We don't think much about breathing until we get a stuffy nose. Congestion in our nose and chest makes everything more difficult. 

Many of us have probably used a decongestant spray to find relief. While these sprays may help short term, they cause rebound congestion and prolong recovery. Experts recommend not using over-the-counter nasal sprays for longer than three days to prevent this rebound effect.

Luckily there are just as many natural remedies we can try to find relief. You may have some of these treatments already lying around the house. If not, you can get most of them at your local drugstore. Here are six of the most effective all-natural ways to clear congestion to try this season.

  • Marino Linic/Unsplash
    Marino Linic/Unsplash


    Dry indoor air causes irritation and inflammation in the lining of the nose, which causes more mucus to build up and worsen congestion. A humidifier adds moisture to the air and can help open up the nasal passages.


  • Ioann Mark Kuznietsov/Unsplash
    Ioann Mark Kuznietsov/Unsplash


    Like a humidifier, a steamy tea or hot shower is also an excellent way to thin mucus because it returns moisture.


  • Theo Crazzolara/Unsplash
    Theo Crazzolara/Unsplash

    Spicy Food

    Ever get a runny nose while eating spicy food? Well, there is a reason for that. Spices such as chili pepper, ginger, and turmeric have anti-inflammatory properties and cause the body to make more mucus.


  • Diana Polekhina/Unsplash
    Diana Polekhina/Unsplash

    Nasal Irrigation Devices

    Nasal Irrigation Devices, commonly known as Neti Pots, use saline to unclog nasal passages. Saline rinses help moisten nasal passages, and unlike decongestant sprays, you can use them as needed, multiple times a day, without the risk of rebound congestion or sensitive blood vessels.


  • 21 Swan/Unsplash
    21 Swan/Unsplash


    Water helps loosen mucus. Women should aim for 11 cups of water, and men should aim for 15 cups daily when congested.


  • Kinga Cichewicz/Unsplash
    Kinga Cichewicz/Unsplash


    Keeping your head elevated prevents mucus from pooling in your sinuses and reduces pressure. Sleep on your back with an extra pillow to keep your head at a higher angle.

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