Tea for Congestion: 8 Natural Remedies for a Plugged Nose

Updated in October 2023

Teas for congestion, like ginger and garlic tea or peppermint tea, tend to contain substances with decongestant, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They help to remove mucus and secretions, as well as relieve airway inflammation.

A stuffy nose, or nasal congestion, can be caused by a cold, flu, sinusitis or rhinitis. These conditions are associated with swelling in the blood vessels within the nose, as well as an increased production of mucus and secretions. Both of these factors contribute to congestion.

Although teas for congestion do not replace medical treatment, they are a good option for unblocking your nose naturally, and can be used to complement the treatment recommended by your doctor.

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Some tea options to relieve congestion naturally are:

1. Ginger and garlic tea

Ginger and garlic tea has antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties due to substances such as allicin (present in the garlic), and phenolic compounds like gingerol, chogaol and zingerone (present in the ginger). These substances help combat sinusitis or rhinitis, which can cause a blocked and runny nose, as well as a sore throat and general discomfort.

Read more about the benefits of garlic and ginger and see how they can be incorporated into your diet. 


  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 cm of ginger root or ½ teaspoon of powdered ginger
  • 3 cups of water
  • Honey to sweeten (optional)

How to prepare

Boil the water with the garlic. Remove from heat and add ginger and honey. Strain and serve afterwards.

Ginger should not be consumed by people using anticoagulants, and therefore should be removed from the tea in these cases. During pregnancy, you should only consume up to 1 g of ginger per day for a maximum of 4 days.

2. Peppermint tea

Peppermint tea is rich in menthol, an essential oil with natural decongestant properties that help to unclog the nose and relieve a runny nose.

This tea also has anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce inflammation of the airways and irritation of the sinuses that contribute to nasal congestion. It can especially be beneficial for cases of sinusitis or allergic rhinitis.


  • 6 chopped peppermint leaves
  • 150 mL of boiling water

How to prepare

In a cup, pour the water over the chopped mint leaves and let it soak for 5 to 7 minutes. Strain, sweeten with honey if desired and drink 3 to 4 cups a day.

Another option to take advantage of the decongestant benefits of peppermint is to use the essential oil to inhale.

3. Green tea

Green tea, scientifically known as Camellia sinensis, has phenolic compounds in its composition. One of these compounds, epigallocatechin, has antioxidant properties which help to reduce oxidative stress in the cells caused by free radicals. This can improve immunity, and help the body to fight infections that cause congestion.

Green tea can be used in the form of teas, infusions or as a natural extract, It should be used with medical advice as excessive use can harm the liver. Read more about the side effects of green tea and how it can be consumed.


  • 1 teaspoon of green tea leaves or 1 green tea bag;
  • 1 cup of boiling water.

How to prepare

Add the leaves or green tea bag to the cup of boiling water and let it steep for 10 minutes. Strain or remove the sachet and drink immediately. This tea can be consumed 3 to 4 times a day, or as advised by your doctor.

Green tea should not be consumed by children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, nor by people with a history of insomnia, hyperthyroidism, gastritis or high blood pressure. It is worth noting that it contains caffeine in its composition, and therefore you should avoid drinking this tea at the end of the day or in high quantities.

4. Alteia tea

Alteia tea is an excellent natural option for a blocked nose. This medicinal plant is of the Althaea officinalis species and has decongestant, expectorant, anti-inflammatory and emollient properties. It is great for reducing inflammation of the blood vessels within the nose, which helps to relieve congestion. 


  • 1 tablespoon of marshmallow root;
  • 1 cup of boiling water.

How to prepare

Add the marshmallow root to the cup of boiling water and let it rest for 10 minutes. Strain and then drink up to 2 cups per day.

Alteia tea should not be used by children, pregnant or breastfeeding women. Furthermore, people with diabetes should only consume this tea as directed by their doctor, as it can increase the effect of antidiabetic medications and cause changes in blood sugar levels.

5. Saffron tea

Saffron, also called turmeric, is rich in curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces symptoms related to inflammation, like pain and pressure in the face, as well as general discomfort caused by sinusitis.


  • 1 levelled teaspoon of saffron/turmeric powder (about 200 mg)
  • 1 cup of water.

How to prepare

Bring the water to a boil and add the saffron/turmeric. Let it boil for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain the tea and drink. You can drink 2 to 3 cups of turmeric tea per day.

Another option is to consume turmeric in capsule form, which can be used by taking two 250 mg capsules every 12 hours, totaling 1 g per day. 

Saffron or turmeric should not be consumed by pregnant women, or by people taking blood thinners such as warfarin, clopidogrel or acetylsalicylic acid, as it may increase the risk of bleeding or hemorrhage.

6. Dill tea

Dill tea, prepared with the medicinal plant Aneethun graveolens, is a great home remedy for congestion. It has expectorant properties that help to remove mucus and secretions.


  • 1 tablespoon of dill leaves;
  • 1 cup of boiling water.

How to prepare

Place the dill in the cup of boiling water. Let it rest for 15 minutes, strain and drink afterwards.

Dill tea should not be consumed by children, pregnant or breastfeeding women.

7. Thyme tea

An excellent natural treatment to relieve congestion is thyme tea. It is rich in anti-inflammatory and antiseptic substances, such as thymol, carvacrol, cymene and linalool, which have expectorant, antibacterial and antiviral action. These help to eliminate nasal secretions, while also helping to eliminate the underlying infection causing the symptoms.

In addition to relieving congestion, thyme tea can reduce the symptoms of the flu, colds, allergies or sinusitis, such as excessive sneezing and runny nose. This herb can eliminate excess phlegm in the nasal passages, thus improving breathing.


  • 1 tablespoon of dried thyme extract or 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 liter of boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon of honey (optional)

How to prepare

Add the dried thyme to the boiling water and let it infuse for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain and drink up to 3 cups per day.

Thyme tea should not be used by people with stomach problems such as gastritis or ulcers, by people with liver disease or who use anticoagulant medications such as warfarin or clopidogrel, for example.

8. Nettle tea

Nettle tea, prepared with the medicinal plant Urtica dioica, can block the effects of histamine in the body, the substance responsible for the inflammatory response during allergies. Drinking this tea throughout the day is especially beneficial for relieving congestion related to allergic rhinitis.


  • 2 teaspoons of chopped nettle leaves
  • 200 mL of water

How to prepare

Boil the water and add the nettle leaves, then let them soak for 10 minutes. Strain and drink 3 to 4 cups of tea per day.

Another option is to take nettle capsules, with recommended dosing ranging from 300 to 350 mg, 2 to 3 times a day.

Nettle tea should not be consumed by children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, nor by people with heart disease or impaired kidney function.