All stuffed up and wanting to breathe – but without the chemicals? Here's how to get relief fast!
Step 1: Inhale steam Go into the bathroom, close the door, and draw a hot bath or shower. When the room is filled with steam, inhale deeply. Or boil a pot of water, put a towel over your head, and lean over the pot, keeping your head about 6 inches above it. Then, inhale the steam.
TIP: Pour a few drops of eucalyptus oil into the tub, onto the shower floor, or into the pot of water. The vapors reduce inflammation and clear sinuses and congestion.
Step 2: Drink licorice tea Drink licorice tea. Licorice root is an expectorant that breaks up mucus in the nose and the lungs, so you'll breathe more easily.
Step 3: Snort a saline rinse Snort a saline rinse. Available at drug stores, it's proven more effective than medicated nasal sprays. It not only clears the nasal passages, but reduces inflammation.
TIP: You can make your own saline rinse by adding half a teaspoon of table salt and a pinch of baking soda to 8 ounces of warm tap water. Just don't keep it more than 24 hours.
Step 4: Spice things up Eat something with hot peppers. They contain capsaicin, the chemical that makes your nose run when you eat something spicy.
Step 5: Try peppermint Put some peppermint oil, available at health food stores, on a cloth or cotton ball and sniff the vapor. Peppermint contains menthol, proven to clear congestion. Or drink hot peppermint tea, inhaling the steam as you drink.
Step 6: Eat chicken soup Have some hot chicken soup. This homespun remedy can break up mucus, helping you get over your cold faster.
FACT: If you take over-the-counter nasal sprays for more than three days, they can actually make congestion worse!