Try Natural Home Remedies for Noses

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PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
We can't smell when we have a cold because the infection associated with the cold inflames the mucous membranes of the nasal passages and thereby blocks the movement of air to the center of smell.

The Natural Remedies column has tips for easier breathing by using natural home remedies for noses to help with nasal problems.

History has given the nose a bum rap. It seems to be the
most unflattering part of the human anatomy. Romantic
writers talk about straight noses, slender noses, snug
noses, and jolly red noses. Shakespeare described one of
his characters as having a nose as sharp as a pen, and in
the Bible’s book of Song of Solomon the writer tells his
beloved that her nose is like the tower of Lebanon. (Don’t
try that one on yours.) While it can’t be proven, the
English writer Edward Lear may have started the idea of
“nosy” people when one of his characters is reminded to
“mind his nose.”

Whatever art, literature, and history have done to the
image of the nose, it remains a vital part of the anatomy.
It is the organ of breathing and smelling and one to which
we pay little attention until problems occur. We can’t
smell when we have a cold because the infection associated
with the cold inflames the mucous membranes of the nasal
passages and thereby blocks the movement of air to the
center of smell. In the highest part of the nasal cavity
are olfactory nerves which pick up smell and send its
sensations to the olfactory lobe of the brain which records
the smell. In this way we can distinguish a rose from a
skunk, or a freshly brewed cup of coffee from freshly
thrown fertilizer.

In addition to holding our sun glasses in the vicinity of
our eyes, our nose enables us to inhale air from the
outside and process it along to our lungs. One of the early
signs of cold or flu is the stuffy nose or the runny one
which is sometimes accompanied by cold sores on the
external area of the nose. There are many excellent natural home remedies
for noses you can make to deal with these discomforts. For
colds and nasal discomfort in general, try these:

Combine half a clove of garlic with a teaspoon of cayenne
(hot) pepper, the juice of one lemon, and a teaspoon of
honey. Take this mixture three times daily. It’s not
guaranteed to make you smell like Chanel No. 5, but it will
clear up the symptoms in a couple of days. You can also
prepare a tea by placing one teaspoon each of cinnamon,
sage, and bay leaves in hot water. Add a few squirts of
concentrated lemon juice and drink. Another good remedy is
made by boiling the leaves and flowers of borage (from your
backyard garden or the local health food store) in a pan of
water. Allow this to steep for 10 minutes, then strain and
drink a cup of the extract three times each day.

An additional effective remedy for colds in general can be
made by mixing one tablespoon each of yarrow, catnip,
thyme, mint, sage, and verbena. After mixing well, place a
teaspoon of the mix in a cup of boiling water for 10
minutes. Strain through cheesecloth and sweeten with a
little honey. Drink three or four cups each day. It produces a result not
unlike the effect of being pulled over by the local traffic
cop–it really makes you sweat. The profuse sweating
caused by this remedy is what serves to drive out the cold
symptoms.

What about the stuffy nose that forces you to breathe
through your mouth and talk funny? Try these remedies:
Inhale the vapors of one grated horseradish. Or crush a
clove of garlic in a cup of warm water and place a few
drops of the garlic solution into each nasal passage. And
don’t forget the old standby of hot chicken soup to which
you may add garlic, parsley, and onion. Several good
inhalants can be made right in your kitchen. One consists
of a quarter cup of lemon thyme in a quart of water. Boil
and inhale the steam. You can also make an effective vapor
by adding one ounce of chopped comfrey leaves or root to
one cup of water. Boil this mixture and inhale the steam.
To get the best results, cover your head and the basin with
a towel. And you can also get good results by adding a half
cup of vinegar to boiling water and inhaling the fumes. Of
course, all these methods sound pretty logical, so here is
one that sounds crazy and illogical, but it works. Place
several cubes of ice in a basin of water and place only
your toes in the water until they begin to feel numb. You
won’t end up with frostbite, but it will serve to clear the
nasal passages.

Millions of people suffer from irritated sinuses due to
allergy attacks, air pollution, smoke, or viral infection.
This is called sinusitis. Don’t give in to it. Fight back
with home remedies. Mix together two cups of cold water
with one tablespoon of Epsom salts and two teaspoons of
bicarbonate of soda. Dip a clean cloth in the liquid and
place over the sinus area. Another method involves
dissolving a 500 mg vitamin C tablet in a quarter cup of
warm water. Apply directly to the nostrils with an
eyedropper. Still another eyedropper remedy can be made by
putting a teaspoon of dried rose petals in a cup of boiling
water. Steep until cool, strain, and dip a cotton ball in
the liquid. Apply this as a compress and place drops in the
nostrils. One other method for sinusitis has been found to
be helpful by many sufferers. Eat two garlic cloves three
times a day for a week. Sinuses should start draining after
a few days. Admittedly this is a tough treatment to stay
with, in that you must be careful not to get close to
anyone during the week, and romantic moments are definitely
a no-no.

If our noses give us trouble with frequent running or
stuffing up, those instances will in all likelihood be
accompanied by the occasional bloody nose. The nose is the
most vascular area of the body, which means that nasal
passages are packed with veins and capillaries, many lying
just below the thin lining of the nostrils, practically
waiting for the right conditions to start bleeding. Very
dry air, some dust or dirt, or a dozen other irritants may
get the blood flow started. There are some simple remedies,
however, for dealing with the problem. If your nosebleed is
persistent, ice may stop the flow quickly. There are
several methods you can try here. Studies have shown that
sucking ice cubes can constrict the blood vessels, and this
often helps. Some doctors recommend a cold compress of ice
wrapped in a washcloth and placed on the forehead and
bridge of the nose. Some even suggest a bag of frozen peas
smashed up like a bean bag and wrapped in a towel. Vitamin
C tablets and zinc tablets have both been shown to be
important in the maintenance of body tissues, including the
blood vessels. Taking a tablet of each every day as well as
eating foods rich in vitamin C, including fruits and
vegetables, is recommended. You will want to avoid taking
aspirin unless your doctor has prescribed it for another
condition, since aspirin is an anticoagulant or “blood
thinner” which can aggravate a sensitive nose and cause it
to bleed.

Whatever the poets and romanticists opine about our noses,
we all have to live with them right in the middle of our
faces. Hopefully some knowledge of these “nosy” remedies
will make our life with them a more compatible arrangement.