Is your OTC decongestant on the chopping block? Embrace natural alternatives for relief
(NaturalHealth365) Sales of a popular decongestant approached the $2 billion mark last year. Chances are you know someone that has taken one of these supposed cold and flu remedies. However, it appears that the federal government believes the corporations pushing decongestants are disingenuous.
Recent reports show the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is questioning the effectiveness of decongestants that are available over the counter. If the federal government is in the right, one or more popular decongestants will likely be pulled from the shelves, potentially by the end of the year.
Why the FDA is challenging decongestants: Are they truly ineffective?
It would be an understatement to say that the makers of popular decongestants are embarrassed after the FDA has essentially insinuated their products are worthless. The corporate heads behind the world’s top decongestants are “eating crow” after FDA scientists have stated oral phenylephrine does not work.
If the FDA is correct, the decongestants taken by nearly every American are shockingly ineffective against nasal congestion. The question is whether the FDA will go as far as pulling products from shelves and inventory.
FDA’s battle against oral phenylephrine: Will decongestants stay on shelves?
The FDA’s top scientists are on record stating that oral phenylephrine is the equivalent of a placebo. The focus now shifts to outside experts who will further explore the topic and offer recommendations. The advisory committee, hosted by the FDA, will deliberate on the efficacy of nonprescription drugs, including decongestants containing oral phenylephrine. Oral phenylephrine is used in a litany of cold and allergy medicines ranging from Nyquil to Sudafed and beyond.
The crux of the matter is whether oral phenylephrine should no longer be designated as GRASE. GRASE is an acronym short for generally recognized as safe and effective. Rewind to 2007 and the same issue was brought up. Although there was evidence that oral phenylephrine was ineffective, the FDA was swayed by data and the narratives of the corporations that make allergy and cold medicines.
Fast forward to 2015, and researchers with the University of Florida petitioned the FDA to review the decision after additional research was conducted.
The bottom line is additional studies, including multiple expansive clinical trials, have been conducted on the issue since 2007. The data shows that oral phenylephrine does not reduce nasal decongestion, even when taken at high doses.
Though oral phenylephrine might be somewhat effective as a decongestant when used intranasally, the human body fails to sufficiently absorb it when consumed orally. Moreover, scientists with the FDA admitted that previous analyses of oral phenylephrine were laden with biases and methodological weaknesses.
The current review conducted by the FDA is not the end of the story. There is a chance that an advisory committee will insist that popular decongestants remain available to the public.
However, even if the advisory committee recommends the products remain available to the public, the FDA might elect to ignore the recommendation and require that the decongestants be removed from store aisles.
Natural remedies for congestion relief: Breathe easier with these tips
Relieving congestion naturally can help you breathe easier and feel more comfortable. Here are some natural ways to alleviate congestion:
- Steam inhalation: Inhaling steam can help loosen mucus and relieve nasal congestion. Boil water, pour it into a bowl, and inhale the steam by leaning over the bowl with a towel draped over your head to trap the steam.
- Saline nasal rinse: Use a saline nasal spray or a neti pot to rinse your nasal passages. This can help clear mucus and reduce congestion.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids, such as clean water, organic herbal teas, and broths. Staying hydrated can help thin mucus and make it easier to expel.
- Eucalyptus oil: Add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a bowl of hot water. Inhale the steam to help clear nasal passages. You can also use a eucalyptus-based chest rub.
- Ginger tea: Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties. Prepare ginger tea by boiling ginger slices in water. Add organic honey and lemon for added soothing benefits.
- Warm shower: Taking a warm shower can help alleviate congestion by creating a steamy environment. The steam can help clear nasal passages.
- Humidifier: Use a humidifier in your bedroom, especially during the night. Moist air can help keep your nasal passages from drying out and becoming more congested.
If congestion persists or is accompanied by severe symptoms like high fever, persistent cough, or difficulty breathing, it’s important to consult a holistic healthcare professional, as it could indicate a more serious underlying condition.
Sources for this article include: