Have you ever wondered why you have a cold or the flu or a stuffy nose, every time there is a change in the season? Seasonal change is often marked by upper respiratory tract infections (UPTI) such as the common cold, the flu, a cough, or nasal congestion. Among these, having a runny or a stuffy nose is the most common symptom and the most annoying to deal with. In today’s article, we will look at what causes nasal congestion and some home-made concoctions that can help relieve nasal congestion during seasonal change. 

Introduction to Nasal Congestion and Its Causes

Nasal congestion, commonly known as a ‘stuffy nose’, is the uncomfortable, stuffed-up feeling you experience during a cold or the flu. It can also be due to an allergy or a sinus infection. A sinus infection is an inflammation (a proactive biological response of the body tissues to harmful irritants) of the cavities around your nasal passages. 

Causes of Nasal Congestion

Your nasal passage is a channel of airflow through the nose. The walls of your nasal passages are coated with mucous membranes, which contain tiny hair-like cells that are responsible for the movement of mucous (a normal, slippery, and stringy fluid in the nose) towards the throat.

When you are down with a cold or an allergy, the membranes lining your nasal passages become swollen, inflamed, and irritated. As a result, these inflamed tissues begin to produce more mucous, to flush out the allergen (any substance that is eaten or inhaled, such as dust, pollen, or pet dander) that causes the irritation. This build-up of mucous makes you feel stuffed up, leading to nasal congestion and this is why it is also referred to as ‘stuffy nose’.

Concoctions Are an Age-Old Indian Remedy

A concoction is typically food or a drink that is prepared by mixing various elements or substances. In other words, it is a curious mixture of common ingredients (spices and herbs) found in the homes of Indian kitchens. Concoctions have been used as a natural home remedy for many ages to treat various symptoms of the common cold or the flu-like a cough, sore throat, and stuffy nose. It is also used to cure constipation (a condition in which you pass less than 3 bowel movements a week), indigestion, and vomiting. 

Concoctions are easy and quick to prepare. They do not require any elaborate planning and are often made of ingredients readily found/available in your kitchen. So, the next time any family member or you have nasal congestion, turn to these 4 concoctions for immediate relief!

4 Concoctions to Get Rid of Nasal Congestion

1. Ginger Concoction. Ginger is renowned for its medicinal properties. The anti inflammatory compounds in ginger can relax membranes in your airways, which reduces mucous build-up and opens up your nasal passages. It is also a great remedy to treat a sore throat and a dry chronic cough (cough that lasts for more than  8 weeks in adults or 4 weeks in children).

  • Take some freshly mashed ginger, 3 to 4 peppercorns, cinnamon (dal chini), cardamom (elaichi), garlic (lehsun), and cloves (laung). Make yourself a cup of tea prepared from it and drink it warm. It will give you instant relief.

2. Carrot Concoction. Carrots, in particular, are a good source of antioxidants, beta carotene, vitamin A, C, and K1, and potassium. 

Antioxidants are known to reduce inflammation in your sinuses and thus relieve symptoms of nasal congestion. Vitamins A, C, K1, and beta carotene are all important for boosting your immune function to keep colds, flu, and sinusitis away. Potassium can thin out mucous and loosen congestion in your chest and throat.

  • Have a glass of fresh carrot juice and add a single tablespoon of raw coconut oil to it. This will help you to counter the congestion.

3. Honey Concoction. Honey contains antioxidants. The antibacterial and antimicrobial agents in honey help fight off any infectious colds and their associated symptoms. The antibacterial properties also moisten your throat, reduce mucous build-up and provide instant relief.

  • Take 1 tablespoon of pure raw honey, completely plain, or add some amount of it to hot ginger tea. Sip it slowly to get the benefits, which will be soothing to your throat and lungs.

4. Ajwain (Carom Seeds) Concoction. In every household, ajwain is a common ingredient used for several remedies. And this is no surprise that it helps in countering congestion too. Thymol (a phenol compound found in naturally occurring herbs) in ajwain seeds is packed with anti inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties that help in providing instant relief from cold, fever, and flu. 

  • Boil some water and mix 1 tablespoon of ajwain and inhale its steam for about 5 minutes. Steam will support the breakdown of mucous inside your body, thus relieving you from cold and cough.

All of these household remedies can assist you with nasal congestion in a huge way. Try them when you are down with a cold, cough, flu, sore throat, or nasal congestion. Consult a physician/ENT specialist if your symptoms are prolonged and you do not have any relief after trying these home remedies. 

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.