10+ Home Remedies for a Stuffy Nose

These all-natural cures should provide relief from the pressure and pain of stuffy nose.

By Taylor Shea adapted from Kitchen Cabinet Cures (Reader's Digest Association Books) and
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    Snack on horseradish.

    Horseradish, which is in the same family as mustard and wasabi, is an old home remedy to clear sinuses and promote the expulsion of mucus. Add horseradish to your favorite sandwich, or blend 1 tablespoon horseradish, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice and spread on a cracker. Nibble until you feel your stuffy nose start to drain. You can also toss the grated root into cooked rice or mashed potatoes. If your problem is chronic, try eating horseradish at the start of your symptoms. You'll quickly rid your body of any stagnant mucus, which can act as a breeding ground for bacteria and infection.

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    Make a hot ginger compress.

    Slice up a 3-inch piece of ginger root for this home remedy, and add to a saucepan of two cups of boiling water. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Soak a washcloth in the brew, making sure it’s not too hot to burn your skin, then apply to your face for 15 minutes or so. Do this lying on the couch with your head elevated to help your sinuses drain. Because of ginger's anti-inflammatory properties, drinking a hot cup of ginger tea will also open up congested nasal passages.

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    Steam with antiseptic herbs.

    Place 3 teaspoons of dried thyme and 3 teaspoons dried peppermint (or three peppermint tea bags) in a small heatproof bowl and add boiling water. Lean over the bowl, covering your head and the bowl with a thick towel, and inhale for 10 minutes, keeping your face and nose 8 to 10 inches above the water. Repeat two to three times a day, as needed, until you don't feel as stuffy. Thyme is antibacterial and the menthol in mint is a natural decongestant that eases breathing.

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    Try DIY accupressure.

    Use your left thumb and index finger to press the area next to the inner eyes on both sides of your nose. At the same time, use your fingers and the heel of your other hand to grab muscles on both sides of the spine at the back of your neck. Put pressure on all four points for about one minute and you'll start to feel some relief.

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    Give your face a soothing massage.

    Weird as it may sound, giving your sinuses a finger massage will increase circulation to the area and help erase the pain. Using your index fingers, press hard on the outer edge of your nostrils at the base of the nose. Hold for 30 seconds, release, and repeat three or four times.

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    Steam with eucalyptus.

    Eucalyptus essential oil is scientifically proven as a home remedy to kill several of the strains of bacteria that cause respiratory problems responsible for congestion like sinus infections. To help a stuffy nose, stir 5 drops of pure eucalyptus essential oil into 1 quart of boiling water in a heatproof bowl. Lean over the bowl, covering your head and the bowl with a thick towel, and inhale the steam for 10-15 minutes. Repeat three to four times a day while you’re fighting the infection.

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    Sip apple cider vinegar.

    Next time you have a stuffed nose, grab the apple cider vinegar. This all-around home remedy contains potassium, which thins mucus; and the acetic acid in it prevents bacteria growth, which could contribute to nasal congestion. Mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink to help sinus drainage.

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    Use a humidifier.

    Sinuses become inflamed when the air you're breathing is too dry, which leads to that uncomfortable stuffy feeling. A humidifier adds moisture to the air, relieving sinus inflammation and loosening up congestion in and around your nose.

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    Stay hydrated.

    Drinking plenty of fluids and staying well hydrated thins mucus in the nasal passages, making it easier for congested sinuses to drain and relieve the pressure from a stuffy nose. Warm liquids help quickly open up congested sinuses, so sip on steamy cups of tea as well as plain water. Ginger and mint teas also contain herbal benefits that further reduce nasal congestion.

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    Sip peppermint tea.

    The menthol in peppermint helps thin mucus and open up nasal passages. The heat from the tea combined with soothing menthol will act as a home remedy to help provide relief and restore your breathing to normal.

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    Try garlic.

    Garlic has antibacterial properties that are believed to alleviate congestion. Add fresh garlic to your favorite meals, and try this quirky home remedy of breathing in a garlic steam by adding fresh sliced cloves to a boiling hot cup of water. 

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    Eat cayenne pepper.

    The capsaicin in cayenne pepper dries up mucus in the nasal passages, making it easier to breathe. It is also an anti-inflammatory and can decrease puffy, stuffy feelings in the nose. Sprinkle cayenne pepper on your favorite meals, or sip a spicy tea by adding 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder to a cup of boiling water.

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