A stuffy nose, also known as a blocked nose or nasal congestion, is a condition that arises when there’s a buildup of mucus in the nose due to swelling in the nasal cavity. This leads to difficulty breathing and discomfort.
Often a companion of cold, flu, and allergic reactions, a stuffy nose is a lot more than barely annoying. Therefore, it is important to treat it immediately, lest it may further develop into an infection in the ear or lead to restless sleep.
Caution: If you are pregnant or nursing, consult your healthcare provider prior to consuming and inhaling any herbal or natural remedies.
Make sure any hot liquids that you are consuming or inhaling are not hot enough to cause severe burns to your skin, face, eyes, nostrils, lips, oral mucosa, or any other body parts.
- Natural Remedies for a Stuffy Nose
- Method 1: Use Steam with Essential Oil and Herbs
- Method 2: Use a Saline Solution
- Method 3: Do Vigorous Activity
- Method 4: Use Vicks VapoRub
- Method 5: Use Garlic
- Method 6: Use a Natural Decongestant
- Method 7: Use Hot Herbal Tea
- Tips to keep in mind
Natural Remedies for a Stuffy Nose
Use some of these quick and effective home remedies to clear a stuffy nose instantly.
Method 1: Use Steam with Essential Oil and Herbs
Inhaling steam is one of the best and most effective remedies for getting rid of a stuffy nose. It works by imparting both heat and moisture to your skin, thus reducing swelling in the linings of your tissues and relieving congestion. (1)
Steam with eucalyptus essential oil is particularly effective in getting rid of a blocked nose. The strong scent of eucalyptus tends to break down congestion of inflamed nasal membranes, thus relieving a blocked nose.
Rosemary has a cool and spicy aroma that tends to ease breathing by opening up your blocked nasal passage.
Things you’ll need:
- Hot water (keep the nasal passages moist)
- Eucalyptus essential oil (breaks down congestion)
- Herbs (rosemary) (opens up your blocked nasal passage)
Step 1. Add the oil and herb to hot water
- Pour 4 or 5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil in a bowl of boiling water.
- Add a few strands of rosemary herb.
Step 2. Mix the ingredients
- Mix the ingredients together to infuse the richness and aroma of each into the water.
Step 3. Inhale the steam
- Place the bowl on a table.
- Lean over the bowl so that your nose is directly above it. However, maintain some distance to avoid burning yourself.
- Grab a towel and cover your head in a way that there is no room for steam to escape.
- Inhale the steam from the water for a couple of minutes for instant relief.
- As you feel mucus loosening up, blow your nose gently.
Repeat the treatment twice daily for several days, if required. Instead of rosemary, you can add other aromatic herbs like peppermint, chamomile or thyme. Alternatively, you can opt for a full steam bath to relieve congestion and discomfort.
Method 2: Use a Saline Solution
Using a saline spray or salt water rinse is another effective way of treating a blocked nose. (2) This remedy follows the science of osmosis. The saline solution creates a higher concentration of salt outside the cells in your nasal tissues.
This will lead to water passing out of the tissues to balance things, thus reducing tissue swelling and eventually clearing up the breathing passages.
Things you’ll need:
- Sea salt (clears nasal passage) – 1 teaspoon
- Baking soda – ½ teaspoon
- Water – 1 cup
Step 1. Put salt and soda in a jar
- Pour 1 teaspoon of sea salt into a jar.
- Add ½ teaspoon of baking soda to it.
Step 2. Pour water into the jar and shake well
- Pour 1 cup of water into the jar.
- Shake the solution well to dissolve the baking soda and sea salt into the water.
Step 3. Drop saline solution into your nostrils
- First, blow as much mucous as possible out of your nose.
- Grab a sterilized dropper and fill it with the saline solution.
- Lie down on your back with your head hanging.
- Place the tip of the dropper a little inside of the nostril and squeeze out 1 to 3 drops.
- Stay in the same position for 5 minutes to allow the saline solution to flow into your nasal passages.
- Blow your nose.
- Repeat the same for the other nostril for fast relief.
Follow the treatment for 3 days, if needed.
Method 3: Do Vigorous Activity
A stuffed nose is the worst when lying down. Doing a vigorous activity serves as a natural decongestant remedy. It tends to increase your circulation, thus clearing away sinus pressure to allow easier breathing.
Aerobic workouts, walking, running, jogging and jumping jacks are some exercises that successfully help in clearing out congestion quickly.
While undertaking any kind of vigorous activity, take deep breaths to help open up the clogged passages.
Note that working out on machines at the gym, biking or lifting weights will not in any way help in relieving congestion as these are static exercises.
Method 4: Use Vicks VapoRub
Vicks VapoRub is an amazing treatment for getting rid of nasal congestion and discomfort. (3) It helps shrink the swollen nasal membranes, thus allowing you to breathe more freely.
- Just rub some Vicks VapoRub on your throat, chest and forehead at night, before going to bed for instant relief.
- Alternatively, Vicks can be melted in hot (not boiling) water to use as a steam inhalation. Place your head over the hot water and cover yourself with a towel to trap the steam so it can be absorbed into your face and inhaled into your nose.
Do this 2 times a day until you get rid of a blocked nose.
Method 5: Use Garlic
Garlic is another effective remedy for draining your sinuses and getting rid of congestion. Loaded with antiviral, antifungal and antimicrobial properties, garlic helps fight the infection at a faster pace. (4)
- Just boil 2 to 3 cloves of garlic in 1 cup of water. Drink this twice every day until your congestion clears up.
- You can also munch on 2 to 3 fresh garlic cloves to relieve stuffiness and discomfort.
- Alternatively, you can cook and sip on some garlic soup. Just increase the quantity of garlic in any kind of soup to make garlic soup.
Method 6: Use a Natural Decongestant
Decongestants help reduce swelling and pain that come with irritated nasal passages.
You can make your own decongestant at home, devoid of chemicals and preservatives.
While apple cider vinegar helps thin out the mucus, lemon juice (loaded with vitamin C) helps boost your immunity to fight the infection.
Things you’ll need:
- Apple cider vinegar (ACV) (helps thin the mucus) – ¼ cup
- Lemon juice (helps fight the infection) – ¼ cup
- Honey (effective cough suppressant) – 3 tablespoons
- Cayenne pepper (stimulates secretions) – ½ teaspoon
- Powdered ginger – ½ teaspoon
Step 1. Blend lemon and ACV together
- Pour ¼ cup of lemon juice into a container.
- Add an equal portion of ACV to the lemon juice and mix well.
Step 2. Pour the solution into a pan and bring to a simmer
- Pour the lemon-ACV mixture into a pan and turn on the heat.
- Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer.
Step 3. Blend in the other ingredients
- Turn off the heat and blend in 3 tablespoons of honey and ½ teaspoon each of powdered ginger and cayenne pepper.
Step 4. Stir, pour and store
- Stir the ingredients well for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into a jar and store it in a cool, dark place.
- Take 1 to 2 tablespoons of the concoction every day, as needed. Make sure you shake it well before use, as the powdered ginger does not completely dissolve into the liquid.
- Additionally, you can warm the mixture before consumption for better results.
You can store the concoction in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 weeks. However, discontinue the treatment after 3 days, as a nasal decongestant tends to worsen congestion after continued use.
Method 7: Use Hot Herbal Tea
Herbal tea is an essential medicine for a stuffy nose. It is also good for other health-related problems.
Some amazing herbal tea options to get rid of a stuffy nose are chamomile, peppermint and blackberry teas.
Things you’ll need:
- Herbal tea bag (effective for opening up nasal passage)
- Hot water
Step 1. Steep the tea bag in water for 2 to 3 minutes
- Grab your favorite herbal tea bag and place it into a cup of hot (boiling) water. The water should be around 180° F.
- Allow the tea bag to steep and infuse its content into the hot water for 2 to 3 minutes. Upon steeping, you will observe a change in the color of the water. However, keep an eye on the clock as steeping for too long may give your tea a bitter flavor.
Step 2. Discard the tea bag and enjoy your tea
- Discard the tea bag and enjoy your favorite herbal tea.
- Additionally, you may sweeten your tea with a little honey or sugar. You may also consider blending rosemary or ginger into your herbal tea for better results.
Drink this tea 2 or 3 times a day to get rid of your stuffy nose.
Tips to keep in mind
- Consume hot soups and beverages at least 2 or 3 times a day. Hot liquids help thin the mucus and relieve congestion.
- Use a humidifier to help soothe your irritated nasal tissues and cure the blockage. The moisture reduces inflammation of your nasal blood vessels and helps thin out the lodged mucus.
- Eat some spicy food, as spice works as a natural decongestant. Chilies contain capsaicin, a compound which stimulates secretions that assist in clearing mucus built up in your nose.
- Stick to aromatic herbs, as they contain volatile oils filled with natural decongestant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Choi SY, Park K. Effect of Inhalation of Aromatherapy Oil on Patients with ... Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4808543/. Published March 2016.
- Principi N, Esposito S. Nasal Irrigation: An Imprecisely Defined Medical Procedure. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316866011. Published May 2017.
- Wagner L, Cramer H, Klose P, et al. Herbal Medicine for Cough: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Forsch Komplementmed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26840418. Published December 14, 2015.
- Wright C. Homeopathy & Ayurvedic Medicine. Homeopathy & Ayurvedic Medicine. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Christopher_Wright2/publication/285900876. Published 2015.
- -Oskouel TE, Najafi M. Traditional and Modern Uses of Natural Honey in Human Diseases: A Review. : Eteraf-Oskouei, Tahereh : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming. Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3758027/. Published June 2013.
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