Easy Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Nasal Congestion
by Dr. Surya Bhagwati on Oct 30, 2019
Nasal congestion may not be a life threatening illness to most of us, but it can be incredibly frustrating and discomforting to deal with. After all, what’s worse than having to struggle to get a breath? Unfortunately, nasal congestion is one of the most common problems associated with the common cold, flu, sinusitis, and respiratory allergies, all of which surface fairly often. Fortunately, Ayurvedic remedies for nasal congestion can be extremely effective at providing relief even when your conventional cold medications and tissue boxes provide no respite.
Simple Ayurvedic Remedies for Nasal Congestion
1. Ginger-Garlic Juice
Ginger and garlic are popular culinary herbs, but their medicinal value has been long recognized in Ayurved. They can work as effective natural decongestants, with research showing that they also possess antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that can aid recovery. Aside from your refreshing ginger tea, you can also crush some garlic cloves and ginger to extract the juice and mix it with honey before consuming. A teaspoon of the mixture consumed each morning should provide some quick and much needed relief from nasal congestion.
Tulsi is an important therapeutic herb in the Ayurvedic tradition used to boost immunity, detoxify the body, and fight a variety of ailments. It is also a valuable ingredient in Ayurvedic medicines for nasal congestion, whether caused by the common cold or sinusitis. Evidence from clinical studies supports the use of this herb as it has been found to modulate the immune response, improving your ability to fight infections like the common cold. Tulsi can be consumed raw, by simply chewing the leaves or can also be steeped in boiling water to make an herbal tea. Alternatively, you can simply consume tulsi supplements or natural decongestant medications that contain the herb.
Haldi has been used for millennia to treat a wide range of health conditions, from wounds and skin infections to respiratory ailments like the common cold. The herb is notable for its strong anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antihistamine effects, which are linked to its main bioactive compound curcumin. These properties are helpful in dealing with nasal or chest congestion and haldi doodh or turmeric milk is actually a popular cold and cough remedy in India. To prepare it, you simply add a teaspoon or 2 of turmeric powder to boiling milk.
Pudinha or peppermint is another popular culinary herb in India that is used to deal with respiratory infections and gastrointestinal conditions. Studies show that the herb’s main bioactive ingredient, menthol, works as a natural decongestant with strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. In fact, pudinha is not just used in Ayurved, but has also been embraced by conventional medicine and is an ingredient in some of the most effective chest rubs, inhalants, and cough drops. You can use fresh pudinha to make your own herbal tea or look for Ayurvedic medicines for nasal congestion that contain the herb.
It would be almost impossible to find any reputed Ayurvedic medicine for immunity that does not contain amla as a primary ingredient. Not only is amla the richest source of vitamin C, but studies show it has powerful antibacterial activity against more than a 100 bacterial strains. You can consume raw amlas as a fruit or look for amla juice and other Ayurvedic medications that contain the ingredient.
Eucalyptus oil or nilgiri taila is often used for its heating energy to balance vata and kapha doshas, making it useful in the treatment of nasal congestion, which is associated with a buildup of kapha. As demonstrated from studies, the oil is a powerful decongestant that can help fight a variety of pathogens, including bacterial and viral infections. It also boosts immunity, and reduces inflammation of the airways, easing respiration. You can simply inhale eucalyptus oil aroma or apply it to the nasal passage, throat, and chest. The oil can also be used in steam inhalation or aromatherapy diffusers.
7. Nasya and Neti
Nasya and neti are regarded as essential nasal hygiene practices to support healthy respiratory function in Ayurved. Nasya is an extremely simple practice in which you apply herbal oils to the nasal passage, but neti can be a little intimidating as it is a type of nasal rinse in which you must use a saline solution to cleanse the nostrils. You can learn how to practice neti from any Ayurvedic expert or yogi. The practice flushes the nasal and sinus passages of any buildup and congestion, and has proven health benefits. However, neti can have a drying effect on the nasal passages, which is what makes nasya so important. Nasya must be used to moisturize and lubricate the airways after conducting neti.
Other Ayurvedic Herbs and Remedies for Nasal Congestion
Although we have touched upon 7 of the most effective Ayurvedic herbs and remedies for nasal congestion, this list is by no means comprehensive. Ayurved is a vast holistic discipline, with its roots dating back over 3,000 years ago. With numerous texts and treatises that include direct observations and research, the discipline provides us with a range of natural treatments for common conditions like the flu, sinusitis, and the common cold. Other herbs that are helpful in dealing with nasal congestion include jayphal, jatamansi, talispatra, and so on. Some of these herbs are not easily available in their raw form and some have greater efficacy when used in specific combinations. For this reason, it makes sense to use Ayurvedic medications for nasal congestion that contain a blend of these herbs. Just keep in mind that persistent nasal congestion can be indicative of more serious health conditions, so if you do not get respite with these natural remedies it would be best to consult a qualified Ayurvedic physician.
- Mashhadi, Nafiseh Shokri et al. “Anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of ginger in health and physical activity: review of current evidence.” International journal of preventive medicine vol. 4,Suppl 1 (2013): S36-42. PMID: 23717767
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- Saeed, Sabahat, and Pereween Tariq. “Antibacterial Activities of Emblica Officinalis and Coriandrum Sativum against Gram Negative Urinary Pathogens.” Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, vol. 39, no. 3, Jan. 2007, pp. 913–917., PMID: 17337425
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- Little, Paul, et al. “Effectiveness of Steam Inhalation and Nasal Irrigation for Chronic or Recurrent Sinus Symptoms in Primary Care: a Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial.” Canadian Medical Association Journal, vol. 188, no. 13, 2016, pp. 940–949., doi:10.1503/cmaj.160362
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