Post-nasal drip (PND) is a common problem that occurs due to excessive mucus production by the nasal mucosa. It’s a very irritating and uncomfortable situation to deal with and can affect people of any age.
Glands in the lining of your nose, throat and airways continually produce mucus, a kind of thick, wet substance. It moistens and cleans the nasal membranes, humidifies the air in the airways, traps and clears inhaled foreign matter and fights infections.
Normally, you do not notice the mucus from your nose as you swallow it unconsciously throughout the day. But when it is overproduced, the mucus starts dripping from the back of your nose, causing post-nasal drip.
Additional symptoms include hoarseness, an irritated or sore throat, coughing, congestion, difficulty swallowing and a general feeling of weakness.
Post-nasal drip can be triggered by a variety of causes, such as the common cold, flu, allergies, sinus infection, cold temperature, excessively dry air, spicy foods, certain medications, hormonal changes in the body and fumes from chemicals, perfumes, cleaning products, smoke or other irritants.
While there are varied causes of excess mucus production, you can treat many cases of the condition at home using simple and readily available ingredients. However, if the problem persists for more than a week, consult a doctor.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for post-nasal drip.
1. Gargle with Salt Water
Gargling with salt water is one of the best home remedies to ease the discomforts of post-nasal drip. It helps thin the mucus, making it easier for you to get rid of it. It also flushes the irritants out of the nasal passages.
- Add ½ teaspoon of salt to 1 cup of warm water.
- Stir thoroughly until the salt dissolves.
- Gargle with this solution a few times daily for 2 to 3 days.
2. Steam Inhalation
Use steam treatments, with or without essential oils, to control excess mucus production that causes post-nasal drip.
- Make a bowl of hot, boiling water.
- Optionally, add a few drops of any essential oil.
- Drape a towel over your head and hold your face over the hot water.
- Deeply inhale the steam for about 10 minutes, then blow your nose.
- Do this 2 or 3 times daily until you recover completely.
You can even take warm showers to help break up the mucus.
Note: Steam inhalation is not recommended for very small children.
3. Nasal Irrigation
Nasal irrigation also helps clear up excess mucus. It even helps keep the nasal passages free from irritants and prevents further infection.
- Add ¼ teaspoon of salt and a pinch of baking soda to 1 cup of warm distilled water.
- Fill a neti pot with this solution.
- While standing over a sink, tilt your head to one side and squirt the solution into one of your nostrils.
- Move your head back, forward and side-to-side to help the solution reach your nasal cavities.
- Blow your nose to remove excess mucus and solution.
- Repeat the process with the other nostril.
- Do this once daily for a few days and then a few times a week.
Garlic is a potent herb with powerful antibiotic properties. It helps control overproduction of mucus and prevents infection. It even promotes quick recovery.
- Chop 3 to 4 garlic cloves and roast them in 1 teaspoon of clarified butter for 1 minute. Eat them with warm milk twice daily for a few days.
- Another option is to chew a small piece of raw garlic a few times a day.
- You can even take garlic supplements after consulting your doctor.
Ginger is a natural decongestant and contains antiviral, antibacterial and expectorant properties. It helps reduce the overproduction of mucus and aids its expulsion. It also helps relieve chest congestion, hoarseness and a sore throat, common symptoms of post-nasal drip.
- Drink ginger tea 2 or 3 times a day. To make the tea, put 1 tablespoon of sliced ginger in 1 to 2 cups of water and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Strain, add a little raw honey and drink it.
- You can also chew raw ginger slices several times a day and add ginger to your cooking.
6. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper acts as an antihistamine and helps treat post-nasal drip. The capsaicin in cayenne helps thin the mucus for easy elimination. It even helps soothe an irritated throat.
- Mix ½ teaspoon each of cayenne pepper and honey and have it 2 or 3 times daily for a few days.
- Alternatively, add ½ to 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder to a cup of warm water and sip it slowly. Repeat a few times a day.
- Include cayenne pepper in your cooking as well.