Marios Dimopoulos Clinical Nutritionist, Author, Fellow of the American Council of the Applied Clinical Nutrition

Πέμπτη, 25 Σεπτεμβρίου 2014

Home Remedies for Nasal Congestion

Nasal congestion in simple terms is known as a ‘blocked nose’ or ‘stuffy nose’. This happens when there is swelling in the nasal cavity, leading to a buildup of mucus. As a result, it becomes difficult to breathe normally. This is a symptom often associated with colds, flus and allergic reactions.
Nasal congestion can be more than merely annoying. It is important to treat it immediately or it can cause other problems, such as ear infections, restless sleep and so on.

There are many ways to clear congestion. This very common problem can be easily treated by using ingredients already in your kitchen. Use any of these remedies as needed to relieve discomfort until you are well again.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for nasal congestion.

1. Garlic

Garlic is on of the best home remedies for reducing nasal congestion. Its antiviral and antifungal properties help fight the respiratory infection causing congestion.
  • Boil two to three garlic cloves in one cup of water. You may also mix in one-half teaspoon of turmeric powder. Drink it daily until the congestion clears.
  • Eating fresh garlic cloves can also help relieve stuffiness and discomfort.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar can quickly clear a stuffy nose as it helps thin the mucus. Plus, being rich in several nutrients, it is also good for your overall health and immunity.
  1. Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon of honey in a cup of warm water.
  2. Drink this two or three times a day at least for a few days.

3. Steam Inhalation

Inhalation therapy is another popular home remedy for instant relief from nasal congestion. It works as a natural expectorant to clear the congestion and also lubricates the irritated respiratory tract. You can do this two to four times a day.
  • Add one tablespoon of crushed carom seeds (ajwain) to boiling water and inhale the steam (keep your head about an arm’s length away from the bowl from which you are inhaling the steam).
  • You can also add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to boiling water and inhale the steam.
Note: Steam inhalation is generally not recommended for young children because of the risk of scalding. Also, it may not be suitable for pregnant women, and those suffering from high blood pressure, heart condition or central nervous system disorders.

4. Nasal Irrigation

Nasal irrigation with saline solution can also be used to treat nasal congestion. It helps wash away the mucus and irritants from the nasal passages.
  1. Mix one teaspoon of salt in two cups of distilled warm water.
  2. Use this solution for nasal irrigation using a neti pot or some other irrigation device.
  3. Repeat once or twice daily for a few days.
Note: Make sure to use distilled or previously boiled water for nasal irrigation and wash the irrigation device after each use.

5. Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil is highly beneficial for those suffering from nasal congestion, thanks to its decongestant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Simply put one or two drops of eucalyptus essential oil in a fresh handkerchief and inhale the aroma. Do this a few times a day.
  • You can also use eucalyptus essential oil on your pillow so you can get the benefits of this oil even when you are in deep sleep.

6. Warm Water

When suffering from nasal congestion, it is important to aid a steady flow of mucus through your nasal passages. Warm water can be of great help in this regard. It will also keep the nasal passages moist and prevent them from drying out.
  • Using a humidifier can help open up clogged nasal passages.
  • You can also run a hot shower for several minutes so that steam builds up in the bathroom. Breathe in the soothing vapors. Repeat twice daily until you recover completely.
  • Another option is to wet a washcloth in warm water and place it over your face. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat several times a day.

7. Herbal Tea

herbal tea
Hot herbal tea can help thin the mucus clogging your nasal passages. The herbs in herbal tea will also help flush out the toxins from your body, giving you double benefits.
Simply drink a cup of hot herbal tea of your choice a few times daily until the congestion clears. Peppermint tea is usually considered good for nasal congestion as the menthol in this herb helps open up the nasal passage.

8. Black Pepper

black pepper
Black pepper can be highly beneficial for relieving nasal congestion and blocked sinuses. It will induce sneezing thus getting rid of the mucus and allergens in your sinuses.
  1. Take a little black pepper in your palm and add three drops of sesame oil in it.
  2. Dip your finger in the mixture and apply it under your nose.
  3. Breathe in the strong aroma. It might make you sneeze, so do not suppress it.
  4. Repeat as needed.

9. Spicy Tomato Tea

hot tomato tea
This is an excellent remedy for getting relief from nasal congestion as it can help improve the flow of mucus through the nasal passages.
  1. Boil one cup of tomato juice along with one tablespoon of chopped garlic, one tablespoon of lemon juice, some hot sauce and a pinch of celtic sea salt.
  2. Drink this tea slowly while it is hot, twice daily for a few days.
Also, eat very spicy foods and include ginger, garlic, onion and red chili more often while preparing your food to make it spicier. You can also have chicken soup.

10. Fenugreek

fenugreek seeds
Fenugreek is a very good natural ingredient to treat nasal congestion, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps cleanse the mucus membranes. Plus, the heat and moisture from fenugreek tea will help thin the mucus.
  1. Mix one or two teaspoons of crushed fenugreek seeds in a glass of water.
  2. Boil the solution.
  3. Strain and drink it while it is warm.
  4. Repeat two or three times a day until you get complete relief from the problem.
Note: Do not take fenugreek during pregnancy as it may stimulate uterine contractions.
If you do not get relief from nasal congestion after following any of these home remedies, contact your physician.

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