tissue

When your nose is clogged, it makes you all-over miserable. The sinus pressure hurts your head, you sound like a dog panting through your mouth, and all that stuffiness makes it difficult to hear. You don’t need to turn to over-the-counter medicines that dry you out in the short-term but also leave you feeling like a space case. Who needs the unnecessary chemicals? Instead, clear your nose naturally with these three simple remedies.

1. Make it steamy

Steam can help loosen mucus and clear your airways. For minor congestion, just sipping on a cup of tea can help. Hold your nose over the mug and breathe in the fumes. For added relief drink peppermint tea, as peppermint is a known decongestant.

For more severe clogs, take a steamy shower. You’ve never had such a good excuse to get pruny! The hot steam will moisturize your nasal passages, and help you relax—an often difficult task with sleepless nights spent constantly reaching for the tissues.

You could also create your own steam tent. To do this simply set a pot of water to boil. Once it boils, turn off the heat. Then, hold a large towel over your head to keep the steam enclosed, stand over the pot and inhale deeply. The overload of steam should clear up your nose in no time. Just be careful not to scald yourself! Add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to the water for even more medicinal benefits. Eucalyptus has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and decongesting properties—all great features for relieving a stuffy nose.

2. Break out the neti pot

While some of you might cringe at the thought of sticking a pot up your nose, neti pots are strangely effective for nasal congestion. Flushing the nasal passages with warm salt water has been practiced in Asia and India for ages. It removes allergens, germs and general debris, while also helping to keep the nasal passages moist. The salt can also help prevent infection.

To use a neti pot, dissolve a quarter teaspoon of sea salt in warm water. Make sure to use distilled water or boil the water first and let it cool. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but once you get used to using a neti pot, you’ll get addicted. Neti pots can do more than temporarily relieve sinus congestion, with regular use they can ease the symptoms of seasonal allergies and leave you feeling open and clear all the time.

3. Fill up on fluids

We know you’ve heard this one before, but that’s because it works. Seriously, drink your water. Hydrating with lots of clear liquids, like water, broth and herbal tea, will help loosen and thin out the mucus. It sounds weird, but you want thin mucus so your sinuses won’t continue to clog. A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water can also help thin out mucus. Avoid coffee and other caffeinated beverages, which can dehydrate you. Also, skip the dairy, which can exacerbate the problem.

Follow Kirsten on Twitter @kirsten_hudson, Google+ and Pinterest.

image: crumpart