If you're like us, sinus congestion is an annoying part of life. For some, it can be a serious medical condition.
Nasal congestion happens when the tissues and blood vessels fill with excess fluid. This creates a swollen effect in your nasal passages.
While there are treatments such as antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines these are not always the best choice. For example, the CDC has reported that antibiotics might not be the best solution to a sinus or ear infection and may contribute to antibiotic resistance.
If you're looking for natural ways to relieve nasal congestion here are 19 things you can try to help you feel better soon. As a reminder, always reach out to a medical professional for questions about your health and treatment options.
Drink more fluids
Especially water. You want to stay hydrated to help your sinuses drain. Stay away from drinks that could cause you to become dehydrated including caffeine and alcohol. It's also a good idea to stay away from dairy products because they can thicken mucus and sugary drinks can contribute to inflammation. Cold beverages can make congestion symptoms worse since they cause blood vessels in your nose and throat to constrict temporarily, so it's best to stick to room temperature and warm fluids.
Flush your sinuses
This could take the form of a saline spray or salt water rinse with a Neti pot. You will want to clean the Neti pot before and after use by rinsing thoroughly with distilled or boiled water. When flushing your sinuses make sure you use distilled water or boiled and then cooled water to ensure it is safe to flush out your sinuses.
Clean the air
If your congestion is from allergies you will want to ensure the air in your home is clean of common triggers like pollen, dust, pet dander, and mold spores. Rely on on a trustworthy air purifier that uses only high efficiency air filters and a strong motor. Run the purifier where you spend most of your time during the day like the living room or your home office. And move the purifier into your bedroom at night to help improve your sleep.
Stay away from pollen
Pollen allergies like hay fever causes nasal congestion. To get relief we suggest you minimize your contact time with allergens. A good way to do this is to take your shoes off before you enter your home. Change your clothes, brush your hair, wash your face, or even take a shower. Pollen can trigger allergies around your eyes and it’s good to clean that out. Regularly wash your sheets and pillow cases. Another tip is to keep your windows closed because you want to keep the pollen out.
Try fish oil
Fish oil has been shown to help with dry eyes. In addition, a Danish study showed pregnant women with asthma allergies who took fish oil had kids with lower allergic reactions. It's also been shown to be good for your heart and blood system due to the Omega 3 fatty acids.
Add eucalyptus to very hot water and breathe in the vapors. Tea with eucalyptus will also help ease congestion and soothe a sore or scratchy throat. Eucalyptus is a key ingredient in cough drops. It is an expectorant and provides relief to the sinuses. In addition, it contains antioxidants to help with your immune system.
A key benefit to peppermint is its menthol, a natural decongestant. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the nose. Peppermint also has the ability to open up the nasal passages and improve blood flow, which may provide relief from sinus-related headaches. Peppermint can be found in a number of over-the-counter treatments like peppermint oil and peppermint cough drops. You can also enjoy a nice hot cup of peppermint herbal tea that will help ease congestion and soothe a sore or scratchy throat.
Apple cider vinegar
Scientific research is limited on the benefits of apple cider vinegar for sinus problems. Some people believe it thins mucus making it easier to expel. Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to an 8 oz cup of hot water or tea. You may want to add honey to balance out the taste.
Turmeric is a spice that's found in many curry dishes and known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It contains a compound called curcumin that helps to heal your sinus passages. It can also help reduce congestion.
Scientific research is limited on the benefits of acupuncture, but some people find relief from sinus symptoms after an acupuncture session. The thinking is it offers improved circulation, stress reduction, and pain relief. It can potentially help with headaches, pressure, pain, and nasal congestion.
Elevate your head while sleeping
When you lie down it’s easier for your sinuses to become clogged. If you can keep your head elevated this can help the sinuses drain while you sleep.
Take your vitamin C
It’s best to get vitamin C through whole foods like oranges or pineapple. This will give your immune system a big boost, and it can help to prevent a sinus infection.
Oregano can have many benefits such as improving digestion and fighting infections. It’s also helpful for sinus infections because of it's anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, and antiviral properties. There's several ways to use oregano including enjoying a cup of oregano tea or properly diluting oregano oil to apply topically.
Take a long shower
A long, hot shower or steam bath helps to break up the mucus in your nasal passages. A long shower also helps to keep your nasal passages clear due to the steam. A long, hot shower in general will help whether you're sick or not.
Eat spicy foods
Eating spicy foods with horseradish, mustard or wasabi can flush out your sinuses. You can also try spicy tomato-based drink referred to as a tomato tea. You can make this by combining tomato juice, chopped garlic, a dash of lemon juice and hot sauce. For a little extra spice and flavor consider adding pepper.
Place a warm towel on your face
The heat and steam can help to loosen up the mucus.
Sinus pressure points
There are a few places on your face where you can press for one minute or massage to relieve the pressure. One is above the bridge of your nose between your eyebrows. A second is at the top of your nose just below the ridge of your eyebrows. A third is around your cheeks. Feel around for the soft, sore areas below your eyes.
Garlic is an herb that can potentially help to reduce congestion from colds. Some initial studies indicate it may be good as an antibacterial as well. It can help thin mucus and it offers immune system support for fighting off infections and reducing the severity of symptoms. To enjoy garlic, consider cooking with your favorite vegetables for a healthy meal.
Use a humidifier
A humidifier can be a great way to combat dry air in your home that will contribute to sinus symptoms. Be careful not to have high levels of humidity for too long as mold can grow when the humidity is above 50%. Learn more about how humidifiers, dehumidifiers and air purifiers compare.
Want to learn more about cleaning your air? Check out the Beginners Guide to an Air Purifier.