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The best home remedies for nasal congestion
A stuffy nose is usually quite uncomfortable. Especially at night, sleep is disturbed by the nasal breathing, the mucous membranes in the mouth and throat dry up and the morning begins with a dry throat and difficulty swallowing. The most common cause of disabled nasal breathing is runny nose, as part of a cold or allergy. Home remedies can quickly provide relief here by helping to liquefy the mucus, have a decongestant effect and thereby make breathing easier.
Effective home remedies for a stuffy nose are for example:
- Inhalations with salt
- Nasal irrigation
- Drink a lot
- Hot soup
- Smell a sliced onion
- Eucalyptus oil
- herbal tea
- Horseradish topper
- Manuka honey
Our nose has the job of cleaning the inhaled air. It also has a very special mucosal surface. If cold air or foreign bodies penetrate, it can swell to increase its surface area and produce more liquid and mucus. In this case, the replenishment of liquid is very important. Sufficient drinking is the order of the day for colds in the form of still water or herbal tea. The more the mucous membrane is swollen, the more fluid has to be “refilled”. As a result, the mucus is liquefied, can dissolve better and the nose becomes free again.
Inhaling with a stuffy nose is a simple but effective home remedy. It is best to use salt water for this. Salt has a disinfectant effect, liquefies mucus and moisturizes the mucous membrane. So that it can fully develop its effect and reach the nasal mucosa, the use of a special inhalation device (nebulizer) is recommended. The salt solution is atomized into the finest vapor particles (aerosol), which are then inhaled through a mask.
If there is no steam inhaler available, the traditional variant of inhaling over a saucepan or over a bowl can be used if the nose is blocked. Use simple table salt, Himalayan or sea salt and mix it with boiling water in a bowl.
When the water is no longer too hot, the head is bent over the vessel and a towel is placed over it so that the steam remains under the towel. Inhalation should be done for five to ten minutes. If you feel unwell, the process is stopped immediately. After application, rest and warmth are important.
Important: With this form of inhalation, the salt has only a very limited effect, since it has a significantly higher boiling point than water. As a result, only the steam is inhaled above the vessel with hot salt water, the salt, however, remains in the bowl. Salt solutions must be atomized or atomized in order to be effective.
Nevertheless, classic inhalation can be very helpful, especially for a cold, because the inhaled water vapor provides soothing warmth, moisturizes and cleans the mucous membranes and promotes their blood circulation.
Sea salt based nasal spray
Sea salt-based nasal sprays can be used daily for a long period of time without running the risk of the mucous membranes drying out and becoming dependent. Dry mucous membranes in particular are a breeding ground for pathogens. Moist mucous membranes, on the other hand, can clean themselves and protect themselves from intruders. A sea salt spray heals, moisturizes and liquefies the mucus and is therefore a recommended home remedy for nasal congestion.
Essential oils, when used properly, are effective home remedies. A few drops
- or tea tree
vaporized in the aroma lamp not only smell good, but can also bring relief if your nose is blocked. It is important to ensure that the oils are of good quality.
On the way, smelling on a handkerchief helps, which is drizzled with one or two drops of the desired oil. A cloth prepared with essential oil next to the pillow can also help you take a deep breath at night. This is not suitable for young children. These oils can only be used from school age.
Olive oil nourishes and protects the nasal mucosa. Enriched with a drop of high-quality peppermint oil, this can make breathing easier. Twenty milliliters of cold-pressed olive oil are mixed with a drop of peppermint essential oil and poured into a small brown glass bottle. It is recommended to apply a small amount of the mixture to the nasal entrance.
Attention: Less helps more here. Olive oil, without any additives, can also be used. This has a healing and nourishing effect on the nasal mucosa. A little olive oil twice a day on the finger and thus rubbing the walls of the nose - this is good and also protects against allergens. The olive oil puts a protective film on the nasal mucosa and thus repels the tiny intruders.
Nasal irrigation is one of the simple, easy to carry out, but quite effective home remedies for nasal congestion. A 0.9 percent saline solution (9 grams of saline - 1 liter of water) is used for this. All you need is a nasal irrigation can and you're ready to go. The nasal irrigation solution should flow into one nostril and then out through the other with the head slightly slanted above the sink.
It is important to open your mouth wide so that the salty mixture does not run down your throat. Then the pages are changed. The tightly fitting mucus loosens and bark or other deposits are removed from the nose. Ready-made sets are available on the market, which contain both a nasal douche and the finished rinsing solution as well as detailed instructions.
Humidify room air
Dry air alone can lead to a stuffy nose. This is worse with a cold. Therefore, the room air should be humidified using suitable methods. It helps to hang up damp towels or a special room humidifier. Indoor fountains not only look pretty, they also air-condition the air and ensure a pleasant indoor climate. With some models, the addition of essential oils is also possible, which can further support the effect. You can find out which oils are suitable for this under "Essential oils".
Acupressure is easy and, above all, to be carried out anywhere without any aids. If your nose is blocked, five points are important:
- The crease between the two eyebrows is squeezed for twenty seconds with the index finger and thumb.
- There are two more points, left and right on the nose, where the glasses normally sit. The points are massaged with the index fingers, also for twenty seconds.
- To the left and right of the nostrils there are two important acupressure points.
- The application can be repeated several times a day.
Smell an onion
The onion has both anti-ignition and decongestant properties. Smelling a sliced onion several times a day can help. Another option is to place an onion next to the pillow at night. Although this is not really pleasant in terms of smell, it makes breathing easier.
Those with a stuffy nose should eat hot soups as often as possible. What kind of soup is not so important, the main thing is nice and hot. Chicken soup is an ancient home remedy among soups. This helps with all colds and can be enhanced by adding chili and ginger.
Mustard flour foot bath
The mustard flour foot bath helps with chronic sinus infections, but also with acute colds. This clears the airways.
The Preparation and use of a foot bath with mustard flour (best of black mustard; sinapis niger) is relatively straightforward:
- Mix 100 grams of freshly ground mustard flour with half a liter of lukewarm water.
- Fill a small tub up to the calf height with warm water at 36 to 37 ° C.
- The mixed mustard flour is pressed through a cloth and the mustard flour water is added to the bath water.
- So that the smell of mustard flour does not irritate the nose too much, the tub is covered with a towel.
- The bathing temperature is between five and fifteen minutes, depending on skin tolerance.
After bathing, the lower legs and feet should be rinsed lukewarm and then applied with an olive or almond oil. The mustard flour bath is an excellent home remedy, but should be carried out very carefully and only once a day. As long as there is still redness, no repetition may follow. The mustard flour bath is suitable for larger children and adults.
If the nose is blocked, horseradish is recommended, both internally and externally as a pad. However, caution is required here as well as when using mustard flour.
Instructions for horseradish overlay:
- Grate a fresh piece of horseradish root and put the grater on a thin cotton cloth.
- Grasp the cloth tightly from all sides and tap vigorously with the back of the knife.
- The horseradish topper is placed on the forehead.
- The eyes should be kept closed or covered with a damp cloth.
Danger: The first time, the application must under no circumstances last longer than four minutes. If the skin turns red, the packet is removed immediately. After use, the skin must be treated with a good olive or almond oil. The next application may only take place when the skin has completely recovered. Horseradish pads are not for young children.
Tea made from elder or linden flowers, or both, helps with colds and fever. They are sweaty, antipyretic and liquefy the mucus. Accordingly, both teas are good home remedies for nasal congestion.
Herbal tea recipe for nasal congestion:
- Put a teaspoon of elder or linden flowers, individually or mixed, in a cup.
- Pour 250 milliliters of boiling water over it.
- The infusion should take eight to ten minutes, then the flowers are strained.
- The tea is drunk three times a day, sip by sip.
- If necessary, it can be refined with a teaspoon of honey.
The bees collect the South Sea myrtle, from which the manuka honey is finally produced. This is not "normal" honey, but something very special. It contains essential oils that are anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Applying a little Manuka honey to the inner walls of the nose before going to bed may sound a little strange, but has a very positive effect on the nasal mucosa.
If nothing helps
If all of the above-mentioned home remedies do not help after a few days and nasal breathing has been disabled for a long time, you should seek help from a doctor or alternative practitioner. Because even a harmless runny nose can lead to a chronic symptoms and this should be avoided in any case.
In addition, disabled nasal breathing also occurs in one
- Curvature of the nasal septum,
- Dust or other irritants,
- frequent use of a nasal spray,
- Nasal polyps or
- Injuries to the nose and nose tumors before.
Accordingly, the cause should be clarified in the case of long-lasting complaints. (sw, nr)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Susanne Waschke, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
- Federal Chamber of Pharmacists: Information and advice in the context of self-medication using the example of a cold, Bundesvereinigung Deutscher Apothekerverbände e. V. (ABDA), (accessed 22.08.2019), ABDA
- Pia Dahlem, Gabi Freiburg: "The Great Book of Tea", Moewig, 2000
- Carl-Hermann Hempen, Ulrike Brugger: dtv-Atlas Acupuncture, dtv, 2018