Natural remedies for sinus and nasal congestion relief
Although a stuffy or congested nose can be caused by thick mucus blocking the nasal passage, it can also be caused by swelling and inflammation of the small blood vessels lining our sinuses, not to mention that certain medical conditions like asthma can trigger symptoms as well.
While gently blowing your nose may help, clearing all the mucus can be difficult, putting you at risk for an infection that may trigger excessive mucus production as your immune response becomes over-reactive. When this happens, you may feel some fluid dripping down the back of your throat.
There are several natural methods that can provide relief for a stuffy nose, while also reducing nasal drip. However, the most effective method to stop congested sinuses is to prevent it in the first place.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the best way to prevent colds, including the sinus problems that often accompany them, is to simply gargle with plain water three times a day. If you do that, the study says you’ll reduce your risk of catching a cold with nasal congestion by nearly 40 percent.
Nevertheless, and despite your best efforts to prevent it, you may still experience sinus congestion. But the good news is there is something you can do to get relief – and naturally.
There are a variety of home remedies that can effectively relieve sinus discomfort and the underlying inflammation, as well as symptoms from a common cold and the flu. Here are some of the most common for treating sinus problems:
Steam and Clean Treatment – Steam thins out mucus and constricts blood vessels, making it easier to rid your nasal passages of any gunk clogging them up. Here are some tips for using steam to effectively de-stuff your nose:
1. Boil a pot of hot water, then pour it into a bowl and add six drops of eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender or mint oil, which are common oils used in aromatherapy to alleviate symptoms of congestion.
2. Next, hold your face over the bowl with a towel placed over your head and the bowl, then inhale the steam.
3. You can also add herbs to the boiling water or add vinegar when inhaling steam to help kill bacteria.
Sinus Rinse Treatment – One of the most popular ways to relieve congestion is by using a saline (salt) solution to clean and clear your nasal cavities. You can buy a commercially prepared solution from your local pharmacy, or make one yourself:
1. If you prepare your own saline rinse, try using un-processed sea-salt mixed with distilled water and administering it directly into your nasal cavities with a dropper or bulk syringe.
2. The saline solution works by supposedly killing bacteria and shrinking the blood vessels on the affected membrane before flushing out the stale secretions.
3. Alternatively, you can use a Neti pot to pour the solution into one side of the nose at a time, tilting your head side-ways over the sink as the solution comes out of the other side of your nose, or you can use a squeezable rinse bottle (the makers of the Neti pot make a good one), spraying it up one side of the nose at a time as you hold the other side closed with your mouth open.
Pungent Drink Treatment – Drinking something hot, especially if it contains ingredients that de-stuff the nasal passage, is a popular and easy way to get quick relief. Here is one recipe that has worked for many people:
1. Mix 2 teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar and a pinch of cayenne pepper powder with a quarter cup of hot water.
2. Drink it warm twice a day, both in the evening and morning.
3. You can also try adding hot salsa, horseradish, onion and crush black pepper cones.
Honey Drink Treatment – Sinus problems can also include an annoying cough, especially when you have an infection triggering excessive mucus production, but here comes honey to the rescue, with a recipe from traditional Chinese medicine.
1. Mix 1 tablespoon honey with 1 cup of hot water, stir well, then drink and enjoy.
2. Honey acts as a natural expectorant, promoting the flow of mucus.
3. Squeeze some lemon in if you prefer a little tartness.
Air Purifying Treatment – If your stuffed nose is due to allergens, installing an air conditioning purifier in your home can help remove allergens and other irritants that may be lurking around the house, or your can try the following:
1. If you have a vaporizer, try adding a few drops of essential oils like eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender or mint oil for a more aromatherapy effect.
2. If you don’t have a vaporizer, try using the steam inhalation method instead.
3. A humidifier is another way to open clogged nasal passage, and using a portable one that you can place near your bed at night can really help alleviate sinus congestion during sleep.
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