Nasal congestion, aka sinus congestion, stuffy nose, runny nose or blocked nose, occurs when there is irritation or inflammation of the nasal cavities which leads to accumulation of mucus. Due, to the accumulation of mucus, you find it difficult to breathe well. Nasal congestion often accompanies flu, catarrh, allergic reactions, common cold, sinus infection, etc.
Nasal congestions could also be caused by tumors or nasal polyps.
Nasal congestion usually subsides within 7 days. However, when the nasal congestion is due to hormonal changes, chronic sinusitis, thyroid disorders, hay fever, excessive smoking, stress, pregnancy, Vasomotor rhinitis, asthma, it may take longer than a week to subside.
Common symptoms of nasal congestion include; watery eyes, swollen nasal tissues, sinus pain, hoarse voice, mucus accumulation, headache.
Below are 19 home remedies and natural treatments for nasal congestion;
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Drink a mixture of apple cider vinegar and honey. Apple cider vinegar has natural decongestant properties that provide relief to a blocked nose. Also, this mixture of ACV with honey would help provide necessary antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to boost the immune system which would help clear the ailment causing the nasal congestion to clear quickly.
2. Vicks VapoRub
Rub a mentholated topical cream, such as Vicks VapoRub, on the chest, throat, and back to help provide relief from a blocked nose. Mentholated topical creams, such as VapoRub, have active ingredients such as eucalyptus oil, menthol, and camphor that helps provide fast relief from nasal congestion. However, it is advisable not to use a mentholated cream for little kids.
3. Warm Liquids
Drink warm healthy liquids and stay hydrated. This would help loosen the viscous mucus in the nasal passage, moisten the throat and help keep you hydrated from lost fluids due to the overproduction of mucus. You could sip hot herbal tea or lemon water.
A 2008 study in the journal, Rhinology, concluded that hot drinks provided immediate and sustained relief from a runny nose, cough, and sneezing. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19145994)
4. Watch What You Eat
Avoid foods that cause the overproduction of mucus. These foods include; dairy products, sugar, potato, soybean, coffee, soda, eggs, and grains.
5. Nasal Rinsing
Do nasal rinsing with salt water. You can make your own nasal rinse by mixing a cup of water, half teaspoon of salt and a half teaspoon of baking soda. Use this to rinse your sinuses by using a neti pot or a plastic squeeze bottle.
6. Spicy Tomato Tea
Drink spicy tomato tea. To make spicy tomato tea, boil tomato juice with chopped garlic, chili sauce, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Spicy tomato tea is a potent remedy for nasal congestion as it improves mucus flow in the nasal cavities.
Also, the additional spices in the tomato tea also have potent active ingredients, such as capsaicin, that help provide sustained relief to the nasal congestion.
7. Steam Inhalation
Steam inhalation is a very popular home remedy for clearing nasal decongestion. You could peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil or carom seed to steamy boiling water and inhale the steam for 10 to 15 minutes.
Steam inhalation acts as a natural expectorant that flushes the respiratory tract of mucus by making the mucus less viscous. However, care must be taken so that the steam does not scald you.
8. Cayenne Pepper
Mix cayenne pepper powder and honey together. Eat this mixture. Cayenne pepper is a natural nasal decongestant.
Also, the capsaicin, in cayenne pepper, helps relieve nasal inflammation due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Also, the burning sensation caused by the cayenne pepper would help induce a less viscous mucus that can be easily flushed out from your sinuses.
Chew a couple of basil leaves in the morning or at night. You could also make and drink basil juice. Basil has potent medicinal properties that help provide nasal congestion relief and also boost the immune system to help fight the infection causing the congestion.
10. Mustard Oil
Put 2 or 3 drops of mustard oil into the nostrils. This might help to ease breathing and provide much-needed relief.
11. Hot Soups
Take hot soups especially hot chicken soup. Hot soup is a popular remedy for a stuffy nose. They help provide instant relief when taken and can be taken numerous times during the day. Chicken soup is very popular. However, if you are a vegetarian, you could try a number of the numerous vegetable soups.
12. Warm Compress
Do a warm compress by placing a warm moist towel over the nose and forehead intermittently and repeatedly. The warmth of the towel would provide relief from the nasal congestion and also ease out any nasal tissue inflammation.
Smelling a peeled onions for 5 to 10 minutes would help make the mucus less viscous. The mucus can then be blown away. This would help provide relief and make breathing easier.
Drink garlic tea, eat fresh garlic cloves or add garlic to your meals. Garlic has potent anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties that help fight the infection causing the nasal congestion as well as reduce nasal tissue inflammation and irritation.
Also, garlic helps control the overproduction of mucus as well help boost the immune system due to its rich antioxidant, vitamins and minerals content.
15. Eucalyptus Oil
Apply 2 or 3 drops of eucalyptus oil on a clean handkerchief and inhale the aroma. Alternatively, you could take an aromatherapy bath with eucalyptus essential oil added to the bath.
Eucalyptus essential oil helps to reduce the production of mucus in the sinus as it acts as a mucus suppressant. Eucalyptus oil also has natural decongestant and anti-inflammatory properties that help decongest the nasal cavity as well as soothe irritated and inflamed nasal tissues.
Drink ginger tea, eat freshly cut ginger or simply add ginger to your meals. Ginger, like garlic, helps inhibit the overproduction of mucus. Ginger also helps maintain optimal nasal ciliary motility which is a key indicator for sinus health.
Add a teaspoon of turmeric to a glass of warm milk and drink. You could also add honey to this mixture. Curcumin, in turmeric, has potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help reduce the swelling, irritation, and inflammation of the nasal passage and tissues. Turmeric also helps boost the immune system which helps fight the infection causing the nasal congestion.
Use a room humidifier to maintain adequate humidity within the house. A humidifier helps provide relief for nasal congestion as the extra moisture in the air helps break up the nasal congestion by thinning the mucus in the sinuses.
19. Fenugreek Seed
Boil hot water with fenugreek seed in it and eat this. This would help thin out the mucus and help clear the mucus blockage in your nasal cavities.
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