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Home remedies for congestion offer a gentler approach to relieving nasal congestion and stuffiness so you can breathe better.
The discomfort of nasal congestion and the inability to inhale deeply can leave you feeling annoyed, exhausted, and too ill to do anything.
There are several over-the-counter relief remedies that are very effective for immediate relief from congestion. While these are okay to use for short-term relief, they can lose their efficacy if used for extended periods of time. This means you’ll need to increase the dosage for the medication to work the next time.
For long-term relief from the stuffiness and discomfort, it’s far better and safer to use home remedies for congestion.
Fortunately, there are a few proven herbal and natural remedies that act as effective decongestants. They’ll clear your stuffy nose and reduce sinus pressure so you can breathe better.
All of the home remedies for basal congestion listed below have been used for hundreds of years in various cultures around the world.
12 Natural Remedies For Nasal Congestion
1. Place a Hot Pack Over Congested Sinuses
Placing a hot pack across your nasal bridge is an excellent home remedy for congestion. The heat reduces the thickness of the mucus and relieves congestion.
The four hot packs above are designed to conform properly to the face area with different mechanisms for maintaining consistent moist heat, providing effective congestion relief.
You can also make your own hot pack. Wet a clean, soft, hand towel. Squeeze out the excess water and heat the damp towel in the microwave for about a minute. Be sure to check that it is not too hot before placing it over your sinuses.
3. Use a Humidifier to Increase Moisture in the Air
The flu and cold can leave you dehydrated, which can exacerbate existing symptoms. Vaporizers or humidifiers add much-needed humidity to the home or office.
This additional humidity can lead to quick relief as it helps in breaking up decongestion by increasing moisture content in the air, which aids in thinning nasal mucus.
While cool-mist and warm-mist are just as effective, using a cool-mist humidifier for kids is better as it eliminates the risk of accidental burn from higher temperatures.
Cleaning your humidifier regularly is important to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria. If you find the cleaning instructions in the manual too tedious, simply wipe the device daily with a 10% bleach solution, which is a 9:1 water-to-bleach ratio.
3. Have a Hot Shower With or Without Essential Oils
Standing under a hot shower – as hot as you can handle – is one of the best natural remedies for congestion. The steam helps to dislodge the stubborn mucus and helps you breathe more easily.
Adding a few drops of Eucalyptus, Peppermint, or Rosemary essential oil to the shower floor will increase the efficacy of the steam. All of these essential oils are rich in menthol and breathing in the menthol-filled steam will help open up the sinuses.
Read these tips for using essential oils in the shower.
4. Do Steam Inhalation With Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus tops the list of best essential oils for colds and congestion.
The most effective way to use eucalyptus essential oil for congestion is by steam inhalation.
To relieve congestion, add 2-3 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a bowl of steaming hot water. Create a tent with a towel covering your head and the bowl to prevent the steam from escaping.
Lean over the bowl and breathe in the steam. Eucalyptus does have a very sharp smell so start with short, shallow breaths and then try inhaling only as deeply as you can.
5. Rinse the Nasal Passage with a Saline Solution
This remedy works by passing saline water through the nasal passage gently to relieve nasal congestion. You will need a neti pot to do this.
This Navage Nasal Care Nose Cleaner is the most popular and highest-rated on Amazon. You won’t find a better neti pot at that price.
Fill the neti pot with salt solution and gently insert the spout in each nostril with your head tilted upwards. This allows the saline solution to flow into the nasal passage. See how to use a neti pot the right way.
Important– use pharmaceutical salt for the best outcome.
Health practitioners highly recommend this remedy for its effectiveness over a shorter period as compared to those who used saline sprays. Additionally, nasal irrigation using a saline solution reduces the need for steroid sprays in kids with allergies.
It is safe to use a neti pot every day. Pick one up today if you are prone to congestion. You’ll be glad you did.
6. Apply Vapor Rub Around the Nasal Area
You can make or buy a natural vapor rub that’s formulated with essential oils and other ingredients to combat congestion.
When using a vapor rub recipe for kids, avoid using rosemary, eucalyptus, or any type of mint oil. Spruce, Fir, or Cypress essential oils are gentler alternatives for children aged two and above. It’s advisable to avoid using essential oils on children younger than 2 years.
Prefer to go the DIY route? It’s very easy to make your own vapor rub that you can use as a natural remedy for congestion. All you need is a few drops of wintergreen, eucalyptus, or peppermint essential oil and coconut or palm carrier oil.
Take an ounce of Coconut Oil. Add the Wintergreen, Eucalyptus, or Peppermint essential oil one drop at a time and adjust till you get your choice or strength. Mix the carrier and essential oils together properly.
Dab your DIY Vapor Rub with essential oils under your nose or gently rub it on your chest.
7. Make Over Your Nighttime
If you’ve had stuffy sinuses before, you know that congestion gets worse at night and prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep. This lack of sleep could lead to a vicious cycle. You need lots of rest to recover from the flu or cold but the congestion does not allow you to get the rest you need so you take longer to heal.
One way to makeover your nighttime routine is to place an extra pillow under your head while sleeping. This raises your head and helps the sinuses to drain out more easily.
Another thing you could do is to ensure your room is humid while you sleep. This will help thin out the mucus in the nose and minimize congestion.
You can also use nasal breathing strips while sleeping. These work by lifting the sides of the nose, which opens up the nasal passage. Breathe Right Nasal Strips are drug-free and highly recommended by over 9,500 users on Amazon.
8. Drink Turmeric-Flavored Milk or Tea
Turmeric is a strong antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant agent, which makes it an effective home and natural remedy for nasal congestion.
It works by reducing inflammation and swelling of the nasal passages, thus providing fast relief from congestion symptoms. It further provides powerful boosts to your immune system.
Boil a glass of milk, then add a teaspoonful of turmeric, and simmer for about 4 minutes. Add a little raw honey and serve. Have this turmeric milk at least twice every day to speed up the recovery process.
Another effective natural remedy for congestion using turmeric involves combining one teaspoon turmeric powder, one tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon raw honey, and a dash of cayenne pepper. Add to 1/2 glass water. Mix well. Drink this mixture twice daily.
Cautionary note when using turmeric for congestion relief – It is always better to use pure organic turmeric root powder from a reputed brand, especially as you will be ingesting the powder. Starwest Botanicals Organic Turmeric Root Powder comes highly recommended by more than 1,400 users on Amazon.
9. Strengthen Your Immune System with Vitamin C
Vitamin C supplements can help strengthen your immune system and ease congestion. Vitamin C is known to shorten cold and flu duration as well as decrease symptom severity although it does not affect congestion directly.
If you are fighting cold-related congestion, taking vitamin C regularly can help you battle cold symptoms first. However, if your congestion could be related to allergies, this remedy may not give you much relief.
10. Stay Hydrated with Warm Fluids
Sipping hot water helps to relieve nasal congestion through multiple mechanisms. In addition to keeping your body hydrated, warm water also has a placebo effect on the body. Although sipping any hot drink works great as a natural remedy for congestion, having a tasty drink provides a better response as it enhances the placebo effect.
Hot soup, green tea, or hot water with a dollop of honey and ½ teaspoon lemon are excellent alternatives when you are looking for home remedies for congestion.
Everyone who has tried this Tomato Tea recipe has hailed it as an excellent remedy for congestion .
Tomato Tea Recipe
2 cups V8 Vegetable Juice
1 crushed clove of garlic
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoonful dried ginger
Heat up the juice for about a minute in the microwave, to make it steaming hot.
Stir in all the remaining ingredients for a delicious, healthy, congestion-busting tomato tea.
11. Increase Your Intake Of Congestion-Busting Foods
Some foods contain ingredients that act as powerful natural remedies for congestion.
Garlic, cayenne pepper, horseradish, and hot mustard are all hot foods that are very effective for clearing congestion. Add them generously to soups and salads to relieve the annoying symptoms.
Flaxseed, cold-water fish, nuts, and cod oil, all of which are rich in Omega 3 Fatty acids are also excellent choices as are foods rich in Vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, melons, and berries.
Don’t forget to increase your intake of Apple Cider Vinegar and fluids such as hot tea at this time.
Whether you choose to inhale it, drink it, or gargle with it, Apple Cider Vinegar works well as one of the more effective home remedies for congestion. To inhale ACV, add a teaspoon to a little water, heat gently on a stove, and inhale the steam.
You can either drink Apple Cider Vinegar by itself or add some cayenne and lemon juice to taste. Below is a quick ratio for making a drink that helps to tone down that sharp taste of pure ACV.
- 4 ounces warm water
- 1 teaspoonful Apple Cider Vinegar
- 3 teaspoonfuls of honey
- Stir all ingredients well and drink 3 – 4 times a day.
Caution: Drinking pure ACV is harmful to the teeth as it erodes the enamel. It’s best to drink concentrated ACV through a straw so it doesn’t come in contact with your teeth.
12. Gulp A Pinch Of Cayenne Pepper with Honey
Cayenne pepper is one of the effective home remedies for relieving blocked sinuses and nasal congestion. Cayenne pepper contains Capsaicin, which works as a powerful decongestant and relieves nasal passage inflammation.
In addition, its fiery effect induces a running nose, which gets rid of mucus as well as allergies in the sinuses. As a result, a blocked nose is relieved!
Mix a 1/4 teaspoonful of cayenne pepper powder with one tablespoon of honey. Have this 3 to 4 times a day.
Most Important: Visit Your Doctor If Symptoms Persist
If your nasal congestion is severe and lasts more than seven days you may need to book an appointment with your physician. A viral infection normally disappears on its own in about a week, but an infection that persists could be due to a bacterial infection that requires antibiotics.
A visit to a doctor is definitely called for if you have other symptoms such as nose bleeding, shortness of breath, high fever, or tooth pain along with nasal congestion.
Practicing a few preventive measures beats having to resort to home remedies for nasal congestion.
These 2 preventive measures can do much to keep winter chills and congestion at bay.
Get enough sleep. Sleep recharges and revitalizes your body and is important for the proper functioning of the immune system. On the other hand, sleep deprivation compromises the immune system, which affects its ability to fight infections.
Wash your hands regularly. Colds and the flu are commonly spread by contact with infected surfaces. Washing your hands regularly, especially when you come back home from shopping or a visit to the doctor can help reduce the risk of colds, flu, and nasal congestion.
A stuffy nose can be nasty and can make it difficult for you to get on with your everyday activities. Use one or multiple of the above-mentioned home remedies for congestion to get back on your feet again as quickly as possible.
Have you used any of these home remedies for congestion? Which one have you used and was it effective? Do you have any other ways to reduce congestion that I haven’t mentioned? Do share so we may benefit from it too.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to serve as medical advice. Please consult your physician before using essential oils. See Full Disclaimer here.