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How to Get Rid of Sinus Congestion

How to Get Rid of Sinus Congestion

A case of the sniffles can feel like a much bigger problem, especially when accompanied by stuffy sinuses, plugged ears and a dull headache. Whether your congestion is a result of the common cold or seasonal allergies, the experience can make it difficult to sleep, breathe, and focus on anything but your sinus symptoms.

Luckily, there are plenty of tips and tricks for how to relieve sinus congestion and pressure so that you can breathe a little easier as you go about your day or night. 

You don’t have to rely on over-the-counter remedies like a nasal spray. Instead, try out an all-natural remedy. Some nasal congestion relief methods don’t even require special supplies!

In this short guide, we’ll go over the 9 best methods for relieving sinus congestion. Try them solo or in combination with each other to get some much-needed sinus relief.

1. Take a Long, Hot Shower

If you wake up with sinus congestion, the first thing you should do is hop in a hot shower.

Why does showering help? When you’re surrounded by steam, humid air circulates through your sinuses and respiratory system. The ambient water molecules make contact with your mucous, bonding with and thinning the sinus congestion in the process.

If you’re wondering how to relieve sinus congestion in your ears, look no further than the shower, where steam will circulate freely around your head and into your auditory cavities. The shower is also the perfect place to sneeze or cough up a little phlegm while keeping clean.

To further facilitate the process, you can try adding an essential oil that may help to open your airways. Popular choices include:

  • Tea tree
  • Eucalyptus
  • Mint

How can you use essential oil in the shower? Add a few drops to your body wash or place 3-5 drops directly onto a washcloth. Then, tie it to your faucet while you shower. The circulating humidity should distribute its vapors, too.

Be sure to avoid essential oils if you’re pregnant or if you have asthma. If you’re unsure, consult with a doctor to make sure essential oils are safe for you.

2. Use Herbs That Support Sinus Health

While showering manually breaks up congestion, ingesting sinus supporting herbs can help your body combat congestion from the inside out.

Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs have long been used to help clear congestion. Substantive scientific research is beginning to explain how their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may help treat cold symptoms.

Some of our most trusted herbs for sinus infection and clearing congestion include:

  • Angelica root – Acts as an expectorant and helps soothe tension
  • Kudzu – Helps clear inflammation and reduce a sinus headache
  • Xanthium Fruit – Possesses antibacterial and cough-suppressing properties
  • Chrysanthemum – Provides cooling relief and helps clear toxins 

Plant People Advanced Sinus Support capsules contain these four powerhouse herbs, along with immune-supportive licorice root. 

Take these vegan capsules on a daily basis during the cold and flu season to help you cope with nasal congestion from allergies, colds and more.

3. Eat Spicy Food

When you’re feeling under the weather, your appetite may decrease. Did you know that some spicy foods may actually help your cold?

Try the following tips to turn up the heat and turn down sinus congestion: 

  • Use Sriracha or a similar hot sauce on your savory breakfast, even if it’s just toast!
  • Try out a spicy mushroom pho or ramen dish. The combination of hot liquid and hot chili may help thin your congestion.
  • Add thinly sliced chilis to simple meals like scrambled eggs, pasta or soups. 

Take it from us: don’t double down on spicy foods if your stomach is feeling upset, too. Your priority right now is taking care of your overall health.

5. Drink Fluids

When it comes to the substances that nourish our bodies, water is king. It’s extra-important to stay hydrated while feeling under the weather.

Here are three reasons why:

  1. When you’re sufficiently hydrated, your body can easily transport nutrients and white blood cells to the needed sites.
  2. Staying hydrated helps you maintain a healthy body temperature and blood pressure, even while fighting inflammation.
  3. Drinking liquids can help to thin mucus and help with sinus drainage.

Coffee and soda don’t count as hydrating beverages. When you’re sick, good old H2O is key, whether it’s hot, cold or in a mug with an herbal tea bag.

5. Try a Neti Pot

Sadly, you can’t hop in the shower every time your ears feel plugged and the pressure builds up.

The next best solution is cleaning your nasal cavity with a neti pot.

If you’ve never tried a neti pot, it’s normal to be intimidated by the idea of pouring liquids into your nose. 

Let us explain the process:

  • Fill your neti pot with warm, not hot, distilled water and ½ tsp salt.
  • Standing over the sink, place the neti pot’s spout in one nostril. Tilt your head towards the open nostril.
  • Water will begin to pour through your nasal passage into the open nostril and out into the sink. If you’re really congested, you may need to switch sides a few times before the water begins to flow.
  • Switch back and forth between nostrils until the neti pot is empty.

Soon, you’ll swear by this natural sinus relief method. Just remember to use distilled water, as there’s a small chance that tap water may not be adequately filtered.

6. Embrace Steam and Humidity

When you’re feeling congested, consider using a little additional steam therapy outside of the shower.

Just fill a heat-proof bowl with boiling water. Lean over the bowl, placing a towel or blanket over your head to trap in the steam. Inhale and exhale for ten to fifteen minutes, taking breaks as needed. For an extra dose of decongestant aid, add a drop or two of eucalyptus, mint, or tea tree oil into the water. 

For a milder approach, you can simply ensure you have a dehumidifier nearby while you work or relax. Be sure to move it to your bedroom when you’re ready to sleep so that you can enjoy its benefits all night long!

7. Apply a Warm Compress

In this guide, we’ve already extolled the virtues of steam and humidity.

But heat can also help to relieve sinus pressure, bringing sweet relief in just three steps:

  1. Carefully dip a washcloth in steaming hot water and squeeze out the excess water.
  2. Laying down, place the washcloth over your eyes and nose.
  3. The heat can help encourage congestion to break up and move.

This is a tried and true method for treating a sinus headache, which often begins at the brow.

Some people also experience positive results by alternating hot and cold compresses.

8. Consume Vitamin C

There’s no cure for the common cold, but there are plenty of all natural remedies that can help you feel more restored as you’re healing. We also have a guide on all-natural remedies that might help!

High on that list of helpful natural remedies is vitamin C. This vital substance is well-known for its ability to help with tissue repair. When you don’t have enough vitamin C, you might come down with scurvy, a condition in which skin can’t heal and old wounds reopen.

This nutrient also helps with internal tissue repair.

Ingesting plenty of vitamin C can help ensure your nasal passageways are well-equipped to deal with the inflammation and damage resulting from sinus congestion. Likewise, if your nose tends to get raw when you’re sick, vitamin C can help support tissue repair.

Drop a packet of powdered vitamin C in the water you’re drinking, or take a capsule.

9. Get Adequate Sleep

Sometimes, the key to feeling better is to get a good night’s sleep.

That’s much easier said than done: we know how hard that can be when your head hurts and you’re struggling to breathe through your nose! That’s why it’s extra important to practice good sleep hygiene when you’re feeling ill. 

Are you wondering how to relieve sinus congestion at night? We recommend taking the following steps for a good night’s sleep:

  • Take a hot shower before bed so that your sinuses are as clear as possible before you hit the sheets.
  • Use CBD sublingually, or rub down your chest and neck with a CBD balm to help relax the muscle tension that can arise from sore sinuses. 
  • Turn on your humidifier to keep your sinuses clear all night long. If your humidifier doubles as an essential oil diffuser, even better! Just be sure it’s designed for this purpose before you drop in eucalyptus.
  • Keep water and tissues next to your bed in case you experience symptoms in the middle of the night.

Hopefully, you’ll wake up after eight hours of sound sleep feeling better! If you’re still left wondering “why do my sinuses hurt?” after trying these tips, you may be battling a sinus infection and need to talk to your primary care provider. 

Plant People: Natural Allies for Natural Relief

At Plant People, we draw on traditional knowledge and modern science to formulate proprietary blends that support your wellness goals. Whether you’re looking to move through allergy season with more grace and fewer tissues or you’re aiming to upgrade your sleep quality, our organic, vegan products are specially formulated with your needs in mind.

The cold and flu season can be a drain on your spirits and your body. Support your immune system and sinus health with our new line of immune-boosting supplements. Formulated with vegan, organic ingredients farmed in the U.S., Advanced Sinus Support is here to help you breathe easier.


Reviewed by Gabe Kennedy

 Co-Founder of Plant People, Gabe Kennedy is an acclaimed chef and entrepreneur. Growing up in a house of healers and herbalists, he is passionate about the power of food as a tool for health, and actualized this passion and belief system into his company, Plant People. Named to Forbes 30 under 30 Gabe has shaped menus and cooked his way around the world with his mission to promote a more communal, green and healthy world.

 Gabe is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. You can learn more about his work at his website.

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