Stuffy nose is a common occurrence of today’s world. Where scientists have found a way to defeat cancer, they are still unable to conquer the common cold virus. The clinical description of a stuffy nose is Nasal Congestion, often reported as fullness, blockage, or restricted airflow passage. (Michael Stewart, 2010)
The common causes of a stuffy nose are the common cold, allergies, environmental irritants, chronic sinusitis, and exposure to chemicals. 10% to 20% of the population in the world suffers from allergy-related blocked or stuffy nose at any given time, and only 36% of these people consult a physician for this condition.
A stuffy nose is often accompanied by running or dripping nose, frequent sneezing, and itching on and around the nasal region. If untreated this condition also causes migraines, facial pain and fatigue, reduced sleep cycles, decreased concentration, and sensitivity to light.
Home remedies for a stuffy nose are an easy and effective way to relieve the distress caused by the disorder; as they offer a safe, chemical-free, nature-based, and instant relief from disorder and its related symptoms.
Home Remedies For Stuffy Nose
1. Hot Ginger Compress
Ginger root is rich in antioxidants that boost the general immunity of the system. Its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties help in combating the symptoms of a stuffy nose like facial discomfort, itching, and sneezing. A hot ginger facial compress allows ginger to combat nasal congestion(1) and its symptoms.
Follow These Steps to Make a Hot Ginger Compress
- Take a 1-2 inch of ginger and boil it in 1-2 cups of water.
- Simmer the broth for 10 minutes.
- Soak a piece of cloth with this broth and cover the face with it.
- Once the cloth becomes cool, re-soak it in the broth to repeat the process for 15 minutes.
- While dipping and covering the face a cloth that has been dipped in the ginger concoction, ensure that the temperature is tolerable to the skin; else you could run into a risk of severe burns.
- After this procedure, it is advisable to stay in a room or closed space with a warm environment. This protects temperature fluctuations that may be faced if a person exposes the broth-warmed skin to cool air, thereby, triggering an increase in the symptoms of a stuffy nose.
[Read: Home Remedies for Runny Nose ]
2. Herbal Tea
Tea is a universally favored hot beverage. Its anti-oxidant properties are a popular cure for many illnesses and disorders. There exist numerous herbal teas that are easily available in the market; some of them like chamomile tea(2), ginger tea, tulsi tea, and green tea are known as decongestants. Drinking or sipping these teas for a stuffy nose is an effective cure.
Follow These Steps to Make a Cup of Herbal Tea
- Boil 1 cup of water with the herb of choice. Use ½ inch of fresh ginger root or 4-5 leaves/root/bits of other herbs.
- Put 2 teaspoons dried tea leaves in the boiling water.
- Steep the tea for 5 minutes.
- Strain the liquid and consume it while hot.
Drinking a cup of herbal tea every 4 hours provides relief from stuffy nose and its symptoms. Most people claim that drinking herbal tea as the best home remedy for stuffy nose; although, research on this phenomenon suggests that the steam inhaled while drinking this hot fluid is the reason for the success of this home remedy as to a decongestant.
3. Carom Seed
Carom, or Ajwain, is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial properties. It is used in many home remedies to relieve a stuffy or runny nose. Let’s look at a few ways of using carom as a decongestant:
- Dry roast carom in a pan till it starts to smoke.
- Place this roasted carom in a cloth compress.
- Apply this compress around the nasal regions and the forehead till it cools.
Allow the compress to cool a little so as no to burn the skin.
- Boil a teaspoon of carom seeds in 2 cups of water.
- Simmer for 15 minutes
- Strain the tea and sip the concoction slowly.
Drinking this tea twice a day relieves a stuffy nose or nasal congestion.
Carom-Infused Mustard Oil
- Heat a cup of mustard oil till it smokes.
- Cool the oil till room temperature.
- Add a pinch of carom seed to the oil and reheat it till it is warm to touch.
- Massage the oil around the nasal region.
This oil can also be inhaled as an effective home remedy for congestion. Mustard oil in itself increases blood circulation that promotes the opening of a congested nose; with the addition of the pungent aromas from carom, or ajwain, the relief is almost instant.
4. Eucalyptus-Infused Steam Inhalation
Eucalyptus is a native tree of Australia and Tasmania, and it is now grown everywhere successfully. Its medicinal properties have been included in Indian Ayurveda, Chinese herbal medications, and Greco-European cures (Trivedi N A, 2004). Its anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties make it an ideal ingredient in home remedies.
Eucalyptus oil fumes are an effective way to clear a stuffy nose. For increased results, it is recommended to do steam inhalation with an infusion of eucalyptus oil. This eucalyptus-infused steam helps to increase the circulation in the nasal passages, leading to an increased flow of nasal mucus; thereby, clearing a stuffy or blocked nose.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is used popularly as a home remedy for a stuffy nose as it contains potassium(3). Potassium effectively thins the nasal mucus and allows it to flow freely; thereby, clearing the nasal passage. The acetic acid present in the cider acts as a deterrent for bacterial growth.
Apple Cider Vinegar can be used in two effective home remedies to cure stuffy or runny nose:
- Drink 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 2-3 cups of water every 6-8 hours.
- Inhale the steam of boiling apple cider vinegar mixed with a small quantity of salt and water (lesser than 1 tablespoon) gives instant relief from a runny or stuffy nose.
Other Popular Home Remedies for Instant Relief from Stuffy Nose
- Garlic infused oil nasal inhalation and facial massage around the nasal passage.
- Tomato or Chicken soup, with chopped garlic cloves, can be sipped to increase the immunity of the body as well as help fight the disorder.
- Pepper Ground with honey can be consumed every 2-3 hours as an effective home remedy. (To make the mix, powder 2-3 pepper pods in 1 tablespoon of honey)
- Vitamin C fortified food like lemon, tomato, etc. can be consumed to decrease the severity of stuffy nose symptoms.
- Smelling a cut onion is good for a stuffy nose as the sulfur in the onion helps in increasing fluidity of the mucus leading to effective decongestion.
[Also Read: Essential Oils for Stuffy Nose]
Home remedies for a stuffy nose or blocked nasal passage are a successful way to treat the condition. They offer a nature-based inexpensive technique to approach the problem of nasal congestion and its associated symptoms. These remedies are known to provide instant and long-term relief in cases of a blocked nose caused due to allergies, colds, sinus problems, etc.
1. How to prevent getting a stuffy nose?
When the preliminary symptoms like partially stuffy nose, blocked sinus, headache, etc. manifest, that is the time to use the following ways to prevent completely prevent nasal congestion:
- Use a humidifier
- Take a bath with warm water
- Do steam inhalation once a day
- Drink lots of fluids
2. What foods to avoid when I have a stuffy nose?
Some foods have been associated with increased mucus formation in the nasal passage; this can lead to increased discomfort while a person suffers from nasal congestion. The foods to avoid when an individual suffers from a stuffy nose are:
- Refined Sugar: as it increases inflammation and mucus formation
- Spicy Food: triggers histamine production and causes nasal tissues to swell
- Milk and Dairy Products: triggers and accelerates mucus production in the nose
- Red Meat: as it increases excessive accumulation in the body
- Pizza: as it contains dairy product – cheese and gluten which help in mucus formation
3. Can drinking fluids cure stuffy nose?
Yes, drinking plenty of fluids makes the nasal mucus thin and helps to run freely. The frequent blowing of the nose to clear the mucus secretion helps in curing a stuffy nose. Drinking warm or hot fluids like tea, herbal tea, etc. help soothe the pressure on the sinus. It is stated that drinking 3-4 liters of fluids in a day will ensure good health.