Remedies for Cold Congestion
- Congestion is often caused by dry conditions, which you can alleviate through the use of steam. On a broad level, set up a humidifier in your home, especially on cold or dry days. More specifically, fill a bowl full of hot water, drape a towel over your head, lean over the bowl and inhale deeply. The heat and moisture will loosen the mucus and allow you to expel it (along with the cold virus it contains). Holistic practitioners recommend adding peppermint oil or eucalyptus extract to the water in order to expedite the process. Steam is a primary part of hot chicken soup, too--one of the reasons why mothers and grandmothers have used it as a home remedy for thousands of years. Have a bowl or two everyday and be sure to breathe in the steam as you consume it. (Vegetable soup works well too if you're a vegetarian.)
- You can purchase over-the-counter decongestants at any pharmacy which will help relieve your stuffy nose. But you can also make a decongestant at home with just a few simple ingredients. Heat 1/2 cup water until it's pleasantly warm and then add a teaspoon or so of salt. Stir it until the salt dissolves, then fill an eye dropper with it. Tilt your head backward and place a few drops of the solution in your nose. Keep your head tilted back and allow the solution to drip all the way through your nasal passages. Not only does it unclog the mucus, but it reduces the inflammation on the membranes to boot.
Water and Other Liquids
- Proper hydration does wonders for congestion, eliminating the dryness that causes it. To that end, drink plenty of water or juice when you have a cold. The Mayo Clinic and others recommend adding lemon and/or honey to the water, which helps further decongestion. On the other hand, stay away from alcohol or caffeinated beverages like soda or coffee. They dry your body out, making the congestion worse.