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Home Remedies for Runny Nose

By Dr Smita Barode +2 more


Are you tired of using too many tissues for your issues with a runny nose? Do you want to be free of this runny nose? Then you have come to the right place. When there is mucous being discharged or dripping out of the nose, it is called a runny nose. It can be caused by the flu, cold, colder outdoor temperature, or allergies. The inflammation of the nasal tissues is known as rhinorrhoea/rhinitis. You may experience a thin, mostly clear discharge in cases of rhinorrhoea or rhinitis.1

What Causes Runny Nose?

A runny nose can be caused by:

home remedies for runny nose

  • Flu
  • Common cold
  • Sinus infection2

Congestion and runny nose are often seen together. Usually, the congestion goes away within a week.1

Congestion can also be caused by:

  • Using nasal drops or sprays for more than three days that were bought without a prescription
  • Hay fever (allergy caused by dust or pollen) or other allergies
  • Nasal polyps (sac-like growths of the inflamed tissue lining the sinuses or nose)
  • Vasomotor rhinitis (a condition where the blood vessels inside your nose dilate)
  • Pregnancy2
  • Cold temperatures
  • Gustatory rhinitis (nonallergic rhinitis causing runny nose when you eat certain foods)1

Also Read: Popular Remedies: How To Make Tonsil Stones Fall Out

If you experience runny nose with watery eyes and other symptoms of allergy which recur every year in a particular season, you may be suffering from Seasonal allergic rhinitis, which may usually last for 2-3 weeks and should subside with medical interventions.

Dr Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D. in Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology

Symptoms of Runny Nose:

  • A runny nose, stuffy nose, or congested nose are often seen together. When the tissues lining the nose become swollen, it causes congestion, making it hard to breathe. This swelling is caused by inflamed blood vessels.
  • A runny nose caused by allergies may be accompanied by itchy, watery eyes and sneezing.
  • A runny nose caused by flu or cold may be accompanied by sore throat, fatigue, cough, sometimes fever, and facial tightness.1

Suggested Home Remedies for Runny Nose:

1. Lifestyle Changes:

There are several ways to drain the mucous from your sinuses and nose and relieve the symptoms. You can use the following methods to help you with your runny nose:

  • Drinking plenty of clear fluids
  • Applying a moist, warm washcloth to your face several times a day
  • Using a humidifier
  • Inhaling steam 2-4 times a day
  • Using nasal spray: The mixture of water, salt, and little baking soda can be used 3-4 times a day to get rid of a runny nose.3
  • Taking hot shower
  • Using Neti pot (a container designed to rinse mucous or debris from your nasal cavity)
  • Using essential oils
  • Taking spicy foods1

2. Hot Teas:

Hot liquids relieve congestion, soothe your nose and throat membrane, keep the body hydrated, and help fight viral infection. The following teas can be beneficial:

  • Ginger tea: You can boil water with fresh or powdered ginger. Let it stand before drinking.
  • Cinnamon tea: Hot water mixed with cinnamon and honey is commonly used to manage colds in urban Mexico.
  • Lemon leaves: You can boil lemon leaves in hot water with a bit of sugar.
  • Passion fruit and onion tea: Passion fruit can be boiled with onion in water and strained. You can sweeten it using honey.
  • Garlic tea: Hot beverages like lemon tea can be prepared with lots of garlic or onion. The taste of this tea is not very good, but it helps fight infections.
  • Golden milk: A little turmeric can be added to hot milk and mixed before drinking.4

3. Hot Soups:

Like hot teas, hot soups clear the congestion, soothe the membranes and provide essential nutrients to the body to fight the illness. Chicken noodle soup is considered a worldwide classic hot soup. Other soups that can be taken are:

  • Vegetable soup: It is a simple soup with vegetables and a little spice.
  • Congee: It is a traditional Chinese soup made from stock or water and rice. You can also add many different ingredients. Many people eat this soup for breakfast, but it can be eaten any time of the day.
  • Chicken and vegetable soup: It is called the ‘go, grow, glow’ soup. It provides protein and other foods that boost energy and protects from infection.
  • Lugaw: It is a rice porridge cooked with chicken and ginger. It is called the comfort healing food in the Philippines.4

4. Honey:

It is a natural remedy to manage a cough that might be accompanied by a runny nose. It has antibacterial properties that can fight infections. It is used in the following ways:

  • Honey tea: It is considered a simple remedy in which homey can be mixed in warm water.
  • Spicy honey: Powdered ginger and black pepper can be mixed in honey and licked.
  • Honey and shallots: Honey and whole or sliced peeled shallots can be mixed and kept aside to absorb and can be later eaten. You can even eat it with onions.
  • Blended radish and honey: Radish, honey, and watercress can be mixed and eaten to help clear your cough and fight the cold that would eventually help with your runny nose.4

Also Read: Honey: Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

5. Shea Butter:

Shea butter can be applied to a child’s nose to relieve congestion. It is considered helpful for babies with a runny nose and is used in many African countries as their favourite remedy.4

6. Onion:

Onion peels can be placed on either side of the child’s bed. It is believed that onion absorbs germs and toxins and purifies the surrounding air to protect you from germs that could cause a runny nose.4

7. Herbal Steam:

An herb called Mayani can be used. It smells like mint and is known for its expectorant (sputum expelling) properties. You can boil the Mayani leaves and inhale the steam. This might benefit you to get rid of a runny nose. It can also be substituted with menthol or eucalyptus oil in water.4

Eat a spicy meal.
The chemical in spicy foods, capsaicin, can help relieve a runny nose that is not caused by allergies. Capsaicin is the compound that gives chilli peppers their heat. While eating spicy foods, your runny nose may get worse at first, but in the long run, the heat will relieve your runny nose.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka – MBBS, MD(Pediatrics)

Also Read: Essential Oils for Congestion: A Research-Based Guide for Relief

When to Seek Medical Help?

Typically, a runny nose will go away on its own. However, you must seek medical help if you notice the following:

  • Symptoms that are unusual or severe
  • There is no improvement, and the symptoms continue for more than 10 days.
  • The drainage from a young child’s nose coming from one side is green, foul-smelling, bloody, or if you feel that there might be an unfamiliar object stuck in their nose1
  • A blocked nose with swelling of the eyes, forehead, cheeks, side of the nose, or blurred vision
  • Nasal discharge following a head injury
  • More throat pain, or yellow or white spots on the tonsils or other throat parts
  • Nasal discharge with fever.2

Also Read: Montek Lc


When there is a discharge (mucous or clear) coming out of the nose, it is called a runny nose. It can be caused by the flu, cold, colder outdoor temperature, or allergies. Mostly, a runny nose, congested nose, and stuffy nose go together. You might also experience sneezing, watery eyes, sore throat, cough, and sometimes fever. Several home remedies will help you get rid of a runny nose, including hot teas (ginger, cinnamon, lemon, passion fruit, and garlic), hot soups (vegetable, congee, chicken and vegetable, and lugaw), honey, shea butter, and onion. But if you notice unusual and severe symptoms, you must consult your doctor.

Also Read: Effective Home Remedies For Dry Throat

Frequently Asked Questions:

What causes a runny nose?

A runny nose can be caused by flu, common cold, or sinus infection. Congestion and runny nose are often seen together, and therefore, congestion can also be caused by using nasal drops or sprays that were bought without a prescription for more than three days, hay fever (allergy caused by dust or pollen) or other allergies, nasal polyps, small objects in the nostril, vasomotor rhinitis, pregnancy, cold temperatures, and gustatory rhinitis.1,2

Is taking steam good for a runny nose?

Yes, taking steam is considered a good remedy for runny nose.1,3

Can hot tea stop a runny nose?

Taking hot tea can be beneficial for a runny nose. Various teas are used worldwide, including ginger tea, cinnamon tea, lemon leaves tea, passion fruit and onion tea, garlic tea, and golden milk.4

Can I use Neti pot for runny nose?

Yes, Neti pot is considered one of the home remedies for a runny nose.1 A Neti pot is a container that removes the waste from your nose. It delivers a stream of salt water into your nose from one nostril, and the waste comes out from the other nostril.

Can turmeric in milk be used for managing runny noses?

Yes, turmeric is mixed in milk and is considered a good home remedy for a runny nose in India.4

Also Read: Turmeric: Uses, Benefits & Side Effects


  1. Clinic C. Runny Nose [Internet]. Last Reviewd on: 2021 April 19. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/17660-runny-nose#:~:text=A runny nose is mucus dripping or “running” out of,clear discharge you might see.
  2. Medlineplus. Stuffy or runny nose – adult [Internet]. Last Reviewed on: 2019 July 11. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003049.htm
  3. MountSinai. Stuffy or runny nose – adult [Internet]. Available from: https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/symptoms/stuffy-or-runny-nose-adult
  4. Vision W. Natural cold and flu remedies from around the world [Internet]. Last updated on: 2020 Nov 6. Available from: https://www.worldvision.org/health-news-stories/natural-cold-flu-remedies-world

Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.



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