Home Remedies for Nasal Congestion

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Constant blowing of the nose and struggling to breathe in your surroundings are sure signs you’re dealing with a case of nasal congestion – a direct response to inflammation in the nasal region. Whether you’ve encountered an unpleasantly muggy night’s sleep or battling a winter cold, home remedies for nasal congestion will have you smelling the roses in no time.


What is Nasal Congestion?

Most often referred to as a ‘stuffy nose,’ nasal congestion takes place when the nasal tissues and blood vessels become swollen as excess fluid gathers in the nose region. Contrary to popular belief, a congested nose is not caused by developing too much thick mucus. The clogged feeling has the power to interfere with other parts of the body and actions, including the ears, hearing, and speech. If a great deal of congestion is present, an individual may suffer sleepless nights. They may snore or even experience difficulty breathing during their sleep (also known as sleep apnea) [1].


From irritating substances to typical medical issues, a number of factors can cause nasal congestion. A wide range of causes behind nasal congestion includes chickenpox, sinusitis, deviated septum, certain medications, and whooping cough. Odd and lesser-known culprits include bright lights, shellfish, pregnancy, drug addiction, cold temperatures, spicy foods, and ironically, the overuse of decongestant nasal spray [2]. Other common causes include:

• Allergies, like to dust, food, pollen and pet dander
• The common cold and flu
• Dry air and irritants, like secondhand smoke

Nasal Congestion Home Remedies

While the chances of experiencing a stuffy nose seem higher during the winter months, learning the following home remedies for nasal congestion can help at any time of the year:

a) Hot Beverages:

Drinking extra fluids can help ease a congested nose. Reach for cups of hot tea, broth and chicken soup. However, steer clear of drinks that contain caffeine, which can actually make a stuffy nose worse.

b) Onion:

Taking a whiff of an onion causes stimulation in the nose that leads to runny results and temporary unblocked congestion.

c) Spices:

When cooking, encourage a runny nose by adding spicy ingredients to your meals. The extra heat helps trigger a reflex response that causes your nose to run. Hot chili peppers are an instant hit with congested noses.

d) Steam:

Use the steam emitted from a hot cup of soup, teakettle or shower to remedy a stuffy nose. An effective approach is to boil a pot of water. After removing the pot from the stove, drape a towel over your head and lean over the pot. The towel creates a tent that captures steam and helps unclog a stuffy nose. Expect results within 10 to 15 minutes.

e) Vaporizer and Humidifier Additives:

Add essential oils to a vaporizer or humidifier to increase results. An option to consider is 2 to 3 drops of eucalyptus oil.

f) White Vinegar:

Need a little extra boost in your hot-steam vaporizer? Add ¼ cup of white vinegar to the water to ease nasal congestion brought on by a chest cold or sinus infection.

g) Zinc:

Targeting the nose, zinc has been proven to add patients suffering a diminished sense of smell. Use zinc supplements to improve congested sinuses. Suggested dose: one 50-milligram supplement daily.

h) Elevate Your Head:

A lying down position makes congested noses feel worse. Keep your head elevated and upright – a true lifesaver for young kids.

i) Vitamin C:

You don’t have to have a cold to take advantage of vitamin C for a congested nose. Take up to 500 milligrams daily to treat stuffiness.

j) Exercise:

Looking for a natural decongestant that doesn’t cost any money? Try exercise. One of the easiest approaches to embrace is walking, which helps promote better breathing, shrink nasal membranes, and improve circulation of the blood.

k) Mustard:

Slather prepared mustard on your chest. Soak a washcloth in hot water, making sure to wring it out. Place the washcloth over the mustard and lie still for instant relief.

l) Cayenne Pepper:

When you’re nose has become plugged, reach in your kitchen cabinet for cayenne pepper, which has a knack for getting your system flowing again. Sprinkle it on your food and keep a box of tissues nearby.


[1] http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003049.htm
[2] http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nasal-congestion/MY00178/DSECTION=causes
[3] Reader’s Digest Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things, pg 216.