What Are the Most Effective Cures for Nasal Congestion?

Inhaling steam vapors will help loosen congestion.
A nasal spray for congestion.
Cardamom seeds are sometimes used to relieve nasal congestion.
Drinking warm fluids can help break up nasal congestion.
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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 31 March 2014
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Though there is no cure for the common cold per se, there are various cures for nasal congestion, most of which can be completed at home. One guideline to remember is that warmth can clear up the nasal passages, which is why a warm bath, hot drinks, and steam can help. Various herbs are also often helpful, including cardamom seeds, carom seeds, and peppermint, to name a few. Even salt and pepper can help reduce sinus congestion, as placing one of these seasonings near the nose, or even inhaling it, can induce drainage.

One of the most well-known cures for nasal congestion is heat, as this can loosen up the congestion easily. Taking a shower or warm bath can help relieve congestion, especially with the bathroom door shut since it can hold in steam longer. Even boiling water in a pot and inhaling the vapor can reduce congestion. Additionally, drinking hot liquids like tea or coffee may help, and can usually also soothe the throat, which is helpful since most colds are accompanied by a sore throat due to postnasal drip. Of course, drinking liquids in general, such as water or juice, can help the body get over nasal congestion as soon as possible.


While heat is often helpful for sinus congestion, adding herbs often increases the effectiveness of this remedy. For example, putting just a teaspoon of cardamom seeds over some hot coals and then inhaling the resulting smoke is one of the little-known cures for nasal congestion. Crushing up carom seeds and tying them up in a small sack placed next to the pillow can also work as a cure for this issue, as inhaling the scent can clear up a stuffy nose. Breathing in peppermint essential oil, mentholated salve, or horseradish can have the same effect as carom seeds since all of these scents can open up the nasal passages, making them some of the simplest cures for nasal congestion.

Two seasonings that just about everyone likely has at their home are also considered cures for nasal congestion, and they are salt and pepper. For example, salt can be mixed with boiled water, and once the mixture has cooled off enough to qualify as just warm, it should be placed into an eyedropper. A few drops should then be squeezed into each nostril with the face tilted up so that the water drains into the nose, at which point the nose should be blown. A similar method involves adding baking soda to the mix, and then squeezing it into one nostril while holding the other one closed, followed by letting it drain into the throat. Not surprisingly, pepper does not need be mixed with anything to clear up the nasal passages, as just sniffing either red or black pepper is often enough to cause drainage.


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