Yellow Phlegm: Common Causes and Natural Remedies

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

yellow phlegmLet’s be honest. We’ve all hacked or sneezed, and taken a quick look into the tissue to see a gross, yellow blob before tossing it into the garbage. But have you ever wondered why yellow mucus is colored yellow? It’s a little gross, but we’ve all wondered it at some point or another, so we’ve decided to get to the bottom of it.

We’ll explain what causes yellow phlegm, and what natural remedies you can use to help you break up that phlegm and get it out of your system a little bit quicker. This is your complete guide to yellow mucus.

Common Causes of Yellow Phlegm

Due to mucus being one of the body’s defense systems against viruses, infections, and bacteria, yellow phlegm can have a number of different causes.

Cold or Flu

Colds or flu are caused by over 200 different types of viruses which easily like to activate the body’s defense systems, like yellow phlegm. The mucus will attempt to get these viruses out of the body by being over-produced.


Much like colds, yellow mucus can form as a way for the body to attempt to get the allergens that are causing the sneezing and coughing, out of the body.

Sinus Infection

When the sinuses become blocked with mucus, the bacteria that can build up can turn the mucus from white to yellow or dark yellow.


Bronchitis is an infection of the throat that is usually brought on by a virus. That virus inflames the throat which means the body will produce more mucus to try and take care of the problem. The mucus will usually start off as white in color, but as the virus progresses, it will usually become yellow.


Pneumonia is an infection that can cause the lungs to fill up with liquid or pus. This can lead to coughing up the pus or dark yellow phlegm.


Asthma can inflame the respiratory system to the point where it may create excess yellow phlegm in order to try and deal with the infection.

Lung Cancer

Unfortunately, while rare, yellow and dark colored phlegm can be a sign of lung cancer. It can also cause blood to be infused in the mucus, giving it a pinkish tinge or color.

Now that we know the various causes of yellow mucus, how can you get rid of it? Are there natural ways to clear the yellow mucus from your system? Luckily, yes, there are a number of natural ways to combat yellow phlegm.

Natural Remedies to Treat Yellow Phlegm

Yellow phlegm tends to be thick and sticky, so when you are congested with it, you will do anything to try and get rid of it. At the very least, you will want to thin it so your body can start trying to get rid of the gunky mucus. Luckily, there are a number of natural remedies to help you dispose of yellow phlegm.


Using a hot shower or perhaps holding your head over a pot of steaming water, steam can help you out with your yellow phlegm problem. The hot steam can help liquefy the mucus, making it easier to pass through the system.

Nasal Irrigation

Nasal irrigation is where you use a water-based solution (usually a saline solution) to unclog your nose by using some method to squirt the solution up the nose. It works on a similar principal as steam. The warm solution will help liquefy the yellow phlegm, making it easier to dispose of.

Salt Water Gargle

Gargling with salt water can also help thin yellow mucus in your throat and mouth area. Mix half a teaspoon of salt with a cup of warm water, tilt your head back and gargle. Doing this a few times a day should help break some of the phlegm up.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice can help break up yellow phlegm due to its acidity. One of the better ways to use lemon juice is to combine two teaspoons of lemon juice with a cup of warm water.

Warm Liquids

Warm liquids on a whole can help if you are suffering from yellow mucus, as the warmth will help break up the phlegm.

Spicy Food

If you are the type of person who likes spicy food, you are in luck, as spicy food can help with yellow mucus. Basically, spicy food can help loosen up the lungs and melt the phlegm. Think of how your body reacts when you have a good spicy curry, it can trigger coughing and a runny nose. This reaction can help expel the yellow mucus from the body.

Along with these remedies, there are also a few things that you should consider while you are clogged with yellow mucus. Dairy products, for example, can actually help thicken mucus. Smoking should also be avoided, as it can irritate the throat and nasal systems, causing the body to create even more mucus.

Yellow Phlegm Is Gross but Can Be Dealt With

Mucus is gross—we can all pretty much agree on that. But mucus does serve a function as it’s part of our body’s way of defending itself from viral invaders. It’s when the body produces too much mucus in the morning that becomes a problem. Hopefully, the knowledge and tips provided above will be of help the next time you wake up coughing up yellow phlegm in morning.


White Mucus: The Causes and Effective Treatments

Brown Mucus: Common Causes, Treatment, and Home Remedies

Emphysema: 6 Effective Homeopathic Remedies to Try

“Yellow Mucus: Causes Symptoms & Relief,” My Sinus Story;
Watson, S., “The Truth About Mucus,” WebMD, April 10, 2014;
“What causes bright yellow mucus?” Reference;
“Home Remedies for Phlegm,” Top 10 Remedies;
“Coughing Up Yellow Mucus: Causes and Remedies,” New Health Advisor;