facial steam

13 Natural Decongestants (That Work Fast!)

There is nothing worse than suffering through congestion when the cold and flu season hits. With a heavy head, stuffy nose, and difficulty breathing, all you want is to take something to make it go away fast, collapse in bed, and sleep.

But, some over-the-counter decongestants come with a long list of side effects and that can be concerning.

So, like more and more people, you might be looking for natural ways to manage everyday health issues.

Good news -there are a number of natural decongestants that really do work wonders for a stuffy nose, heavy chest, and nasal congestion.

Interested in learning more? Here are 13 natural decongestants to help you feel better fast!

natural decongestants

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

Natural Decongestants

Here is a list of 13 natural decongestants that are generally considered safe, work really well, and best of all- you probably already have a lot of the ingredients needed right now!

Hot Tea

There are several teas that help to relieve symptoms of congestion.

First, just the process of drinking hot beverages helps to open up the nasal passages and thin the mucus to relieve build-up and prevent further mucus from accumulating in that area.

Once some of the mucus has drained away from the nasal passages, sinus pressure should be relieved and you may feel less congestion.

If you want to add a decongestant boost to your tea, try making lemon, honey & ginger tea, or pine needle tea.

They are soothing if you have a sore throat too.

Lemon is also great at helping cut through congestion as well as giving you a good boost of vitamin C.

Ginger is a well-known anti-inflammatory and pine needle tea will also help to break up nose stuffiness (and has been used as a remedy for thousands of years) and is full of vitamin C to help boost the immune system.

peppermint tea

Essential Oils

We all know that essential oils are wonder-workers, and offer many health benefits. There are some essential oils that are super helpful for relieving congestion also and act as a natural remedy.

Please research the correct use of essential oils and be very cautious if applying to young children!

Ok, on to the oils….

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil is a known anti-microbial that may help to relieve sinus infections as well as being known to clear mucus. You can find eucalyptus in many chest rubs.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is another well-known essential oil for helping to clear sinusitis symptoms for congestion, cold, and flu. This oil contains the active ingredient menthol which provides a cooling sensation and is thought to open up the airways, thus helping to relieve sinus congestion.

Oregano, Basil, And Rosemary Oil

Oregano, Basil, And Rosemary essential oils have anti-microbial properties also and are thought to be good for cold and flu symptoms including helping to reduce congestion as well as helping the respiratory system as a whole.

essential oil bottles

Nasal Irrigation (And Nasal Sprays)

Nasal irrigation is a practice that has been used for 1000’s of years, traditionally in ayurvedic medicine, to prevent nasal congestion as well as help to clear it.

It is a simple and non-invasive process that uses a nasal irrigation system such as a neti pot or Nasaline with a saline solution to rinse out the nasal passages and clear the nasal cavity.

The saline solution helps to clear any debris, mucus, microbes, and allergens that may be contributing to the congestion.

You can also use nasal sprays such as a xylitol nasal spray, which is another very effective way to clean and clear the nasal cavities to help relieve congestion.

nasal spray bottle

Onion Poultice

Onions are full of amazing anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties!

Using an onion poultice is actually a great way to relieve chest and upper respiratory congestion from coughs, colds, and the flu.

This process involves fried onions and a cloth placed in a person’s chest to help break through the congestion.

Though this remedy may seem like an old wives tale, this natural remedy can help to thin mucus and increase circulation on the area thus working as a natural decongestant.

girl with hot water bottle on her chest

Homemade Cough Syrup

When your congestion is mainly in your chest, with frequent coughing, a homemade cough syrup might just be the answer.

You can make a natural syrup by using simple ingredients that works wonders.

Homemade cough remedies are super soothing and help to relieve mucus buildup in the chest and constant coughing.

best homemade cough syrup recipes

Fire Cider

Made by fermenting various vegetables in apple cider vinegar, this traditional remedy is known to relieve sinus congestion as well as offer supportive nutrients to help you stay healthy during cold and flu season.

Interested in giving fire cider a try? Here is a recipe for you!

It’s a great idea to make it ahead of time so you have it on hand.

fire cider

Fermented Garlic In Honey

Fermented garlic in honey can help boost your immune system, aid your body’s detoxification, and helps to fight off cold and flu symptoms including congestion.

It works wonders for a stuffy nose and sinus infections, but it is also a nice ingredient to flavor many dishes.

fermented garlic and honey

Homeopathic Remedies

There are a number of homeopathic remedies that can really help to relieve chest and nasal congestion. When choosing a remedy, be sure to match your symptoms to those of the remedy. It doesn’t have to be a perfect match, but the closer the better in most cases.

Arsenicum Album

Arsenicum Album helps to relieve sinus infections where there is a burning sensation in the sinuses and relief can be found by sitting upright in a cool room with fresh air.

Allium Cepa

Allium Cepa may be called for if there is congestion that is accompanied by an irritating runny nose and sneezing. It is helpful for congestion caused by allergies.

Natrum Muriaticum

Natrum Muriaticum is helpful for congestion from allergies that are accompanied by headaches.

Hepar Sulphuris Calcareum 

Hepar Sulphuris Calcareum can be helpful for congestion that comes with thick colored mucus that is accompanied by a painful headache.

homeopathic remedies for hypothyroidism

Warm Broth

Bone broth is very nutritious, healing, and can help to clear congestion by increasing the movement of fluids in the nasal cavity and chest.

It has been shown that warm broth is more effective at helping clear congestion than just warm water alone.

Bone broth is full of healthy amino acids (protein) which helps to boost the immune system, helping you prevent colds in the first place if taken regularly, and recover faster when you’ve already fallen ill.

Homemade chicken soup is a delicious and soothing way to use bone broth that can be really nourishing as well as comforting when you’re not feeling well.

bone broth

Foods & Spices

There are a number of foods and spices which are effective at clearing congestion.

For those who love hot spicy foods, this remedy as a natural decongestant will suit you perfectly.

Such foods as curry, which contain chilies, or cayenne pepper with the active ingredient capsaicin, help to keep nasal fluids moving and open up the nasal cavity.

It also helps to relieve inflammation helping a blocked stuffy nose and associated pain.


Facial Steam

A facial steam is often one of the easiest natural remedies and there are a number of ways you can use steam to help relieve pressure in the sinus and congestion.

Steam, when breathed in, helps to thin mucus in the respiratory tract, helping it to drain and restore movement in the nasal passages and chest.

You can breathe steam in by heating a pot of hot or warm water over the stove and breathing in the steam as it rises.

You can also just jump in a hot shower which creates a lot of steam and moisture in the air that you will naturally inhale helping to clear your sinuses.

facial steam


Acupressure is an ancient healing treatment that can be used to treat chest and sinus problems including congestion.

It can be an effective way to relieve chronic sinusitis, congested sinuses and allergy symptoms, and help heal the root cause of the congestion such as a bacterial infection by boosting the immune system.

facial acupressure

Sinus Massage

Sinus massage is a manual way to help clear the sinus passages when you have a common cold and is great to learn and have on hand if you suffer from congestion regularly.

This video will show you have to perform a sinus massage to relieve nasal congestion.

sinus massage

Tips For Reducing Congestion

In addition to the natural decongestants above, here are a few tips that can help!

Stay Away From Congestion Causing Foods

If you suffer from chronic sinusitis, you may not realize it, but certain foods you are eating could be contributing to your bouts of severe congestion.

Common foods that increase inflammation and nasal congestion include sugar, food additives, gluten, dairy products, and refined carbs.

Eliminating these could help to relieve sinus pressure, pain, and congestion.

There may also be foods you are sensitive to, so investigate your food to see if you can find a link between common foods you eat and the onset of nose congestion, chest congestion, and sinusitis.

Be Cautious When Using OTC Decongestants

If you suffer regularly from congestion, especially during the cold and flu season where you can fall ill several times, it’s good to avoid using otc medications too regularly.

These can have a long list of side effects that aren’t always good for you long term.

Sleep Propped Up

Sleeping propped up when you are suffering from chest congestion or a stuffy nose with head pressure and blocked nasal passages will be helpful.

Gravity helps to encourage drainage in this area, whereas lying down keeps all the mucus stuck in the upper respiratory area and nasal passages.

This will increase discomfort and decrease healing.

Eliminate Allergens (Especially In The Bedroom)

For some people, allergens can be a huge contributing factor to congestion. Removing these allergens from your everyday life can be significant in reducing symptoms of allergies including congestion.

Allergens to look out for include: Dust, pet dander, mold, and seasonal particulates like pollen.

You spend a lot of time in your bedroom each night sleeping, so ensuring that this area is clear of congestion-causing allergens is super important.

Interested in reducing allergens and improving the indoor air quality of your home? Check out my review of an Austin Air purifier!

Consider A Humidifier

If congestion is a constant issue, a humidifier could help.

The extra moisture in the air helps to break up mucus and can help keep fluids flowing thus lessening congestion.  

Last Thoughts About Natural Decongestants

Whether you’ve got congestion due to seasonal allergies or a winter cold or flu, you don’t need to take a trip out when you’re not feeling well.

There are a number of home remedies that you can find in your kitchen cupboard to help relieve the symptoms and help you feel better in no time.

If you find yourself congested be sure to give one (or more) of these natural decongestants a try!

natural decongestant

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Skip to content