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.
Lemon helps loosen mucus for easy elimination. In addition, the high vitamin C content improves the body’s resistance to infections.
- Squeeze the juice of ½ lemon into a cup of warm water. Add raw honey for taste. Drink this first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and a few times throughout the day to control the overproduction of mucus.
- You can also add lemon juice to your cup of black or green tea.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
An alkalizing remedy like apple cider vinegar is another effective option. It will help thin the mucus, making its elimination easier. In addition, it boosts your immunity to fight infections.
- Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and a little raw honey in a cup of warm water. Drink this tonic 2 times a day for a few days.
- You can also dilute raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with equal amounts of water, heat the solution until it steams and then inhale the steam. Do this a few times a day for a few days.
9. Drink More Water
Increasing your fluid intake will help thin the mucus and promote quick recovery. It will also keep your body and nasal passages well hydrated. Dehydration can aggravate your symptoms and make the condition even worse.
- Drink an ample amount of water throughout the day. For best results, drink warm water.
- You can even drink hot lemonade, green tea, chicken soup, vegetable soup and broths.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol and soda, which can cause dehydration.
Note: If you have kidney-related problems, consult your doctor before increasing your fluid intake.
10. Increase Vitamin C Intake
When suffering from post-nasal drip, it is important to eat more vitamin C-rich foods. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that boosts the immune system and builds resistance to various kinds of infections.
It also helps lower the production of histamine in your body which is involved in allergic reactions.
- Eat more vitamin C-rich foods like lemons, oranges, bell peppers, kiwis, berries, dark leafy greens, broccoli, tomatoes, and papayas.
- You can also take vitamin C supplements. Consult your doctor for the correct dosage.
- Blow your nose frequently to remove excess mucus from the nasal cavity
- Use a tissue to blow your nose, and throw your used tissues away immediately.
- Wash your hands after blowing your nose.
- Get plenty of rest for a few days to help your body recover quickly.
- Maintain adequate humidity inside your house.
- Stay away from possible allergens that may be aggravating your condition.
- Steer clear of smog and other pollutants.
- Avoid cigarette smoke, or quit smoking.
- Suck on menthol candies or lozenges to soothe an irritated throat.
- Stay away from some dairy products, including milk and ice cream, as they can trigger post-nasal drip.
- Keep your house clean by vacuuming and dusting a couple times a week.