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In a state of physiological equilibrium, mucus produced within the lungs helps protect the respiratory system by capturing and excreting many foreign particles that enter the nose or mouth with each inspiration. In response to inhalation of particles or allergens, mucus secretion increases.

Believe it or not, its color and consistency gives information necessary to provide the most suitable treatment; for example:

  • Clear and liquid: inflammation without infection, gastric reflux or infection such as cold, sinus or flu.
  • Yellow: regular infection. This usually is the most common infection.
  • Green: more purulent infection
  • Blue: Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection
  • Reddish: Presence of blood

As you can see each case would be different.

From a Chinese Medicine perspective, the presence of mucus might be related to several causes too giving a more deeper root of the problem:

  • Deficiency of your Spleen due to a medium-long term overloaded digestion: with diary, flour (especially those with gluten) and its derivatives (white bread, white pasta, pastries, etc.). This is something very common when having heavy cheesy meals at night before going to bed.
  • Fried foods, which creates a sticky dampness in the body hard to be removed. I will go more into details later.
  • Raw foods (because they are raw, they cost more to digest).
  • Weather: as more different is the external weather to your body temperature, higher chances to get sick.

A diet rich in fatty or dairy foods builds moisture. If this humidity becomes chronic, it ends up producing mucus. Internal heat from whatever origin and location dries up body fluids and produces mucus-heat (mucus will be thick and yellow/greenish).

Also a retention of food (typical in Christmas dinners) can block the circulation of organic liquids and these, by condensation, can consolidate into mucus too.

Those with kidney problems implies that liquids are not metabolized and mucus is generated.

I always recommend first to remove dairy and refined flour-based foods from your diet. Don’t worry about calcium, it is present in all foods and, above all, those that come from the sea (algae, fish), as well as in seeds and nuts.

Anyway each person is different and needs to be assessed. Therefore, please don’t be surprised if you come with a cold to my clinic and I ask you about how your mucus looks like 😀

Photo by Justin Lauria.

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