If you have an allergy or have ever experienced a nasty cold or flu, then you sure know what postnasal drip is. Postnasal drip refers to the flow of excess mucus from the back of the nose down the back of the throat, which causes discomfort and irritation. Allergies and upper respiratory tract infections are among the most common causes of postnasal drip.
Over-the-counter nasal sprays can relieve the problem, but overuse of these medicines can render them ineffective and even make your condition worse in the long run. Fortunately, there is a number of safe and effective home remedies to reduce the symptom.
5 home remedies for postnasal drip
Here are a few home remedies you can try to relieve postnasal drip:
1. Saline irrigation
If you have a neti pot, you can fill it with saltwater and use it to flush out excess mucus from your nose. Here's how to do it:
- dissolve 1/4 tsp. of table salt in a cup of warm water;
- pour this solution into a neti pot;
- bend over a sink, tilt your head slightly to the left side, and squirt the solution into the right nostril;
- tilt your head to the other side and flush the other nostril;
- blow your nose to remove any remaining mucus and saltwater.
Repeat this procedure at least once every day.
2. Steam inhalation
Inhaling steam can thin the mucus and stimulate its drainage. In some parts of Eastern Europe, people inhale steam from hot potatoes boiled in their skins to get rid of postnasal drip. So, here's what to do:
- bring a saucepan of hot water (with or without unpeeled potatoes) to a boil;
- let the water cool down just a little for a minute or two:
- cover your head with a towel and lean over the saucepan;
- inhale the steam through your nose for 5-10 minutes.
Caution: Don't hold your head too close to the water, otherwise you risk burning your nasal passages.
3. Saltwater gargle
Gargling with saltwater can help soothe your irritated throat. You should simply do this:
- dissolve 1/2 tsp. of table salt in a cup of warm water;
- gargle your throat for a couple of minutes and spit the solution out.
Repeat the procedure a few times daily to get relief.
4. Ginger, lemon, and honey tea
Ginger, lemon, and honey tea is a powerful triple hit at postnasal drip and accompanying symptoms, as each of the ingredients helps soothe the throat and also has antibacterial properties. Here's how to make the tea:
- boil several slices of peeled ginger root in 1 cup of water for a few minutes;
- let the tea cool down a little for a few minutes;
- add 1-2 slices of lemon and 1 tsp. of raw honey to the tea, stir the tea well, and drink it.
Drink the tea several times daily until your symptoms improve.
5. Cayenne pepper
Capsaicin, an active substance found in cayenne peppers, can help thin the mucus and let it drain easier. To use cayenne pepper for postnasal drip, do this:
- combine equal parts of cayenne pepper powder and raw honey, 1/2 tsp. each;
- put the mixture into your mouth, let it dissolve a little, and swallow it.
Use this remedy a few times daily over the course of several days.
In addition to the remedies, follow these tips to relieve postnasal drip:
- if the air in your home is dry, use a humidifier;
- make sure you drink enough water every day;
- avoid allergens and other irritating substances, such as cigarette smoke.
If home remedies and over-the-counter medicines don't start to improve postnasal drip in a few days, see your doctor.
This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.