Natural Ways to Open Up a Stuffy Nose

Your nasal cavity is filled with tiny blood vessels that can become swollen when triggered by pollen, dust, pet dander, irritants or other illnesses, according to the Mayo Clinic. The result is a stuffy or congested nose—characterized by difficulty breathing, nasal discharge or an itchy nose. While most at-home treatments can help to reduce nasal discharge, notify your physician if you experience a stuffy nose for more than 10 days or if it is accompanied by blood in the nasal discharge.

A child has a runny nose. Credit: 4774344sean/iStock/Getty Images

Saline Drops

A solution of salt and water can help to reduce irritation in the nasal passages and relieve a stuffy nose. This treatment can be used on children and adults to flush mucus out of the nose. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of salt with 1/2 cup of lukewarm water. Lie on your back and elevate the head and neck slightly. Using an eyedropper, place two to three drops of the mixture in each nostril and lie still for one minute. Turn over onto your stomach and place a towel under the nose to allow the solution to drain.

Chamomile Steam

Chamomile tea has long been touted for its ability to soothe and relax as you drink a cup. Its vapors also can be used to relieve nasal stuffiness, according to Learning Herbs. Boil 1 quart of water in a pot. When the water reaches a boil, turn off the heat, place 10 chamomile tea bags into the pot and cover it. Wait 15 minutes, then place the pot on a protected surface on your kitchen counter or table. Remove the lid of the pot, lean over the steam and cover your head and the pot with a large towel. Breathe deeply to inhale the steam. Stop to blow your nose as needed and continue the treatment until the pot is no longer steaming or your nose feels less stuffy. You can reuse the tea as a steam treatment throughout the day.


An onion's strong smell can be a benefit when relieving a stuffy nose. Just as breathing in strong vapors like menthol can clear up stuffiness, you can breathe in the odor of an onion to open the nasal passages. The smell causes the nose to run, which relieves your stuffiness, according to the Mother Nature website.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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