Natural Remedies for a Stuffy Nose

“Stuffy nose” is a term used to refer to nasal congestion.

This is simply the blockage of the nasal passages, a condition that results from swelling of the membranes in the nose caused by inflammation of blood vessels.

A stuffy nose causes discomfort and is annoying.

When the condition catches up with you, the nose starts to drip and run, and you will sound funny when you talk.

Sometimes when you blow your nose, nothing comes out.

Most people confuse nasal congestion with blockage due to mucus in the nasal passages.

But the reason lies in irritated blood vessels.

Various blood vessel irritants include cold, allergies, flu and sinus infection.

No matter the cause, when you are looking for how to get rid of a stuffy nose, home remedies always are available to do so.


What is a Stuffy Nose?


Stuffy nose is a condition where the nasal tissues, adjacent tissues, and nasal blood vessels start swelling, causing pain and a “stuffy” feeling.

The condition affects children as well as adults.

It is a serious condition in infants and people with breathing problems.

In some cases, anatomical problems, such as a deviated nasal septum, can cause chronic nasal congestion.

In more rare cases, a stuffy nose can be caused by more severe medical conditions such as tumors.

Stuffy nose is a symptom and not an illness.

Its appearance results from underlying illnesses and conditions which include:

  • Common cold or influenza
  • Reaction to medication
  • Deviated septum
  • Rhinitis medicamentosa, a condition caused by long-term use of decongestants
  • Sinus infection
  • A narrow or a collapsing nasal valve
  • Nasal polyps
  • Concha bullosa
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Empty nose syndrome

Pregnancy also may cause women to suffer from a stuffy nose due to the increased blood flow in their body.

Therefore, when you suffer from nasal congestion, the quickest relief is seeking home remedies that can relieve the symptoms and treat the underlying cause.


Potential Problems if Neglected


While in most cases nasal congestion can be a mild annoyance, it might also be a life-threatening condition.

This is especially true for newborn infants who breathe through their noses only.

In the first few months of a newborn’s life, a stuffy nose can interfere with breastfeeding and even cause life-threatening respiratory distress.

In older children, adolescents, and adults, it is mostly an annoyance that clears in a few days.

Even when the condition can be expected to clear, when neglected, it can cause hearing and speech problems.

Significant congestion can result in insomnia, snoring, and sleep apnea.

When stuffy nose in children is caused by enlarged adenoids, it can result in chronic sleep apnea, a condition accompanied by insufficient oxygen levels, hypoxia and, in extreme cases, right-sided heart failure.

In such a scenario, the problem only can be resolved through surgery to remove the adenoids and tonsils.

The problem might reappear later in life due to craniofacial alterations resulting from chronic nasal congestion.

Many people who have a stuffy nose will complain of the mild head and facial pain, which can lead to significant discomfort.


Natural Home Remedies for Stuffy Nose


Apple Cider Vinegar


Apple cider vinegar has been used for years as a home remedy for a stuffy nose.

It works as a natural decongestant to break up congested mucus.

It also contains potassium, which helps dry a runny nose.

Apple cider vinegar is rich in a variety of nutrients, which will help boost your overall immune system.

Here is how to unclog your nose:

Mix one tablespoon of honey with two tablespoons of pure, unfiltered raw apple cider vinegar in a cup of hot water.

Take a few spoonfuls three times a day for a few days.

You also can mix apple cider vinegar and water in a pan and heat to boiling, then inhale the steam.

When doing so, ensure you close your eyes to avoid the sting that may come from the vinegar.

Do this three times a day for a few days as needed.


Inhale Steam


This is one of the most popular home remedies for nasal congestion.

Steam gives you instant relief.

It works as a natural expectorant to clear nasal congestion and lubricate the irritated respiratory tract.

You can inhale steam up to four times a day, with each session lasting about ten minutes.

When doing so, keep your head thirty inches from the boiling water or use a towel over your face to ensure that steam does not burn you.

A towel also traps steam with ease.

You can use any of three methods:

  • Add peppermint or eucalyptus to boiling water, and inhale the steam produced for about 10 minutes.
  • Add crushed carom seeds to boiling water and let the steam seep into you for about 10 minutes.
  • Inhale steam from a humidifier or hot bath for up to 15 minutes.

Note that steam inhalation might cause scalding in children younger than twelve years old.

Again, it is not suitable for pregnant women or people suffering from high blood pressure.

Those with heart conditions and central nervous system disorders should consult their doctors before using steam as a stuffy nose remedy.


Irrigate Your Nose


This is a simple remedy where you use a saline solution to irrigate your nose.

The salt in the solution cleans mucus and irritants from nasal passages.

This gives you great relief.

To use this simple remedy, mix a teaspoon of non-iodized salt in two cups of previously boiled or distilled water.

Note that use of iodized salt might cause irritation.

To irrigate the nostrils, you can use one of two methods:

  • Use a Neti pot. This is a container used to flush fluids and mucus from nasal passages. To use this container, you will need only to tilt your head and pour the mixture into one of your nostrils. Allow the mixture to drain out through the other nostril. Repeat the process with the opposite nostril.
  • Pour the solution into clean palms and inhale it through one nostril. Repeat with the other nostril.

Choose one of the above methods to use once or twice each day.


Use Cayenne Pepper Solution


Cayenne pepper relieves blocked sinuses and nasal congestion instantly.

It features capsaicin, a substance that works as a natural decongestant, providing relief from inflammation in the nasal passages.

Cayenne pepper is fiery, which induces mucus production.

When mucus and allergens are removed from your sinuses, your blocked nose is relieved.

Here is how to clear a stuffy nose with cayenne:

  • Mix a half teaspoon cayenne powder with a teaspoon of raw honey and eat it two or three times every day.
  • You also can dip a cotton swab into a cayenne pepper solution and carefully insert the swab into your nose. This will induce sneezing, which will clear the sinuses. However, note that there will be a burning sensation at first. The burning sensation clears within a few minutes. Repeat this a few times each day.


Use Garlic


When you need quick relief from nasal congestion, garlic can be a suitable remedy.

Garlic is antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial.

This gives it the ability to fight the respiratory infections that cause nasal congestion.

Again, garlic controls overproduction of mucus and limits the chances of infection.

Since it boosts the immune system, it can provide a quick recovery.

To get the best results from garlic:

Boil two or three garlic cloves in a cup of water. You can mix this with turmeric powder.

Drink this twice each day. You also can eat fresh garlic cloves to relieve the stuffiness and ease discomfort.

Where garlic is not available, garlic supplements can be used to reduce the frequency of getting a stuffy nose.

However, if using supplements, consult with your doctor first.


Drink Enough Water


Water is a natural remedy, not only for nasal congestion but also for other health conditions.

While most liquids will help you during a stuffy nose, water is specifically important in thinning any mucus that may be clogging your nasal passages.

It also reduces pressure in the sinuses.

Therefore, it is advisable to stay hydrated.

Some people are not able to drink pure water, which may lead to dehydration.

In such cases, one can drink juice, soups, and tea.

A warm liquid is especially important to reduce the inflammation in your sinuses.

To get the maximum benefit, get into a habit of drinking up to eight glasses of warm water every day.

Besides relieving sinus pressure and reducing inflammation, warm water promotes overall body health.


Inhale Eucalyptus Oil


Eucalyptus oil often is used to treat respiratory infections.

It offers great benefits to those with a stuffy nose.

Eucalyptus acts as a natural decongestant and reduces inflammation.

It offers a great way to clear mucus from the nasal passages. Even better, eucalyptus naturally suppresses coughs.

Here is how to unclog your nose using eucalyptus:

  • You can enjoy an aromatherapy bath by adding two or three drops of eucalyptus to your bathwater and soaking for 15 minutes.
  • You also can place a few drops of eucalyptus oil on a clean fresh handkerchief and inhale the aroma three times every day for a few days. You also can place a few drops of eucalyptus on your sleeping pillow so you can inhale as you sleep.
  • Add about four drops of eucalyptus to a pot of boiling water. Inhale the steam from the boiling water while covering your face with a towel. With eucalyptus, you will only need to get the aroma.




Ginger, just like garlic, is easily available.

It offers a cheap, effective and easy remedy for a stuffy nose.

Ginger is an antioxidant that reduces mucus secretion.

It also helps maintain nasal ciliary motility, a factor that promotes sinus health.

To get the best out of ginger:

  • Drink three cups of ginger tea each day. Add a tablespoon of fresh ginger slices to two cups of boiling water. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes. After straining the ginger slices, mix the liquid with honey and lemon juice.
  • Besides drinking ginger tea, you can chew fresh slices of ginger sprinkled with table salt three times a day. This is especially important when you want to treat a persistent cough.
  • Ginger also can be taken in form of lozenges; these are readily available in a market near you.

Ginger might sting before you get used to it.

However, once you are used to eating ginger, you should continue even after the nasal congestion is relieved.


Spicy Tomato Juice


Spicy tomato juice offers an excellent remedy to relieve nasal congestion.

This substance improves the flow of mucus to instantly remove allergens and clear the nasal passages.

Spicy tomato juice contains healthy components such as garlic, lemon, tomato juice and spicy tomato.

These components help boost your overall immunity, keeping you free of infections.

To prepare spicy tomato juice:

  • Add two garlic cloves, hot sauce, and freshly squeezed lemon juice into a boiling cup of tomato juice. If you do not have hot sauce, you can use cayenne pepper. Add a pinch of salt into the mixture and you will be good to go. Drink the juice twice each day, while hot, for a few days.
  • To make this tea spicier, you can add ginger, garlic, red chili, and onion. You even can have all these ingredients in the chicken soup. The soup is sweeter and it will offer the same benefits.




Turmeric powder is powerful when taken anytime, even when you do not have a stuffy nose.

It is a strong antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent.

This makes it a better home remedy when you are suffering from a stuffy nose.

It has a substance called curcumin that helps alleviate the inflammation of the nasal passages and, therefore, provides quick relief from nasal congestion.

It works fast to relieve the symptoms.

Tumeric also gives your immune system a boost, thereby limiting the chances of future infections.

Pour a teaspoon of turmeric powder into boiling milk and let it simmer for five minutes.

Add raw honey and drink twice each day, for a few days, to hasten the healing process.

Alternatively, you can mix turmeric powder with lemon juice, honey, and cayenne pepper and drink the mixture one or two times daily.

This is a combination of powerful substances.




Fenugreek is a substance in many dietary supplements.

It is a natural anti-inflammatory agent that helps open up sinuses and reduce the swelling of the nasal blood vessels.

It also thins mucus,  ensuring it comes out faster, together with any allergens.

Given its importance, Fenugreek is now available in markets.

Add a tablespoon of fenugreek seeds to your drinking water.

Boil the mixture and let it simmer for a few minutes. Strain the seeds out and drink the solution while warm.

Repeat this two or three times daily for a few days.

Even when you are not suffering from nasal congestion, fenugreek is one of the foods you need to incorporate in your diet to stop some of the common infections that might cause a stuffy nose.


Bulb Syringe and Saline Solution for Infants


A stuffy nose is life-threatening for infants since they breathe with their noses alone.

Since most of the spicy foods recommended here cannot be given to infants, use a bulb syringe and a saline solution to clear their stuffy nose.

This is a simple way to reduce congestion and drain mucus.

Here is how to stop a runny nose in infants:

  • Add a quarter teaspoon of salt into a half cup of previously boiled lukewarm water.
  • Place the infant on a flat surface and place a towel rolled from beneath their shoulders to the tip of their head.
  • Place a few drops of the saline solution into your baby’s nostrils and let it settle for 30 to 60 seconds. Turn the baby on its stomach and let the mucus drain out completely.
  • Push the air out of the bulb syringe, also called a nasal inspiratory, and insert it into the nostrils of your baby. Gently release the bulb so the mucus will be sucked in. Clean up the mucus with a tissue.
  • Repeat the process for the other nostril.

Alternatively, you can use a tissue rolled into a small cone to swab around the baby’s nostrils.




Basil is an antioxidant that helps reduce the swelling of blood vessels and ease nasal congestion.

Basil leaves are readily available in markets.

Chewing basil leaves in the morning and before going to bed is one of the easiest and most common ways of alleviating nasal congestion.

Alternatively, you can use the following process:

  • Add two or three basil leaves to a cup of boiling water
  • Let the solution simmer for about 15 minutes
  • Strain the leaves out and add a teaspoon of honey into the solution
  • Stir well and drink when warm
  • Repeat this two times daily for a few days




Lemon juice is a healthy drink that you can drink anytime.

Besides adding it to other spiced drinks, you can drink it by itself.

The lemon fruit is rich in antioxidants.

It provides relief from nasal inflammation, reduces mucus and eases congestion.

The easiest way to use lemon to relieve stuffy nose symptoms is drinking a glass of lemonade daily for a few days.

Alternatively, you can combine two teaspoons of lemon juice with black pepper and a pinch of salt.

Mix the solution well and apply it around the nasal area. Leave it there for a couple of minutes or as long as possible.

Repeat this procedure for a few days until you have cleared your nose.

While doing so, ensure the mixture does not get into your eyes.

You also can eat the lemon fruit directly. It still will give you the same results as well as additional fiber.




Acupressure is a simple procedure used to reduce the pressure in your sinuses.

It involves applying pressure on the sinuses to get rid of congestion.

To do that, follow the process below:

  • Place your index fingers on the left and right side of the eye cavity. This is the part of your face below the eyebrows and above the nose. Massage the sinuses in outward circles around the nose with fingers for about 30 seconds.
  • Again, place your index fingers on the outside below the eyes and massage in inward circles. Repeat for about 30 seconds.
  • Finally, use your thumbs to massage either side of your cheekbones in outward circles. Repeat for up to 35 seconds. Acupressure can be repeated four or five times daily until the sinus pressure is relieved.

While doing this procedure, it is advisable not to overdo it to avoid injuring the delicate skin tissue around your eyes.


Mustard Oil


Mustard oil is edible but has a pungent odor.

This odor acts as a natural decongestant that relieves your nasal congestion.

Again, mustard oil is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, which makes it useful for destroying pathogens.

You can reap the benefits of mustard oil by placing one or two drops of the oil in your nostrils.


  • Put a teaspoon of black cumin seeds into a quarter cup of mustard oil.
  • Let the mixture simmer for three minutes.
  • Strain the oil and apply it on your forehead, nostrils and your chest.
  • Let the oil dry completely. Repeat this process once every day. If you do not want to apply it on the said body parts, you can add a drop of the mixture into each nostril.




Pepper has anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve swollen blood vessels and, consequently, offer relief to stuffy noses.

This acts as a simple remedy for a runny nose and in removing allergens that might be causing your congestion.

You can eat pepper in a salad to get the maximum benefits.

Besides adding pepper in a salad or other food, you can add a teaspoon of black pepper into a cup of boiling water.

Let the mixture steep for up to 15 minutes.

Add a tablespoon of honey and drink when warm. Repeat this two times every day.

You also can get into the habit of using black pepper as a spice in your food each day.

It will go a long way in reducing the chances of infections.




The smell of onion alone will induce the production of mucus and, in the process, remove allergens that might be in your nasal passages.

This is one way to ease congestion caused by allergies.

Again, onion is a natural decongestant and anti-inflammatory agent.

So it will reduce the swelling of blood vessels in nasal passages.

Onion has anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties.

So, it helps treat infections that might be causing your stuffy nose.

You can consume onion in a salad to reap the maximum benefits from it, or you can:

  • Peel and cut an onion in half.
  • Smell the onion for about four or five minutes.
  • Repeat this process a few times daily for a few days.

The use of onions, either in food or smelling them, will not get you instant results, but consistent use might alleviate the root cause of your stuffy nose.




Honey has been used in most of the remedies described above.

You also can use it alone to reap the maximum benefits from it.

Naturally, honey is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and antiseptic. This gives it the capacity to clear the sinusitis-causing bacteria.

It is also a natural remedy for inflammation.

Honey also can alleviate sinusitis, which could soothe your throat and reduce coughing.

Manuka honey is recognized for its health benefits which makes it an excellent choice.

Again, honey will boost your body’s overall immunity, helping you fight common infections that cause a stuffy nose.

The easiest way to consume honey is adding one teaspoon into your tea, stirring well and drinking.

You also can add honey into a cup of lukewarm water and drink it.

Alternatively, you can mix manuka honey, a quarter teaspoon of baking soda and non-iodized sea salt.

Keep the mixture in a refrigerator in a sterile jar with a lid.

Administer up to eight drops into your nostrils each day.

You also can mix a teaspoon of honey with other spices and herbs.

The good thing about honey is it adds the sweetness of these herbs and spices while ensuring that you get maximum benefits from them.


Herbal Solutions for Nose Congestion


Herbs offer a simple remedy for a stuffy nose.

There are many herbs to choose from, but the best are those with anti-inflammatory properties because they help reduce swelling of the nasal passages.

Most herbs, along with reducing inflammation, also are antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic.

Therefore, they will help boost your body’s overall immunity even as they ease nasal congestion.

Rosehips, sage, chamomile, and goldenseal root are a few of the highly effective anti-inflammatory herbs you can use routinely to clear a stuffy nose.

You can chew some of these herbs to get the best out of them.

Alternatively, add any of them into a cup of hot water. Let it steep for up to 15 minutes.

Strain the water and drink while still lukewarm.

Repeat this process daily to get the maximum benefits.

You will find most of the herbs mentioned above, as well as other beneficial herbs, in dietary supplements.

However, be sure you are getting the real herbs by buying the natural herbs from your local store.




If you are wondering how to get rid of a stuffy nose, the solution is as simple as changing your diet.

Introduce spicy foods as they have anti-inflammatory properties that trigger a runny nose, helping you stay free of allergens and mucus.

When dealing with a runny nose, try as much as you can to avoid milk and milk products and whole grains as they will elevate the problem.

While avoiding these foods, introduce chicken soup into your diet.

Add pepper to your chicken soup for increased effectiveness.

Even better, you need to include foods rich in minerals such as zinc and vitamins such as vitamin C to boost your overall immunity.

This will help fight common infections such as the common cold and sinusitis.

If you are not used to eating spicy foods, introduce spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, black pepper and garlic gradually until you get used to them.

At all costs, avoid refined sugar and sugar products, such as chocolates, candies, cakes, donuts, and cookies while fighting a stuffy nose.

You also should avoid carbonated beverages because they contain a lot of sugar, which will make the problem worse.

To reduce inflammation, get into the habit of taking herbal tea.

It also will thin mucus and reduce congestion.

One of the dietary changes that cannot be stressed enough is the need for water.

Water always will be beneficial to your body, whether you are trying to avoid or alleviate a stuffy nose.

Water will soothe the irritated or inflamed nasal passages and also reduce the sinus blockage.

While all the above remedies work, you only need to choose the one you are comfortable with and follow it daily.

The availability of the substances recommended should also dictate which method you choose.

Categories: Natural Remedies

About Author

Lizzie Wendel is a professional health blogger with years of experience writing in the wellness industry. For over a decade she has been an active voice, promoting the use of alternative medicine to help combat health-related issues and put to rest the negative associations of alternative medicine.

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One thought on “20 Natural Remedies for a Stuffy Nose”

  1. Stuffy nose is a serious issue and it is very annoying too. Drinking herbal tea is very helpful during stuffy nose. I liked all the remedies you mentioned. They all are very effective and bring quick result. Turmeric, onion and honey are great options that help in curing stuffy nose.

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