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Everyone, at least once in a lifetime, has complained of nasal congestion symptoms: from what has been said, one understands how much the disorder is widespread and frequent. It seems trivial, but a clean nose is essential to prevent serious problems that may arise, from colds to otitis, to bronchitis in the laryngitis. The whole respiratory system is closely related and the mucus stays in a stuffy nose promotes the spread of harmful microorganisms in the various organs.
At the beginning of the respiratory tract, it does at least three important tasks: humidifies, heats and filters the air that is breathing from the outside, eliminating impurities. The nose filter function is crucial: thanks to the hairs at the mucous level, larger particles coming from the outside are blocked in the nose without reaching the lower respiratory tract (lungs and bronchi). Even smaller particles, such as dust in the air, do not go beyond this barrier: they are trapped in the mucus, present in a subtle and imperceptible layer on the nasal mucosa, and slammed slowly through a mechanism called mucus transport.
Stuffy nose, a common term of reference to nasal congestion
Nasal congestion is synonymous with stuffy nose and nasal obstruction.
We are talking about a common respiratory tract disorder, characterized by two constant elements:
- Build up of mucus inside the nasal cavity
- Inflammation of the nasal cavity lining tissues
Nasal congestion is a very common symptom in many pathologies, such as respiratory obstruction, conjunctival congestion, rhinorrhea, viral rhinitis, allergies, colds and many more. Although it is a popular disease (if it is possible to define it as such), nasal congestion creates more or less significant discomfort, especially when it manifests itself in its chronic form. However, patients affected by nasal congestion tend to self-management of the disorder, using natural DIY remedies, or drug therapy recommended by friends or relatives. Even though it is a totally reversible phenomenon and simple resolution (in most cases), we must not forget the advice of expert figures in the healthcare industry, which are always fundamental. In fact, the neglect of the disease causes the phenomenon of nasal congestion to be largely ignored in its epidemiological dimension: the consequences of this approach – obviously incorrect – trigger a number of effects not only for the patient but also for the healthcare system in self.
The purpose of this article is to inform the reader about the causes, symptoms and consequences of the disease before proceeding to home remedies used to unclog a stuffy nose; despite the therapeutic strategies described, let us remember that the demand for a medical consultation is always the first consideration to be taken, even in the case of a simple disorder, such as nasal congestion.
The purpose of this article is to inform the reader about the causes, symptoms and consequences of the disease before proceeding to home remedies used to unclog a stuffy nose; despite the therapeutic strategies described, let us remember that the demand for a medical consultation is always the first consideration to be taken, even in the case of a simple disorder, such as nasal congestion.
In most cases, nasal congestion symptoms are rather mild – albeit annoying – and easily resolved in a handful of days. In addition to causing dispnea (the most recurrent and absolute symptom), nasal congestion may interfere with hearing and, in some cases, even with speech ability.
Nasal congestion patients often complain about repose difficulty: stuffy nose is in fact correlated with the snoring and the nocturnal apnea.
As anticipated, patients with adenoid ingrowth and nasal congestion are exposed to severe respiratory problems, such as hypoxia, suffocating sensation and heart failure. In such circumstances, surgical intervention (removal of adenoids / tonsils) is the most effective remedy ever.
Causes for stuffy nose
Treatment for nasal congestion depends on the underlying cause. When a stuffy nose occurs in the event of flu or cold, the most commonly used drugs are to relieve the general symptoms: paracetamol (antipyretic par excellence), aspirin and other NSAIDs (e.g. ibuprofen), with anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic action, are absolute the most used active ingredients.
If nasal congestion is related to allergic reactions, antihistamines, possibly associated with corticosteroids, exert excellently their therapeutic function. Remission of allergic symptoms also includes healing from nasal congestion.
Children affected by enlarged adenoids are generally subjected to surgery to remove them. By doing so, the small patient can completely recover from hypoxia and night apnea, which often accompany the disturbance of enlarged adenoids.
Regardless of the triggering factor, most people affected by nasal congestion benefit from the administration of oral decongestants, such as ephedrine, pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine. The same active ingredients can be formulated as nasal sprays. It is recommended not to abuse these decongestant medicines: paradoxically, stubborn use could even aggravate the clinical picture of nasal congestion.
The most common cause of nasal congestion and sniffing is a common cold. The trouble may also be due to allergies, extra sensitive nasal mucous membranes, pregnancy or long periods of nasal spray application.
Most often, a common cold is to blame
When you are cold, the mucous membranes swell in the nose and it becomes harder to breathe through your nose. The mucus is initially thin and almost transparent. Within a few days, it becomes thicker and gray, yellow or sometimes green in color. A thick yellow or green nasal discharge is often a natural consequence of a cold virus. It does not mean that you have a bacterial infection.
Sneezing may be due to allergy
If your nose is constantly runny and discharge is always thin and translucent, it may be due to allergy. Often, you will also have other signs of allergy like tearing, itchy eyes or sneezing. Nasal congestion that never brings with it sneezing can sometimes be due to allergy.
Sensitive mucous membranes can cause an inconvenience
If you have a runny nose or nasal congestion, it may be due to the so-called vasomotor rhinitis. Sometimes you just sneeze or rub your nose. The trouble may come when you, for example, eat, smoke or experience temperature fluctuations. In vasomotor rhinitis, the mucous membranes of the nose have become extra sensitive. The reason is unknown.
Nasal congestion may also be due to nasal spray or pregnancy
If your nose is clogged for a long time, it may be because you have used a nasal spray for a long time. Women who are pregnant can also have prolonged nasal congestion, because hormones cause the nasal mucosa to swell.
Vasoconstricting nasal spray reduces swelling
If you have a nasal congestion caused by colds, there are vasoconstricting nasal sprays that reduce the swelling of the esophagus. But you should not use vasoconstricting nasal spray for more than ten days because long-term use may instead cause a nasal congestion that is difficult to get rid of.
If you have used swollen nasal spray for a long time, it is best to stop using it immediately. Then you can feel even more clogged in the nose for a few days before releasing it. If you have a lot of trouble, you can try a recipe-free nasal spray with cortisone.
Sinusitis is a disorder affecting the paranasal sections and causing headache, irritated and stuffy nose, localized inflammation, congestion, fever, swelling and excessive secretion of mucus. It strikes indifferently young people, children and elderly people, but especially those who suffer from frequent colds or allergies, so it usually occurs with the arrival of the first colds in the spring months. However, be careful not to confuse sinusitis with a common cold: the most important sign that occurs with sinusitis is the pain in the face, which may affect forehead, cheekbones, the areas above and under the eyes and jaws, and accentuates when you move the head or when you exert pressure on the affected area. It is not enough to have a stuffy nose and headache to say that it is sinusitis.
Why is my nose always stuffy? Chronic stuffy nose
The reasons for chronic stuffy nose are several. Nasal congestion can be really annoying, especially if you suffer from it often. Knowing which factors are increasing the risk of chronic nasal congestion is, however, a great way to prevent or combat the problem.
Let’s find out together what are the causes not to be underestimated:
- Allergy: This is an important cause not to be underestimated. If you cannot avoid the substances that cause you allergies, consider the idea of undergoing vaccination.
- Nasal decongestants: These products should not be used for prolonged periods, as excessive use may only aggravate the problem of the nose closed.
- Dry air: Whether it is air conditioning, heating or a dehumidifier, dry air can inflate the nasal tissues, giving the feeling of closed nose.
- Sinusitis: This condition involves several symptoms, among which we also find the unpleasant feeling of having the nose closed
- Structural problem: the deviated nasal septum, for example, can cause the annoying feeling of having the nose permanently closed.
- Nasal polyps: The symptoms of nasal polyps include the inability to breathe well. Cancer: Nasal cavity tumor symptoms include nasal congestion that does not improve, a tumor can be the cause of it. Other symptoms of tumors in the nasal cavity are obstruction of a nostril and loss of blood from the nose.
Infant stuffy nose
If in the adult or adolescent, the nasal congestion constitutes only an early resolute discomfort, in the infant the closed nose can produce serious consequences. In a toddler, when nasal congestion occurs only in a nostril, it is likely that the child has inserted a small object in the nose.
Unconsciously, the newborn tends to breathe only with the nose: therefore, nasal congestion in the newly born baby may interfere with lactation (it cannot feed), as well as cause serious respiratory deficits. Until the age of one year, the baby breathes almost exclusively through the nose, which becomes even more important than an important filter against viruses, bacteria or pollutants present in the inspired air. The closed nose should then be released to allow the baby to breathe well: remove the mucus that may have formed and block the nasal passage.
The mucus stagnation in the nostrils facilitates the spread of infections, such as pharyngitis and laryngitis, throughout the respiratory tree. Mucus is, in fact, a great environment for the proliferation of harmful microorganisms. Nose, throat and bronchi, then, communicate with each other and this favors the passage of viruses and bacteria from one side to the other. For the same reason, catarrh and inflammation can go back to the ear and cause a hurt. Not to mention that a stuffy nose disturbs the baby, who struggles to sleep and eat. If the cold lasts for a long time, it may be that the baby gets weak, which further predisposing it to complications.
To clean the little baby’s nose, use only sterile physiological solutions, based on sodium chloride (salt) and sterile water, do not irritate the skin. They allow not only nose wash but also moisturizing the mucosa to improve breathing. On the market, they find different types (in single-dose vials or spray). For the same purpose, marine and thermal waters can also be used, produced by characteristics similar to physiological solutions, but enriched with specific trace elements depending on their origin. These minerals are present in an optimal composition to maintain the normal nasal mucous balance.
Nasal washings are very important to free the nasal from the mucus and help the baby to breathe better. Keeping the child’s baby nose unclogged helps, because, and we cannot seem to reiterate this enough, infants up to six months of life breathe with the nose and when the baby is cool or the nose is a bit clogged, the baby may have trouble sleeping and sucking milk.
The best and most effective way to free the baby’s nasal is to perform regular nasal washings of the dynamic type. Nasal wash is used to rid the nose obstructed by catarrh and mucus, to clean the nasal mucosa from allergens, bacteria and dust, but also to relieve the nose because it moisturises the mucosa and fights dryness.
To make them ideal is to use the thermal water to choose from those indicated for nose and throat disorders. Thermal water has unique characteristics, which cannot be reproduced in the laboratory, is bacteriologically pure and able to carry out specific actions. Sulfur bromide sulphurous water contains a significant amount of sulfur, sodium, bromine and iodine and numerous trace elements that activate specific chemical reactions and are used to treat various disorders such as respiratory diseases.
Used every day to gently clean the nasal drops the thermal water can release the allergens, bacteria, mucus stagnant. It will help breathe and help prevent seasonal illnesses because the thermal water performs a natural anti-inflammatory, immunostimulating, mucolytic, antiseptic action and instantaneously hydrates nasal mucous membranes.
Arrange the baby lying down or sitting with his head slightly bent on one side but not with its head leant back. Gently put the vial with the thermal water into the noses of the chin and sprinkle the liquid (so if the baby’s head is bent on the left side, the liquid is sprayed upwards into the left nostril), directing the jet in the direction of the opposite ear. In this way the liquid will come out of the other nostril. Repeat on the other side.
If the baby is small and has a cold, a nasal suction device can be used to release excess mucus that will soften; an older child should be invited to blow the nose. Before performing the nasal wash, it is best to place a dry cloth underneath the child’s chin to prevent it from getting wet.
Also, do not perform nasal wash by holding the baby’s head back, so that the liquid may not reach the other nostril but go into the throat and cause cough in the little one.
Nasal aspirators are a recent novelty, well-suited for younger children. The nasal aspirators allow removing secretions, even very abundant, in a gentle and painless way. In the past there were only the specific aspirator pumps, equipped with anatomic baby nozzle, to be pressed with hands. Today, however, it is easy to do this with special accessories to control the intensity of the suction. There are different brands on the market, but are generally made up of a fixed device with an anatomic tip to be inserted into the small nostrils, a small reservoir with a stopper-mucus filter, and through a hose a nozzle, adults can eliminate secretions. Spare parts guarantee maximum hygiene. The system usually comes complete with physiological solution vials that soften the secretions by encouraging better aspiration.
The mucus stagnation in the nostrils facilitates the spread of infections, such as pharyngitis and laryngitis. That’s why it’s important to release the nose closed through physiological solutions, marine or thermal waters. Alternatively, nasal aspirators may be used.
How to relieve a stuffy nose
Sleep with an elevated head end
If nasal congestion makes it difficult to sleep, you can try to lie with your head high in bed. Put some extra pillows under your head. If the pillows are placed under the mattress, it may feel more comfortable for the back.
How to clear a stuffy nose
If you have a thick nasal discharge, it may help to cleanse your nose with saline, for example, before going to bed. There are ready-made saline drops and salt sprays to buy at the pharmacy. You can also make a saline yourself by mixing a milliliter of salt in a deciliter of water. The solution can be boiled and cooled, but it is not necessary to cook. To introduce the saline solution in your nose, you can use a special nasal sprayer or a small plastic syringe available at the pharmacy. Nasal rinsing can also relieve if you have long lasting nasal congestion.
If the mucous membranes are dry
If you have dry nasal mucous membranes, you can lubricate them with some cooking oil or try plasticizing nasal spray with sesame oil, available in pharmacies.
General advice for self-treating stuffy nose
The first thing to do to relieve stuffy nose is through changes in your diet to eliminate the formation of the cause, or mucus. There are foods that increase mucus production, while other foods help against it. To strengthen the body and slow down mucus formation, it is good to opt for a mucosal diet rich in vitamins C, such as oranges, tangerines, kiwis, strawberries and peppers; black currant, spinach, garlic, onion and potatoes also can help.
It is very important is the supply of sulfur-rich foods, such as crucifers: cabbage, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, Savoy cabbage, Brussels sprouts, horseradish, radish, turnips, and rocket salad. Try to avoid dairy products, animal derivatives and fats such as butter, cream or fatty cheeses, which can increase mucus production and worsen the situation. Meat, refined cereals and refined flours, refined sugars, eggs, fried foods, alcohol, and coffee, too should be avoided. In replacement of milk and dairy products, you can increase the intake of soy or rice or oatmeal products such as rice dessert, soy yoghurt, and tofu.
Hydrate to fight excessive mucus production
It is very important in these cases, to assist the whole organism with as much fluid as possible, and to drink at least 9 cups of water per day, juices, natural juices, including juice of such vegetables as cabbage, parsley, rocket; in the evening, indulge yourself with hot, velvety soups, and vegetable broths. A definite yes should be said to infusions and herbal teas. A good herbal tea to fight excessive mucus production is brewed on rose hips or elder.
Exercise, facial gymnastics and auto massage
Concentrating on breathing, as yogic practice does, through a number of targeted exercises, is also very important. Facial exercises and facial massage against stuffy nose can be easily experienced, many online videos can help you with that.
Acupressure for sinusitis can be self-administered by anyone suffering from paranasal sinuses. There are six strategic points on which to focus your fingertips. The first point is right above the root of the nose, between its eyebrows. Pressing it for about a minute helps the membranes secrete the mucus, preventing them from drying and flaking. This operation is also useful in preventing colds and rhinitis.
The two sides of the nose are the second strategic point of the acupressure for sinusitis: you have to push them down with your indexes fingers with soft pressing movements. In this way, the sinuses will drain more effectively the mucus, and that annoying pain in the back of the cheeks will vanish. Pressing this point regularly also helps prevent respiratory illness.
The third point is at the top of the nose. The ideal would be to press it for at least five minutes: this will relieve the pressure behind the eyes and the disorders of the ethmoid sinuses and the splenic sinuses.
You can also try to relieve stuffy nose by pressing the nose edges up to the pressure point of the nostrils: in case of sinusitis, the entire area is sensitive.
The fourth step of the acupressure for sinusitis is in straight line under the pupil. To find it, just go down by touching your cheek until you find a soft spot. Pushing it upwards causes relaxation of all Eustachian sinuses and tubes. It’s a strategic point, especially if you have pain in the maxillary sinus, in the cheeks area, and even inside the mouth (for example if you have toothache).
The fifth point is called ‘the filter’. This is the small groove located above the upper lip. The pressure must be directed towards the nose. It is also useful to push it when it comes to preventing sneezing due to flu or allergy. If the sinuses are clogged, the mucus will flow to the back of the throat.
The last point is located along the superciliary arches. The best way to massage it is by sliding your thumbs outward by simultaneously pressing upwards. It’s a real trick to relieve pressure behind your eyes.
Spa treatments against sinusitis
Spa treatments are preferable to exhausting sessions in the gym. There are many natural thermal springs that thanks to the anti-inflammatory and curative properties of their waters give an important benefit to the natural treatment of stuffy nose and sinusitis and greatly alleviate its symptoms: contact the nearest centers for nasal and other treatments, those are often recommended to children as well.
Organic stuffy nose remedies made at home
With a quarter of honey and a quarter of apple vinegar, you can get a real syrup to fight stuffy nose. It is placed in a hermetic container, taking it once every 4 hours in a single teaspoon.
2. Mulled wine
Obtained by mixing some red sugar and spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger root, cardamom seeds) with red wine, the wine vinegar decongestionates and improves breathing.
3. Humidified environment
It is necessary to keep the environment always humidified, either with special equipment or water trays on the radiators. You can add a few drops of eucalyptus oil or mint leaves to help you breathe better or alternatively add a quarter cup of white vinegar together with water in the vaporizer to release your nose.
Cut an onion in half or in many pieces and breathe in the onion aroma, holding it close to your nose
5. Zinc and vitamin C supplements
Zinc supplements in the recommended dose of 50 milligrams per day during colds are very useful for decongesting the nose. At the same time, it is advisable to integrate with Vitamin C, consuming fine orange juice daily. At your local herbalist’s, you can also find rose hip berries to make herbal teas also several times a day.
6. Tomato juice
A grandmother’s remedy is to mix a cup of tomato juice with a teaspoon of chopped garlic, half a teaspoon of spicy sauce and a teaspoon of lemon juice, warming and drinking.
Spices, in particular, chili peppers, ginger, curry, black pepper and long pepper eaten as they are or added to the meals are able to stimulate nasal discharge and decongestion.
8. Hot food and drinks
Hot tea, infusions, and warm milk, in addition to eliminating the mucus, replenish the lost liquids and rehydrate the body.
9. Cold water applications
Apply cold water packs to the base of the nose, over the nasal septum, to experience relief.
10. Mustard powder
Mustard made with mustard powder can be spread on your chest and cover with a wet towel, squeezed and heated. In just 30 minutes, this method is capable of decongesting the airways completely.
11. Phytotherapy against stuffy nose
Plants and flowers come to our aid, such as dry extract of Andrographis paniculate, so it is advised about 6 g per day, with a half-dose in children under 14 and is contraindicated during pregnancy.
12. Echinacea Angustifolia
Echinacea Angustifolia, in the form of tincture, 30 drops, 3 times a day, increases immune defense, has anti-bacterial, anti-bacterial, immunostimulant and anti-inflammatory action. Therapy should be performed at two-month treatment cycles and a one-month break. Contraindicated in case of asthma, leukemia, autoimmune diseases.
13. Ribes Nigrum and propolis
Ribes Nigrum and propolis are effective as natural remedies for the treatment of sinusitis and stuffy nose.
14. Herbal teas
Herbal teas are a natural remedy to combat the malignancy that leads to seasonal change. Here are 5 natural solutions to fight nasal congestion and prevent seasonal illnesses.
15. Ginger juice
Ginger is the anti-cold spice par excellence. Thanks to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, it helps to combat sore throat and pharyngitis of mild or severe identity. It also decongestions the respiratory tract, releasing us from the annoying sense of stuffy nose. The ingredients are: 2 or 3 slices of fresh ginger, a spoonful or two of honey to sweeten. Boil water and ginger for 5 minutes. Let the brew rest for another 5 minutes. Serve with honey.
16. Melissa infusion
Melissa boasts excellent sedative and soothing properties. It successfully decongests the nose. In case of fever, it stimulates sweating, thus lowering body temperature. It also frees the body from toxins and bacteria by accelerating healing from colds and flu. The ingredients you will need are: 2 teaspoons of dry melissa (easily available at your local herbalist’s), a couple of spoons of honey to sweeten. Prepare the infusion by boiling melissa in a tea strainer for 5 minutes. Let it rest and serve with honey.
17. Herbal tea with sage
Apart from its decongestive powers, sage is an excellent natural remedy against cough and fever, thanks to its anti-inflammatory, balsamic and expectorant properties. It also calms the cough and relieves the sore throat. Take 10 sage leaves, zest of 1 lemon, and some honey to sweeten. Follow these preparation instructions: boil sage with lemon zest for about 5 minutes. Relax and serve with honey.
18. Canned strawberry
Cinnamon is the perfect remedy for those who are subject to throat and respiratory disturbances. Thanks to its antiseptic and disinfectant properties, it helps the immune system to fight viral infections. You will require the following ingredients: 1 cinnamon stick, zest of 1 orange, 2 cloves, honey to sweeten. Add the ingredients to water. Allow to boil for 5 minutes. Let it rest and filter the herbal tea in a cup, sweetening with honey.
19. Rose hip tea
Rose hip, or dog rose as it is also called, is rich in vitamin C, which makes it a great natural remedy to combat nasal congestions and seasonal sickness. Its properties stimulate the immune system, relieve sore throat and pain in the bones typical of the flu. It also promotes a relief for cough, mucus and catarrh. Take 6 berries of rose hip (easily available at herbalist’s) and use honey to sweeten. Boil water in a pot. When it bubbles, turn off the water and put the berries in the pot. Let it rest for 10 minutes. Best served with honey.
20. Linden blossom infusion
Linden flowers have mainly a flushing effect, which helps the body to get rid of harmful substances. It is characterized by antipyretic action, It perfectly supports the fight with hay fever, and rhinitis. Linden is also helpful in alleviating headache and insomnia caused by the arthritis. It has anxiolytic and sedative effect. Linden brew is applied three times a day, that is, in the amount of three cups, preferably with honey and a slice of fresh lemon.
21. Yarrow tea
Yarrow herb contains salicylic acid, azulenes, flavonoids, mineral salts rich in manganese compounds, which in the respiratory system play an anti-inflammatory and diastolic role. Common yarrow stops bleeding. It can be used in the form of tea made with other herbs. Herbs have flushing properties. It is also used for allergic rhinitis. It can be administered in the form of inhalation, infusion, chest massage oil to facilitate breathing.
22. Anise infusion
Anise has expectorant properties. The herb is taken in the form of infusions made in the proportion of 1 tablespoon of aniseed herring for a glass of hot, boiled water. This brew with unique properties is indispensable for remedying stuffy nose. Contains essential oils which soothes blocked nose and sinuses.
23. Fenugreek infusion
Fenugreek is used to strengthen the body’s immunity. In its seeds contains a number of micronutrients i.e. protein, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc, fats and vitamin PP. The herb seals the blood vessels and removes toxins from the body. You can also choose to heal sinuses by inhaling fenugreek seeds.
24. Milk and sage
Tea made from sage leaves brings relief in the case of sore throat, voice loss, tonsillitis, as well as helping to remove excess phlegm in the blocked lung, makes the nose open. Against stuffy nose it helps to drink milk cooked with sage leaves, to which honey is added. The infusion should be consumed three times a day.
25. Greek hay
Trigonelline alkaloid contained in Greek hay seeds is the main agent of the expectorant and fluidifying properties of this plant. Squash 1-2 teaspoons of seeds in a cup of water, let it boil, filter and drink the infusion while it is still hot. Repeat 2-3 times a day until you get the nose free from the mucus. The remedy is not indicated for pregnant women, as Greek hay can induce uterine contractions.
26. Black pepper
A teaspoon of this spice infused for 15 minutes in a cup of boiling water is a good gimmick to free up the nose from congestion that afflicts us. Mix well and drink warm. An interesting ‘mechanical’ alternative to black pepper infusion is the stimulation of sneezing. Deeply inhale the aroma of black pepper mixed in three drops of sesame oil. The tickling sensation it can cause could temporarily release you from nasal congestion for a while.
Essential oils against stuffy nose
Essential oils also help to fight the sinusitis problems, just add a few drops of essential eucalyptus oil to the breathing dummy water, or in a basin of boiling water, drop 10 drops of essential oil, cover your head with a towel and inhaled for 3 consecutive minutes, stop and continue to breathe as long as the water will release steam. The use of humidifiers in the environment does very well: enrich the water by pouring a few drops of essential oil of thyme or bitter orange essential oil.
The beneficial properties of essential balsamic oils offer immediate natural relief to the decongestant nose, promoting breathing and avoiding propagation of bacteria and contagion. This particular type of essence plays a decongestant action on the nasal mucus, fluidizes mucus and catarrh and helps its elimination.
The essential oil of eucalyptus, pine and niaouly are among the most common and most easily available in herbal medicine. Their intake can be taken for internal use (2 drops in one teaspoon of honey on a full stomach). They can be diluted in a neutral cream and massaged around the nostrils or chest, to aid breathing during sleep or can be used in inhalations.
In addition, the common cold virus enters the body mainly through nose, mouth, and eyes, and rapidly penetrates into the pharyngeal and nasal cavities. When you are in closed environments, a sneeze or cough can be a source of propagation. That is why the environmental diffusion of essential oils is helpful in preventing contagion.
Among the natural remedies for stuffy nose, we can not mention the plants that perform a protective and soothing action on the mucous membranes.
Malva, chamomile, angelica and altea
Malva, chamomile, angelica and altea for the presence of mucilage perform an anti-inflammatory and decongestant function of mucous membranes. These officinal herbs can be taken in the form of decoction (in the decoction water and plant are placed on the fire at the same time and both are brought to the boil) to allow the best extraction of the mucilage.
Echinacea and uncaria tomentosa
In addition to acting on mucus production, you can cure cold and nose with natural immuno-stimulant remedies. Echinacea and uncaria tomentosa act respectively as stimulant and modulant of the production of antibodies by the lymph glands. These plants can be taken for preventive or curative purposes once the disorder has been contracted. Their intake can be carried out in the form of tincture or compressed infusion.
Nasal irrigations for stuffy nose
Nasal irrigations are important because they help keep the airways free and clean by promoting the prevention and healing of colds, otitis and other respiratory diseases. They are useful to everyone, but above all they are fundamental to children, who, having very small nasal cavities, are more exposed to colds and related complications. Nasal washings require a physiological solution and a needle-free syringe. Alternatively, you can use one of specific products commonly found on the market.
These are more expensive products than the common physiological solution, the advantage is that they are ready to deliver and often have practical spouts, which make them especially useful in younger children.
Physiological solution, or saline solution, is a sodium chloride solution, i.e. kitchen salt, in purified water. It’s easy to find on the market, not just in the pharmacy. There are packages for all needs, ranging from large to single-use, and depending on the type of packaging they can have a very variable price. The good news is that you an make them at home at next to no cost and never know the difference. The physiological solution you make, if prepared with all the right criteria, can be used for nasal washings, but should never be used to clean contact lenses or intravenous therapies because the physiological preparation you make in the home is not sterile and does not have the characteristics appropriate for these uses.
The most ancient (and perhaps even the most effective) method for cleaning the nasal cavities is the a neti pot, a special container similar to a small teapot that originates in Indian traditions. It should be filled with a saline solution that has to be heated up to about 37 degrees (body temperature). You can prepare it at home by adding a teaspoon of sea salt to a half liter of water and a teaspoon of bicarbonate. At this point you need to insert the nozzle inside a nostril and bend to the head laterally: the fluid will flow continuously through the nasal cavities and exit from the opposite nostril. Be careful to breathe open mouth and not to swallow the liquid (if it ends in the throat, it is nothing to worry about: just spit it out!). Since this is a very unusual tradition for the Western civilization, it may take some effort before we really get to know this technique. However after a few days you will be able to use a neti pot naturally and you will be so fascinated by its benefits for stuffy nose and other cold symptoms. A neti pot can also be used for nasal washings in children.
A less exotic alternative to performing nasal irrigation is to use a syringe (without the needle). The concept is the same as with a neti pot: insert the syringe spout into a nostril and bend the head to the side. In this case, however, you will, with the pressure of the syringe piston, adjust the flow of the saline solution through the nasal passages. Above all, try to be gentle and use slow flow.
Nasal irrigation with sea water
There are many sea water products specially formulated for nose cleaners on the market. There are both children and adults. Sea water is rich in mineral salts and trace elements that provide a more soothing and decongestant action than the simple physiological solution. These products are therefore indicated especially when you have a stuffy nose as one of the cold symptoms. They are often equipped with a convenient spray dispenser; for nasal irrigation it is therefore sufficient to spray the product according to the directions and the posology shown in the instructions, which naturally vary from formulation to formulation.
Nasal irrigation with physiological solution
Physiological solution is prepared with water and salt taken at 0.09%. Doing it at home is simple. You will need the following ingredients: 550 ml of tap water (abundance does not hurt because some of the water will evaporate); 4.5 grams of kitchen salt; a container with hermetic lid. If, on the other hand, you want to prepare a liter you will need to add 9 g of salt, or a double amount.
Boil the water in a lid-covered pot and add the salt. Pour the still hot solution into a previously sterilized glass container with boiling water. Close hermetically. The classic rubber bottle cap is also good. Obviously, the bottle glass must be heat-resistant, otherwise it will risk breaking. Cool the physiological solution well before using it.
The physiological solution for nasal washings should have a temperature of about 37 degrees, that is, similar to that of the body. Home-made physiological solution can be used for nasal washings, but not for other uses that require a sterile product and with particular characteristics of osmolarity. If doing nasal washings with a DIY solution you experience a burning sensation, it means that probably too much salt has been used.
Nasal irrigations with bicarbonate
This nasal solution is obtained by combining a teaspoon of sea salt from the kitchen, a teaspoon of bicarbonate and half a liter of water. Do not forget that is needs to be used at body temperature, just like any other solution for nasal irrigation.
Steam inhalations to cure stuffy nose
Steam inhalations are helpful in treating stuffy nose and other symptoms of colds, pharyngitis or laryngitis. To prepare a steam inhalation, a potful of water needs to be boiled is sufficient; after the boiling of the water, remove the pot from the fire and puts it with his head over the pan, placing a towel on your head to avoid dispersing the steam. For steam inhalations, it is not necessary to add salt to water but it may be useful to add a few drops of essential balsamic oil, such as those of eucalyptus, rosemary or thyme. It is different when using the aerosol device: in this case, a saline solution can be used because aerosol uses up the water instead of vapor. Steam inhalations or aerosol can be done once or twice a day.
Bicarbonate steam inhalations
Bicarbonate is undoubtedly the most commonly used ingredient when it comes to soup or honey. Easy to find and inexpensive, bicarbonate can safely be the only ingredient to dissolve in water. Two teaspoons are enough, and action on the water vapor will boost the effects and benefits of flu symptoms.
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and disinfecting power, sodium bicarbonate is also used in conjunction with other very effective ingredients, herbs or essential oils in the first place. But what do you choose to intensify their power and allow the housekeeping to act faster than cold and stuffy nose? No doubt chamomile flowers, essential oils of eucalyptus or thyme and tea tree oil are among the most effective and used ingredients for this purpose.
However, if you are caught off guard, you can safely sit back on the big hall, element present in each pantry, which serves as a good substitute for baking soda in case of an emergency. The process is always the same: bring to the boil the water, melt two tablespoons of salt and then proceed with inhalation of vapors.
Chamomile steam inhalations against nasal congestion
This remedy is perfect in combination with bicarbonate to counteract stuffy nose and cold. Thanks to its soothing and soothing properties, chamomile helps to release the respiratory tract and promotes the fluid-flowing process. To prepare a chamomile inhalation, just pour some of its dried flowers in a pot of boiling water – if you want, adding a little bit of sodium bicarbonate to boost its effect – and then proceed with the inhalation. If you do not have dried chamomile flowers, you can safely use a regular herbal sachet for chamomile infusion that you can get from a supermarket or at a pharmacy.
Steam inhalations with essential oils
During inhalations, it is usually intended to use essential oils or other natural products to emphasize the healing process and achieve the desired results. This is the case, for example, with some known aromatic plants, some of which are also balsamic, such as eucalyptus, thyme, basil, rosemary, lavender and marjoram. Although these plants are recognized as effective means for treating cold by inhalations it is important to consult your GP before proceeding with these natural remedies. This may be due to hypersensitivity to certain substances contained in essential oils or to problems related to the presence of further pathologies or to any pharmacological treatments followed.
Eucalyptus is arguably the most well-known remedy against sinusitis and catarrh. Eucalyptus and thyme are two very effective ingredients to counteract seasonal illnesses and fight cold and sore throat symptoms. Eucalyptus, in particular, is designed to release the respiratory tract due to its antibacterial power and the balsamic properties it enjoys, thus providing a great help against stuffy nose, sinusitis and catarrh. You can use essential eucalyptus oils as a good substitute for sodium bicarbonate: just pour into the pot of hot water 4/5 drops and then proceed with inhalation of the vapors. The ideal would be to make eucalyptus such inhalations in the evening, to foster easier breathing during sleep.
Steam inhalations with tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is ideal for curing stuffy nose caused by viral and bacterial infections. Tea tree oil is another essential oil suitable for filling and stuffing. Thanks to its healing and balsamic properties, it is a real cure not only for nasal congestions, but for coughing, sore throat and colds in general. Even in this case, it will take 4/5 drops to make the effect and speed up the healing process.
Herbal Oil 31: a cure for coughing and sore throat
There is another oil, commercially referred to as oil 31, rich in beneficial and healing properties, perfect for preparing inhalations. This oil is ideal for contrasting sore throats and coughs, this oil, in addition to being used for remedies, can also be taken orally, with milk and honey, to promote nasal decongestion and release the respiratory tract, or with lemon juice. It is also a perfect solution for flushing the throat in case of pharyngitis.
Home remedies against allergic rhinitis
If your nasal congestion is caused by an onset of allergies, there are many natural remedies that can come to your rescue. Scroll down to choose what best fits you.
27. Black currant (currant nigrum)
Of all the available solutions is surely one that gets the most consents. Among its undoubted advantages is being a natural cortisone, totally non-toxic and capable of performing the typical anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory functions of cortisone without the annoying contraindications. Better effects can be achieved if black currant is combined with Justicia adhatoda (better known as Malabar nut; see below) and Perilla. Available as an extract (to be diluted in water) or even dried leaves (leave in infusion for about ten minutes in a liter of water and consume during the day). Black currant also has ophthalmic and intestinal regulating properties.
28. Justicia adhatoda (Malabar nut)
Malabar nut is a small evergreen shrub growing near the Himalaya chain. Juice and fresh leaf extracts have always been used in Ayurvedic medicine (traditional Indian medicine), while western medicine knows Malabar nut as the source for obtaining bromexin, effective against cough and excellent expectorant. There are many possibilities of use, from bronchial asthma to allergic manifestations.
Perilla (perilla frutescens): Originally planted in East Asia, cultivated mainly in Japan, China, Korea. Extracts of polyphenols, inhibitors of the major chemical mediators of allergies, are obtained from leaves and seeds. Is able to effectively reduce IgE levels, the particular class of antibodies involved in allergic reactions. The high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids makes it useful also for cholesterol control;
29. Licorice and green tea
Licorice root is also very useful to keep away allergens and green tea is also effective in counteracting some types of pathogenic bacteria.
30. Garlic (allium sativum)
Another remedy to keep allergens and some bacterial charges under control, but it deserves a separate talk. Its characteristics make it useful for controlling blood glucose levels, so its use must be moderate in diabetic or hypoglycemic subjects.
31. Common nettle (urtica dioica)
The infusion of nettle is very effective in combating the symptoms of allergies, but it must not be confused with urtica urens, or dwarf nettle, which on the contrary contains a high concentration of histamine.