17 Home Remedies To Stop Postnasal Drip

Avoid the discomfort associated with mucus accumulation with these easy home remedies.

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Zeel GandhiDr. Zeel Gandhi, BAMS
By Shaheen NaserShaheen Naser  • 

Postnasal drip, also known as upper airway cough syndrome, is caused by excessive mucus production by the nasal mucosa. As alarming as it may sound, this condition is widespread and can be tackled with simple home remedies to stop postnasal drip.

But why does it happen? In most cases, mucus in the body aids in the fight against sickness and eliminates inhaled particles. When more mucus is produced than is needed, it tends to gather in the nasal passage and flow back. In that case, you may accidentally swallow the mucus without even realizing it. This swallowing of mucus spontaneously is referred to as postnasal drip syndrome.

Continue reading to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and natural ways to treat postnasal drip.

Note: While the majority of the remedies in this article are not dangerous or harmful, their efficacy needs to be established through research. If the problem persists after two weeks despite utilizing these treatments, see your doctor right away.

Particular medical ailments or medications can frequently cause postnasal drip syndrome. The possible reasons behind postnasal drip are stated below.

Causes Of Postnasal Drip

Woman lays in bed with a runny nose due to cold and postnasal drip

iStock

  • A cold temperature
  • Infections that cause cold and flu
  • Infection of the sinus
  • Allergies
  • Climate changes
  • Medications such as birth control pills and drugs for blood pressure
  • Fumes from perfumes, chemicals, or smoke
  • Pregnancy
  • A deviated septum or a crooked nose bone
  • Spicy foods

The following are the signs and symptoms that are most commonly associated with postnasal drip.

Symptoms Of Postnasal Drip

  • Coughs that are worse at night
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Soreness in the throat
  • Nausea
  • Bad breath

Now that you are well aware of postnasal drip and its causes and symptoms, take a look at some easy and efficient natural remedies to treat this condition.

Home Remedies To Stop Postnasal Drip

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar
  2. Essential Oils
  3. Honey
  4. Ginger Tea
  5. Coconut Oil
  6. Garlic
  7. Turmeric
  8. Grapefruit Seed Extract
  9. Oil Pulling
  10. Vitamins And Minerals
  11. Vicks VapoRub
  12. Salt Water Gargle
  13. GreenTea
  14. Lemon Juice
  15. PineappleJuice
  16. AloeVeraJuice
  17. OrangeJuice

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Anecdotal evidence suggests that apple cider vinegar (ACV) has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce the inflammation in the nasal passage and soothe a sore throat.

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 glass of water
  • Honey (optional)

What You Have To Do

  1. Add apple cider vinegar to a glass of water. Mix well.
  2. Consume this daily.
  3. You can also add honey for flavor.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 times daily.

Stylecraze Says
Instead of honey you can add grapefruit juice and mint leaves, or food grade peppermint oil to this remedy. These ingredients can help clear your nose.

2. Essential Oils

a. Lavender Oil

Lavender oil possesses anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties (1), (2). It can also help relieve symptoms of cold and flu. Hence, it may be used to combat the infection causing the postnasal drip.

You Will Need

  • 3-4 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 1 tablespoon of any carrier oil (coconut or olive oil)

What You Have To Do

Add a few drops of lavender oil to any carrier oil and rub this mixture on your chest, back, and throat.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 times daily.

b. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil, scientifically referred to as Mentha piperita, is a natural expectorant that exhibits anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties (3), (4). Hence, it can help treat postnasal drip and its symptoms.

You Will Need

  • 5-6 drops of peppermint oil
  • 1 bowl of hot water

What You Have To Do

  1. Add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to a bowl of water.
  2. Inhale the steam.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 1 to 2 times daily.

3. Honey

Honey acts as a decongestant and exhibits antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat cold and cough (5), (6).

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of organic honey
  • 1 cup of warm water

What You Have To Do

Add honey to a cup of warm water and consume daily.

How Often You Should Do This

Drink this 2 to 3 times daily.

4. Ginger Tea

Ginger has been used for ages to treat the common cold (7), (8). It contains a compound called gingerol that exhibits antibacterial properties. Additionally, ginger is also anti-inflammatory (9). It can act as a decongestant and help in treating postnasal drip.

You Will Need

  • 1-2 inches of fresh ginger
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • Honey (optional)

What You Have To Do

  1. Steep the ginger in a cup of hot water for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add honey for flavor and consume before it turns cold.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 3 times daily.

5. Coconut Oil

A container of coconut oil as a natural remedy for postnasal drip

iStock

Coconut oil is used in folk remedies to treat issues like bronchitis, cold, cough, flu, and sore throat (10). It has antiviral properties that can help kill or inactivate infection-causing microorganisms in the body.

A study showed that an aerosol spray containing a mixture of natural oils, including coconut oil, decreased inflammation in the upper respiratory tract (11). This can be attributed to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil (12).

You Will Need

1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil

What You Have To Do

Consume coconut oil every morning on an empty stomach.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once daily.

6. Garlic

Garlic contains a compound called allicin that exhibits antimicrobial properties (13). It is also widely used as a natural treatment for relieving symptoms of cough and cold (14). As we are aware, cold and cough are often the common reasons for an individual to develop postnasal drip.

You Will Need

  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • Honey (optional)

What You Have To Do

  1. Crush the garlic cloves and extract the juice.
  2. Add some honey to this garlic extract and consume daily.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 3 times daily.

7. Turmeric

The curcumin in turmeric has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat flu (or influenza) (15). It also helps in the control of respiratory system-related complications (16). Turmeric is considered to be a natural decongestant and is widely used for treating cough and cold (17).

You Will Need

  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 glass of hot milk

What You Have To Do

  1. Mix turmeric in a glass of hot milk.
  2. Consume the turmeric milk.

How Often You Should Do This

Drink this once daily.

8. Grapefruit Seed Extract

Grapefruit seed extract has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties (18), (19). hence, it can be an effective remedy to fight infections and inflammation related to postnasal drip.

You Will Need

200 mg of grapefruit seed extract supplement

What You Have To Do

Consume grapefruit seed extract.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 times daily.

9. Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is a detoxifying treatment that can help in decongesting your throat (20), (21). The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of the oil that you use for swishing can help treat your postnasal drip naturally.

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut or olive or sesame oil
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide

What You Have To Do

  1. Swish a tablespoon of the oil in your mouth for 10 to 15 minutes on an empty stomach.
  2. Spit it out and rinse your mouth.
  3. You can also add a few drops of 3% hydrogen peroxide to the oil.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once daily.

10. Vitamins And Minerals

Vitamin supplements spilling out of an open bottle as a remedy for postnasal drip

iStock

Vitamins C and D are known for their antibacterial properties, which makes them a great option for the treatment of postnasal drip. Zinc has also been found to help relieve cold more efficiently and faster (22). Hence, it recommended increasing your intake of these vitamins via your diet or supplements to combat the condition.

11. Vicks VapoRub

Vicks Vapor Rub contains a few extremely beneficial ingredients like menthol and eucalyptus that can provide relief from the symptoms of cold and aid restful sleep (23).

You Will Need

Vicks VapoRub

What You Have To Do

Rub a generous amount of Vicks VapoRub on your chest, back, and throat for immediate relief.

How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 2 times daily.

12. Salt Water Gargle

The antimicrobial properties of salt and hot water can help in treating cold and flu (24), (25). Hence, it can help address the underlying infection causing the postnasal drip.

You Will Need

  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 glass of medium hot water

What You Have To Do

  1. Add salt to a glass of hot water.
  2. Use this water for gargling.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 3 to 4 times daily.

13. Green Tea

Green tea contains natural antioxidants called catechins that exhibit antimicrobial properties and anti-inflammatory properties (26), (27). Thus, green tea can help fight infections and reduce inflammation in the nasal passages that often accompanies postnasal drip.

You Will Need

  • 1 teaspoon of green tea leaves
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • Honey (optional)

What You Have To Do

  1. Steep the green tea leaves in a cup of hot water for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add honey for flavor and consume it before it turns cold.

How Often You Should Do This

Drink this tea 2-3 times daily.

14. Lemon Juice

Lemons are rich sources of vitamin C. While vitamin C does not decrease the incidence of the common cold, it can shorten its duration (28). This can help reduce the symptoms of postnasal drip.

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 glass of water
  • Honey (optional)

What You Have To Do

  1. Add lemon juice to a glass of water and mix well.
  2. Add honey for flavor and consume this.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 3 to 4 times daily.

15. Pineapple Juice

A glass of fresh pineapple juice to manage runny nose

iStock

Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain that exhibits anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties (29). Hence, it is often used as a potent expectorant to decongest the phlegm and treat postnasal drip.

You Will Need

  • 1 cup of cut pineapples
  • 1 cup of water

What You Have To Do

  1. Blend the pineapples with water.
  2. Drink this juice.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this at least once daily.

16. Aloe Vera Juice

Aloe vera extract was found to exhibit antiviral activity against influenza (flu) virus (30). It also has anti-inflammatory properties (31). Both these properties can help reduce the symptoms of postnasal drip.

You Will Need

1/4 to 1/2 cup of aloe vera juice

What You Have To Do

Consume aloe vera juice daily.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once daily.

17. Orange Juice

Orange juice is a rich source of vitamin C (32). As we are aware, vitamin C can enhance immunity and shorten the duration of the infection. This, in turn, can help reduce postnasal drip.

You Will Need

1-2 oranges

What You Have To Do

  1. Squeeze the juice from the oranges.
  2. Consume this daily.

How Often You Should Do This

Drink this juice at least 2 to 3 times daily.

Using these remedies as described above can help you get rid of postnasal drip at a faster pace. You can also adopt a few lifestyle changes and precautions to prevent this condition from recurring.

Preventive Tips

A humidifier releasing vapours in the living room can help keep postnasal drip at bay

iStock

  • Use a humidifier or vaporizer to increase the humidity inside your home.
  • Include the following yoga asanas in your weekly routine:
    1. Balasana (Child’s Pose)
    2. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
    3. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
    4. Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose)
  • Avoid intake of dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and ice creams, as these can worsen your condition. Instead, opt for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and low-fat meats.
  • Keep yourself well hydrated.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Stay clear of allergens, such as dust and pollen, that can trigger postnasal drip.
Stylecraze Says
Several foods may also relieve nasal congestion. Sip rasam, kokum juice, warm chicken soup, or any warm beverage to clear a stuffy nose.

When To See The Doctor

If your symptoms last for more than 10 days, or if you have a fever, wheezing, and smelly drainage, consult a doctor immediately. If the medications fail to relieve the symptoms, you may be asked to undergo a CT scan or other tests.

Upper airway cough syndrome, or more commonly, postnasal drip, is a condition in which there is excess mucus production in the nasal passage. Infections, allergies, climatic changes, structural irregularities, spicy foods, and certain medications are some of the common causes of postnasal drip. This condition can make coughs worse at night, trigger nausea, throat soreness, and bad breath, so you may want to use home remedies to stop postnasal drip. Garlic, essential oils, turmeric, pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar, ginger tea, and oil pulling are some effective ways to get relief. If the remedies don’t help or you experience severe symptoms, please consult your healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I take for post-nasal drip during pregnancy?

Ginger is one of the best natural remedies that can offer relief from a postnasal drip in pregnant women. You may increase the intake of ginger through your diet or consume the juice extracted from ginger at regular intervals. Alternatively, saline sprays can also help in alleviating the symptoms of postnasal drip in pregnant women.

How long does postnasal drip last?

Postnasal drip is often a symptom of an underlying infection like a cold or flu, and it usually lasts for about a week.

What tea is good for postnasal drip?

Herbal teas that can soothe a sore throat are the best. Ginger and thyme teas possess antibacterial and antiviral properties and have a cooling therapeutic effect on your throat. They may also help control mucus overproduction.

What is the best sleeping position for postnasal drip?

Making some changes in your sleeping posture can help you deal with postnasal drip better. Propping up your head with multiple pillows while sleeping will prevent the mucus from draining down your throat. If you sleep on your stomach, putting a pillow beneath your abdomen will align your neck better and prevent post-nasal drip.

What medicine can help dry out a post-nasal drip?

Decongestants (pseudoephedrine) and non-drowsy antihistamines (loratadine-pseudoephedrine) can help dry your post-nasal drip.

What happens if a post-nasal drip is left untreated?

Mild cases usually resolve within a few days. However, in some severe cases, the excess mucus may act as a hotspot for infections and lead to other complications.

Does Benadryl help relieve a post-nasal drip?

Yes. The active agent in Benadryl, diphenhydramine, may help relieve a post-nasal drip.

What’s the best antihistamine for post-nasal drip?

Some antihistamines that may relieve a post-nasal drip include Loratadine (Claritin), Fexofenadine (Allegra), Cetirizine (Zyrtec), or Levocetirizine (Xyzal). Consult your doctor for further medical advice.

Why is a post-nasal drip painful?

A post-nasal drip may irritate your sinuses and lead to a sore throat. It also may cause inflammation in the tissues near the nose and throat and cause pain.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Check out our editorial policy for further details.

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