is noted for its aromatic needles and pleasing shape. It is even more notable for its benefits and uses in home herbal medicine....
  • Benzoin Resin Benzoin Resin, Styrax benzoin : Friar's balsam
    tree : The dark, vanilla-like resin acts as an anchoring base note in aromatherapy blends, and is soothing and warming to the skin....
  • Beth Root Beth Root, Trillium erectum : Wake-robin
    : Beth root has been used in folklore traditions as a tonic for women and as a cough medicine. It is considered endangered and not currently used....
  • Black Cohosh root Black Cohosh root, Cimicifuga racemosa : Black snake root, Squaw Root, Bugbane
    Perennial Herb : Black cohosh contains numerous chemical constituents; among them isoflavones which mimic hormonal activity. Black cohosh cools hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause...
  • Bloodroot Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis L : red puccoon blood root, pauson
    Herbaceous Perennial : Bloodroot's name is derived from the color of the reddish roots which contain the phytochemical sanguinarine- The red juice from the root is used externally in pastes and salves to remove warts, skin tags, and some skin cancers....
  • Cajeput Oil Cajeput Oil, Melaleuca leucadendron, M. leucadendra : Weeping tea tree, weeping paperbark
    Tree : Cajeput essential oil has a sweet middle note and is very stimulating and warming with a penetrating, camphoraceous scent. Cajeput is a good inhalant oil for colds and sinus infections....
  • Camphor Camphor, Cinnamomum camphora :
    Evergreen Tree : When first applied camphor oil numbs and cools the peripheral nerve endings, then warms the painful area as it stimulates circulation to cold, stiff muscles and limbs....
  • Cedarwood, Atlas Cedarwood, Atlas, Cedrus atlantica : Atlas cedar
    Evergreen Tree : Cedarwood is known for use in problem skin, as an insect repellent and as an inhalant in respiratory complaints....
  • Colt's Foot Colt's Foot, Tussilago farfara : Coughwort
    Perennial herb : Since the days of ancient Greece and Rome, coltsfoot has been used to relieve asthma, coughs and bronchial congestion. It remains one of the most effective herbal cough medicines today...
  • Comfrey Leaf and root Comfrey Leaf and root, Symphytum officinale :
    Perennial Herb : Comfrey salves, ointments and teas are best known for the topical treatment of burns and just about any skin irritation....
  • Couch grass Couch grass, Agropyron repens : Twitch grass, witchgrass, dog's grass, scutch, quackgrass
    Perennial Grass : Couch grass it valued by herbalists for its mucilage rich rhizome....
  • Elecampane Elecampane, Inula helenium : Wild sunflower, Horseheal, Yellow Starwort
    Perennial composite plant : Elecampane has been used since the days of ancient Greece and Rome. Elecampane is known primarily as a respiratory tonic and is used to ease breathing....
  • Elm, Slippery Elm, Slippery, Ulmus fulva : Red Elm, Moose Elm, Indian Elm
    Deciduous Tree : In herbal medicine a slippery elm bark powder is considered one of the best possible poultices for wounds, boils, ulcers, burns and reducing pain and inflammation....
  • Eucalyptus Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus globulus : Eucalyptus
    tree : Eucalyptus is one of the best known cold and congestion remedies. Eucalyptus oil is also a good pain reliever for sore muscles and arthritis pain....
  • Fennel Seed Fennel Seed, Foeniculum vulgare : Sweet Fennel, Fenkel
    : Fennel seed is a good herbal remedy for coughs, helps in weight loss, and even tempers the effects of hormonal changes in menopause...
  • Garlic Garlic, Allium sativum : Poor Man's Treacle, Bawang, Bauang
    Monocot Perennial : Readily available and inexpensive garlic may be the first line of defense in treating high blood pressure, and dealing with common skin and fungal infections....
  • Honeysuckle Honeysuckle, Lonicera periclymenum : jin yin hua, lonicera
    Vine : The sweet smelling backyard shrub has surprising medicinal qualities. Honeysuckle is very soothing to the skin and the infused flower water was once used for nervous headache....
  • Horehound Horehound, Marrubium vulgare L. : White horehound, marrubio
    Perennial Herb : Horehound contains the bitter principal marrubiin ,a potent pain reliever and nervous system stimulant. This mint relative is a cough and cold remedy, and a bitter tonic ...
  • Horseradish root Horseradish root, Armoracia rusticana :
    perennial plant : Grated, fresh horseradish is pungent source of mustard oil, and is used in herbal kitchen medicine in much the same way as mustard. Horseradish may be one of the fastest ways to clear congested sinuses, and its antibiotic properties helps to h...
  • Hyssop Hyssop, Hyssopus officinalis :
    Woody perennial : An aromatic and medicinal herb, Hyssop is a good expectorant and antiviral commonly used to treat respiratory conditions such as influenza, sinus infections, colds and bronchitis ...
  • Kava-Kava Kava-Kava, Piper methysticum : Ava. Intoxicating Peper
    shrub : Kava kava can be used as a mild sedative for nervous tension and stress. The active constituents in the roots, kava lactones, have relaxing and intoxicating properties....
  • Lobelia Lobelia, Lobelia inflata : Indian-Tobacco. Pukeweed. Asthma Weed.
    Annual Herb : The name Indian Tobacco might have arisen either from the peculiar tobacco-like sensation imparted to the tongue and stomach on chewing the leaves...
  • Marjoram,Sweet Marjoram,Sweet, Origanum majorana :
    perennial herb : Sweet marjoram is a fragrant culinary herb and the sweet, herbaceous essential oil is used in aromatherapy for emotional uplift and soothing nerves...
  • Mullein Mullein, Verbascum spp. : Flannel Leaf, Mullein Dock, Aaron's Rod
    Biennial : The ancient reputation that mullein enjoyed in both in Europe and Asia of having the power to exorcise evil spirits may be attributed to the magic mullein oil can perform on a ear ache....
  • Myrrh Myrrh, Commiphora myrrha :
    tree : One of the three gifts of the Three Magi, Myrrh was used in religious rituals in ancient Egypt, Myrrh's antifungal, antiseptic and astringent help treatment of infections...
  • Peppermint Peppermint, Mentha piperita : Yerba Buena
    Perennial Herb : Peppermint has an antispasmodic effect that soothes stomachaches and relieves gas. Peppermint oil is cooling and analgesic, relieving heat and inflammation while it increases blood flow to the painful area....
  • Pleurisy Root Pleurisy Root, Asclepias tuberosa : Butterfly-weed. Swallow-wort, Tuber root, Wind root, Colic root, Orange Milkweed
    Perennial herb : Known popularly as pleurisy root, from its medicinal use against a wide range of respiratory and lung conditions, specifically pleurisy...
  • Red Root Red Root, Ceanothus americanus : New Jersey tea, Wild Snowball
    Shrub : Red root is an astringent, expectorant and antispasmodic and is used by modern herbalists in the treatment of complaints such as asthma, bronchitis and coughs....
  • Sandalwood Oil Sandalwood Oil, Santalum album :
    tree : Sandalwood oil is one of the few fragrances equally popular among men and women. Its uplifting scent is often used to treat depression....
  • Soapwort Soapwort, Saponaria officinalis : Bouncing Bet, Fuller's herb, Sweet William, Bruisewort, Old Maids Pink
    perennial plant, vespertine flower : The common name of this member of the carnation family indicates it's traditional uses in washing. The hormone-like saponins contained in the root produce a lather on contact with water. It has an ancient reputation used both internally and externally for...
  • Spearmint Spearmint, Mentha spicata : Spear mint
    : Spearmint has much the same properties as peppermint, but is milder and good for use with children's complaints. Spearmint tea will relieve hiccough, flatulence as well as indigestion. ...
  • Speedwell Speedwell, Veronica officinalis : common speedwell ,common gypsyweed, Fluellin, Paul's Betony Groundhele
    Perennial Herb : Speedwell can be used in herbal tea cough remedies as an expectorant, and also has diaphoretic, diuretic and tonic properties....
  • Spruce Oil Spruce Oil, Picea mariana :
    Evergreen Tree : Calming vapors break up congestion and improve breathing. Several species of evergreen conifer trees are used to produce spruce essential oils...
  • Thuja oil Thuja oil, Thuja occidentalis : Arborvitae, tree of life, white cedar, yellow cedar, American cedar
    evergreen coniferous tree : Thuja may be used in hot compresses and steam baths to ease rheumatism, arthritis, and achy muscles....
  • Thyme Thyme, Thymus vulgaris : Common Thyme, Wild Thyme
    Woody Perennial Herb : Thyme is one of the best herbs to use as a cough and cold remedy, addressing all your cold symptoms in a holistic way. Thyme acts to clear the lungs of congestion...
  • Wild Cherry Bark Wild Cherry Bark, Prunus serotina : Black Cherry, chokecherry
    Deciduous Tree : Wild Black cherry is a very effective herbal cough remedy. The main use of the bark is to still irritated, nagging coughs. ...
  • Wild Ginger Wild Ginger, Asarum canadense : Canadian snakeroot
    Herbaceous perennial : Wild ginger is a native American plant whose medicinal qualities were known to many Indian tribes....