Nasal congestion can be a frustrating ailment, hindering clear breath and blocking your sense of smell. A stuffy nose develops when excess mucus collects in the nose and sinuses and does not drain properly. This forces you to breathe through your mouth, which can result in chapped lips, a dry mouth, and bad breath. Home remedies can be an inexpensive and easy solution, providing natural relief without the use of pharmaceutical drugs.
Congestion in the nose and sinuses can typically be attributed to common colds and flu. Other causes include allergies to food, such as dairy products, or airborne irritants, such as pollens and dust. If intense pressure or pain in the face or head area is present, a more severe sinus infection may be the cause and a doctor should be consulted.
Steam can be a simple, noninvasive tool for loosening congestion. The easiest way to use steam is by standing in a hot shower and inhaling deeply through the nose. Alternatively, you can create a mini steam room with a large bowl of boiling water and a towel. Lean over the bowl and drape the towel over the back of your head, capturing the rising steam. Breathe though the nose deeply, allowing the steam to loosen congested mucus.
Eating spicy food can instantly help drain congestion from the nose. Try Asian dishes with a high chili content, or simply eat some fresh chili to get your nose running. A pinch of Japanese wasabi or a teaspoon of horseradish sauce can work just as effectively. The draining mucus will help relieve congestion and remove irritants that may be causing the stuffiness.
Saline drops are available from your local drugstore, but a home recipe can be just as effective. To clear the sinuses, mix 1/4 tsp. of salt with one cup of warm water. Distilled or bottled water is best. Fill a bulb syringe or nasal dropper with the solution, tilt your head back and drop between five to 10 drops of salt water into each nostril. Keep your head back, letting the solution pass through the sinuses.
What we consume can affect our general health, as well as specific conditions including nasal congestion. To help reduce the level of mucus production, cut down on wheat and dairy products. Supplement your diet with nutrients such as vitamin C and zinc to boost your body's immune system, helping the body clear congestion and aiding recovery from any colds or infection. Make sure to stay well-hydrated to maintain general health and help thin congested mucus.