What do piles of used tissues and persistent sniffles have in common? A runny nose. We’ve all been annoyed by this condition at some point of time in our lives. It comes as a package deal with allergies, colds, influenza, and the flu. And, if you’re struggling with a runny nose right now, we’ve got a few tips that will help you feel better in no time.
1. Saline Water
Most pharmacies sell over the counter saline nasal drops. But, if you’re too sick to step out of the door, you could make one yourself, using purified water and salt. If you are unsure about whether the water you’re using is purified or not, make sure you boil and cool it first.
To make the solution, add a teaspoon of salt to a cup of water. If it tastes as salty as tears or more, you’re good to go. Gently instil a few drops of this liquid into each nostril with your head tilted backwards. Be sure to not use this method more than four to six times a day, as dried salt can further irritate the nose.
For children, it is recommended that you purchase a nasal solution and not depend on homemade ones.1
2. Steam Inhalation
Humidity of any kind is known to relieve nasal congestion. It helps loosen up mucus and make it flow out of the nasal passage, thus relieving pressure in the nose. This is the reason why every infant nursery has a humidifier.
You could try this treatment by investing in a steamer, or inhaling the steam coming from a pot of boiling water. Be sure to exercise caution when you do this so as to not burn yourself.2 Additionally, you could add small quantities of eucalyptus oil to the steamer, which is known to relieve a runny nose.3
3. Neti Application
In Ayurveda, a neti treatment involves instilling medicated oils into the nasal passage to treat respiratory diseases. If you suffer from chronic sinusitis or experience a blocked nose often, a neti application might just be what you need.
You could get a neti pot and add a saline solution to it to ease a blocked nose. However, make sure you use distilled, sterile, or purified (boiled and cooled) water. Tap water might contain organisms that can stay alive in nasal passages and worsen infections.4
Alternatively, if you suffer from chronic runny nose, it might be a good idea to see an Ayurvedic practitioner and get started on a Jalaneti treatment to clean your sinuses. It may not be the quickest solution, but is known to be very effective.5
Capsaicin, the active ingredient in peppers that gives them their hotness, is very effective for clearing out mucus.6 Hence, the answer to a blocked nose could simply be a big bowl of hot and sour soup or a handful of peppers.
Like peppers, ginger is a spice that can relieve a runny nose. Studies show that ginger can modulate the immune response (runny nose, sneezing, cough) to inflammation associated with allergic asthma. So, sip on ginger tea, drink ginger-heavy soups, or try supplements when you feel the sniffles coming on. However, ginger supplements might have adverse affects so be sure to consult a doctor before you take them.7
More often than not, mucus from the nose drips into the back of the throat and causes the irritation we feel when we’ve come down with a common cold. Honey can help loosen this mucus and in turn, make your throat feel better. All you have to do is consume a teaspoonful of honey slowly or add it to a warm beverage.8
7. Holy Basil
Also known as Tulsi in Ayurveda, consuming holy basil leaves help clear the nose of mucus very effectively. And, if you can’t get your hands on holy basil, try basil oil instead.9
8. Sinus Massage
A massage can go a long way, especially if we’re talking about a blocked nose and a headache. It might just be the physical stimulant needed to relieve pressure.
All you have to do is heat a neutral oil such as olive and coconut oil until it’s warm. Using your fingers, rub the oil gently on your temples, followed by the space under the eyes, the nose, and the throat. This should clear up the congestion and help you relax.10
9. Warm Towel
Gently warm a towel or a napkin and apply it to the sides of the nose. This simple technique can help loosen the mucus and bring it out of the nasal passages effectively. You could also add eucalyptus oil to warm water, then dip a cloth in it and apply to your nose.11
10. Adequate Hydration
Appetite is the one thing that’s not on your side when you’ve got an infection. But, even if you don’t want to head to the kitchen a lot, make sure to stay hydrated. It helps loosen up mucus.
So, consume as many fluids as you can, both warm and cool, depending on how you feel. This could mean anything from soups and teas to juices and plain water. As a rule of thumb, have more fluids than you do on a daily basis.12
There is some reason to believe that our tendency to catch a cold is linked to the amount of stress in our lives. So, relax, rest well, and take time off if you need to.13
|↑1||Papsin, Blake, and Alison McTavish. “Saline nasal irrigation: Its role as an adjunct treatment.” Canadian Family Physician 49, no. 2 (2003): 168-173.|
|↑2||Ophir, Dov, and Yigal Elad. “Effects of steam inhalation on nasal patency and nasal symptoms in patients with the common cold.” American journal of otolaryngology 8, no. 3 (1987): 149-153.|
|↑3||Choi, Seo Yeon, and Kyungsook Park. “Effect of inhalation of aromatherapy oil on patients with perennial allergic rhinitis: a randomized controlled trial.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2016 (2016).|
|↑4||Is Rinsing Your Sinuses With Neti Pots Safe? US Department Of Health And Human Sciences.|
|↑5||Rastogi, Sanjeev, and Rajiv Rastogi. “Jalaneti application in acute rhino sinusitis.” (2007).|
|↑6||Karmouty‐Quintana, Harry, Catherine Cannet, Rosemary Sugar, John R. Fozard, C. P. Page, and Nicolau Beckmann. “Capsaicin‐induced mucus secretion in rat airways assessed in vivo and non‐invasively by magnetic resonance imaging.” British journal of pharmacology 150, no. 8 (2007): 1022-1030.|
|↑7||A Guide to Natural Ways to Alleviate Allergy and Sinusitis Symptoms. UCLA Center for East-West Medicine.|
|↑8||Bealin-Kelly, Francis Joseph David, Bernhard Hanke, and Paul Nienaber. “Throat soothing compositions.” U.S. Patent 6,432,441, issued August 13, 2002.|
|↑9||Mohan, Lalit, M. V. Amberkar, and Meena Kumari. “Ocimum sanctum Linn (Tulsi)—an overview.” Int J Pharm Sci Rev Res 7, no. 1 (2011): 51-53.|
|↑10||Bahraini, S. “The Effect of Facial and Head Massage on the Pain Severity of Sinus Headache.” Journal of Paramedical Sciences & Rehabilitation 3, no. 1 (2014): 68-73.|
|↑11||Burrow, A., R. Eccles, and A. S. Jones. “The effects of camphor, eucalyptus and menthol vapour on nasal resistance to airflow and nasal sensation.” Acta oto-laryngologica 96, no. 1-2 (1983): 157-161.|
|↑12||Cohen, Sheldon, David A. Tyrrell, and Andrew P. Smith. “Negative life events, perceived stress, negative affect, and susceptibility to the common cold.” Journal of personality and social psychology 64, no. 1 (1993): 131.|
|↑13||Segerstrom, Suzanne C., and Gregory E. Miller. “Psychological stress and the human immune system: a meta-analytic study of 30 years of inquiry.” Psychological bulletin 130, no. 4 (2004): 601.|