Inflammation and congestion of the sinuses – known collectively as a sinus infection – can have a wide variety of causes including indoor and outdoor airborne allergens, as well as dietary irritants like dairy, gluten, and artificial additives.
Western medicine treats sinus infections with antibiotics, steroids, anti-inflammatory medication, and in some cases, surgery. Most of these methods have high potential to be more harmful than not. Here we offer a three-step process, comprising 14 powerful natural remedies, to cure a sinus infection naturally, often with items already present in your home.
Part I: Treat the Symptoms
Though it is always more important to cure the underlying sickness rather than treat the symptoms, let’s face it: When you have a sinus infection, your number one concern is feeling better. So before you try to focus on boosting your immune system and removing the causal factors of your sinus infection, let’s work on treating the symptoms.
Drink plenty of water, no sugar added juices, clear broth, and hot tea. These fluids will help to thin out mucus and help to drain it from irritated sinuses. Avoid drinking alcohol, caffeine, and sugary beverages, as well as from smoking. All of these substances will dehydrate your system causing mucus to thicken and clog already inflamed airways.
Dissolve Excess Mucus
Spicy foods such as cayenne pepper or horseradish can be mixed with apple cider vinegar and lemon juice to create a mucus dissolving elixir.
Pressure Point Activation
For temporary relief of closed nasal passages when none of these other options are available to you, try a quick face massage. This massage takes less than two minutes to perform and, when done correctly, will allow you to breathe more easily.
Break up thick mucus with a few drops of Eucalyptus or Peppermint oil in hot water. With your face, down over the water, drape a towel over the back of your head and inhale the steam.
This also works with a few drops of either oil added to the water in a humidifier. Some of these machines actually have a small tank included for just such a thing.
Salt Water Rinse
If you are prone to sinus infections and you don’t have a Neti pot, you’ll want to get one. This handy little device makes it easy to irrigate your nasal cavity, clearing out unwanted mucus and any inhaled contaminants that may be caught in there. Use your Neti pot twice a day for optimum relief!
Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is a natural antibiotic made from grinding dried grapefruit seeds and pulp into a fine powder. When administered in nasal spray form (such as this one), GSE helps to clear out mucus and may prevent other microbial contaminants from taking root in weakened and inflamed sinus tissues.
Turmeric / Ginger Root
Turmeric root is a wonderful, fragrant spice commonly found in Indian and some Middle Eastern dishes. Not only does Turmeric contain natural anti-inflammatory curcumin, but this spice is also an anti-oxidant. When combined with spicy ginger root and brewed for hot tea, this combination can help loosen mucus from clogged nasal passages, alleviate sinus pressure, and make you feel better all around. Ginger root also has the added bonus of calming an upset stomach – a frequent side effect of excessive nighttime sinus drainage.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Two or three tablespoons of raw, unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar added to a cup of hot water or tea is taken three times daily will help thin out excessive mucus relieving congestion an sinus pressure. Mix with lemon and honey or Stevia to taste.
Apple cider vinegar is a wonderful natural ingredient with a huge array of health benefits.
Once you have alleviated some pain and congestion, you will want to focus on bolstering your immune system to help your body fight off the infection.
Part II: Boost Your Immune System
There are several natural methods you can use to fortify your immune system.
Available as caplets, liquid, chewable (as well as some other forms), vitamin C is perhaps the most popular over-the-counter immune booster. Studies have shown us that vitamin C helps the body to resist immune system deficiencies and improves overall health. For the best vitamin absorption, choose a supplement containing Acerola.
Fermented Cod Liver Oil
Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO) is rich in vitamins A and D, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids. The fermentation process by which this oil is extracted from the cod livers does not damage the nutrients, making the health benefits of this super-supplement a long list, indeed. Some of those include the ability to clarify skin conditions, balance mood and hormones, and remedy auto-immune disorders.
Just a few drops of oregano oil in a cup of juice, water, or tea each day can make a huge positive impact on your health. Not only does Oregano oil have anti-biotic, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties when taken internally, it can also be used topically to fight cold sores, nail fungus, and dandruff among other things. Oregano oil may also be steam-inhaled as an alternative to ingestion (though some may not like the smell as much as peppermint or eucalyptus.)
Part III: Eliminate Possible Causes
If you experience frequent sinus infections or nasal irritation, there may be underlying environmental or dietary factors at work. Here are a few possible culprits and the simple solutions to eliminate them.
Indoor Airborne Allergens
Animal dander, dust, mold spores, and pollen are the most common airborne irritants that cause sinus inflammation and congestion. The easiest solution for this problem is to upgrade your air filter. Also, make sure to change the filter at least once per month. Mark your calendar on the day you change the filter or write the date somewhere on the out-facing side of your new filter before it is installed.
Keep your pets outside, or at least make sure that they are bathed and/or brushed often. Vacuum at least once per week – more often if you have pets inside.
Sometimes indoor allergens hide in your air ducts. Attach cheesecloth to the outside of air vents to act as a filter. Not only will this prevent allergens from circulating through your home, but it will also show you what might need to be cleaned out of your air system.
Get an air purifier for the room(s) where you spend the most time. These devices circulate the air in a room through a HEPA filter and an ionizer to remove most common allergens. Alternately, you can use an Activated Charcoal filter to clean the air in your home.
Outdoor Airborne Allergens
Pollen, smog, and car exhaust are some common outdoor irritants. If you know you will be exposed to any of these allergens, consider wearing a mask to keep them out of your airways. Drive with the windows up and set your car ventilation system to circulate so you don’t bring allergens from outside into the cab where you will inhale them.
Food allergies and sensitivities such as those to gluten, dairy, and sugar can cause sinus infections. Try eliminating these foods from your diet if you experience frequent sinus problems.
Of course, you don’t have to follow every part of each of the three steps. Try one or two items from each list to see what works best for you. When you find the right equation you will know as your headaches and stuffy nose fade away. Then you can finally take the box of tissue off of the bedside table and say goodbye to sinus infections for good!