Your body naturally produces mucus to lubricate and protect your respiratory system from inhaled debris, dust particles and bacteria. Cases of irritation, infection or disease may cause excessive sputum, which is matter, including mucus, that you expectorate, typically from your lower respiratory tract. Although reducing sputum production is associated with treating the underlying health condition, such as a cold, cystic fibrosis or allergies, for example, you may be able to use natural means to aid in its reduction. Nonetheless, always consult a physician for a diagnosis if you experience an increased amount of sputum.
Drink peppermint or mint tea if your excessive sputum results from a common cold or influenza virus. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the active menthol in these herbs helps loosen and break up phlegm and thin your mucus for more productive coughs.
Drink an abundance of fluids, which helps to thin the mucus in your throat and make coughing up sputum easier. Avoid sugary beverages, which can dry out your throat; opt for warm broth or water instead.
Avoid consuming foods that may increase mucus production, such as dairy products like milk, cheese and ice cream; wheat; soy; corn; bananas; sugar; and preservatives. The University of Maryland Medical Center warns that cystic fibrosis sufferers are particularly susceptible to the effects of these foods.
Increase your consumption of mucus-reducing foods, including garlic, mustard, lemon and the anti-inflammatory oils found in nuts, seeds and cold-water fish. This also may be effective for allergy sufferers and people with inflammation of the respiratory tract.
The color and consistency of your sputum can indicate an underlying health condition. Yellow, orange or green sputum typically indicates a bacterial infection. Asthmatics may have green sputum, but it may be free of infection. Red sputum usually indicates blood and possibly a severe health condition such as tuberculosis or cancer.
Too much sputum can impede respiration. If your symptoms worsen or your sputum significantly inhibits your ability to breathe, immediately seek medical attention.