A runny or a stuffy nose, although not harmful, can be downright annoying, and may play havoc with your daily routine. The medical term for a runny nose is rhinorrhea and the condition is usually symptomatic of common cold, a host of allergies, flu, sinusitis, and hay fever.
You can be down with a running nose during a seasonal change, especially before the onset of summer or winter season, and is a major cause of sinusitis or rhinitis. The condition is characterized by mucosal discharge that might be dense or thin and is usually yellowish, greyish or light green in colour.
It is the body’s response mechanism against disease conditions like flu or allergic attacks when bacteria or virus may get lodged along the lining of the mucous membrane. Your mucous membrane gets irritated and makes you sneeze persistently when the phlegm or mucus is released. This condition of nasal decongestion lasts only for a couple of days or so and goes away on its own. However for faster relief, you can take an over-the-counter medication or use a nasal spray.
Additionally, there is an array of home made and herbal remedies that can be equally effective while being comparatively inexpensive. The best thing about resorting to such home remedies are that they come without any perceptible side effects. Always get a second opinion from a specialist, preferably your family physician, before you can try out any of the following Home Remedies for a Runny Nose.
1. Irrigation with Salt Water
Irrigating the nostrils with tepid warm salt water is the most tried and tested home remedy because of its effectiveness. You’d just need to dissolve half a teaspoon of common salt into a cup of warm water and put two to three drops of the solution inside your nostrils. Thereafter, breathe in deeply to irrigate the nasal passage thoroughly. After a few minutes, clear your nose to get rid of the mucosal deposit. Repeat the process several times before you can feel relieved.
2. Drinking Lemon Juice
This is yet another traditional home remedy that can work wonders when you feel uncomfortable because of a sore throat and a runny nose. You’d just need to add a tablespoon or two of lemon juice to a glass of lukewarm water and drink it up. Take at least two glasses for best results. Lemon contains citric acid that helps you to get rid of the viruses or bacteria that cause common cold, flu or sinusitis and also boosts your immune system’s disease fighting capacity. Adding a tablespoon of honey makes the lemon water solution more potent.
3. Oregano Oil
The anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal attributes of the Oil of Oregano work as perfect anti-dote for rhinitis and sinusitis. Oregano oil contains two principal elements – thymol and carvacrol that helps in decongesting and clearing blocked nasal passages. You’d just need to add three drops of oregano oil to glass of natural fruit juice or lemon water and consume it.
4. Steam Inhalation
Inhaling the steam from a bowl of boiling water containing a few drops of mint or eucalyptus oil is also a very efficient technique for getting speedy relief when you’re bogged down with a runny nose. Before you get started with the process, don’t forget to drape your overhead with a towel.
Draping the towel over your head helps you to take the vapours without letting it escape into the surrounding atmosphere. Eucalyptus, thyme, and mint have ingredients rich in antibacterial properties that render the microorganisms ineffective. Moreover, the technique of steam inhalation is instrumental in clearing blocked nasal passages and gives you fast respite from numbing headaches.
5. Spicy and Peppery Foods
Green chillies, Mexican chillies, Cayenne peppers and black pepper, and various other species of plants grouped under the Capsicum genus contain a compound called capsaicin that helps in expediting the process of nasal discharge. You must be aware that hot and spicy foods aid in clearing up the mucous that blocks the nasopharynx.
This compound actually acts as a catalyst in cleansing out the toxins that aggravate the conditions leading to a runny nose. Spicy and peppery food preparations in general, help in accentuating air circulation that warms and refreshes you up if whenever you’re down with a common cold or exposed to the elements.
6. Turmeric Powder
Turmeric is a spice that has been used in India and many South Asian countries since ages for flavouring and garnishing food preparations and it also has many medicinal and curative properties. Its prophylactic properties help in getting rid of a runny nose and prevents further relapse that might lead to you having a stuffy nose in the short term.
Ground or powdered turmeric is easily available in the market. You’d just have to add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder to a cup of pure linseed oil, and heat the mixture sufficiently enough so that it begins smouldering. Thereafter, you’ll have to breathe in the rising smoke.
7. Mustard Oil
Mustard oil is a very plain yet very useful home remedy for a stuffy or runny nose. Its pungent characteristic and heady nature makes it a very powerful antidote against many common ailments including common cold and sore throat. Heat a spoonful of mustard oil until it’s just warm enough to the touch. Draw two to four drops of the oil using a dropper and release the liquid into your nostrils. Give yourself at least two to three minutes to absorb the oil after you’ve put in one nostril before you can put the same into your other nostril.
8. Diet Control
Your diet also makes a big difference to your having a runny nose and suffering from periodic bouts of sneezing. Usually when you suffer from a sore throat or when your nasal passage is choked-up, you tend to lose your appetite for food as you’re unable to smell and savour the food you take. The olfactory cells in the nasal cavities are unable to pick up the flavour of a particular food item as the nasal passage is blocked.
You should avoid food that lead to the formation of mucus and cause more inflammation like wheat products, milk, cheese, dried fruits, spinach, processed meats, yoghurts, and tomatoes. Rather, your diet should contain food items that are rich in vitamin E and C that act as powerful antioxidants thwarting the development of free radicals causing you to have a runny nose.