The 16th century Europeans made a tea by steeping 5 grams of fresh basil in a cupful of water, and then drank it to eliminate stuffiness, caused by inflamed membranes. The Japanese use basil tea for this same purpose. Pungent oils such as thymol and camphor in the plant help open clogged passages.
The Japanese recommend that anyone with sinus congestion take a healthy spoonful of horseradish. This treatment, they say, also works for allergies.
In Iceland, a person with nasal congestion is likely to plunge his head into a basin of ice cold water. This is repeated until the congestion clears up. Warning: There is a chance that the congestion may return later - even worse.
If an Eskimo suffers from nasal congestion, he simply reaches down, grabs a handful of snow, and puts it up his nose. He might even dunk his nose, if not his whole face, into the snow covered ground. The cold contracts the nasal passages, and any clogged mucus is expelled.
For the people of Siberia, congested sinuses are treated by tilting the head back and placing a tsp of onion juice in each nostril. This procedure can be repeated as necessary, but once per nostril should (we hope) be sufficient.
In Mexico, patients with clogged sinuses are served healthy doses of red hot chili peppers. A staple of Mexican cuisine, these peppers will clear your sinuses in a hurry. Moreover, they are an excellent source of vitamin C.
Africans, often use pepper as a treatment for congested sinuses. Rather than chili peppers, however, they use cayenne pepper. Although cayenne pepper is eaten in many African dishes, the medicinal benefits are traditionally gained in a different way. An African with a sinus problem will take a healthy sniff of cayenne pepper. This brings on a fit of sneezing, thereby clearing his nasal passages.
Shepherd's purse, which gets its name from the shape of its seed pods, is used to stop bleeding. For nose bleeds, the French make a strong infusion of 2 handfuls of fresh shepherd's purse to 1 liter of boiling water. This is cooled and drawn up the nose or applied on a plug of clean gause. The infusion is also good on hemorrhoids and varicose veins.