It’s almost Christmas and what does that mean? Holiday cheer, twinkle-light decorated trees, scrumptious baking, and winter weather. What does this mean? Your nose is about to go haywire on you. Chilly temperatures, frost, snow, and wind are all huge mucus aggravators leading to the thinning or thickening on this vital bodily agent — simply put you’ll be blowing your nose, wiping up snot, or seeking relief from that incessant plugged up feeling.
With that said, let’s not get down on mucus just yet! Turns out, it’s a pretty important part of our bodies!
Mucus is “made by cells in membranes that run from your nose to your lungs.” A majority of the mucus produced is actually swallowed and processed in the body. The remainder “keeps your airways moist so that they work properly,” as well as “lines many of your tissues … [and] .. helps protect and moisturize, and it also traps potential irritants.” On top of that, mucus actually maintains a “delicate balance of both mucus and watery secretions.” When these two substances are working cohesively, then everything is groovy. Yet, when they don’t it can lead to thickening or thinning of your mucus which causes “postnasal drip and congestion.”
Why is your are your nasal passages wreaking such havoc on your life during winter months?
To be honest, there’s no real mystery behind winter mucus, just the facts. Mucus overproduction is caused by “respiratory infections, the common cold, sinus infections, allergies, smoking, and even your environment.” During the winter, your environment becomes harsher driving you indoors to be trapped with allergens and other sick people, increasing your chance of drafting some of those mucus-inducing agents. Unless you plan on quitting smoking, taking over-the-counter allergy meds all winter long, or live in a bubble, at one point or another you’ll probably experience a bit of extra mucus production.
Luckily, there are a host of natural treatments to help you ward off the runny or congested nose! Here are a few to get you started.
First and foremost, keep the air in your home nice and moist! Turns out that dry air — often caused by cold weather and forced-air heating — “irritates the nose and throat, causing more mucus to form as a lubricant.” This HONEYWELL Cool Moisture Humidifier provides cool moisture in medium-sized rooms such as your bedroom or small living room. Super easy to fill and lean with an adjustable out speed, this humidifier is also affordable at just $34.99.
J_Sant says “Thus far a very good working humidifier. Last night it was very dry, and the humidifier raised our humidity from 25% to 46% in the span of hours. I have a couple hundred sq ft room. I recommend using this in combination with a humidity gauge that way you can see it working. Another tip, if you do not use it for 2 or 3 days, take the filter out and re-wet it before running it again. It was not out-putting much water after I returned from a trip (even with the tank re-filled), but when I wet the filter under the tap, it worked again.”
Eating fruit is not only a wonderful part of a plant-based diet, but it can also help your body ward off those illnesses that cause mucus overproduction. Most fruits are chock full of antioxidants and vitamin C, both of which are excellent agents for a healthy body. Annie’s Homegrown Organic Vegan Fruit Snacks are a great option for vegans, plus these snacks are also certified organic, fat-free, naturally gluten-free, (obviously) gelatin-free, and are made with all-natural flavors including berry patch, sunny citrus, tropical treat, and summer strawberry. A 36-variety pack of 8-ounce pouches costs $32.00.
J. Burnett says “One of only 2 brands of gummy candies my nephew (he who has many preservative allergies) can eat. He loves these. And, upon filching a couple of bags from him, I must agree. they’re darn good! The texture isn’t the sproingy-gummy texture you’re used to. It’s a bit more like a really big fruit roll-up, as far as texture goes. Not unpleasant, just different. If you’re a vegan, apparently these work for you, too! And, since they don’t have the animal ingredients (yes, gelatin, I’m looking at you), they’re apparently kosher, too.
Who knew a fruit snack could be so versatile? It’s like a swiss army gummy! And, it doesn’t melt after a full day in the Southern Sun at 103+ degrees. Which is sort of a miracle, and another prong in the Swiss Army Theory.”
Next to eucalyptus oil, peppermint is another great natural agent to provide mucus relief. Peppermint has menthol, a “compound [that] may affect the mucus receptors in the nose, helping to open the airways and clear mucus.” This Way of Will 03 Soothe and Cool Peppermint Massage Oil contains healing benefits for aches and pains, as well as improves overall skin health, hydration, and balance. This peppermint oil is made from a blend of peppermint, German chamomile, lemongrass, organic jojoba seed, sweet almond, apricot kernel, and sweet marjoram oils. Plus, Way of Will is proud to offer a cruelty-free, vegan product free of parabens and other harsh chemicals. A 2-fluid ounce bottle costs $16.99.
Yujin says “The Scent is kind of strong but not overpowering. Herby smell that lasts very long. It is so soothing and relieving… me and my boyfriend use this to massage each other. I use about 10 pumps to massage whole body? And this would last more than 6 months, FYI. Instead of going to spa, I give a soothing massage to my family or SO. It is more fun too. One of my favorite thing I got from Amazon.”
A great way to avoid and/or treat mucus production is by regularly cleansing your nasal passages. Instead of going straight for the chemical-laden nasal spray, try the all-natural saline neti pot! A neti pot can help “clear out mucus and allergens from the nose and sinuses.” This ComfyPot Ergonomic Ceramic Neti Pot Sinus Rinse is designed to fit the nostril comfortably with a unique silicone nozzle and provides an even flow to flush your sinuses. Plus, it’s super easy to clean as it’s dishwasher friendly! This neti pot costs $16.97.
mhahnsolo says “This is the best sinus rinse product I have ever used. As someone with a history of sinus issues, I have used several different products to clear my nose. The previous products I have used were cheap, plastic teapots. I was surprised to find that this was ceramic, as I was expecting another plastic pot. The great thing about that is that you can pour distilled water in it, and then throw it it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to warm the water. Previously, I had to heat the water in another container and then pour it into the plastic pots. Also, the rubber tip makes the process more comfortable to use. Overall, I would definitely purchase this product again. If you have sinus issues, this is a must have. This saved my poor boyfriend and I this season.”
Maybe you want to double up on natural mucus relieving treatments? How about moisturizing AND infusing your home with healing essential oils? This Everlasting Comfort Humidifier with Essential Oil Tray is the perfect solution for doubling up on that mucus relief power! Not only can you infuse this humidifier with anti-mucus oils such as eucalyptus or peppermint, but it’s large six litter tank lasts 50 straight hours. This 6-litter humidifier costs $56.95.
eriKa says “Love this humidifier. I’ve had some in the past that leak and ruin things. This one puts out so much mist and doesn’t leak. I’ve been using it constantly for about a week and have had no problems. While I was moving it, it tipped back a little bit and the emergency shut off shut it off immediately so I can trust that it is safe. It also does shut off when it’s empty. I found that if I put it on the ground, the ground got a little wet from the mist. But when I put it on top of a shelf, (where I actually wanted it but was afraid it might leak and ruin it) nothing around it is wet. If you are concerned with fingerprints, the black one does leave them. I don’t imagine the white one would, but it’s not a big enough deal for me to care. I’m super happy with my purchase.”
Oftentimes, the neti pot technique can seem strange and challenging. Instead of going straight for an actual “teapot,” try out one of the super simple and user-friendly squeeze bottles first. This NeilMed Sinus Rinse Complete Nasal Rinse Kit is great for beginners as it comes with a pre-mixed soothing, pH balanced, isotonic solution that has promises zero burning or stinging. The bottle is free of preservatives, iodine, and latex, complete with a custom-designed cap to easily fit in your nostrils. A single kit costs $10.44.
Amazon Customer says “My daughter has had sinus infections from the time she was three years old. She was on antibiotics every two months for several years. Her pediatrician referred her out to an ENT for surgical evaluation when she was six (YIKES)! The doctor took a look at everything and said her adenoids were big, and she would probably need those out along with sinus surgery. She stopped and asked, “You have tried sinus rinses, right?” I thought, “Yes, right lady. A six year old is really going to squirt salt water up her nose.” I didn’t say that, I just told her no. She knew I was freaked out about the possibility of surgery for my daughter. She told me to get a NeilMed sinus rinse. She said it was easier than Netipot because you don’t have to hold your head at a weird angle. She told me to give it a try over the next three months and we would see what happened. I almost didn’t do it thinking there was no way in the world a simple sinus rinse would have prevented years worth of sinus infections, and SO MANY rounds of antibiotics. However, I was so afraid of the surgery (i’ve heard horrible things about sinus surgery and didn’t want my six year old to go through it), that I bought two. One for me, and one for her. I tried it with her in the room watching me and explained what I was doing. I COULD NOT believe the stuff that came out of my nose that I had no idea was even up there!! Ewwww!”
Staying hydrated can be a chore! Oftentimes we are so busy, we forget to drink water almost all day. This Hidrate Spark 3.0 Smart Water Bottle helps remind you to drink and keeps a tab on how much water you’ve been drinking. First off, this smart water bottle glows to remind you to drink more water, tracks water via a sensor inside the bottle, and can be integrated into your favorite fitness tracker such as a FitBit, Apple Watch, Under Armour Record, or MapMyFitness. Plus, this water bottle requires no charging as it comes with a long-lasting replaceable battery. A single bottle costs $59.99.
Katie K. says “This is simply the best water bottle I have ever had. Even if you took away the smart capability, which, let’s be honest, is the reason I spent nearly $60 on it, this water bottle is superior to any others I’ve ever had. Seriously. I have been saving up and pining for this water bottle and in the meantime, I tried to make do with ones that I’d already had or cheaper ones I bought. Now the part that makes this bottle above and beyond: the water intake tracking. I’ll be honest, I don’t know how much water I was drinking before I started using this bottle, but I am like 90% sure I have been drinking more water since I’ve owned this thing. Not only does it glow to remind you (which you can turn off if you’re self-conscious about a creepy glowing water bottle in spin class) but the app reminders are clever and helpful. I am a huge tech-o-phile and love gadgets and also anything that helps to better automate my life. In getting back into fitness and improving my health, I wanted to cross all my t’s and dot all my i’s. I had a Fitbit, I used MyFitnessPal, I even meditate with an app, but water was a missing puzzle piece. I really consider this water bottle to be a perfect foundational fitness tool in what I consider to be the quinfecta (steps/activity, food, water, sleep, and mindfulness) of wellness tracking. I’m not a fitness or health expert by any means, nor did I receive any kind of incentive to leave this review, but for what it’s worth: THIS WATER BOTTLE IS WORTH EVERY DANG PENNY!”
Eucalyptus is one of those all-around trusted natural healing agents! In fact, eucalyptus has been used for thousands of years to help alleviate pain, especially headaches, and treat respiratory distress. Plus, it’s been shown to help “subdue coughs and reduce mucus.” This Eve Hansen USDA Certified Organic Eucalyptus Essential Oil is a great organic oil to be used in a diffuser, humidifier, vaporizers, sauna, or steam room. This is a unique blend of eucalyptus, tea tree, lemon, basil, cajeput, cedarwood, citronella, frankincense, ginger, lavender, and peppermint. This product is vegan-friendly, cruelty-free and has zero sulfates, parabens, or phthalates. A 4-ounce bottle costs $24.99.
Amazon Customer says “I am new to the use of Essential Oils. I have been using your Tea Tree Oil for toenail fungus. It seems to be working! WONDERFUL! Also, I mixed about 15 drops of your Tea Tree Oil with 2 tablespoons of organic coconut oil for an itchy spot behind my ear. It is clearing up! Your product seems to be of very good quality! I will order again. Thanks! Blessings to you.”
Another great way to double the natural mucus-fighting power is with this Seaweed Bath Co. Body Cream Eucalyptus & Peppermint, which combines the two powerful agents of eucalyptus and peppermint. This organic body cream uses sustainably-harvested Bladderwrack Seaweed which contains over 65 “vitamins and minerals that detoxify, hydrate and replenish the skin.” Along with shea butter and hyaluronic acid, this cream will not only hydrate and nourish, but it can also help relieve mucus congestion when applied to the chest, neck, and face. This product is vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and has zero parabens. A 6-ounce bottle costs $8.21.
MsPilates says “This eliminates itchy skin for me. It removes the sensation of dry, cracked, void-of-any-and-all-moisture skin. Quickly! I had never heard of this lotion/cream before. I stumbled upon it somehow on Amazon, and I’m glad I did. I read a whole bunch of reviews (thanks reviewers), then I checked to see what EWG said as far as toxicity (they give it a 1-doesn’t get any better) It was affordable too, so I gave it a try. Another benefit is that the aroma smells more like a spa than some annoying scent. I am super sensitive to fragrances. 99% of all colognes or perfumes or gag-gy lotions, make my throat feel like it’s closing up. This is a minty smell that doesn’t bother me, probably because it’s from actual plants, not a chemical laboratory. It’s a winner.”
Hydration is important for a healthy body, but when it comes to mucus, staying hydrated can help keep mucus thin and avoid congestion. This ICEWATER 3-in-1 Smart Stainless Steel Water Bottle is another great tool to keep yourself hydrated and your mucus production under control. Made from BPA-free stainless steel, this water bottle is leak-proof and double wall vacuum insulated with a wide mouth. Plus, this water bottle also has a wireless portable Bluetooth speaker, perfect for your next workout! A 17-ounce bottle costs $19.99.
B2k says “This bottle is so cute and functional. I find myself waiting for the lights. I work so hard and sometimes I forget to hydrate, well now my new “assistant” Icewater bottle reminds me to drink up and does it in style.”
We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
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