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How To Get Rid Of A Stuffy Nose Naturally

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How To Get Rid Of A Stuffy Nose Naturally September 17, 2018

You feel sick and feverish. You can’t breathe easy anymore, and your appetite is long gone. This is just how you feel initially, following the onset of a bad cold that is accompanied by nasal congestion (stuffy nose). A stuffy nose is annoying and can make your life difficult. But, there is no need to fret because there are all-natural ways to clear a stuffy nose. Keep reading to clear all your doubts about nasal congestion and how it can be cured with home remedies.

Table Of Contents

What Is A Stuffy Nose?

Stuffy nose is a commonly used term for nasal congestion. Most often, this condition is a result of an underlying health issue – like the common cold.

A stuffy nose is often associated with the following signs and symptoms.

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Signs And Symptoms Of A Stuffy Nose

  • A runny nose
  • Pain in the sinus
  • Buildup of mucus
  • Swelling of the nasal tissue

Many newborns may also have nasal congestion that may last for a month. The congestion may also be accompanied by sneezing and is completely normal. Infants may also have trouble feeding due to a stuffy nose.

One of the main reasons for a stuffy nose is inflammation of your nostrils. The causes of a stuffy nose are listed right below.

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What Causes A Stuffy Nose?

A stuffy nose can occur due to minor illnesses like:

  • Cold
  • A flu
  • Sinusitis

The symptoms due to such illnesses usually improve in a week. However, if you have been experiencing nasal congestion for a long time, it could be because of the following conditions:

  • Allergies
  • Hay fever
  • Nasal polyps (benign or non-cancerous growths in the nasal passage)
  • Exposure to chemicals
  • Environmental irritants
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Deviation of the nasal septum

If you have experienced nasal congestion, you know how difficult and bothersome it can be. It can cause you to lose your appetite and even make breathing quite difficult.

To help you clear your stuffy nose and restore your normal breathing, we have compiled a set of natural remedies. Try them out!

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Home Remedies To Get Rid Of A Stuffy Nose

  1. Warm Compress
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar
  3. Peppermint Tea
  4. Essential Oils
  5. Neti Pot
  6. Salt And Water
  7. Coconut Oil
  8. Garlic
  9. Ginger
  10. Pressure Points
  11. Saline Spray

Natural Remedies To Clear A Stuffy Nose

1. Warm Compress

Warm Compress Pinit

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You Will Need
  • A clean washcloth
  • Hot water
What You Have To Do
  1. Take a bowl of water and heat it.
  2. Soak a clean washcloth in the bowl and place it over your nose and forehead.
  3. Leave it on for a minute or two and remove.
  4. Repeat 3 to 4 times.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 to 3 times daily until you notice an improvement in your condition.

Why This Works

The heat from the warm compress helps in reducing the swelling and inflammation in your inflamed nasal passages. This decongests your nose and makes breathing a lot easier (1).

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2. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 glass of warm water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water.
  2. Mix well and drink the solution.
How Often You Should Do This

You must drink this 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid and potassium, both of which can help relieve symptoms of a stuffy nose. Potassium helps in thinning the mucus, and acetic acid fights microbial infections causing the congestion (2).

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3. Peppermint Tea

Peppermint Tea Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 8-10 peppermint leaves
  • 1 cup of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add the peppermint leaves to a cup of water.
  2. Bring it to a boil in a saucepan.
  3. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes and strain.
  4. Drink it up.
How Often You Should Do This

You can drink peppermint tea 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

Peppermint contains menthol that acts as a decongestant due to its anti-inflammatory properties and helps in relieving symptoms of a stuffy nose (3), (4).

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4. Essential Oils

a. Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus Oil Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 6 drops of eucalyptus oil
  • 1 bowl of hot water
  • A towel
What You Have To Do
  1. Add six drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl filled with hot water.
  2. Bend your head over the bowl and inhale the steam.
  3. Cover your head with a towel to prevent the steam from escaping.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this once daily.

Why This Works

One of the major constituents of eucalyptus oil is eucalyptol. Eucalyptol exhibits anti-inflammatory activities that help in reducing the inflammation and swelling in your nasal passage, thereby relieving nasal congestion (5).

b. Thyme Oil

Thyme Oil Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 6-7 drops of thyme oil
  • A bowl of hot water
  • A towel or blanket
What You Have To Do
  1. Add six to seven drops of thyme oil to a bowl of hot water.
  2. Bend over the bowl and cover your head with a towel.
  3. Inhale the steam.
How Often You Should Do This

You must follow this procedure as and when required.

Why This Works

Thyme oil contains thymol, a powerful antimicrobial agent that can help fight infections (6). It is also anti-inflammatory and helps with nasal inflammation (7).

c. Rosemary Oil

Rosemary Oil Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 6-7 drops of rosemary oil
  • A bowl of hot water
  • A towel or blanket
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a few drops of rosemary oil to a bowl filled with hot water.
  2. Inhale the aromatic steam.
  3. Cover your head with a blanket or towel to prevent the vapors from escaping.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this once daily until your symptoms subside.

Why This Works

Rosemary contains constituents like camphor and cineole (eucalyptol) (8). These compounds help in relieving symptoms of cough and cold due to their anti-inflammatory activities (9).

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5. Neti Pot

Neti Pot Pinit

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You Will Need
  • A neti pot
  • Distilled saline water
What You Have To Do
  1. Take a neti pot and fill it with distilled saline water.
  2. Tilt your head over a sink and pour the saline solution using the neti pot into one of your nostrils.
  3. Allow the water to drain through your lower nostril.
  4. Repeat with the other nostril.
  5. Breathe through your mouth while following this procedure.
  6. Rinse your neti pot with distilled water and air dry it after every use.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 3 to 4 times daily until you notice an improvement in your symptoms.

Why This Works

Saline nasal irrigation using a neti pot helps in thinning the mucus and flushing out the nasal passages (10).

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6. Salt And Water

Salt And Water Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 cup of warm distilled water
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
What You Have To Do
  1. Add half a teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm distilled water.
  2. Mix well until the salt dissolves completely.
  3. Bend over a basin and sniff the water, one nostril at a time.
  4. Repeat with the other nostril.
  5. This method is best for those who do not have a neti pot.
How Often You Should Do This

Follow this remedy as and when required.

Why This Works

Nasal irrigation with saline water has shown to be effective in clearing stuffy noses. It can also help with nasal congestion associated with allergies, cold, and sinusitis (11).

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7. Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil Pinit

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You Will Need

1 teaspoon of cold pressed coconut oil

What You Have To Do
  1. Take a teaspoon of cold pressed coconut oil and warm it.
  2. Rub the warm coconut oil on either side of your nose.
  3. Leave it on until your skin absorbs it completely.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this 2 to 3 times daily.

Why This Works

The topical application of coconut oil on your nose has decongesting effects. These effects could be due to the strong moisturizing, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory activities of coconut oil (12).

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8. Garlic

Garlic Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 3-5 crushed garlic cloves
  • A bowl of water
  • A towel
What You Have To Do
  1. Bring a bowl of water to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Simmer for 5 minutes and remove from the stove.
  3. Lean over the bowl of water and inhale the steam.
  4. Cover your head with a clean towel or blanket while doing so.
  5. You can also add garlic to your daily diet.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this at least twice daily for faster relief.

Why This Works

Garlic is a popular remedy used for clearing cough and congestion as it has expectorant and antimicrobial properties (13). Garlic also has anti-inflammatory properties that help in relieving swelling and inflammation in the nostrils (14).

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9. Ginger

Ginger Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 2-3 inches of sliced garlic
  • A bowl of water
  • A clean washcloth
What You Have To Do
  1. Add 2 to 3 inches of garlic to a bowl of water.
  2. Bring it to a boil in a saucepan.
  3. Simmer for 5 minutes and remove from the stove.
  4. Allow the ginger solution to cool a little.
  5. Once the solution is warm enough to be applied on the skin, soak a washcloth in it and wring out the excess water.
  6. Place it over your face and
  7. leave it on for a minute or two.
  8. Repeat the process at least thrice.
  9. You can also drink a hot cup of ginger tea for added benefits.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this twice daily until you notice an improvement in your condition.

Why This Works

Ginger has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which make it your best bet for treating nasal congestion (15). Ginger helps in reducing nasal swelling and fighting the flu-causing microbes.

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10. Pressure Points

Applying gentle pressure or massaging certain pressure points near your nose, like the bridge of your nose, both the sides of the nose right under your temple, the edge of your nostrils, or even the base of your skull, can help in treating as well as preventing nasal congestion.

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11. Saline Spray

Saline Spray Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 8 ounces of water
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • A dropper bottle
What You Have To Do
  1. Boil 8 ounces of water.
  2. Remove from the stove and allow it to cool for some time.
  3. Add half a teaspoon of salt to the lukewarm water.
  4. Once the solution cools down completely, transfer it to a spray or dropper bottle.
  5. Spray into one of your nostrils and allow the water to drip out of the other nostril.
  6. Repeat for the second nostril.
How Often You Should Do This

Follow this procedure 2 to 3 times daily for faster recovery.

Why This Works

Using a saline spray is exactly like using a neti pot. It helps in nasal irrigation, flushing out excess mucus and relieving nasal congestion (16).

All these remedies will definitely give you relief from nasal congestion and also prevent its recurrence to a large extent. You should also follow a few prevention tips to help these remedies work even better.

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Prevention Tips

  • Use a humidifier in your room to keep the air around you moist and decongest your stuffy nose.
  • Take a warm shower.
  • Drink lots of fluids and keep yourself well hydrated.
  • Keep your head elevated as it makes breathing easier.
  • Avoid using chlorinated water as it may further irritate your nasal passages.
  • Practice exercises and yoga poses that involve deep breathing.

The next time you experience a stuffy nose, you know what to do. Any of the above remedies will give you almost immediate relief from the symptoms of nasal congestion. But, if your condition keeps deteriorating, it is best to seek medical attention. Affected toddlers must also get medical attention as early as possible to prevent problems in feeding and breathing.

Hope this post helps you combat a stuffy nose. If you have any other tips or remedies, please share them with us in the comments box below.

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Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

When should I see a doctor for nasal congestion?

It is better to see a doctor for nasal congestion if:
• your congestion lasts longer than 10 days
• you have fever for three or more days
• there is a green discharge from your nose, accompanied by sinus pain
• you have been experiencing asthma attacks

How long does nasal congestion last?

Nasal congestion usually clears in about a week if it is due to some minor infection. However, if it lasts longer, consult a doctor immediately.

Is it normal for one nostril to be blocked?

Half of your nose could be blocked due to many reasons. Inflammation due to allergies can cause one of your nasal passages to be more swollen than the other. A deviated nasal septum is another cause for this development. Most of the times, it is completely normal for one of your nostrils to be blocked. In fact, your body also orders your nostrils to work one after the other.

How should you sleep with a stuffy nose?

If you have a stuffy nose, you need to sleep by popping a couple of pillows below your head. This helps in keeping your head elevated throughout the night, making breathing much easier.

What is the best medicine for a stuffy nose?

Medical treatment for a stuffy nose may include taking medications like oral antihistamines, antibiotics, or decongestants. You can also use nasal sprays and nasal steroids. If you are looking for natural alternatives to relieve the condition, any of the above home remedies will do the trick.

References

1. “Antibiotic Prescribing and Use in Doctor’s Office” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
2. “Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression” Scientific Reports, US National Library of Medicine
3. “The effects of peppermint on exercise performance” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine
4. “The anti-inflammatory activity of L-menthol compared to mint oil in human monocytes in vitro: a novel perspective for its therapeutic use in inflammatory diseases” European Journal of Medical Research, US National Library of Medicine
5. “Anti-inflammatory activity of 1.8-cineol (eucalyptol) in bronchial asthma: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial” Respiratory Medicine, US National Library of Medicine
6. “Antibacterial and antifungal activities of thymol: A brief review of the literature” Food Chemistry, US National Library of Medicine
7. “Anti-inflammatory activity of thymol: inhibitory effect on the release of human neutrophil elastase” Pharmacology, US National Library of Medicine
8. “Method for attaining rosemary essential oil with differential composition from dried or fresh material” Journal of Oleo Science , US National Library of Medicine
9. “Identification of 1,8-cineole, borneol, camphor, and thujone as anti-inflammatory compounds in a Salvia officinalis L. infusion using human gingival fibroblasts” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, US National Library of Medicine
10. “Saline Nasal Irrigation for Upper Respiratory Conditions” American Family Physician, US National Library of Medicine
11. “Nasal Irrigation: An Imprecisely Defined Medical Procedure” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, US National Library of Medicine
12. “Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic activities of virgin coconut oil” Pharmaceutical Biology, US National Library of Medicine
13. “Extracts from the history and medical properties of garlic” Pharmacognosy Reviews, US National Library of Medicine
14. “Immunomodulation and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Garlic Compounds” Journal of Immunology Research, US National Library of Medicine
15. “Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence” International Journal of Preventive Medicine, US National Library of Medicine
16. “Saline irrigation spells relief for sinusitis sufferers” Journal of Family Practice, US National Library of Medicine

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