A stuffy nose can be annoying as well as uncomfortable.
It is common belief that a stuffy nose is a result of excessive mucus in the nasal passages. But, in reality, it is due to inflamed blood vessels in the sinuses, which can be due to a common cold, allergies or the flu. Sometimes it is also caused by a sinus infection.
Both children and adults can suffer from this annoying problem. However, a stuffy nose is a serious concern for infants, as it may lead to breathing difficulty.
A stuffy nose is often accompanied by other symptoms including coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing, sinus pain, mucus buildup in the nasal passages, watery eyes, a hoarse voice, a headache and also a mild fever.
If left untreated, a stuffy nose can cause other problems like restlessness, an ear infection or sinus problems. There are many effective home remedies that can clear out your nasal passages and bring relief from a stuffy nose.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for a stuffy nose.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
One of the best remedies for a stuffy nose is apple cider vinegar.
First of all, its high potassium content helps thin the mucus. Plus, the acetic acid in it prevents bacterial growth and speeds up the healing process.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of raw honey in a cup of warm water. Drink this tonic twice daily.
- Mix together ½ cup each of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then remove it from the stove. Put a towel over your head and inhale the steam for 3 to 5 minutes with your mouth and eyes closed. Repeat a few times a day.
2. Steam Inhalation
Whether it is plain steam inhalation or infused with herbs or essential oils, it is a highly effective remedy for instant relief from a stuffy nose.
Steam inhalation works as a natural expectorant to clear the blockage. It will also bring relief to the inflamed blood vessels in the sinuses by keeping them moist.
- Fill a pan with water, heat it until it boils and then turn the heat off.
- Optionally, add a few drops of peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil to the hot water
- Put a towel over your head and lean over the pan so that no steam escapes.
- Slowly breathe in and out, inhaling the steam for a few minutes.
- Do this 2 to 4 times a day.
Note: This remedy is not suitable for children younger than 12 years, pregnant women and those suffering from high blood pressure, a heart condition or a central nervous system disorder.
3. Nasal Irrigation
Though not the most preferred remedy, nasal irrigation is very effective at treating a stuffy nose and nasal congestion.
Nasal irrigation helps break up the congestion in your nose by thinning out the mucus. It also increases the moisture in your nostrils, which in turn helps reduce the inflammation of your blood vessels.
In fact, a 2016 study published in Canadian Medical Association Journal notes that nasal irrigation can help relieve symptoms in patients with chronic sinus congestion, in which case, the researchers did not find steam inhalation as effective.
- Mix 3 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
- Place the mixture in an airtight container for storing.
- Add 1 teaspoon of this mixture to 1 cup of lukewarm boiled or distilled water.
- Fill a bulb syringe with this solution.
- Lean your head over a basin and gently squirt the solution into one nostril, while keeping the other one closed by applying light pressure with your finger.
- Allow the water to drain from the other nostril by releasing the finger pressure.
- Repeat the process with the other nostril.
- Use this remedy once or twice daily.
4. Warm Compress
Another effective way to keep mucus thin so that it drains smoothly from your nose is applying a warm compress.
The warmth from the compress also provides comfort from any pain and helps relieve the inflammation in the nostrils.
- Soak a towel in a bowl of hot water.
- Squeeze the excess water out of the towel.
- Fold it and place it over your nose and forehead.
- Repeat as often as necessary.
5. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper is a natural decongestant, meaning it helps loosen phlegm or mucus from the lungs, making it easier to rid yourself of it.
The natural chemical capsaicin in cayenne pepper will help relieve the swelling and inflammation that is narrowing your nasal passages.
- Pour ¼ cup of lemon juice and ¼ cup of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar into a pot and allow it to simmer. Stir in ¼ to ½ teaspoon each of cayenne pepper and powdered ginger. Finally, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of raw, organic honey and mix thoroughly. Store the mixture in a jar. Have 1 to 2 tablespoons of it daily as needed.
- You can also add ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder to a cup of boiling water. Sip a cup of this tea a few times a day.
- You can also sprinkle cayenne pepper on your favorite meals.
Garlic is another good remedy to cure a stuffy nose.
It has decongestant and expectorant properties that will help get rid of the blockage. It also helps reduce the inflammatory symptoms and strengthens the immune system, which in turn helps to clear the blockage and fight the infection.
- Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add 2 to 4 garlic cloves to the boiling water and let them simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Then, add ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder and give it a good stir. You can also add a little black pepper powder to it. Have this soup 1 or 2 times daily.
- Alternatively, make a paste of 3 to 5 garlic cloves, add 2 teaspoons of raw honey to it and have it 2 or 3 times a day.
- Including fresh garlic cloves in your cooking can also help relieve stuffiness and discomfort.