Stuffy nose or a blocked nose is medically referred to as nasal congestion, and often results from the stimulation of the nasal cavity. This triggers the inflammation of blood vessels in the sinuses, narrowing mucus passage and leading to the characteristic ‘blocked nose’. There are many reasons why these nasal blood vessels get inflamed.
These include common cold, a flu, allergic reactions or an infection of the sinuses. At face value (quite literally), your nose is running and your voice sounds weird. The worst bit is that you cannot even blow your nose. When you get a stuffy nose, normal breathing becomes hard. It is interesting to see just how much zeal a stuffy nose can zap out of your daily life, making you feel lethargic.
There are pharmaceutical products that help deal with the stuffy nose, but these are sometimes inaccessible. The good news is that there are handy home remedies that help deal with a blocked nose. Whichever the cause of a stuffy nose, below are effective ways to enable you breathe with ease.
1. Salt Water Rinse:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Iodide-free salt, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 cup of warm boiled water.
Salt water rinse, also referred to as saline rinse, involves creating salt solution to rinse the blocked nose. Ideally, this recommended method is preferred for the simple reason that saline solution helps clear the mucus from the nose with relative ease. It also has the advantage of rinsing irritants from the cavity, thus eliminating the dreary congestion. The purpose of baking soda in this rinse is to buffer the solution and therefore reduce the irritation to the sensitive nasal passage – it acts as a buffer.
- Add the teaspoon of baking soda to the salt and mix to get an even mixture before transferring it to an airtight container.
- Take a teaspoon of this mixture and add it to the cup of water before stirring to dissolve.
- Take a bulb syringe and rinse it with this solution before sucking up the salt solution.
- Bend over the sink and squeeze some of the solution into your nose.
- Press one of the nostrils closed using your finger, while squeezing the saline solution into the other nostril.
- Allow the solution to drain, and repeat this with the other nostril.
- Do this thrice a day.
NB: Avoid overusing the saline rinse as it can easily cause irritation of the nasal cavity. It is also important to rinse the syringe bulb after use to avoid creating an opportunity for infection. Lastly, always use boiled water to create the saline rinse. The last thing that you need when dealing with a stuffy nose is an infection from using dirty water.
2. Drinking Hot Liquids:
Time Required: 5 Min
What You Need: Varies, but examples of hot liquids to ease congestion include water, chicken soup and lemon juice with honey
The essence of drinking hot liquids is to stay hydrated. Dehydration is congestion’s worst enemy as it only compounds the problem. What’s more, staying hydrated helps ease congestion. It is impossible to talk about home remedies for a stuffy nose without making mention of chicken soup.
Chicken soup is touted to reduce the production of mucus by affecting inflammation of the blood vessels in the nasal cavity. When the soup is drank while hot, the steam also plays a fundamental role in loosening the congestion. Note that for these remedies to work, however, it is important to ensure that you steer clear of fluids that easily dehydrate, such as caffeinated drinks, carbonated sodas and alcohol.
- Boil some drinking water and keep it in a flask. You can sip this water (when it is at reasonable temperatures of course) through out the day to remain well hydrated.
- Prepare your chicken soup using your favorite recipe and stagger your intake throughout the day.
- Alternatively, prepare lemon juice by squeezing 2 lemons to get fresh juice. Add hot water to the squeezed juice, making sure you scoop a teaspoon of honey and stir it in the hot lemon juice.
- Take this home remedy thrice a day or until the congestion eases.
3. Herbal Tea:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: Herbal tea of choice.
Herbal tea, taken when hot, enhances the thinning of mucus during nasal congestion, thus making it easier to breathe. The added advantage of herbal tea is that in the absence of milk, the tea easily gets rid of toxins from the nasal cavity. There is a wide array of herbal teas to choose from, including chamomile, caraway, cinnamon, fennel, dill and hibiscus tea among others.
- Prepare a cup of herbal tea as you normally would a few times every day until the blockage eases.
4. Black Pepper:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: Black Pepper and two drops of sesame oil.
Black pepper has been shown to be an effective home remedy for de-congestion of a blocked nose in a rather unique way. The pepper triggers sneezing, therefore enabling the elimination of the mucus and any irritants that may be stuck in the nasal cavity. Sesame oil simply acts as a carrier for the black pepper.
NB: Some individuals are allergic to spices, and black pepper is one of them. You may need to check on this prior to using this home remedy.
- Place a pinch of black pepper on your palm and add 2 drops of sesame oil to it.
- Mix the two evenly to create a paste which you will then apply right below your nose.
- Inhale the strong aroma. This is set to trigger sneezing, so do not prevent it. Doing so gets rid of the mucus, easing breathing.
5. Spicy Tomato Tea:
Time Required: 25 Min
What You Need: One cup of tomato juice, minced garlic, one tablespoon of lemon juice, half teaspoon of pepper and pinch of salt.
Tomato tea deviates from the conventional preparation of other teas, but is a great home remedy that helps deal with a blocked nose. The ingredients in the tomato juice are effective in enhancing mucus flow through the cavity. The spices included add some ‘heat’ to the mixture, effectively getting rid of congestion in the nasal cavity. As aforementioned, it is important to double-check the spices included to prevent any allergic reactions.
- Bring the cup of tomato juice to boil as you mix the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl – the minced garlic, lemon juice, pepper and salt.
- Add the mixed ingredients to the bubbling juice and stir to create an even mixture.
- Allow the mixture to boil before removing it from the heat.
- Sip the spicy tomato tea while still hot.
- You can use this remedy thrice daily for a couple of days or until your congestion eases.
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Three fresh cloves of garlic, turmeric powder, a cup of warm water.
Garlic is a very versatile home remedy, thanks to its anti-fungal properties. This characteristic enables the garlic to ward off the microorganism responsible for the nasal cavity infection causing the stuffy nose. Whether you choose to eat garlic daily, or drink it when added to water, the benefits of this home remedy cannot be overlooked.
- Mince three fresh cloves of garlic and add to the cup water before boiling. You may opt to add half a teaspoon of turmeric.
- Sieve the hot mixture and drink it while still hot. Do this daily or until the congestion eases.
- Alternatively, peel the cloves of garlic and eat them fresh. Admittedly, this does take some getting used to for some people the relief of congestion however, is an added benefit.
7. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar:
Time Required: 5 Min
What You Need: Organic apple cider vinegar, table spoon of honey and cup of warm water.
Organic apple cider vinegar is yet another versatile home remedy, thanks to its high concentration of nutrients. The presence of Vitamins A, B and E aid in the reduction of allergic reactions by clearing the nasal cavity while its high pH value breaks down the mucus, effectively clearing the congestion. As a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, this product makes for an excellent home remedy in dealing with a stuffy nose.
- Add two tablespoons of the organic apple cider vinegar to the cup of warm water and stir in a tablespoon of honey.
- Drink this mixture thrice daily for a couple of days or until the congestion clears.
8. Eucalyptus Oil :
Time Required: 5 Min
What You Need: Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil is an excellent home remedy for nasal congestion as its decongestant properties provide relief from the condition. In addition, the oil has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the inflammation of blood vessels in the nasal cavity. This easy-to-use remedy is effective in preventing stuffiness.
- Place three drops of the eucalyptus essential oil in your clean handkerchief and hold close to your nose to enable you inhale the aroma of the oil. This can be done as soon as the relief of the remedy wears out.
- Alternatively, and this works perfectly for bedtime, dab three drops of the eucalyptus essential oil on your bedding. This enables you to get relief from congestion even when you are asleep. Take care not to put too much oil as this could become overbearing and acts as an irritant.
9. Hot Water:
Time Required: Varies
What You Need: Moderately hot water.
The idea behind using moderately hot water is to ensure that the passages in the nasal cavity remain moist. This is critical because it prevents the passages from drying, a factor which worsens congestion. Using hot water in different capacities also ensures a constant flow of mucus, making this a simple but effective home remedy.
- Run a hot shower for a short while. This leads to the accumulation of steam in the bathroom, which effectively clears your stuffy nose. Do this twice daily, especially in the morning and evening when a dip in temperatures increases nasal congestion.
- If the option of a hot shower is not available, the other alternative involves placing a washcloth in moderately hot water before transferring it to cover your face. Leave the washcloth on your face for about 10 minutes. Repeat this as often as is practical or until the congestion clears.
10. Steam Inhalation:
Time Required: 5 Min in intervals
What You Need: Boiling water, three drops of peppermint essential oil.
Steam inhalation is one of the most effective ways to get quick relief from a stuffy nose. This natural remedy not only clears mucus buildup, it also ensures the nasal passage remains moistened. This remedy can be used thrice daily or as often as is practical.
NB: This method is not suitable for small children as it predisposes them to scalding from the hot water. It is not recommended for expectant ladies too.
- Bring the water to boil and add three drops of peppermint essential oil.
- Inhale the steam in intervals in case the heat proves to be too much.
- This remedy can be used twice daily, and preferably before bedtime.
Natural home remedies are easy to get, and are often quite affordable. There is no need to suffer from the effects of a stuffy nose anymore with the availability of the aforementioned solutions.