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13 Natural Remedies for Runny Nose

13 Natural Remedies for Runny Nose

Runny nose (rhinorrhea), as the name suggests, refers to a condition when your nostrils keep on discharging a fluid. It happens due to congestion and inflammation of the linings in your nasal passages and sinuses, mostly caused by a viral infection which we know as common cold. The other causes that lead to the swelling of inner linings of nose and sinus include allergy, flu or sinus infection. Mucus is continually produced by the glands in your nose and sinuses. The membranes in the nose cleans up this mucus and help fight infections. Sometimes, the mucus production suddenly increases in an attempt to clear off viruses or allergens. Inflammation caused by virus increases leakage of fluid from the blood vessels into the lining of the nose and also into the nose. This leads to swelling up of nose lining resulting into obstruction of air flow and a runny nose. Allergens, on the other hand, makes cells in the lining of the nose and the airways of the lungs release histamine and other chemicals which further lead to leakage of fluid, runny nose, sneezing, and nasal congestion. Anti-histamines, decongestants and sometimes even antibiotics are used by doctors to treat runny nose and other accompanying symptoms. But they all come with their own side effects. Here are some safe and natural home remedies for runny nose that can give you relief from this very uncomfortable condition and help expel the fluid comfortably.

Natural Remedies for Runny Nose

1. Salt Water Rinse for Runny Nose

Salt water rinse is one of the most effective home remedies for runny nose. Salt water in form of saline spray is even recommended by doctors to help the mucus expel easily out of nose. It thins the mucus and helps it come out easily so that you get rid of all the irritants. This remedy is safe for kids and babies too. You may buy saline spray or make your own salt water rinse at home.

Get this:

  • Salt- ¼ – ½ tsp
  • Warm water- 2 cups (you can even use water at normal temperature if its not cold)
  • Suction bulb/ dropper (optional)

Do this:

  • Dissolve the salt in the warm water.
  • Using the suction bulb or dropper, pour some salt water in one of your nostrils.
  • If you are not using any of these, take some water in your hands and sniff it up with one of your nostrils.
  • Now gently blow your nose to expel the salt water along with which the mucus will also come out.
  • Repeat the process with the other nostril.
  • Do this 2-3 times a day or whenever you feel the requirement to clear your nose of mucus.

2. Steam Inhalation for Relief from Runny Nose

This is yet another traditional remedy for runny and stuffy nose. When you inhale steam, it helps loosen up the mucus so that you may be able to easily blow your nose clear and get rid of the congestion. Although steam coming out of plain hot water is also effective, when you make this a herbal steam by adding such herbs as mint, ginger or essential oils like eucalyptus, camphor, thymol, pine oil etc. you ensure fast comfort for longer time.

Get this:

  • Bowl
  • Hot water
  • Towel

Do this:

  • Fill the bowl halfway with hot water.
  • Tilt your face downwards towards the bowl.
  • Now take the towel over your head and place it there holding it with both your hands at the corners in a way that ensures the steam doesn’t escape out.
  • Close your eyes because steam can damage them.
  • Now breath deeply so that the steam enters your nose to give you relief from nasal congestion and runny nose.

3. Mustard Oil for Runny Nose

The warm and pungent mustard oil has been traditionally used as mucolytic. Mucolytics break up mucous and help draining out sinuses. It has anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. Glucosinolate found in mustard oil fights off microbes while the allyl isothiocyanate combats fungal infection. There are various isothiocyanates also in mustard oil that inhibit a number of bacteria strains. Thus, this oil not only help drain out the fluid from your nose but also helps in curing the underlying infections that give you runny nose.

Get this:

  • Mustard oil- 2-4 drops
  • Dropper/ squeeze bottle/cotton ball

Do this:

  • Take the oil into dropper. You may also store some oil into a squeeze bottle to use it regularly or use a cotton ball soaked in mustard oil.
  • Pour 1-2 drops of mustard oil in each of your nostrils.
  • Keep your head tilted for few seconds so that the oil gets into your nose and sinuses.
  • After some time, you’ll feel the need to blow your nose.
  • Gently blow your nose. The oil lubricates and moistens any dry object or dirt etc. in your nose and sinuses. All these dirt comes out along with mucous when you blow your nose.

4. Ginger for Runny Nose

Ginger is one of the finest natural anti-inflammatory herbs of our times and is also easily available in our kitchens. Ginger has various antioxidants along with antiviral and anti-bacterial properties. It helps loosen phlegm and also give relief from respiratory discomforts. It is thus, not only good for runny nose but even for other symptoms of cold and flu like sore throat and fever etc.

Ways to Use Ginger for Runny Nose

  1. Cut slices of ginger and chew them raw. If you can’t tolerate its hot and somewhat pungent taste, use some salt or even honey to make it palatable.
  2. Make ginger tea to cure your runny nose. Take 1-2 inch piece of fresh ginger and cut it into slices. Place these slices in a cup and pour hot water over it. Let steep for about 10 minutes. You may strain or leave the ginger pieces settled at the bottom. You may also add a little honey to this ginger tea.
  3. Inhale steam after boiling some pieces of ginger in a bowl of water.

5. Garlic for Runny Nose

Yet another common herb from kitchen, garlic is known for its excellent antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. It cures your common cold, influenza, sinus infections and not only their symptom aka runny nose. While you can chew 1-2 cloves of garlic if you can stand the bad breath afterwards, making garlic tea by steeping it in hot water seems rather easy a remedy. You can also make garlic soup with yet another beneficial ingredient for relieving runny nose, onion. Here’s the recipe.

Make Garlic Soup to Cure Runny Nose

Get this:


  • Garlic cloves- 2-3
  • Water- 2 cups
  • Onion- 1 small
  • Salt- a pinch

Do this:

  • Cut the garlic cloves and add them to water.
  • Let this water boil.
  • Grate the onion and extract its juice.
  • Add this onion juice to the boiling water.
  • Add salt.
  • Have this soup twice a day to get rid of runny nose.

6. Onion for Runny Nose

If your nose runs due to sinusitis or sinus infection caused by some bacteria, virus or fungi, onion can come to your help. Onion contains sulfur which has strong antibacterial properties. Due to this sulfur only, you always cry when you cut onion. It helps in loosening up the mucus and expel the fluid easily so that you get rid of runny nose. Just smelling a piece of onion can cure mild sinus infection. However, you can prepare a tea that you can have while inhaling the steam.

Get this:

  • Onions- 1-2
  • Water- 1-2 cups

Do this:

  • Cut the onion in thin slices.
  • Boil the water in a pot.
  • Add slices of onion to the boiling water.
  • Let it boil for about 5 minutes.
  • Take the hot liquid in a cup.
  • Inhale the steam for a couple of minutes.
  • Drink the onion tea while still inhaling its steam.

7. Horseradish for Runny Nose

We had seen that mustard oil works well to get you rid of runny nose. Mustard oil, in fact, is a natural chemical which is also present in certain herbs and vegetables. Horseradish is one of them. Mustard oils, also called mustard oil glucosinolates or isothiocyanates, are released by plants when crushed or chewed. Japanese wasabi and nasturtium flowers and leaves are other sources of such mustard oils. Therefore, these vegetables and herbs have mucolytic properties that help drain off nose and sinuses. Apart from the volatile oils, horseradish also contains anti-microbial properties that can treat infections too. Horseradish also has high sulfur content that makes it anti-bacterial. There are various ways to consume horseradish out of which three are especially effective for runny nose.

1st Way to Use Horseradish for Runny Nose: Hold it in Mouth

Get this:

  • Fresh horseradish root (grated)- ½ – 1 tsp

Do this:

  • Take the grated horseradish and place it in your mouth.
  • Hold it there in your mouth till its flavor dissipates. This helps clear mucus from nasal passage.
  • After the flavor has gone, swallow the horseradish in your mouth. This will clear the mucus from your throat too.
  • You should always start with a pinch of grated horseradish as it is very strong, However, if it doesn’t seem to work, increase the amount to up to 1 tsp.

2nd Way to Use Horseradish for Runny Nose: Make a Syrup

Get this:

  • Horseradish root- 1
  • Honey- 4 tbsp
  • Water- as per requirement
  • Cheesecloth or a gauze

Do this:

  • Grate the horseradish.
  • Add honey to the grated horseradish and mix well.
  • Let it soak for 5-10 minutes.
  • Strain with the help of cheesecloth or gauze. This is the first pressed raw syrup of horseradish.
  • Now take the residue (whatever is left after straining) in a pot and cover it with water.
  • Boil this water with horseradish residue for a couple of minutes.
  • Strain it again and allow it to cool down.
  • Once the syrup obtained by boiling horseradish cools down, mix it with the first pressed syrup that you got by soaking it in honey.
  • Store this in a bottle.
  • Take 3-4 teaspoons of this horseradish syrup swallowing it slowly so that it works on your throat.
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day.

You may also gargle with horseradish tincture. For this, add 3 tsp of horseradish tincture in ¼ cup of water and gargle with this to help cure runny nose as well as cold and cough.

3rd Way to Use Horseradish for Runny Nose: Onion-Horseradish Tea

As onion and horseradish both are good remedies for runny nose, make a tea with both these ingredients to get faster relief from runny nose.

Get this:

  • Onion (chopped)- ¼ cup
  • Horseradish (grated)- 1/8 cup
  • Water – 1 cup

Do this:

  • Add onion and horseradish to water.
  • Boil it for 5 minutes.
  • Strain and have this tea.
  • If you can have it, chew the residue that is left after straining the tea.
  • Have 3-4 cups of this tea a day.

8. Flavored Herbal Tea for Runny Nose

You must be thinking why all the remedies for runny nose have to be smelly or pungent and boring without taste or with horrible tastes. If you are looking for something that will cure your runny nose and which also tastes good, you may try this herbal tea which uses some ingredients that we have already discussed but in a way and with some other ingredients that makes it taste good. So here’s the recipe for flavored herbal tea for runny nose remedy.

Get this:

  • Garlic (crushed)- ½ tsp
  • Ginger (sliced)- ½ tsp
  • Honey- 1 tsp (or to taste)
  • lemon juice- 1 tbsp
  • Cinnamon- ½ tsp
  • Tea bag of any flavor (caffeine free)- 1
  • Water- 1-2 cups

Do this:

  • Add garlic, ginger, and cinnamon to the water and boil it for about 5 minutes.
  • Strain and add honey and lemon juice to this.
  • Place the tea bag into the tea and steep for a couple of minutes.
  • Now sip this tea hot to get relief from runny nose.
  • You may also omit the step of straining and just chew the garlic and ginger pieces for a more effective remedy.
  • Have 2-3 cups of this herbal tea a day.

9. Turmeric for Runny Nose

This yellow herb has been used since ancient times by Ayurveda and Chinese medicine to treat various medical conditions. The compound curcumin present in turmeric gives it all its medicinal properties. Turmeric actually contains three curcuminoids – diferuloylmethane, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin of which demethoxycurcumin is in higher amounts and makes turmeric medicinally beneficial. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties making it a perfect remedy for cough and cold including runny nose.

1st Way to Use Turmeric for Runny Nose: Turmeric Milk

Turmeric milk has been prescribed by Ayurveda for various conditions including runny and stuffed nose.

Get this:

  • Turmeric powder- 2 tsp
  • Milk- 2 cups
  • Black pepper corns (crushed)- 5-6
  • Honey- 2-3 tsp

Do this:

  • Add turmeric and crushed pepper to milk.
  • Bring it to a boil.
  • Reduce the flame and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Put off the flame and let the milk cool down until it is just warm.
  • Strain the milk.
  • Add honey and have this.

2nd Way to Use Turmeric for Runny Nose: Turmeric Tea

Get this:


  • Turmeric- ½ -1 tsp
  • Cinnamon- ½ tsp
  • Clove (powdered)- a pinch
  • Ginger (grated)- 1 tsp
  • Honey- 1-2 tsp
  • Water- 1-2 cups

Do this:

  • Mix turmeric and all the other ingredients except honey with water.
  • Simmer this for 8-10 minutes.
  • Strain and add honey.
  • Have this tea 1-2 times a day.

10. Eucalyptus Oil Remedy for Runny Nose

Eucalyptus oil has long been used to treat cold and flu and is extensively used in the manufacturing of cough lozenges, ointments and inhalers. This oil contains anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. The vapors of eucalyptus oil are considered to be an excellent decongestant due to its anti-inflammatory properties that controls mucus secretion.

Get this:

  • Eucalyptus oil- 2-4 drops
  • Hot water

Do this:

  • Fill a bowl with hot water halfway.
  • Pour eucalyptus oil drops in this.
  • Place a towel over your head.
  • Inhale the steam coming out if this water to relieve congestion and runny nose.

11. Sage for Runny Nose

This is one of the most effective herbal remedies for runny nose and related infections too. Sage has come to be known as a good herb for many medical conditions due to its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Sage oil contains thujone which can combat bacterial infections. Its phenolic and rosmarinic acids are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. You can have dried sage herb, say about 1 tsp, with honey to relieve your runny nose symptoms. In fact, you can keep it prepared beforehand if you have kids prone to cold. For this you will need to place fresh (or dried) sage leaves in a jar and top it with honey. Let it sit for 4-6 weeks and your delicious sage remedy is ready for kids. You can also make sage tea.

Get this:

  • Dried Sage leaves- 1 tsp
  • Hot water- 1 cup
  • Honey (optional)- 1 tsp

Get this:

  • Place sage in a pot
  • Pour hot water over it.
  • Steep for 5-8 minutes.
  • Strain and add honey if using.
  • Have this tea once a day to relieve runny nose.

12. Stinging Nettle for Runny Nose

If you have got a runny nose due to some allergic reaction like hay fever (allergic rhinitis), stinging nettle can be useful to you. It is because this herb is a natural anti-histamine and thus is capable of reducing the amount of histamine in your body which is produced in a response to allergens.

Make Nettle Tea to Relieve Runny Nose

Get this:

  • Fresh nettle leaves- ½ cup Or Dried nettle herb- 1 tsp
  • Water- 1 cup
  • Honey (optional)- 1 tsp

Do this:

  • Add nettle herb to water.
  • Bring this to a boil and then simmer for 4-5 minutes.
  • Strain and add honey if using.
  • Have this tea 2-3 times a day.

13. Astragalus Herb for Runny Nose

Astragalus root is used in traditional Chinese medicine to cure as well as prevent cold and flu. Astragalus has antiviral properties and is also an antioxidant which can strengthen your immune system too. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that make it a good natural remedy for cold and runny nose. You can boil astragalus roots in water and add some salt and pepper to make a soup for treating your cold and get rid of runny nose or you can make tea with astragalus.

Get this:

  • Fresh astragalus root- ¼ cup Or dried astragalus- 1-2 tbsp
  • Water- 2 cups

Do this:

  • Add astragalus to water.
  • Bring it to a boil and then simmer for 5-8 minutes.
  • Strain and have this tea to relieve cold and runny nose.

You should also understand that a runny nose and sneezing are your body’s natural infection fighting mechanisms and they should not be suppressed forcibly otherwise it may lead to severe infections. Common cold usually goes away on its own but you should keep yourself hydrated by having lots of fluids including water and fruit juice. You should also have enough rest to speed up recovery from cold. Hot fluids like herbal tea and soups will help relieve your runny nose faster. If your runny nose doesn’t stop discharging fluid after 3 days, you should visit your doctor.

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.

6 comments

  1. Trying it right now. Will let you know how it worked.

  2. thanks for information. salt water solution is really helpful

  3. Thanks for the information. All are good ways.

  4. can this remedies be used on children of age 1-5

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