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Can Drinking Tea Get Rid of a Stuffy Nose?

author image Hannah Rose
Hannah Rose is a professional writer who is also preparing a doctoral dissertation focusing on program development. She received her Master of Arts in psychology in May 2011 and is pursuing her Doctor of Psychology at George Fox University with a focus on clinical psychology. She also works as a primary care therapist for a family medical clinic.
Can Drinking Tea Get Rid of a Stuffy Nose?
A woman enjoys a hot cup of tea for her cold. Photo Credit: PetarPaunchev/iStock/Getty Images

A stuffy nose, referred to medically as nasal congestion, can be uncomfortable and even painful. It is characterized by the buildup of mucus in the sinuses and nose, partially and sometimes completely blocking airways. This usually develops in conjunction with another illness, such as the common cold, and can be treated by several different methods. Hot tea, particularly sage tea, may reduce the blockage in your nose.

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Fluid Benefits

Drinking fluids is key to mucus flow in the body. Your airways are covered in small hairs that the mucus attaches to, and a dehydrated body will reduce the moistness of the airway, making it harder to move mucus. Drink fluids throughout the day to keep the body hydrated and make it easier for mucus to run. Just make sure these fluids aren't sugary -- sugar can increase the mucus produced by the body, worsening your stuffy nose.

Hot Tea Effects

Heat can help mucus flow more freely. Some people use hot water or vaporizers to increase the humidity of the air being inhaled while encouraging the flow of mucus. Hot tea can have a similar effect -- it will warm the sinuses and mouth, particularly when the steam coming off the tea is inhaled. Medline Plus reports that hot tea may be especially helpful in stimulating mucus flow, so unsweetened teas are an excellent approach to treatment.

Thyme Tea

Some types of tea may be more beneficial than others. According to the Nursing Online Education Database, tea made with thyme may be more helpful than other types of tea -- it can break up congestion in the nasal passageways and relive your stuffy nose.


Thyme may also prove effective when added to various recipes. There are certain circumstances in which a stuffy nose should be referred to a doctor or an emergency room. According to Medline Plus, these include when swelling develops elsewhere in the face, or if your visions blurs. Coughing episodes should not last longer than 10 days, and intense throat pain should be treated with caution. Yellow-green or gray mucus is a cause for concern, as is intense sinus pressure that disrupts your daily routine.

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