11 Simple Home Remedies for Nasal Congestion (& How to Use Them)

Don’t you find it annoying when you can’t breathe normally through your nose?

More commonly known as stuffy nose, nasal congestion refers to the obstruction in the nasal passages due to inflamed membranes inside the nose [1].

According to Mayo Clinic, it is typically caused by cold, sinusitis, flu, and rhinitis.

It can also be triggered by certain irritants such as dust, pollen or tobacco smoke.

Although nasal congestion is rarely a sign of a serious ailment, it can be bothersome so it’s a good idea to find quick relief using these natural decongestants.

1. Orange Juice

An orange contains two things that are good for your stuffy nose.

First, it is rich in vitamin C, which according to studies, can alleviate nasal congestion by treating common cold [2, 3].

In a study that was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, a comprehensive trial was performed to test the efficacy of vitamin C as a common cold treatment [2].

Findings show that daily intake of one gram of vitamin did reduce the number and duration of colds per subject [2].

There was also a notable 30 percent decrease in the “total days of disability” among vitamin C takers [2].

In another study, this time, featured in the British Journal of Nutrition, it was found that vitamin C consistently reduced the episodes of common cold, as well as alleviated the severity of symptoms including nasal congestion [3].

It appears that vitamin C reacts with oxidants and decreases the inflammation that they cause [3].

Also, orange has synephrine, an alkaloid that acts as a decongestant that loosens mucus in the nasal passages.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled
  • 1 ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped

Recommended Directions:

  • Put all ingredients in the juicer.
  • Extract juice
  • Drink once a day for up to four days.

2. Garlic

A perennial herb cultivated worldwide, garlic is used medicinally for its wide range of pharmacological properties [4].

After all, it has been hailed many times as the world’s wonder herb.

Some of its most widely known properties are as an antimicrobial and immunostimulant [4].

These are great for those who suffer from nasal congestion.

Viral and bacterial infections of the respiratory system can cause blockage in the nasal passages so garlic can help by combating these harmful microorganisms.

As an immunostimulant, it can boost the body’s immune resistance to make it less susceptible to respiratory infections.

Apart from these, it is also a notable decongestant that can be a handy solution for plugged nasal passages [4].

In a 2001 study, 146 participants were made to take in either garlic supplement or a placebo for 12 weeks [5].

It was reported that garlic supplement can treat cold infection and protect the body from cold virus attack [5].

Those who consumed the garlic supplement had fewer episodes of cold and less severe symptoms compared to those in the placebo group [5].

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix the ingredients together.
  • Drink everyday for up to one week.

3. Saline Solution

Saline solutions have long been used for disinfection as well as treatment of certain ailments.

Its efficacy on common cold, sinusitis, sinonasal disease, and other infections that cause blockage in the nose has been demonstrated in numerous studies [6, 7, 8].

In the University of Wisconsin Medical School-Madison, USA, researchers conducted a randomized controlled trial involving 54 patients with chronic or recurrent sinus infections [6].

Among these patients, those who were asked to use saline solutions reported of improved conditions [6].

Interestingly, this natural remedy did not cause any harmful side effects [6].

Irrigating the nasal cavity with this solution also moisturizes it and helps get rid of encrusted material that makes breathing difficult [8].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 cups of warm water

Recommended Directions:

  • Dissolve salt in water.
  • Use a dropper to pour some into the nasal passages.
  • Repeat several times a day for one to two weeks.

4. Echinacea

Most of the health benefits linked to Echinacea is attributed to its immunological properties [9].

For those who are suffering from nasal blockage, this herbal remedy is said to help by clearing out common cold [10, 11, 12].

In 2001, German scientists assessed the effectiveness of Echinacea in 80 patients with first signs of cold [10].

The use of Echinacea resulted in a decrease in the duration of the illness, helping the patients recover more quickly from the respiratory infection [10].

Apart from its therapeutic efficacy, Echinacea has also been found to be an efficient preventive measure for this ailment [12].

Since it is has immunostimulatory properties, this herb can help power up the body’s immune defense, and protect it more efficiently from viral and bacterial infections.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 1 tablespoon of dried Echinacea
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of honey

Recommended Directions:

  • Steep Echinacea in hot water for 15 minutes.
  • Add lemon juice and honey.
  • Drink the tea two to three times a day for one week.

5. Fenugreek

What do you know about fenugreek?

This herbal plant is actually replete with many incredible benefits for the health.

The leaves and seeds of fenugreek are widely used as traditional medicine in many oriental countries [13].

Fenugreek has long been used by traditional healers for problems such as fever, dandruff, stomach pain, mouth ulcer, high cholesterol, diabetes, insomnia, and inflammation, among many others.

This plant has also been the go-to herbal remedy for respiratory ailments such as colds, flu, asthma, pneumonia, sore throat and bronchitis [13].

It has active compounds that can neutralize and control the microorganisms that cause these infectious diseases.

The spread of bacteria and viruses can be prevented by using fenugreek as remedy.

By clearing these respiratory infections, this herb can help relieve nasal congestion and give you the comfort that you’ve been looking for.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 teaspoons of fenugreek seeds, crushed
  • 1 cup of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Add fenugreek seeds to water.
  • Boil the mixture.
  • Drink two to three times a day for one week.

6. Onion

Onion is not just a popular herb used in culinary, it is also a highly valued herbal remedy used for many types of ailments.

There are many ways this herb can help boost your health.

For one, it abounds in phytochemicals that can strengthen immunity.

Also, it has blood sugar regulating properties that can help people who have diabetes.

It is also a powerful anti-inflammatory that’s popularly used for healing skin infections.

As if all these are not enough, you should also know that the quercetin in onions is a potent antioxidant that can act as an anti-allergy, preventing and treating cold infections [14].

Moreover, it helps relieve nasal congestion by loosening thick mucus in the nasal membranes.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 onions
  • 1 teaspoon of honey

Recommended Directions:

  • Grate onions to extract juice.
  • Warm in a pan.
  • Add honey.
  • Take two tablespoons of this mixture a day.
  • Do this for one week.

7. Eucalyptus Oil

There’s so much that you don’t know about eucalyptus oil.

Apart from leaving a soothing and cooling sensation when applied on the skin, this oil actually has a lot more benefits that you should get to know more about.

It works as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, antispasmodic, and immunostimulant.

Those who’d like to put an end to the unpleasant nasal congestion should get also get hold of this oil, as it is a natural decongestant.

In a study conducted at The Elizabeth General Hospital in New Jersey, USA, 24 healthy individuals who suffer from common cold were assigned to inhale either a combination of aromatic vapors that included eucalyptus, or a placebo [15].

After 60 minutes of inhalation of the aromatic vapors, and after intranasal spraying of 0.25% phenylephrine solution, the participants felt much better and no longer suffered from breathing difficulties  [15].

It was concluded that eucalyptus oil can significantly improve cold infection and nasal congestion [15].

This is not a surprise, since this essential oil is notable stimulating the immune system and combating bacteria and viruses, it is highly effective in treating different kinds of respiratory problems including the common cold [16].

It also works on drug-resistant microbes such as methicilin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) [16].

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Pour eucalyptus in a clean handkerchief.
  • Breathe in the aroma several times a day.
  • Repeat daily for up to one week.

8. Ginger

When it comes to medicinal plants, ginger is always one of those that top the list.

Scientists have long verified that the folkloric use of ginger is justified as it can indeed cure a wide range of health problems.

It’s best for nausea and vomiting, and can do so much in relieving stomach upset and other gastrointestinal disturbances.

It’s also good to know that ginger can help alleviate nasal congestion.

In a 2008 study, which can be found in the Global Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences, it was reported that ginger’s active compounds such as ethyl acetate can treat various diseases including the common cold [17].

In addition, ginger also contains flavonoids that make it an efficient antirhinoviral agent, preventing the onset of rhinoviral infections [18].

This is why, ginger is a popular solution for respiratory ailments that cause annoying symptoms such as nasal blockage.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 ginger root
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1 glass of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Chop ginger root into several pieces.
  • Put them in a pot.
  • Add water and bring to a boil.
  • Let it steep for 10 minutes.
  • Sweeten with honey.
  • Drink tea once a day for up to one week.
  • Combine minced ginger and lemon juice.
  • Add this to a glass of water.
  • Drink the solution once or twice a day until nasal congestion is cleared.

9. Peppermint Tea

One of the most frequently used ingredients for herbal teas is peppermint [19].

Who doesn’t love it rich flavor and minty aroma?

It’s a must to know that peppermint tea is more than just a delicious beverage.

Scientific evidence shows that phenolics in peppermint have strong antiviral, anti-microbial, and immunomodulating effects as well as potential anti-allergy properties [19].

It can easily combat the viruses and bacteria that infect the respiratory tract.

It also powers up the defense mechanisms of the body’s immune system so that it would be more difficult for harmful microorganisms to penetrate and cause harm.

All these make it an ideal remedy for nasal congestion and the conditions that cause this symptom.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of dried peppermint leaves
  • 1 cup of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Boil water in a pot.
  • Add peppermint leaves.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Let it steep for 10 minutes.
  • Strain the tea.
  • Drink it twice a day for one to two weeks.

10. Black Pepper

Black pepper does more than just make you sneeze.

This popular spice native to India has been used since ancient times for its medicinal purposes [20].

Amazingly, black pepper is a fantastic solution for constipation, indigestion, muscular pain, dental problems, diarrhea, heart disease and anemia.

It is also believed to be an effective remedy for common cold and other respiratory ailments [20].

Apart from its strong antimicrobial properties, it is also a mucokinetic that loosens mucus to provide relief from nasal congestion.

What You’ll Need:

  • 7 black pepper corns

Recommended Directions:

  • Crush black pepper to turn it into powder.
  • Warm powder in a pan.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Inhale the smoke.
  • Do this three times a week.

11. Carom Seeds

Also called ajwain, carom seeds are commonly used as traditional medicine for their antibacterial properties [21].

Did you know that aside from bacterial infections, carom seeds can also help resolve congestion in the nasal passages?

Aroma from carom seeds is said to flush out congesting materials in the nasal cavity [22].

In other words, it can help get rid of the mucus that’s plugging the nasal passages so that you won’t find it difficult to breathe anymore.

Since carom seeds are packed with essential nutrients and antioxidants, your health will also benefit when you make use of this remedy.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 tablespoons of carom seeds

Recommended Directions:

  • Crush carom seeds.
  • Put powder in a cloth.
  • Tie the cloth.
  • Hold cloth near to your nose.
  • Inhale the aroma.
  • Repeat several times each day for up to one week.

With simple but safe and effective home remedies, you can find immediate relief from nasal congestion as well as the respiratory ailment causing this symptom.

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