20 Home Remedies for Shortness of Breath

20 Home Remedies for Shortness of Breath

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What is Shortness of Breath?

Also known in medical term as dyspnea, it is an extremely common problem which you might as well have complained multiple times[1][2]. Breathlessness can vary from mild, moderate to severe. Also occasionally, people might experience stress or anxiety which can worsen the condition. Luckily, we’ve got some great home remedies for shortness of breath that can provide you with quick relief. Before that, let’s find out what truly causes this breathing issue!

What causes Shortness of Breath?

In fact, it is completely normal to experience breathlessness when you go over your usual level of physical activities or when you climb up somewhere with high altitudes and lack of oxygen. In that case, you need to rest for a while then your breath will start to normalize.

However, there are health problems whose symptom is breathlessness such as chronic bronchitis, allergies, anemia, some diseases or infections of the respiratory system and heart diseases. Also, people with lung cancer will constantly experience this symptom[3][4].

Most periods of breathlessness are not severe, so it’s easy to apply some home remedies for shortness of breath. However, you will need to consult the doctor in case shortness of breath happens with no obvious trigger, while you are resting, causing trouble to your sleep at night as well as having such symptoms as chest pain, fever, wheezing and tightness at chest or throat.

Shortness of breath is a symptom of COPD

It was reported that more than 13 million of American people are diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and about 12 million folks who suffered it but don’t know about it. COPD is a term availed to depict the severe lung conditions, like chronic bronchitis or emphysema. If you smoke, this is indeed the largest risk element.

Since you hardly hear about this, COPD is said to be the third leading reason causing death in the U.S. In reality, it’s as popular as asthma or diabetes, according to the clinical professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical center.

More surprisingly, out of COPD symptoms, shortness of breath make its debut on the list together with a constant cough. This issue could become worse over time, and it’s facile to mistake them for other diseases.

Well, you probably consider the shortness of breath only as a warning sign that you’re out of shape. In fact, that chronic cough that hardly goes away might be marked as the allergies that can be cured with some OTC medicines. Keep in mind that these symptoms need to be solved soon before it reaches the point where you’re incapable of breathing.

If you have difficulty in walking up the stairs and feel short of breath as compared to other peers, or simply have a cough, consult a doctor right away for a reliable spirometry test that can help gauge the lung function.  

To find out whether they’re the symptoms of COPD or not, inquire yourself something like “how is my breathing like as compared to one year ago?” or “can I join the same activities like before?” and “Could I do what I like to do?”

Are you short of breath due to anxiety?

Besides, your anxiety is one of the most common reasons causing such breathing problems. These are also seen as a result of hyperventilation, which means over breathing. It often happens as your body has to get too much oxygen and tends to release a large amount of carbon dioxide.

Despite the fact that your body is in need of oxygen, carbon dioxide levels remain the most crucial. Once taking in too much of the air and producing a large amount of oxygen, it might trigger your body to feel like that you’re not capable of breathing. This can be caused by one of the following problems:

  • Breathe too quickly, like throughout your anxiety strike once your body has to be in a fight mode.
  • Think of your breathing, which probably makes you receive more air than you desire.

The second causes are more common in those who have health anxieties and panic attacks. These people are most concerned about their health so that they could begin controlling their breathing. Later on, they try hard to take in too much air just to feel their chest open up for a full breath. Their bodies at that time surely don’t need that much air, which triggers the shortness of breath to take place.

If you have dyspnea, it will be hard for you to perform your routine normally. It will take the toll on your daily life’s activities and even the life quality.

But it’s good to know that a few people might be able to look for an easy solution to their shortness of breath, and at least be guaranteed that it causes no harm. Now we’ve seen more and more annoying causes of dyspnea, so be prepared to alert your doctor or health expert about any hard breathing.

If he or she is incapable of getting any further explanation, and you’ve got none of such “warning signs”, then you can base on the possibility of the trigger points or weak breathing muscles, instead.

Do trigger points affect your breathing?

“Trigger points” in the muscles of our throat, chest, back, and neck could make it hard or even painful for us to move our ribs and open the chest. These probably interrupt with our nervous system’s adjustment of respiration.  

Home remedies for shortness of breath trigger points
Trigger points

These points are said to affect the respiratory muscles. They can occur in response to your bad breathing habits, like when you sip the breath into the upper chest so that the air can’t make it down to your diaphragm.

Also, if there’s any ominous issue in the area, such as your previous shoulder injury, then it’s sure to know that your shoulder would be the reason starting it all! It’s seen as the main source of all discomfort and muscular disorder in that area.

In this direct case, only curing the trigger points caused by your old injury would help solve that issue. And if you see no obvious reason behind that discomfort in the area, but then you seem out of shape while slumping into the chair all day long, then your respiratory disorder here will be the reason that starts it all.

Last but not least, your muscle trigger points feel a bit unpredictable and mysterious as it comes to what they are and how to cure them. Don’t worry too much since it’s fine to try out a little basic self-massage, or simply take a warm bath as well as do both.

The shortness of breath could be fixed effectively by digging all thumbs into your most aching muscles between the ribs. It’s seen as the most basic among so many home remedies for shortness of breath out there. Simply do like that repeatedly, and experienced how things are getting better yourself.

Other physical sensations with Shortness of breath  

Unluckily for several folks, the shortness of breath is often accompanied by some physical sensations, such as chest pain, pain with inspiration, anxiousness, lightheadedness, coughing, neck pain, and dizziness. These are supposed to be quite similar to the moment when something goes wrong with your health, so it sort of causes your shortness of breath worse. 

Top 20 home remedies for shortness of breath

Here are the top 20 most effective home remedies for shortness of breath which are easy for you to follow in order to control this condition as well as strengthen your health overall.

1. Diaphragmatic Breathing

The first and most recommended tip from the list of home remedies for shortness of breath is certainly diaphragmatic breathing. Also known as deep breathing or abdominal breathing, this technique is extremely helpful in case your breathlessness is occurred due to COPD[5][6][7].

Diaphragmatic Breathing - Home Remedies for Shortness of Breath
Diaphragmatic Breathing

How to do:

  • Lie yourself down on the back, take your hands and put on the abdomen while relaxing the muscles.
  • Inhale deeply through the nose, enlarge the abdomen and inflate the lungs with air.
  • Keep the breath for few seconds.
  • Exhale slowly by the mouth and deflate completely the lungs.
  • Perform for 5 – 10 minutes in 2 to 3 times per day.

2. Pursed-Lip Breathing

Another technique for breathing from the list of home remedies for shortness of breath is pursed-lip breathing[8][9]. It can efficiently decelerate the breathing pace which will normalize your breathing. Moreover, it can help you ease anxiety as well as stress. Read more at Home Remedies for Stress.

Pursed-Lip Breathing - Home Remedies for Shortness of Breath
Pursed-Lip Breathing

How to do:

  • Take a seat comfortably while relaxing the shoulder and neck’s muscles.
  • Press both your lips against each other tightly but leave the center of the lips loose.
  • Breathe in for few seconds by the nose.
  • Breathe out gently and slowly by the pursed lips and count to 4 in your head at the same time.
  • Perform the breathing in and out for 10 minutes more.

You can perform this technique anytime you are about to have breathlessness. It will be able to help you relieve in no time.

3. Black Coffee

This odd tip from the list of home remedies for shortness of breath can be significantly helpful. Caffeine is able to ease the fatigue of respiratory muscles as well as enhance the function of airway rather well. Moreover, it might work against symptoms of asthma[10].

Consume 1 – 2 cups of strong black coffee to soothe breathlessness and normalize your breathing.

However, avoid excessively consuming coffee as it might increase the blood pressure and heart rate.

4. Steam Inhalation

This tip from the list of home remedies for shortness of breath is especially effective against breathlessness caused by some respiratory problems as it is capable of decongesting the nasal passages.

Furthermore, moisture and heat from steam will break down and dilute mucus in order to eliminate easier.

Steam - Home Remedies for Shortness of Breath

How to do:

  • Take a bowl and fill it with extremely hot water.
  • Put in some essential oil like peppermint or eucalyptus oil.
  • Put your face above the bowl with a towel over the head.
  • Breathe in the steam deeply for couples of minutes.
  • Perform whenever you are suffering from nasal congestion.

You will be able to ease breathlessness once the congestion is cleared.

5. Ginger

It would a big mistake to miss out on ginger in the list of home remedies for shortness of breath. Considered a brilliant expectorant which can clear congestion, it even contains other components which can prevent mucus from secreting in order to aid breathing. Furthermore, it can help you avoid infection of the respiratory tract or throat. It is also one of the best ways to deal with chest congestion.

Ginger - Home Remedies for Shortness of Breath

How to use:

  • Consume 2 – 3 cups of ginger tea every day. In order to prepare the tea, take a tablespoon of fresh ginger slices into some boiling water. After simmering for about 10 minutes, have it strained and put in some honey then consume slowly.
  • Also, you might take some pieces of ginger or candies with ginger flavor to chew in order to clear congestion.

6. Beetroot

In case you are experiencing breathlessness due to anemia which comes from the deficiency of iron, then beetroot from the list of home remedies for shortness of breath is the perfect choice for you. Containing the high level of iron together with vitamins, potassium, calcium, and fiber, it is capable of improving your condition greatly.

Beetroot - Home Remedies for Shortness of Breath

How to use:

  • Take a medium-size beetroot with 3 carrots, some spinach and ½ a sweet potato to extract their juice. Then consume once every day.
  • Another way is taking 1 – 2 beetroots to roast. Let them cool down then peel the skin. Consume with pepper and salt.
  • Also, you might consume more foods which are rich in iron in your daily diet.

7. Fennel

Fennel contains the expectorant property which can eliminate phlegm and cure some of the respiratory disorders such as coughs, bronchitis, and congestion. Furthermore, it also contains iron which is essential for the treatment of anemia. Therefore, it is no surprise to see fennel in the list of home remedies for shortness of breath.

How to use:

  • Take a teaspoon of fennel seeds into some hot water and steep for about 10 minutes. Then have it strained and put in some honey and consume for 2 to 3 times per day.
  • Also, you might take some roasted fennel seeds to chew.

8. Quit Smoking

This is one tip from the list of home remedies for shortness of breath which you must follow completely. Smoke from the cigarette can cause numerous breathing problems which include dyspnea for either passive or active smoker.

Therefore, it is necessary to quit smoking as well as keep out of secondhand smoke to avoid problems with your breathing and respiration.

Moreover, it will decrease significantly the risk of getting lung cancer for you because shortness of breath is the indication of lung cancer.

You can consult the doctor as well as sought out help from others in order to quit smoking efficiently.

9. Enjoy Walking

This method is an incredible cure from the list of home remedies for shortness of breath, especially for people who are overweight.

Walking regularly will enhance stamina and decrease the frequency of breathlessness. Even better, it also assists you in losing weight.

Furthermore, walking will distract the subconscious mind, thus help normalize your breathing.

You can walk moderately for 30 – 60 minutes in 5 times per week. It will improve your metabolism as well as stamina.

10. Relaxation Therapies

Therapies such as meditation and yoga can effectively cure the difficulties of your breathing. They are able to enhance the flow of oxygen and blood in the body as well as decelerate the heart rate. Furthermore, they will help you ease anxiety and stress which are the factors that can make your condition worse.

Meditation - Home Remedies for Shortness of Breath

For best effect, you can perform meditation and yoga in the open area so that you are able to breathe pure fresh air.

In order to for those therapies to be effective, you need to perform regularly and correctly and you need to learn from the expert.

11. Eucalyptus Oil

The well-known effectiveness of an expectorant herb from eucalyptus oil is the reason why it must be included in the list of home remedies for shortness of breath. There are numerous medications, lozenges, and balms with eucalyptus extract; however, it is best to use the pure essential oil as well as its leaves for the treatment.

Eucalyptus oil will clear mucus from air passage to increase the space for air transfer, thus ease the respiratory process. It is due to eucalyptol which is the volatile oil from eucalyptus that can be considered as a pain-reliever. It is capable of dealing with the spasm of muscles that can be triggered by restrictive breathing.

12. Camphor Oil

Camphor Oil - Home Remedies for Shortness of Breath
Camphor Oil

Another amazing essential oil from the list of home remedies for shortness of breath is camphor oil. Besides containing similar mechanism as eucalyptus oil, it can even soothe the inflammation and sharp pain from breathlessness. You can either sniff its aroma or use it to massage the chest area in order to enjoy its benefits.

13. Garlic

In case of bronchitis and asthmatic tendency which are the major factors that trigger breathlessness, garlic from the list of home remedies for shortness of breath will be the ideal solution.

Containing the volatile oil Allicin, garlic is considered a natural expectorant which improves space in air passage through clearing congestion as well as improve lung capacity. Therefore, the breathing will become normal.

Moreover, dyspnea might come from the failure of the congestive heart. However, garlic can deal with that problem just fine as it is acknowledged for being beneficial to problems of the heart. Together with consuming garlic raw and including garlic into your daily cooking, you might use garlic oil for relieving instantly.

If you are interested in garlic, read more Health Benefits of Garlic.

14. Myrrh

This herb from the list of home remedies for shortness of breath has been applied for treatment of respiratory problems in ages. Its remarkable capability in clearing congestion in lungs as well as respiratory tract is what makes it the best herb so far.

Myrrh - Home Remedies for Shortness of Breath

It can even promote circulation of blood, thus preventing failure of congestive heart that might trigger shortness of breath.

You can take some myrrh leaves into some hot water in order to prepare the tea. Also, there are other supplementary forms such as extracts, capsule, and oil that you might use.

15. Pleurisy Root

The last tip from the list of home remedies for shortness of breath is an exotic herb named pleurisy root. It is capable of combating any pulmonary as well as respiratory diseases. Acknowledged as a powerful expectorant herb, it can efficiently clear congestion in bronchial passage and lungs thus normalize the breathing process.

Moreover, this herb can even soothe the inflammation and pain from dyspnea as well as some pulmonary diseases.

16. Honey

Another promising performer in this list of our popular home remedies for shortness of breath is surely honey. It possibly acts as the decongestant and an expectorant at the same time for opening up your constricted passages of air. Here’s how to make it:   

  • Add one tablespoon of honey to your 6-8 oz of warm water before drinking it.
  • It’s fine to sprinkle more cinnamon over your tablespoon of honey if you want to drink it like how you do with the cough syrup for speeding up relief.  
  • Repeat these steps as always as essential.

17. Onion

People know that cutting off onions surely cause you to cry, but they deliver one of the most effective remedies for your shortness of breath. All the sulfenic acids in them serve as the natural decongestant and the expectorant to help open through your airways. Here’s how to make it right:

  • Have the juice of your onion extracted
  • Mix it with one tablespoon of honey in your 6 – 8 oz of warm water.
  • Drink it for a couple of times per day to maintain your air passages clear.

18. Fan Yourself

It’s fine to put a fan where the air blows straightforwardly but gently on the face. A lot of people who suffer from this shortness of breath all claim that this would help you whether you sleep or sit upright in the chair. Since it’s simple to do out of other home remedies for shortness of breath, you should rush to home and do it soon. Besides, feel free to make use of the humidifier, particularly when in the winter.   

19. Open the windows

One of the easiest home remedies for shortness of breath is to open a window in your living space. You may find a sense of confinement here that can worsen your sensation of suffocation and dyspnea. Having a porch in the room is such a great idea when in good weather.

20. Cool your room

Lowering the temperature of your surrounding space, but ensure that it shouldn’t be so low that you have to shiver all the time. A highly warm chamber tends to cause you to feel so stuffy and make your shortness of breath more severe.

Extra Tips:

  • Take note of your breathlessness for better monitoring.
  • In case, you are having trouble sleeping; you can try propped-up sleep with some pillows or with a recliner. Also, you can lie on the side while there is a pillow in between the legs and the head is elevated with another pillow.
  • Do not sleep in the room which is too warm as it might make breathlessness worse.
  • You might need to change position to relieve breathlessness.
  • When you are about to have shortness of breath, cease the current activities and take rest to normalize your breathing.
  • Focus to distract the mind rather than the breathing as it will assist the subconscious mind to take over the breathing control.
  • Remember to take breaks which are short but regular while performing strenuous activities to prevent breathlessness.
  • Keep out of toxic chemicals from either work or home.
  • Consume the diet of full vegetables and fruits.
  • Consume sufficient water to maintain hydration and dilute the mucus, thus easier for expelling.
  • Remember to consult the doctor before taking any medication or supplement.
  • People who have asthma must bring inhaler before doing exercises.
  • Have a humidifier running especially for winter because dry air will make mucus thicken causing difficulties for breathing.

When shall we see a doctor?

You must have an appointment with a doctor whether you experience any sign of shortness of breath. This is indeed unexpected from one particular activity and the present state of your health or fitness. Breathing trouble that arrives all of a sudden tends to exist over a prolonged period along with your activities every day. This should be assessed by a medical expert.

Bear in mind that shortness of breath won’t get relieved with that treatment or often gets accompanied by some other obvious signs, like chest pain for instance. Before using our home remedies for shortness of breath, discover when you should see a doctor. Here are some symptoms that warn you to see a doctor at once:

  • High temperature 38º C, having chills (often caused by muscle contraction), sore throat (potential signs of infection when you get the chemotherapy – a cancer treatment).
  • It happens when you cough up bloody content.
  • The shortness of breath, pain in the chest, lip swelling, throat swelling, or any discomfort must be assessed at once.
  • Seek the professional advice If your heart beats fast, or suffer some palpitations.
  • Notice any brand new rash on the skin.
  • Spot any weird swelling in both feet and legs.
  • This is often seen when you’re out of shape or gain weight of more than 5 pounds within one week.
  • Any specific symptom that can get worse and won’t be improved.

Please remember that you’re highly recommended to consult with a healthcare expert about the current medical condition and other home remedies for shortness of breath.


Having troubles with your breathing causes some discomfort when you’re breathing. It depends on some underlying causes, but don’t worry since we’ve already shared the best home remedies for shortness of breath above. Try to see whether you have any of the symptoms above or not, if you do, follow our complete guide for the best treatment.  

*Disclaim: The effectiveness from applying these natural tips will be depended on the body condition of the applicant.

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