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Wintertime often brings a runny or stuffy nose along with cold temperatures. Drug stores carry all sorts of medicines that are supposed to help, but some people have reservations about using these medications, and some of them may not be very effective.

Over-the-counter runny nose and stuffy nose or nasal congestion treatments may also cause unpleasant side effects, such as drowsiness.

There are alternatives to these store-bought remedies – old-fashioned, home remedies using natural ingredients are doable for lots of people.

Suggestions for Old-Fashioned Runny/Stuffy Nose Remedies:

Ginger Root

Have you seen those knobby brown roots in your grocery store or health food store? This is ginger root – spicy, lightweight roots that are said to be quite helpful for a runny nose or nasal congestion. Slices of it can be chewed raw, but if you find that too spicy or strong, you can buy it candied.


Chewing raw garlic is probably beyond most people’s tolerance level, but it is supposed to help a runny nose, colds, flu and nasal congestion, and it boosts your immune system. If you can’t tolerate chewing the raw cloves, try mincing raw garlic and mixing it into salad. Sprinkling it on pasta, mixing it with olive oil to make a condiment for bread-dipping, or tossing it on pizza may also be effective.

However, our method of choice, which is one most folks can handle, is to slice up a clove of garlic into small pill-sized pieces and swallow with water just as you would your morning vitamin.

Mustard Oil

Check the ethnic foods section of your grocery store, or go to an Indian or Middle Eastern grocery store to find this pungent oil. One drop in each nostril is said to clear up a runny nose.

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus essential oil can be ordered online or bought at most health food stores. Inhaling its vapors may help clear nasal obstruction and relieve nasal discharge.

Pour 2 cups of boiling water into a bowl, add 5-10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil, and lean over the bowl and inhale the scented steam. If you like, drape a towel over your head to make a “tent” to hold in the steam.

Use a Neti Pot

Washing out your nasal passages with a simple saline solution can really help stop the runny-nose cycle and clear nasal passages. If you don’t have a neti pot, you can use a dropper. Mix 1 teaspoon of table salt into 1 cup of very warm water; stir until dissolved, then put a few drops at a time into each nostril. Inhale to draw the saline in, then allow it to drain.

Spice Things Up

When you eat spicy foods, you may find that your nose runs – so it may seem contradictory to use hot peppers to stop a runny nose. But sources say that hot peppers or dried red pepper may actually act as an antihistamine and they are terrific at helping to clear blocked nasal passages.

The temporarily increased runniness of your nose can help clear an obstruction that is causing the runny nose to begin with.

Humidify the Air

Irritated nasal passages tend to be runnier than those that are healthy and moist, sources say. Consider putting a humidifier in your room at night to minimize nasal irritation from dry air.

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Dee Braun

Dee is an Adv. Certified Aromatherapist, Reiki Master, Adv. Color/Crystal Therapist, Herbalist, Dr. of Reflexology and single mom who is dedicated to helping others any way she can.

One way she chooses to help is by offering information on the benefits and uses of natural health and healing methods for the well-being of both people and pets.