When you have a stuffy nose and congested chest, you just cannot rest easy. It is uncomfortable and makes you feel suffocated. Many people often turn to over-the-counter decongestants for relief, but certain OTC medications – decongestants and nasal sprays in particular – come with some health risks, so they are really not for everyone. While surgery may be required for injury-related sinus obstruction, sinus congestion caused by consumption of certain foods, allergies, the flu, or colds can be treated with some simple yet effective home remedies.
Best Natural Decongestants
Let us take a look at some of the best home remedies to provide relief from congestion:
Apple Cider Vinegar
If you are looking for a great natural decongestant, there is nothing like apple cider vinegar. You can gargle it, inhale it, drink it or squirt it up your nose and you will get relief from the discomfort of congestion almost instantly. Experts say that drinking apple cider vinegar is one of the best ways to relieve congestion – you can take a shot straight up or mix with water and honey or with lemon juice and cayenne pepper.
- To drink, mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 2 to 4 teaspoons of honey in 6 ounces of warm water.
- Stir well until the ingredients are properly mixed together.
- Drink this solution every 6 to 8 hours daily until your decongestion clears.
- To inhale, boil some apple cider vinegar and breathe in the fumes.
- You can also mix 1 or 2 drops of the vinegar in your saline nasal spray.
Warm Salt Water Gargle
This remedy is best for mild cases of congestion. Warm salt water soothes the tissue in the throat that is irritated by nasal drainage and the heat and moisture from the warm water and the action of gargling helps in moving and shifting the buildup of mucus.
- Add about ½ a teaspoon of salt in 1 glass of warm water.
- Stir well until the salt dissolves completely.
- Gargle with the solution.
- Repeat 2 to 3 times a day until you notice an improvement.
Cayenne Pepper Syrup
Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, which is known to have many beneficial properties. When you use it as a remedy for congestion, it helps in relieving the inflammation and swelling that causes the constriction in your nasal passages. When you mix cayenne pepper with other ingredients that bust mucus, you get a homemade syrup that gives you fast relief.
- Boil ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar and ¼ cup of fresh lemon juice in a pan and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Add ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper and powdered ginger and 3 tablespoons of raw honey.
- Transfer the mixture into an airtight jar and store it in a cool, dark place.
- Shake well before using
- For adults, the appropriate dose is 1 to 2 tablespoons every day as needed.
When it comes to natural decongestants, ginger is one of the best, say most experts.
As per studies conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Center, this medicinal herb – ginger can indeed help treat inflammation and has hence been used been used in traditional medicine to treat chest congestion. Ginger has not been evaluated by the FDA. While you will not get instant results with ginger tea, it will help in loosening up mucus in an hour or so after you drink it. This tea also has a soothing effect which is very helpful if your stuffy nose comes with a sore throat as well.
- Grate 2 inches of fresh ginger root after peeling and cleaning it and then add it into a teapot.
- Pour 4 cups of boiling water into the teapot.
- Cover with a lid and allow the ginger to steep for 10 minutes. Steeping with a lid on keeps ginger’s decongestant properties from escaping with the steam.
- Strain into a cup and add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon of honey and a bit of fresh lemon juice.
- Sip the tea slowly several times throughout the day to relieve congestion.
- You can also make this tea without the apple cider vinegar but it will not be as strong and effective.
When it comes to relieving nasal congestion, onions can be very helpful and effective. You have chopped onions and experienced tears coming out, right? This is an example of just how powerful its effects are. For a potent natural decongestant, simply go to your kitchen and bring out an onion to prepare it.
- Chop 1 onion and inhale deeply.
- Heat a little bit of oil in a pan and add the chopped onion.
- Stand over the pan while slightly browning the onion and inhale. When you cook it, the rest of the onion’s juices will be released.
- Drinking onion juice also works very well, but the taste is a little hard to take.
- To make it, juice 1 onion in a juicer or blender and heat it in a pan.
- Add a little honey or sugar to improve the flavor and drink to relieve the congestion.
Homemade Vapor Rub
Do you often use Vicks Vapor rub when you have congestion? Well, now you can make your own vapor rub and use it the way you use the Vicks one. This is a simple recipe that does not require any expensive ingredients and the process is pretty simple too. However, keep in mind that you should not use this homemade vapor rub on babies or small children.
- Melt 2 level tablespoons of grated beeswax or beeswax pastilles with ½ cup of a carrier oil like olive oil, almond oil or coconut oil in a microwave or double boiler.
- Add 20 drops each of peppermint essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil and 10 drops each of clove or cinnamon essential oil and rosemary essential oil.
- Stir well until all the ingredients are well blended.
- Pour the mixture into a lidded container and store in a cool, dark place.
- Use your DIY vapor rub whenever you need to reduce coughing and congestion.
Lemon and Peppermint Tea
If you want an effective natural decongestant that tastes pleasant as well, you should opt for lemon and peppermint tea. Studies have shown the powerful natural properties that peppermint has, including anti-inflammatory and decongestant properties. You can use high-quality mint and lemon tea bags that you find in health food and grocery stores. The cheap ones are not good enough for medicinal use. You should make your own tea with homemade ingredients for best results.
- Take the zest of 1 lemon and add it to 2 cups of hot water.
- Allow it to steep for about 10 minutes with 2 teaspoons of fresh mint leaves or 1 teaspoon of dried mint leaves.
- Leave it for 5 minutes to let the ingredients infuse.
- Strain and slowly sip the tea.
- Do this several times a day until you notice an improvement in your condition.
As you can see, there are many natural remedies that you can use to gain relief from nasal or chest congestion. These are much safer and more effective than many OTC decongestants, which often cause side effects. The next time you feel stuffy or suffocated due to congestion, look around your kitchen to prepare an excellent home remedy to relieve your condition.