The best home remedies for nasal congestion are those that relieve symptoms without causing dependency or damage, such as nasal irrigation. Many remedies involve making slight alterations to activities people normally do, such as adding pillows during sleep, or eating spicy food. Creating a humid environment, whether with a humidifier or a hot shower, has also been known to help provide relief from congestion.
Some treatments may depend on the severity of the symptoms. Home remedies for nasal congestion that seems minor, for example, may include steaming out the sinus passages in a hot shower or over a mug or pot of hot water. Caution should be used during this method, however, in order not to burn one's face in the steam.
Nasal irrigation is a popular, effective method of relieving nasal congestion. Many people do this through the use of a Neti pot. Traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine, this method involves flushing out and thinning mucus by pouring salt water, or saline, into one nostril and out the other. People who are uncomfortable with this process may simply use a saline-based nasal spray, which can be purchased in drugstores.
Medicated over-the-counter nasal sprays are another remedy that can be used to treat nasal congestion at home. Caution should be used with these products, however, as some can cause dependency. These sprays are also known to worsen symptoms if used for longer than the allocated amount of time indicated on the product packaging.
If dry air is the cause of the congestion, humidifiers may be used as home remedies for nasal congestion. Several home remedies for nasal congestion include foods and beverages. Drinking hot beverages, such as tea or broth, can help alleviate postnasal drip. Foods such as onion, chili peppers, and cayenne are known to help temporarily relieve congestion when eaten.
An herbal remedy sometimes used includes placing cardamom seeds upon hot coals and breathing in the smoke produced. Among the safer home remedies for nasal congestion is the similar process of placing cardamom seeds in a handkerchief and simply smelling them. The seeds should be thoroughly crushed for this remedy to properly work.
When postnasal drip persists, a physician should be consulted to determine the cause and a course of treatment. If a sinus infection or other condition is present, antibiotics may be required, depending on its severity. Allergies may also be present in the patient. If so, tests may need to be administered to determine what is causing the patient's allergies. He or she may be given a prescription to counteract symptoms as well.