During the cold and flu season, it’s common to have both sinus pressure and nasal congestion. Thankfully, you don’t have to settle for an over-the-counter decongestant that will make you jittery, cause you drowsiness, and make you feel like your head is shriveling up like a raisin.
Using herbal and homemade decongestants can be just what you need to take care of this horrible pain.
15 Home Decongestant Treatments (without medication)
1. Neti Pot
Though it’s been used since ancient India, the Neti Pot didn’t become popular until 2007. Using nasal irrigation, this pot flushes the sinus cavities and allows any mucus or infection to be washed along with it.
It’s essential that you used distilled water and not tap variety. There are several additives, like herbs, that can help clear the area and leave its therapeutic benefit. When you’re looking for a natural decongestant, this is one of the best options.
2. Peppermint Tea
Peppermint is a strong fighter in congestion as it has menthol in it. Menthol is often used to make cough drops to open stuffy noses. Peppermint can fight bacteria, which means its beneficial for those with infections.
Brewing a sweet peppermint tea can give you all the benefits of opening those clogged breathing pathways and soothing an irritated throat from sinus drainage.
3. Tomato Tea
You probably have never heard of tomato tea. However, it’s one of the best herbal recipes for sinus infections. The formula is simple:
•2 C. V8 Juice
•3 Crushed cloves of garlic
•2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
•Hot Sauce to Taste
Mix all the ingredients. Warm it on the stove in a pan or the microwave. The goal is to slip the tea slowly and allow the steam to penetrate your sinuses. If it gets too cold, then rewarm it.
Make sure that you allow the tea to sit in the back of your throat for a bit and immerse it. Inhale the fumes deeply through your nose and let it go down into your lungs. This is a tried and true recipe that many praises for its ability to decongest.
When you go to the store looking for decongestants, many of the products sold over the counter are made with eucalyptus. It’s best to use this herb in steam inhalation, but it can be rubbed on the outside of the nose to open clogged breathing passages. It has a strong effect on nasal mucous membranes, leading to less stuffiness and breathing issues.
5. Vapor Rub
You’ve probably seen the famous vapor rubs in the store. These work wonders because they go to the source of the problem. You can make a vapor rub that you can use at home if you don’t feel like getting out. You need:
•1 Oz. Coconut Oil
•7-10 Drops of wintergreen or mint essential oil
Mix the ingredients and rub it on the chest area or under the nose. Never put the essential oil alone on your skin as it can burn or irritate it. Coconut or palm should be used as the carrier for the oils. You should feel quick relief with this homemade rub.
6. Hot Shower Steam
A hot shower feels great anytime, but when you need decongestant help, it’s even better. Try putting some essential oils in the shower area to help open clogged breathing pathways.
The steam can work with the oils to clear infection and mucus that is causing breathing difficulties. Any oil in the mint family can do wonders for clogged sinuses.
7. Saline Nasal Spray
Saline nasal sprays work by sending an instant blast of nature’s medication to the troubled area. Since you’re having problems breathing, saltwater goes into the inflamed areas to calm them and bring relief.
As with other injection methods, you must use distilled or purified water. Using tap water can be very dangerous.
Garlic has long been touted as a holistic treatment for many ailments. It has antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties. Garlic has been used for centuries to cure things from leprosy to chronic fatigue.
While garlic is strong and can open your nasal passages if sniffed, it would do much better by being ingested. Take a couple of cloves of garlic, crush them, and allow them to sit for ten minutes. Resting allows the allicin to release, which is what brings healing power.
Just chew or swallow the cloves whole and wash down with water. It’s incredible what this cousin to the onion can do for your health. It can help to eat away infection in the body, especially those in your sinuses.
9. Salt Water Gargle
Salt is one of the most inexpensive and yet useful things for your health. It’s best to use Himalayan pink salt as it’s natural and has no iodine in it. Mix some salt with some hot water and gargle.
The salt can soothe the irritated throat area, which is often a problem from sinus drainage. Though it can also be used as a nose spray, as listed above.
10. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is an old term used for a practice that helps to pull the congestion out of the troubled area. Use a carrier oil, such as sesame or coconut, and place it in your mouth. Now, allow the warmth of your mouth to melt the fat, and swish it around for about ten minutes.
You should be warned that of all the natural remedies, this one is unpleasant. It’s hard to keep oil in your mouth for any length of time. It can be hard to breathe since you must keep your mouth closed. However, it does an excellent job of helping with mild congestion.
11. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a go-to for many people who prefer natural medications. The beautiful thing about it is that you can squirt it up to your nose, inhale it, drink it, or gargle it. Did you know that it’s a powerful decongestant?
If you’re brave, you can take a shot of this bitter wonder with a little smidgen of lemon and some cayenne. Or some prefer to mix it with water and honey. Another option is to use thieves vinegar, which has similar healing properties.
Inhaling it is best when your nose is stuffed up. Takes six ounces of water and mix it with two tablespoons of ACV. For additional healing properties, add two to four teaspoons of honey with it. Boil the mixture on the stove and breathe in the steam. You can also put a couple of drops of this into a nose spray bottle and send it straight to the problem area.
12. Vitamin C
While Vitamin C won’t stop mucus drainage or open your airway, it can help to build your immunity. Did you know that you cannot overdose on this popular vitamin? The kidneys will expel any excess you take.
Doctors often recommend orange juice when you’re sick with colds and other ailments. The real benefit is the high levels of Vitamin C. Load up on this vitamin, and you can shorten the duration of a cough or cold.
13. Hot Spices
This home remedy is not for the faint of heart. If you can stomach things like horseradish, hot mustard, and cayenne pepper, you can burn the excess mucus from your system. You can use them in steam, make them in your tea, or put them on current foods.
The Spanish culture has long revered these flaming spices for their potent power when it comes to congestion and other ailments. If your brave and can handle the heat, then you can use them in many creative ways.
Rosemary is often used in fragrant cooking, but it has antiseptic, decongestant, and analgesic properties. When you have a nagging cough that won’t seem to go away, you will find relief in this herb.
It soothes the tissues in your lungs and respiratory system, helping to repair the damage done by hacking. Its healing properties rids the phlegm and allows you to get back to living.
15. Honey Lemon/Orange Tea
Hot tea has many medicinal properties. Lemon gives you an extra boost of vitamins, specifically C. Additionally, honey has antibacterial properties that can help to clear bacteria. If you’re congested, you can make a brew with things like:
To make your herbal tea, use the following:
•2 Tsp. Dried Leaves
•One-Fourth C. of Boiling Water
•Honey to Taste
•Lemon or Orange to Taste
Bring your water to a boil in a kettle and place your leaves in the water to steep. Allow them to work their magic for about ten minutes. Strain the leaves and serve piping hot. You can inhale the aroma and drink it too.
While it may be convenient to go to the drug store and pick up a decongestant to help with cold or sinus issues, it’s not always the best thing to do. These medications often have pseudoephedrine in them, which can cause problems like heart attacks, strokes, and disturbed heart rhythms.
Additionally, if you take any other prescription medications, the side effects can be dangerous. Nature provides ample herbs and vitamins that can help you to heal the common cold or to restore damaged liver cells. Isn’t Mother Nature amazing?