Stuffy nose or nasal congestion is one of the common ailments most people encounter when the tissues lining the nose or adjacent areas swell because of the inflamed blood vessels, giving a stuffy and uncomfortable feeling. It may occur as a symptom of certain other conditions or due to allergies like alcohol intolerance. Here are several home remedies that may help you in getting rid of stuffy nose.
How to get rid of a stuffy nose with natural remedies
Garlic: The antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties of garlic makes it a useful remedy for a stuffy nose. You may eat garlic cloves fresh or make a mixture of hot water and crushed cloves (two to three) to get rid of stuffy nose fast. Turmeric powder (one and a half teaspoon) might also be added to the mixture to yield quick results.
Eucalyptus oil: Owing to its anti-inflammatory and decongestant properties, a few drops of eucalyptus oil when poured on a cloth or handkerchief and inhaled few times a day gives relief. You may even pour a few drops of it on your pillow to enjoy the positive benefits of this oil even when you are in deep sleep.
Honey and lemon: Drinking an infusion or tea made of fresh lemon juice and two tablespoons of honey, mixed with hot water may help in clearing your throat, thus acting as one of the effective stuffy nose remedies. You can even drink honey with warm milk to feel better.
You can combine lemon and honey with a teaspoon of grated ginger, mix it in hot water and have it.
Apple cider vinegar: Because of its ability to thin mucus and drain out the sinus, apple cider vinegar assists in clearing the nasal passage, helping you to breathe properly. You can mix two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar along with a tablespoon of honey in warm water (one glass) and consume it thrice or four times a day.
Mustard oil: As mustard oil helps in loosening the thick mucus causing nose blockage, you may apply two to three drops of this oil into your nostrils, using a dropper or cotton ball. Be careful to prevent the oil from getting into your eyes.
Onion: Apart from having antiviral and antibacterial properties, onion acts as a nasal decongestant whereas its sulfur content aids in loosening and drawing out the mucus responsible for nose blockage. Smelling a piece of cut and peeled onion for four to five minutes helps to clear your stuffy nose especially if it is dry.
Another alternative option is to take two to three tablespoons of onion juice, warm it slightly and add honey or sugar for taste. Swallow the mixture immediately as the decongestant property of onion goes away very fast.
Citrus fruits: Having citrus fruits (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit and kiwifruit) as a whole or drinking the juice would be beneficial in treating a congested nose.
In fact, including citrus fruits as a part of your daily diet will minimize your chances of getting affected by these common ailments.
Tomato juice: Being rich in Vitamin C, the juice extracted from tomatoes will help in boosting the immune system, also working towards opening up the sinuses, removing the mucus as well as reducing the inflammation of the vessels.
A glass of hot tomato juice prepared by adding chopped garlic (one tablespoon), hot sauce such as chili pepper (one tablespoon), lime juice (one tablespoon), and a little bit of celery salt can help.
Pepper: Prepare a mixture by adding black pepper (one teaspoon) and honey (one tablespoon) in hot water and steep it for fifteen minutes. Stir it well and drink it to get quick relief.
Fenugreek: Adding some fenugreek seeds to a glass of warm water and drinking it twice or thrice a day would help to clear up your stuffy nose.
Basil: Chewing three to four basil leaves before breakfast and bedtime or drinking basil tea is one of the useful ways to deal with a stuffy nose.
Other home remedies to relieve a stuffy nose
Hot shower: Try standing under a hot shower for about ten to fifteen minutes, inhaling and exhaling the air. This facilitates in thinning out the mucus in the nose and sinus as well as reducing inflammation.
Blow your nose: This helps in providing relief for the time being. However blow your nose gently by pressing your finger over one of the nostrils as you clear the other as too much pressure might send the phlegm back to the ear passage leading to ear pain.
Steam treatment: Take a vessel of boiling water, as the steam builds up, cover your head with a towel and breathe in gently to clear your congested nose. Be cautious while doing so and make sure that the heat from the steam does not burn your face or nose or cause suffocation.
Humidifier: The presence of a humidifier in the room keeps the air warm thus relieving nasal inflammation and irritation, helping to get rid of your stuffy nose overnight.
Vicks massage: Take a little bit of Vicks and rub it gently on your chest and in the region surrounding your nostrils as this opens up your blocked nasal passage, easing congestion.
Eat spicy foods: Adding a lot of spice to your food, like garlic, red chilies, onion, and ginger to your foods promotes the mucus flow, thus clearing your blocked nose.
Massage your sinus: Use your index finger and thumb to massage the area around your eyes and cheek bones for about a minute to feel better. You can also take a damp washcloth, heat it for thirty seconds and put in on your sinus.
It is also essential to drink a lot of fluids in the form of water, soups, juice fruit drinks or herbal teas (thyme, peppermint, blackberry, lemon balm, ginger, and chamomile) to lessen chances of getting a stuffy nose.
Ways to get rid of stuffy nose during pregnancy
Stuffy nose is a common phenomenon seen in about 30% women during pregnancy, occurring because of the increased secretion of the estrogen hormone.
Pregnant women may find respite from stuffy nose by opting for some of the above remedies such as inhaling steam, using nasal sprays or getting a humidifier in the room while it is advisable not to try a few of them like going for a hot shower or massaging with vicks as these might not be safe for them. It is also safe to take a doctor’s advice before going for some of the above-mentioned natural remedies as not all herbs and spices are safe during these 9 months.
Treating stuffy nose in babies
- If your child is too young to blow his nose, give him saline drops in each of his nostrils and then remove the loosened mucus with the help of a syringe bulb. This remedy goes down well with infants below six months of age as the older ones may display a fussy behavior when the bulb is inserted.
- Arrange for a warm bath or make your baby sit in a steamy bathroom for about fifteen minutes. For children above two years of age, a few drops of menthol can be added to their bath water to relieve them of congestion.
- If your baby is three months or older, then go for special vapor rubs containing eucalyptus, petrolatum, and oil. Massage it gently on his neck, back and chest.
Similar to adults, children above six months of age should be given a lot of fluids when they have a blocked nose to prevent dehydration as well as for flushing out and thinning the nasal discharge.
Over-the-counter medicines to unclog a stuffy nose
Decongestants such as phenylephrine, naphazoline or antihistamines like Benadryl are some of the commonly used over-the-counter medications. Many people even avail OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen, naproxen and acetaminophen as they help in releasing sinus pressure that is responsible for nasal congestion. Nasal saline sprays are also an appropriate option as they assist in thinning the mucus in your nose passage, minimizing inflammation of the blood vessel. However, if you are allergic to certain medications, consult your doctor before taking them.