Natural Remedies for Nasal Polyps

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
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  • Nasal polyps are teardrop-shaped growths that develop in the lining of the nose or sinuses. They’re not cancerous, but they can block part of the airway and cause congestion, postnasal drip, headaches or sinus pain, as well as loss of smell or taste.

    If you have nasal polyps and they aren’t causing any problems, treatment is not necessary. But if polyps are causing pain, difficulty breathing or changes in taste or smell, you’re probably eager for relief.

  • 1
    Steam
    woman holding a towel over her head over a pot of hot, steamy water

    Inhaling warm steam can decrease swelling within the airways and thin nasal mucus. Taking a long shower or hot bath is a great way to inhale steam. You can also heat up a bowl of water in the microwave and carefully position your face over it; drape a towel over your head to keep the steam from dissipating into the room. (Be careful; hot steam can cause burns.)

    Don’t expect instant or complete nasal polyp relief. Steam inhalation will not make your polyps disappear.

  • 2
    Nasal irrigation
    Neti pot for sinus wash (nasal irrigation), pile of salt, spa purple background with rolled up white towels, stacked Basalt Stones and Bamboo Leaves

    Irrigating the sinuses with sterile saline solution may ease the symptoms of nasal polyps. You can use a neti pot or specially designed nasal irrigation bottle to flush your sinuses once or twice a day. Follow the directions on the box or ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider to explain the process of nasal irrigation. Over-the-counter saline nasal sprays are another option.

    Nasal irrigation can wash polyp-irritating substances, such as dust, out of the nose and sinuses.

  • 3
    Capsaicin
    man holding tube of topical cream up to his nose

    Capsaicin is the substance that makes hot peppers taste hot. The compound is known to relieve pain and discomfort and is commonly used topically to relieve arthritis pain. (Capsaicin renders nerve endings unable to perceive painful sensations for a while.)

    A couple scientific studies have found that topical capsaicin, applied inside the nose, can decrease the size of nasal polyps, and may prevent nasal polyps from recurring after surgical removal. However, these studies focused on healthcare provider-administered nasal capsaicin. Capsaicin-based nasal sprays are available online and over the counter, but there’s no evidence that these sprays effectively treat polyps.

  • 4
    Avoid irritants
    hand holding an N95 respirator type of face mask during Covid 19 epidemic

    Nasal polyps take up space in your nose, so it’s important to avoid irritating substances that can cause inflammation of the nasal membranes, which could block off even more of your airway. Avoid exposure to dust, smoke, paint fumes, household chemicals, and perfumes or cologne. If you have allergies, it’s essential to steer clear of your known allergens.

    If you’re allergic to pollen, for instance, stay inside as much as possible when local trees are pollinating. Ask someone in your household (or simply a close friend) to dust and vacuum; or, wear a dust-filtering mask over your nose and mouth.

  • 5
    Bromelain
    bromelain tablets next to slices of pineapple on black counter

    Bromelain is an enzyme that is naturally found in pineapples. There’s evidence it may decrease swelling, and scientists have been studying the effectiveness of bromelain in treating nasal polyps. One small study of 12 patients tested bromelain’s effect in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (inflammation of the nasal and sinus passages). Some of the patients had polyps; some did not. They all took bromelain tablets by mouth daily for three months. The patients who did not have polyps reported more relief than those with polyps.

    Bromelain tablets are available over the counter. It’s a good idea to talk with your physician before trying bromelain.

  • 6
    Tea tree oil
    bio herbal cosmetics and alternative medicine concept

    Lots of internet articles suggest tea tree oil as a natural treatment for nasal polyps, but there’s no solid scientific evidence to support the use of tea tree oil for polyps. There’s loose agreement that tea tree oil may reduce inflammation and sinus swelling, so there may be some theoretical value to tea tree oil treatment.

    Tea tree oil can irritate skin, so be cautious if you decide to apply it to your nasal membranes. Immediately rinse your nose with saline if any irritation occurs.

  • 7
    Probiotics
    packages capsules of probiotics

    A probiotic encourages the growth of “good” bacteria in the body; these bacteria help us stay healthy by crowding out unhealthy bacteria. Probiotics naturally occur in fermented foods, such as yogurt and sauerkraut. You can also buy probiotic supplements.

    Some scientists have studied probiotics as a possible treatment for chronic rhinosinusitis, with or without nasal polyps. So far, no significant clinical improvements have been noted. Probiotic treatment is not currently recommended for nasal polyps.

  • 8
    Treatment miracle for nasal polyps?
    unidentified doctor giving medication to patient

    Anything dubbed a “miracle treatment” is usually too good to be true. Top physicians and scientists all over the world continue to look for safe, effective nasal polyp treatments. Claims that nasal polyps can be cured from home within four days have not been supported by science.

    If you still struggle with nasal polyp symptoms after trying natural remedies at home, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider. Proven medical or surgical treatment may bring you the relief you desire.

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Dec 17
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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
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