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How to Get Rid of Nasal Congestion

How to Get Rid of Nasal Congestion

Nasal congestion, also referred to as a stuffy nose or a blocked nose, makes it difficult for you to breathe. Not only does it block your nose with thick mucus but it also causes all sorts of discomforts including a headache and facial pressure all around your nose. Generally nasal congestion is due to inflammation of the membranes that line your nasal passage. Nasal membrane lining can get swollen up due to various reasons such as common cold, flu, sinusitis, allergies, hay fever, nasal polyps and deviated nasal septum etc. When the membranes lining your nasal passage swells up and causes irritation, the immune system of your body comes into action and starts sending more blood to the area. This flow of extra blood makes the nasal blood vessels get inflamed which in turn blocks your nose. You need medical assistance to permanently cure the underlying cause of nasal congestion. However, there are many medicines as well as home remedies for nasal congestion that can give you temporary relief. Here are some ways to relieve nasal congestion so that you get rid of stuffy nose!

Best Remedies for Nasal Congestion

1. Saline Water to Get Rid of Nasal Congestion

Saline water, in fact salt mixed with warm water, is one of the best ways to relieve nasal congestion. This is also recommended by doctors. When you make salt water enter your nasal passage, it mixes up with mucus and helps draw out the water from your swollen membranes. This reduces inflammation there and you get rid of nasal congestion.

Get this:

  • Warm water (just warm and not hot)- 1 cup
  • Salt – ½ tsp
  • Dropper

Do this:

  • Mix salt with warm water and stir properly so that it dissolves completely.
  • Take the dropper and fill it with this salt water. Ensure your dropper is clean and not used by any other person.
  • Tilt your head a little towards one side and drop the solution in your nostril that lays upwards.
  • Wait for about 30 seconds to let the salt water go deep down and work.
  • Now take your head forward in a manner that this salt water drains out of your nostril.
  • Repeat the whole process with the other nostril too.

2. Steam with Eucalyptus Oil to Relieve Nasal Congestion

Warmth helps loosen up the mucus that blocks your nose. Inhaling steam is one of the best ways to relieve nasal congestion. When you add the natural decongestant, the eucalyptus oil to your hot steaming water, you double up the chance of fast relief from nasal blockage.

Get this:

  • Hot water- 1 bowl
  • Eucalyptus oil- 3-6 drops
  • Towel

Do this:

  • Take the bowl of hot water.
  • Add few drops of eucalyptus oil to this water.
  • Lean forward in a way that your head is over the bowl, at some distance.
  • Cover your head with the towel so that the steam doesn’t scatter.
  • Now inhale the hot steam coming out of the oil mixed water.
  • Do this for about 5 minutes taking breaks in between if needed.
  • Blow your nose to clear it off.
  • Repeat the process once more if your nose hasn’t opened up completely.

3. Orange Juice for Nasal Congestion Relief

Mandarin oranges have this chemical in them called ‘synephrine’. It is a compound similar to ephedrine which is used for temporary relief from shortness of breath, chest congestion, and wheezing due to bronchial asthma. It is also a good decongestant that works by reducing inflammation and constricting blood vessels in nasal passages. Synephrine is a natural decongestant and. Mandarin oranges contain about 7 times more synephrine than any other citrus fruit. This comparison comes because all the citrus fruits like lemons, limes and of course, oranges help loosen up the mucus. So, just have these fruits as they are or have juice of these fruits.

Recipe of Orange Juice to Relieve Nasal Congestion

Here is one very effective recipe of orange juice that also uses some other ingredients useful in relieving nasal congestion.

Get this:

  • Orange (peeled)- 1
  • Lemon (peeled and de-seeded)- ½
  • Apple (sweet or tart, chopped)- 1
  • Fresh ginger root (peeled)- 1 inch piece
  • Cayenne – a pinch or two

Do this:

  • Chop the apple and ginger.
  • Place the peeled orange and lemon as well as chopped apple and ginger in your juicer.
  • Make a juice out of these.
  • Now take the juice in a glass and sprinkle a little cayenne spice over it.
  • Have this juice.

If you think, its too strong, you can add one more apple or even some cucumber or celery to this.

4. Spicy Foods to Get Rid of Nasal Congestion

Spicy foods are mucokinetic, meaning they have mucous-thinning properties. You won’t need much explanation to understand this. Just think of how your eyes water and how you get a runny nose when you eat really hot and spicy food! Got it! Chili pepper, black pepper, curry spices all can give you relief from nasal congestion by making the mucus thin so that it drains out. The component ‘capsaicin’ in peppers cause inflammation in your nerves and elevate the production of thin mucus in your nose. This loosens up the thick mucus which then drains off.


[Also Read: 13 Natural Remedies for Runny Nose]

Ways to have Spicy Foods

  1. Make a soup (chicken or vegetable soup) with lots of spices, especially chili peppers.
  2. Make hot gravies.
  3. Add peppers and spices to your salads.
  4. Add cayenne pepper to your juices too, as you have done in the previous remedy.
  5. Add black pepper to your tea.

Precaution: If you have a stuffy nose due to sinus problems, consult your doctor before having spicy foods as this may aggravate your sinus problem. Also, do not use this remedy for kids.

5. Onions Remedy for Nasal Congestion

One more experience come to your help when its about loosening up the thick mucus. Just remember chopping onions, how do your feel with runny nose and watery eyes! Yes, onions too are good natural decongestants. Not only this, they also have natural anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.

Ways to Use Onion to Relieve Nasal Congestion

  1. Chew raw onions by adding them to your salads.
  2. Make onion juice. For this, grate 1-2 onions and extract juice from this pulp. Warm up 2-3 tbsp of onion juice. Add a little honey or sugar if you cant have it alone. Swallow about 2 tablespoons of this onion juice. This is a quick remedy for nasal congestion and you will get relief almost instantly.
  3. Just cut or chop onions. This will make you cry and also make your nose drain off the mucus.
  4. Add some slices of onion in hot water and inhale steam coming out of it.

6. Ginger Root to Get Rid of Nasal Congestion

Ginger, the very healthy herb spice contains various component and volatile oils that can treat your stuffy nose. Some of its volatile oils that relieve nasal congestion include zingiberene, gingerol, and shogoal not only relieve congestion but also have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. So if you are suffering from cold and flu, for example, you have the double benefit of this ginger root. It will promote mucus drainage and its anti-inflammatory properties will reduce the swelling of nasal membranes.

Make Ginger Tea to Relieve Nasal Congestion

Get this:

  • Fresh ginger root- 1-2 inches pieces
  • Hot water- 1-2 cups
  • Honey (optional)- 1-2 tsp

Do this:

  • Wash, peel and chop the ginger in thick slices.
  • Place them in a pot.
  • Pour hot water over them.
  • Let it steep for 5-10 minutes.
  • For a stronger tea, boil the water with ginger pieces for about 3-5 minutes.
  • Strain and add honey if you need it.
  • Have this tea.
  • While sipping your ginger tea, inhale the steam coming out of it for faster relief.

7. Garlic for Relief from Nasal Congestion

Garlic, like spicy food, is also a mucokinetic agent. It thins the mucus so that it may drain off your nose. Additionally, garlic contains an active ingredient known as n-allyl thiosulfinate. This component has a decongestant activity though a short-lived one. Eat fresh garlic cloves to relieve nasal congestion. If, however, you cannot do so, there are other ways like adding garlic to your soups and gravies. However, raw garlic has more effective results than cooked one when it comes to relief from nasal blockage. Here’s another way to use garlic.

Make a Garlic Drink to Relieve Nasal Congestion

Get this:

  • Garlic cloves- 2-3
  • Turmeric powder- ½ tsp
  • Water- 1 cup

Do this:

  • Crush the garlic lightly.
  • Add this to water and bring it to a boil.
  • Boil it on low heat for 1-2 minutes.
  • Put off the flame and add turmeric to this.
  • Don’t discard the garlic. Chew them while having the drink.
  • Have this garlic drink once a day till you get rid of nasal congestion.

8. Relieve Nasal Congestion with Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar has been a near magical potion for all health related issues! This is true for nasal congestion too. The high pH levels of apple cider vinegar break up the mucus and clear off the airways so that you may breathe properly. It also has antibacterial, anti fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. As such, it will help reduce swelling to relieve your blocked nose. Apart from treating the infections that may cause nasal congestion, ACV also boosts immunity so that you don’t catch cold and allergies easily.

1st Way to Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Relieve Nasal Congestion: with Warm Water

Get this:

  • Raw Apple Cider Vinegar- 2 tsp
  • Lukewarm water- ¾ cup

Do this:

  • Add apple cider vinegar to warm water.
  • Stir well and have it.
  • Have it twice a day till you get rid of nasal congestion.

2nd Way to Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Relieve Nasal Congestion: with Honey

Get this:

  • Raw Apple Cider Vinegar- 2 tbsp
  • Honey- 1 tbsp
  • warm water/ warm apple juice/ warm herbal tea- 1 cup

Do this:

  • Mix ACV and honey.
  • Pour warm water or juice or tea over this.
  • Stir well and have 2-3 times a day till you get rid of nasal congestion.

You may also mix ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar with 2 cups of water and have this through out the day. Other way to use ACV is to mix equal amounts of ACV and hot water and to inhale steam from it.

9. Black Pepper to Get Rid of Nasal Congestion

Black pepper is again a mucokinetic food that will thin down your mucus to relieve you of congestion. While you can always add black pepper to your soups, gravies and teas, there is this Indian Ayurveda way to use black pepper for nasal congestion where you inhale the smoke of black pepper.

Inhale Smoke of Black Pepper to Relieve Nasal Congestion

Get this:

  • Black pepper corns- 6-8
  • A pan

Do this:

  • Crush the black pepper to get its coarse powder.
  • Place this black pepper powder in a pan.
  • Now heat this pan a little.
  • Just when smoke is released from the black pepper, lean forward and inhale this smoke. Remember to put off the flame first.
  • This may initially lead you to sneeze and may be that’s why you get relief from nasal blockage.
  • The mucus gets thin due to its mucokinetic properties and sneezing lets all of it out of your nose.
  • Even if you don’t sneeze, the thin mucus will drain off to relieve you of stuffy nose.

10. Tomato Tea and Soup for Nasal Congestion

Tomato, rich in Vitamins A and C can be a very healthy food and its richness in these vitamins help relieve symptoms of cold and flu by boosting immune system. So it makes sense to have it to prevent any kind of these symptoms including congestion. But because tomato also has some anti-inflammatory properties, it helps reduce swelling of nasal membranes and thus when you add some more spicy ingredients to tomato, it becomes a good remedy for nasal congestion too. Here are two recipes, one each for tomato tea and tomato soup.

1st Tomato Recipe for Nasal Congestion: Ayurvedic Tomato Soup

Get this:

  • Tomatoes- 3
  • Black pepper powder- ½ tsp
  • Garlic paste- ½ tsp
  • Clarified butter (if not available, use butter)- 1 tsp
  • Water- 1 glass

Do this:

  • Grind the tomatoes.
  • Boil water and add the tomato pulp to this.
  • Keep boiling on low heat for about 10 minutes
  • Add butter, black pepper powder and garlic paste to this and mix well.
  • Have this 2-3 times a day till you get rid of nasal congestion.

2nd Tomato Recipe for Nasal Congestion: Spicy Tomato Tea

Get this:

  • Tomato juice – 2 cup
  • Garlic (crushed)- 2-5
  • Hot sauce – ½ tbsp
  • Lemon juice – 1 tbsp

Do this:

  • Boil the tomato juice.
  • Once it starts boiling, add all the other ingredients to this.
  • Mix it well and keep boiling for few more minutes.
  • Have this twice a day.

11. Carom Seeds for Nasal Congestion Relief

Carom seeds, also known as ajwain, have strong pungent flavor and aroma. As it is spicy, it helps thin mucous. Thymol, the oil component of carom seeds have anesthetic, anti-bacterial and antifungal properties. It is the same oil found in thyme and is very effective for respiratory and bronchial diseases as it can relieve congestion too.


Ways to Use Carom Seeds to Relieve Nasal Congestion

  1. Take a handful of carom seeds. Grind these seeds to get the powder of carom seeds. Now tie this powder in a clean cotton cloth. Place this near your pillow wile you sleep to relieve congestion and have a better sleep.
  2. Take 2 tbsp of carom seeds and crush them. Now tie them up in a cloth. Hold this close to your nose and inhale deeply. Do this for few minutes. Repeat 3-4 times a day.

12. Grapefruit Seed Extract for Nasal Congestion Relief

If your nasal congestion is due to sinus infection, you may well think of grapefruit seed extract too. It helps fight off fungi and bacteria in your sinus cavity that give rise to inflammation of nasal membranes and cause congestion there. Due to its excellent antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, grapefruit seed extract can prove to be the best remedy for nasal congestion due to sinus infection.

Ways to Use Grapefruit Seed Extract to Relieve Nasal Congestion

  1. Add few drops of grapefruit seed extract to a half cup of warm water. Inhale the steam coming from it.
  2. Take 3-4 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract and ¼ tsp of sea salt. Mix them with a cup of warm water. Stir well to dissolve the salt in the water. Now irrigate your nasal cavities using a neti pot filled with this solution. You may also use a nasal spray bottle to fill this solution and then use it for your blocked nose.

[Also Read: 14 Simple Home Remedies for Sinus Infection]

13. Horseradish to Relieve Nasal Congestion

Horseradish, again, is a mucokinetic food, the foods that make mucous thin so that they can be expelled out of your body quickly. Herbalists have used horseradish traditionally to relieve nasal congestion as well as lung congestion. If you have your nasal congestion due to sinus infection, cold and flu, horseradish is a remedy for you as it has mild antibiotic properties as well.

Make Horseradish Toast to Get Rid of Nasal Congestion

Get this:

  • Horseradish (grated)- 1-2 tsp
  • Apple Cider Vinegar- 1 tsp
  • Honey- 1 tsp
  • Toast- 1

Do this:

  • Mix grated horseradish, apple cider vinegar and honey.
  • Spread this mixture on the toast.
  • Now eat this toast slowly while inhaling deeply to get its aroma through your blocked nose.

14. Peppermint Oil for Nasal Congestion

Peppermint oil is an established remedy for nasal congestion as well as related respiratory congestion. Its components menthone, menthol, isomenthone and acetate make it an excellent natural decongestant. During day time, you can use this oil for relieving congestion but it is not as effective at night when you want to sleep peacefully as peppermint oil has stimulating properties that may keep you awake.

Inhale Peppermint Oil to Relieve Nasal Congestion

Get this:

  • Peppermint oil- 2 drops
  • Cotton ball

Do this:

  • Pour the drops of oil on cotton ball.
  • Take this cotton close to your nose and inhale deeply.
  • Give a break and repeat this for 5-8 times or more if you feel like.
  • Do this whenever you need to relieve congestion of your nose.
  • You may also add 2-3 drops of peppermint oil in hot water and inhale its steam.

15. Fenugreek for Nasal Congestion

Fenugreek is also a good remedy for nasal congestion due to its anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the swelling of nasal membranes. Here is a recipe of making tea with fenugreek seeds as this will serve another purpose too. The heat and moisture that come out from hot tea help in thinning the mucus.

Make Fenugreek Tea to Relieve Nasal Congestion

Get this:

  • Fenugreek seeds (crushed)- 1 tsp
  • Water- 1 glass

Do this:

  • Add crushed fenugreek to water.
  • Boil this water for a couple of minutes.
  • Strain and have this tea while it is still warm
  • While sipping the tea, inhale its steam.
  • Have 2-3 cups of fenugreek tea a day to get rid of nasal congestion.

About Sara

Sara is a Boston-based registered dietitian who works with clients to improve their health by optimizing nutrition. You can find her running, sweating in hot yoga, cooking in the kitchen, dining out, or exploring. Eating Food-Mostly Plants, and improving our relationship with food, is the secret to lifelong health in her eyes.

One comment

  1. I tried a hot tea of black pepper, garlic, honey and lime. Works suprisingly well.

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