The recent most interesting TCM advice I’ve heard is to use steaming vinegar to relieve a stuffy nose.  Sure, vinegar is a mild disinfectant, but will that really unblock a mucous-filled nose?

So with my currently quite intense nasal congestion and sinus headache, I put it to the test.

I wasn’t very clear what kind of vinegar I was  supposed to use or how I was supposed to do it, but here’s what I did…

Procedure: Add equal parts apple cider vinegar and white vinegar into a pot and heat.  When it started steaming, I just leaned my face over it and tried to breathe in through my nose.

Experience: Breathing in through the one nostril that was working at the time gave me a very shocking stinging sensation.  Accidentally breathing in through my mouth sent me into a coughing fit. And my eyes, even when closed were just burning.  Definitely not pleasant.

But its all worth it if it works, right?

Result: No go. The one side of my nose that was already sort of working got clearer, but the other side didn’t change.  I still couldn’t breathe through my nose as a whole.   And it sure didn’t help my deeper sinus congestion at all.

I really hate to say it, but in this case, steroidal nasal sprays work better.

Did I do it wrong? Use the wrong kind of vinegar? Anyone else had success?

Update: Apparently I did use the wrong kind of vinegar.  White vinegar is typically used for cleaning and therefore would explain the stinging sensation.  I found out that dark rice vinegar is supposed to be used.  I haven’t tried this, as I haven’t had the need. But I’ll try again next time.  Or someone else can try and post in the comments their results.

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