Eight Home Remedies to Stop a Runny Nose

Some natural remedies seem to help soothe a runny nose. In addition, due to their nutrient content, they have the potential to strengthen immune functions.
Eight Home Remedies to Stop a Runny Nose

Last update: 29 August, 2022

A runny nose is an uncomfortable symptom that occurs when the mucous membrane in the nose becomes overactive and produces too much fluid to fight off allergens and irritants.

Fortunately, regardless of its origin, there are several home remedies that help relieve a runny nose. Although they don’t cure the underlying causes of the condition, they can temporarily calm the symptoms.

A runny nose and its symptoms

A runny nose is a condition that doctors call rhinorrhea. It’s an excess of nasal fluid with clear, thick, watery, or darker mucus. It can occur intermittently or constantly.

Mucus is generated to keep the nose moist. Normally, it goes down the throat and is swallowed. However, for various different reasons, a runny nose can occur:

  • Flu and colds. In these cases, the nasal cavity can also be filled and congestion may appear.
  • Infections in the paranasal sinuses and/or adenoids. That’s because the mucus that’s generated in these regions is also emptied through the nose.
  • Hormonal changes due to pregnancy, menstruation, or problems with the thyroid gland.
  • Allergic reactions (to pollen or pet hair) or the presence of irritants or stimulants such as smoke, pollution, hot food, or cold water.
  • Certain medications.
  • Cold weather.
  • Tears flowing into the nasal passage.
  • Nasal obstructions or problems with the structure of the nose and other parts that drain mucus through the nose (deviated septum, enlarged turbinates or adenoids, etc.).
  • Non-allergic rhinitis. This condition can appear at any age but is more common after the age of 20. It may be accompanied by coughing, sneezing, mucus in the throat, and congestion.
  • When the cause and symptoms are mild, a runny nose can improve with home treatments and avoiding the trigger. However, if it’s extremely troublesome, there are some prescribed medications that can provide some relief.

If the symptoms are severe or don’t disappear within ten days, you should consult your doctor, since it could be a sign of another condition. Also, if fever or respiratory distress occurs.

Home remedies to soothe a runny nose

An article published in Stanford Children’s Health claims that a runny nose usually goes away on its own. However, the article confirms that if it persists for more than ten days, it’s advisable to consult a doctor, since it may be a sign of another disease that requires treatment.

Depending on its cause, the doctor or otolaryngologist may suggest nasal washes, oral medications, or nasal sprays. If it’s a more complex case, surgery may be necessary.

In milder cases, it may be useful to use home remedies to calm the discomfort. That said, it’s worth remembering that there’s no real evidence for their effectiveness. In fact, they tend to originate from traditional popular culture.

Consequently, while in some people they produce certain sensations of relief, in others, they may not have any effect. If you want to give some home remedies a try, here are some options.

1. Orange peel, apple vinegar, and honey



Orange and Honey
Orange peel contains vitamin C. By strengthening the immune system, it could help relieve a runny nose caused by respiratory infections.

This remedy stands out for its significant content of vitamin C. According to information published in the journal, Nutrients, vitamin C plays an important role in strengthening the immune system and preventing infections.

As you know, colds, flu, and other infections of the respiratory system are common causes of a runny nose. Try this traditional recipe as a supplementary treatment.


  • The peel of an orange.
  • 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar.
  • 5 tablespoons of honey.


  • Cut the orange peel into several strips and cover them with the apple cider vinegar.
  • Let them dry well and put them in a pan to cook, over low heat, with the honey.
  • After 3 to 5 minutes, remove them from the heat and eat.

How to consume

  • Eat the orange peels with honey before going to bed every night.
  • Repeat until your nose stops running.

You might also like to read: 6 Essential Oils to Combat Sinusitis

2. Onion water

Another traditional remedy that might be useful against a runny nose is onion water. A study published in 2012 claimed that, like garlic, onion has immunostimulant properties. These could be useful for increasing your defenses against infection-causing pathogens.

Although the evidence is quite limited, onion remedies have long been used in natural medicine as supplements to reduce symptoms such as nasal congestion and runny nose.


  • ½ an onion.
  • 1 cup of water.


  • Cut the onion into several slices and put it into a cup of hot water.
  • Cover the drink, let it stand for 5 minutes, then strain.

How to drink it

  • Drink the onion water 2 or 3 times a day until your symptoms ease.

3. Lemon and honey

Honey and lemon.
Both honey and lemon are old fashioned remedies for improving the symptoms of flu, cold, and other respiratory conditions that cause a runny nose.

This classic homemade syrup consisting of honey and lemon continues to be used as a supplementary treatment to help relieve the symptoms of respiratory illnesses. In fact, research indicates that honey has antioxidant, immunomodulatory, and anti-inflammatory properties that may explain these benefits.


  • The juice of ½ a lemon.
  • 2 tablespoons of honey.
  • ½ cup of water.


  • Combine the lemon juice with the honey and dilute the mixture in the water (hot).

How to drink it

  • Drink the remedy on an empty stomach and repeat in the afternoon.
  • Repeat the treatment until your symptoms disappear.

4. Cumin

Cumin is a spice with anti-inflammatory properties that could help reduce irritation of the nasal passages in cases of congestion and runny nose. According to a study published in Integrative Medicine Research, its oils are useful in reducing the irritation of the mucous membranes associated with sinusitis, colds, or flu.


  • ½ teaspoon cumin.
  • 1 cup of water.


  • Add the cumin to a cup of boiling water and cover the drink.
  • Wait for it to cool for 10 minutes and strain with a colander.

How to drink it

  • Drink the infusion in sips when you have a runny nose.
  • Drink it up to 2 times a day.

5. Cayenne pepper

Cayenne Pepper
The capsaicin contained in cayenne pepper has the potential to strengthen the immune system and stimulate relief of the symptoms of respiratory infections.

Cayenne pepper contains an active substance known as capsaicin. This helps dissolve mucus and reduce nasal congestion and runny nose, according to a study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.


  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper.
  • 1 teaspoon of honey.
  • ½ cup of water.


  • Mix the cayenne pepper and honey together.
  • Pour the mixture in the water (hot) and stir to dissolve well.
  • Allow to stand for a while then drink.

How to drink it

  • Drink the remedy when you have a runny nose.
  • Drink it twice a day if necessary.

Note: avoid this remedy if you’re breastfeeding or have kidney disease or liver problems.

6. Inhalations with chard or basil

The medicinal virtues of chard have been known since ancient times. In fact, the Arab, Greek, and Roman peoples knew of its decongestant, emollient, refreshing, digestive, diuretic, diaphoretic, and, of course, nutritional properties.

Traditional medicine treatises claimed that “the water from the decoction of chard roots is the most effective remedy against nasal obstruction”. It’s also recommended to treat nasal congestion and relieve airways. You just need to crush and squeeze chard leaves into juice to make an inhalation.

The same can be done with basil leaves.

Continuing with Mediterranean remedies, figs in syrup help dissolve bronchial secretions, and are effective against asthma, bronchitis, laryngitis, and angina pectoris.

7. Eucalyptus essence inhalations

Containing balsamic and antiseptic properties, eucalyptus is used to treat respiratory diseases orally. As an inhalation, it can treat colds, sore throats, pharyngitis, flu, bronchitis, sinusitis, asthma, and pneumonia, among others.

In fact, essential oil of eucalyptus promotes mucolytic activity by acting on the bronchial epithelium. This essential oil and isolated cineol work as analgesics and anti-inflammatories.


  • 1/2 liter of water.
    1 tablespoon of eucalyptus essence.


  • Add the ingredients together and heat until boiling.

How to use

  • Inhale the mixture.

8. Green tea

Green tea contains a compound that blocks the production of histamines, which cause allergies that are reflected in a runny nose. The antioxidant action of quercetin and catechin in this drink means it works as a natural antihistamine.

If you add an antitussive to this, such as a decoction of plantain in a drink or gargle, you’ll have an effective treatment for respiratory discomfort.

Avoid exposure to irritants to soothe a runny nose

Remember that, in addition to consuming these remedies, you should increase your fluid intake and avoid smoke or polluted environments. In fact, the less you expose your nose to irritants, the faster your runny nose will clear up.

Also, bear in mind that you should use these natural remedies with caution, especially if you’re undergoing medical treatment or you have a medical condition. Therefore, make sure you consult your doctor to determine if they may cause side effects.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.