Post-nasal drip treatment may be as close as your kitchen with the use of natural, everyday products. The uncomfortable yet common sensation of fluid dripping down the throat is caused by a buildup of excess mucus by the glands in the nasal passages. A post-nasal drip cure may come in the form of steam, liquid, or as a solid. Use home remedies for post-nasal drip symptoms to prevent further irritation and possible infections.
Post-nasal drip occurs when the nasal mucosa, also referred to as a mucous membrane, becomes overactive and produces excess mucus to fight allergens and irritants. It may also cause congestion, swallowing difficulty, coughing, and a sore throat.
The linings of the nasal cavity, throat, and airways produce mucus to eliminate any harmful pathogens and to keep the environment moist. This mucus is continuously working and only becomes an issue when there is excess production.
This surplus of mucus is seen with health ailments such as influenza, colds, sinus infections, and allergies. It may also be triggered by medications, pregnancy, dry air, extremely cold temperatures, fluctuations in the hormone levels, spicy foods, or environmental irritants such as smoke, harsh cleaning fumes, and perfumes.
Post-nasal drip is also a common result of a deviated septum. This condition sees the displacement of the cartilage that lies between the nasal passages. Post-nasal drip occurs as one nasal passage is smaller than the one, hindering proper mucus drainage.
Home Remedies for Post-Nasal Drip
1. Salt Water Gargle
The use of salt with warm water as a gargle rinse may help to thin any thick mucus causing the post-nasal drip condition. It could also help to remove any irritants that may be stimulating congestion of the nasal passages and possibly soothe a sore throat.
- Combine ½ teaspoon of salt and 1 cup of warm water.
- Mix well to dissolve the salt.
- Gargle, being careful not to swallow to prevent further irritation.
- Repeat three times daily for up to three days.
2. Steam Inhalation
A natural post-nasal drip treatment uses steam to clear nasal passages and reduce mucus production. It may also help soothe a sore throat. Essential oils such as eucalyptus can also be added to enhance the healing process.
Alternatively, creating a steam room in the bathroom with a hot shower running may help as well.
- Boil 8 cups of water in a deep pot.
- Add 3 drops of eucalyptus essential oil, if you wish.
- Cover your head and shoulders with a towel to form a tent over the boiled water.
- Breathe in the steam until it dissipates and the water cools.
- Blow your nose to clear any irritants or mucus.
- Repeat this process several times throughout the day.
3. Nasal Irrigation
Irrigating the nasal passages removes excess mucus as well as any aggravating irritants that may cause an infection. Clearing the nasal passages directly is a common post-nasal drip cure.
- Combine 1 cup of warm water, a pinch of baking soda, and ¼ teaspoon of salt.
- Pour solution into a neti pot.
- Stand over a sink or large bowl as you tilt your head to one side and stream the solution into one nostril.
- Move your head side to side and backward and forward to spread the solution throughout the nasal cavities.
- Blow your nose to clean out the solution and mucus.
- Repeat with the other nostril. Do this daily for three days and then three times a week.
The antibiotic properties of garlic may help to reduce mucus production by fighting harmful pathogens.
- Chop 3 or 4 garlic cloves and roast in oven with 1 teaspoon of clarified butter for one minute.
- Consume in warm milk two times daily for three days.
- Alternatively, chew on a few cloves of garlic throughout the day.
Ginger has antiviral and antibacterial properties to assist its expectorant and decongestant actions. These may work to combat excess mucus, soothe an irritated throat, and clear congestion due to post-nasal drip.
- Place 1 tablespoon of a fresh ginger slice in 1 to 2 cups of water.
- Simmer for 10 minutes before straining.
- Add honey for taste and drink two to three cups daily.
- Alternatively, chew on raw ginger pieces throughout the day or add ginger to meals.
6. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper has the active ingredient capsaicin, which may help to reduce mucus production and thickness. As an antihistamine, cayenne pepper may help with post-nasal drip triggered by allergies.
- Combine 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of honey.
- Consume this remedy two to three times each day.
Alternatively, drink a cup of warm water and one teaspoon of cayenne pepper three times each day. You can also add cayenne pepper seasoning to meals.
The natural vitamin C in lemons may improve the body’s resistance to possible infections. The acidity of a lemon may also help to loosen and expel thick mucus seen with post-nasal drip.
- Add the juice of 1/2 lemon to 1 cup of warm water.
- Add a dab of honey for taste.
- Drink mixture on an empty stomach in the morning and throughout the day.
- Alternatively, add fresh lemon juice to a cup of tea.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
One of the most common post-nasal drip home remedies, apple cider vinegar solution, offers an alkalizing effect to thin heavy mucus. As it thought to help to dispel mucus, it could also work to boost the immune system and help prevent infections.
- Combine 1 to 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar, a dab of raw honey, and 1 cup of warm water.
- Mix well and drink two cups daily for three days.
Alternatively, mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar with water and heat until vapors appear. Use as a steam treatment for nasal passages three times daily.
Another way to thin out mucus while maintaining a moist environment within the nasal passages is to drink plenty of water. Dehydration is one cause of post-nasal drip.
- Drink 8 glasses of eight ounces of warm water throughout the day.
- In addition, consume cups of hot teas, hot lemon drinks, broths, and clear soups daily.
- Alternatively, drink hot lemonade, green tea, chicken soup, vegetable soup, and broths.
10. Vitamin C
Lemons aren’t the only source of vitamin C, adding a variety of foods with the antioxidant to your diet may help boost the immune system and reduce histamine levels that can trigger post-nasal drip.
Consume or add to meals foods enriched with vitamin C such as lemons, berries, oranges, papayas, kiwis, bell peppers, dark leafy greens, tomatoes, and broccoli.
Commonly referred to as holy basil, tulsi has anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and decongestant components that could help reduce mucus production and clear irritants.
- Crush 10 Tulsi leaves and add to a pot of boiling water.
- Boil for two minutes before removing leaves.
- Add sugar to water mixture in pot.
- Drink three cups each day.
12. Rock Salt
Rock salt has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory and source of trace minerals to heal sore throat. It may also help to boost the immune system to fight infections.
- Add 1 teaspoon of rock salt to 1 cup of warm water.
- Gargle and allow solution to sit for one minute before expelling.
- Repeat process three to four times for two to three sessions daily.
Post-nasal drip may be alleviated with the antibacterial, antiviral, and antioxidant properties of cinnamon. The spice may help to eliminate the mucus while reducing production.
- Combine 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder and 1 cup of warm water.
- Slowly sip solution.
Cumin may help to fight mucus buildup in the throat as a result of post-nasal drip. Made from the seeds of the Cuminum cyminum plant, it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant components to combat symptoms and infection.
- Add 1 teaspoon of cumin to 2 cups of boiling water.
- Steep for five minutes before straining.
- Drink one cup daily.
15. Peppermint Oil
As an essential oil, peppermint oil is believed to combat irritation and inflamed membranes to reduce mucus. It may also help to loosen buildup of mucus caused by post-nasal drip.
- Add 3 drops of peppermint oil to a wet cloth soaked in warm water.
- Apply cloth under the nostrils and inhale deeply.
- Alternatively, add 3 drops of peppermint oil to a bowl of boiling water and inhale the steam.
Additional Tips to Recover from Post-Nasal Drip
- Clear nasal passages often by blowing your nose.
- Always wash your hands with warm water and gentle soap after touching areas near the nose.
- Rest as much as possible to allow your body to recover.
- Control the humidity in your environment to prevent dry nasal passages.
- Avoid allergens that may irritate the nasal passages such as environmental pollutants.
- Do not smoke or inhale second-hand smoke.
- Use menthol-containing candies to soothe a sore throat and help clear nasal passages.
- Limit the use of dairy products to prevent post-nasal drip from worsening.
- Avoid coffee, alcohol, and soda to prevent dehydration.
- Keep the level of dust in the air to a minimum by cleaning frequently.
- Use soft disposable paper tissue to blow nose instead of a handkerchief to avoid spreading germs.
When to See a Doctor
Post-nasal drip is a routine complaint, but there may be times when home treatment is not enough or the symptoms may be too much to handle on your own. Seek medical attention if any one of the following incidents occur:
- Difficulty swallowing; this includes the inability to swallow saliva
- Insufficient intake of air; a choking sensation
- Signs of a bacterial infection such as severe vomiting, cramping, diarrhea, and extreme fatigue
- Post-nasal drip lasting more than two weeks
Post-nasal drip remedies are available in various forms and may include herbs, spices, and other natural products you use every day. This common ailment may not be harmful on the surface but could lead to, or be a sign of, an infection.
The excess mucus production and buildup may cause congestion, inflammation, a sore throat, coughing, and difficulty swallowing. Whether it is caused by the common cold or dryness conditions, post-nasal drip may be alleviated with home remedies.
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