What can i use as a nasel decongestant when sudafed pe isn't working?

Sudafed pe or other nasal decongestants available in the pharmacy are not the only means of relieving nasal congestion. Home remedies may or may not bring about instant relief, but they may in fact be a better option than over the counter (OTC) decongestants.

Contrary to common belief, congestion is not caused due to excessive mucus formation, but is caused when blood vessels in the tissue lining the nose get inflamed and swollen. OTC decongestants work by shrinking these vessels, thereby clearing the nasal passage. However these decongestants don’t cure a cold and runny nose and they should be discontinued after three days or else they can make the situation worse.

Following are some home remedies which can clear congestion and bring about relief when sudafed pe doesn’t work:

  • Steam: Inhale steam from a vessel of boiling water. Cover the head with a towel so that the steam does not escape out, but gets inhaled through the mouth and nose. Be very careful while doing this.
  • Saline Spray: You can use a homemade saline spray. To make this spray, add quarter teaspoon salt and pinch of baking soda in 8 ounce of warm water (pre-boiled). Gently spray this solution using a bulb syringe.
  • Hot Water Shower: Take a hot water bath or shower. Alternatively, close the bathroom door and run a hot shower for some time. Block the door with couple of towels so that steam does not escape out and stand inside. The steam can help clear the nose.
  • Warm/Hot Fluids: Drink lot of fluids like hot tea or coffee, chicken soup, warm water or warm lemon juice with a teaspoon of honey in it.
  • Sleeping Tips: Sleep with head in a raised position. Use a humidifier or vaporizer in the room.
  • Pepper: Though not a very appealing method, sniffing in some black pepper can do the trick. Pepper in the nostrils will cause sneezing thereby clearing blockage.  
Nasal strips area also available in the market which help clear nasal congestion.  These strips with adhesive on it when placed on the nose, sit comfortably on the nose and pull and widen the nostrils, thereby making it easier to breathe.


  1. Manning S. Medical management of nasosinus infectious and inflammatory disease. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2005:chap 52.
  2. http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/15614/1/Home-Remedies-for-Nasal-Congestion.html

answered by K C

  1. Put some saline water in the nose in the case of acute congestion. Add a pinch of salt to 1/2 cup water and instill 2-4 drops in each nostril.
  2. Put cow's clarified butter in both the nostrils moving the head backwards and downwards.
  3. Take a homeopathic remedy called Sambucus nig 30 5 pills once at bed time for 10 days.
  4. Take another follow up remedy called Arum triph 30 [homeopathic] 5 pills, 2 times daily for 7 days.
  5. Roast 1 table spoon of bishop seeds and inhale the fumes. It's a good decongestant.

answered by D M K

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