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Loss of smell is an early COVID-19 symptom: Home Remedies to Regain Your Sense of Smell Naturally

Loss of smell or taste is more prevalent in mild Covid-19 cases.

In addition to COVID-19, loss of smell can occur due to many other reasons including allergies, sinusitis, or environmental irritants. Here are some at-home strategies for restoring loss of smell.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : June 11, 2021 1:02 PM IST

COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. While some people with coronavirus get symptoms, others don't. The symptoms also vary depending on the severity level, but common ones include fever, body ache, loss of smell and taste, chills, breathlessness. A full or partial loss of smell (otherwise known as anosmia) is one of the earliest and most commonly reported symptoms of COVID-19. According to a study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, olfactory dysfunction (which is loss of smell or taste) is more prevalent in mild Covid-19 cases and it takes around 21.6 days to recover from it. The study also revealed that 95 per cent of patients recover their sense of smell at 6-months post-infection. If you are experiencing anosmia due to COVID-19 or others reasons, we have four natural remedies to help you regain your sense of smell.

Smell training

There are medical interventions for anosmia depending on the cause, but doctors also recommend smell training as an additional at-home strategy. In this method, you have to smell a series of four strong odours that can be found in one's home, or you can use four different essential oils. Gently sniff each scent for 20 seconds and repeat the process three times daily for 6 weeks, using the same four odours.

Castor oil

For years, Castor oil has been used as a nasya, or nasal passage treatment for restoring smell loss in Ayurveda. Experts say its active component, ricinoleic acid, helps fight infections, reduce nasal passage swelling and inflammation caused by colds and allergies.

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Put two drops of warm castor oil in each nostril twice a day: in the morning and right before sleep. Make sure it is not hot.


Naturopathy experts recommend drinking ginger tea for treating anosmia at home. According to them, ginger tea helps reduce inflammation of the nasal airways and prevent excess mucus formation that block nasal passages, causing loss of smell. You can use powdered or raw ginger to prepare this herbal drink.

Saline irrigation

A saltwater wash is an effective remedy for loss of smell due to allergies or sinus congestion. It helps flush out allergens and mucus from the nasal cavity.

To make saline solution at home, add teaspoon of salt and teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of distilled water. Now, using a medical syringe, squirt the solution into one nostril. As you do it, tilt your head back. Let it drain out from your mouth and repeat on the other nostril. Do this several times daily.

Other causes of loss of smell

In addition to COVID-19, loss of smell can occur due to many other reasons. These include tumours and nasal polyps, allergies, viruses, sinusitis, environmental irritants such as cigarette smoke and pesticides, neurologic conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis, as well as traumatic head injury.

Ageing may also lead to decline in sense of smell, resulting in partial loss of smell. Radiation treatment for cancers, particularly head and neck cancers, can also affect sense of smell. Temporary loss of smell may also result as a side effect of certain prescription drugs.

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