A sinus infection refers to the inflammation and congestion of the sinuses, a condition which is both uncomfortable and painful. The sinuses are usually filled with air prior to the infection. Their blockage, however, causes them to be filled with fluid. This action predisposes the sinuses to an infection thanks to the lingering presence of pathogens that include viruses and bacteria. There are a number of conditions that cause sinus infections. These include the common cold, tiny growths that develop in the nose as well as the swelling of the inner nasal lining. Other causative agents of the infection are located in the external environment, and these include allergens in the air, dietary allergens as well as additives used in the manufacture of a number of household products.
The pharmaceutical treatment of sinus infections is managed using an array of medicines that range from antibiotics to anti-inflammatory drugs. In extreme cases, surgical intervention may be required to address the condition once and for all. In less severe cases (acute sinus infection), there are powerful natural remedies available which work with great efficiency. The best part about this option is that many of the natural remedies are readily available in many kitchens. Take note, however, that the rate of healing using these remedies is prolonged when compared to conventional medication. To this effect, regular use is advised for consistent results.
NOTE: Since a sinus infection may result from the common cold, there are quite a number of remedies used to manage a cold that overlap with those listed below.
1. Water :
Time Required: Time required is scattered throughout the day.
What You Need: 8 Glasses of water*, slices of fresh lemon (optional).
The golden rule to the management of the common cold and infection of the sinuses is to stay hydrated. This is because water helps thin the mucus which in turn makes it easy to drain and avoid irritating the sinuses. More importantly, it is recommended that the water is taken in its pure form, that is without the presence of juices of caffeine. Additions that can be made to drinking water include taking herbal tea or a hearty broth.
NOTE: 8 glasses of water is the recommended number, but this varies depending on existent health conditions and one’s age, so you may need to check with your doctor prior to using this remedy.
- Simply stagger the number of glasses across your waking period. This is important to avoid feeling bloated which accompanies excessive water intake over a short period of time.
- For those who are not accustomed to the taste of water, it helps to squeeze fresh lemon slices into the water to add a flavorful and refreshing taste to the water.
2. Sinus Rinse:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: A neti-pot/ bulb syringe/nasal dropper, half teaspoon of salt, a cup of warm water.
A sinus rinse certainly does not sound like the most exciting thing to do, but if it works there is no reason to ignore it based on its name. Just as the remedy’s name suggests, a sinus rinse involves placing drops of saline water in the sinuses to rinse and get rid of mucus and other debris. In addition to this, the rinse also alleviates the symptoms associated with the common cold. This is a double benefit if your infection results from a cold.
Since this remedy is intended to get rid of the sinus infection, it is important to take precautionary measures to ensure that you do not introduce any infections. For this reason, the water used should be distilled. If distilled water is unavailable, simply boil some water and let it cool so that it is just warm enough.
- Add the salt to the cup containing warm water and stir well to dissolve.
- Using a dropper, suck some of the saline solution. If you are using a neti pot, follow the instructions provided to transfer some of the saline water there.
- Tilt your head sideways so that your forehead and chin are just about at the same level. This is done to prevent the accumulation of excessive salty water in your mouth.
- Breathe through your mouth and place a few drops of the saline water through one nostril.
- Give a minute or so for the saline water to drain through the lower nostril.
- Wipe any excess saline water spilled, and proceed to repeat steps 4 and 5 with the other nostril.
- Repeat this remedy twice daily until the sinus infection clears.
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: A bowl containing piping hot water and a clean towel. Three drops of eucalyptus oil (optional)
Difficulty: Moderate. This remedy must be carried out with caution owing to the lingering risk of scalding. Consequently, this remedy may not be suitable for young children.
Steaming works perfectly well for the home treatment of a sinus infection for the simple reason that the rising steam moistens the sinuses and prevents them from becoming over-inflamed. Additionally, the steam helps loosen the hardened mucus, making it rather easy to drain. Eucalyptus oil is added to the steaming water as its decongestant properties make it ideal for clearing the sinuses.
- Place the hot water in a bowl and add three drops of the eucalyptus oil.
- Lean over the bowl and drape a clean towel over your head to contain the steam and prevent it from escaping.
- Take deep breaths of the steam and hold your breath for a few seconds before exhaling.
- Repeat this severally to allow the steam treat the sinus infection and aid in the drainage of accumulated mucus.
- This remedy can be used for as long as desired or until the sinus infection clears.
4. Pineapple Slices:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Pineapple slices, juicer, dropper.
Pineapple slices contain a compound known as bromelain. This is an enzymatic compound whose lytic traits have been shown to reduce inflammation. The enzymatic action of this lytic compound causes the degradation of protein. Since mucus contains some bit of proteins, bromelain makes for an excellent remedy in clearing and draining the mucus from inflamed sinuses. In fact, bromelain has long been used for its anti-inflammatory properties.
NOTE: If you decide to use bromelain as a supplemental form of treatment, make sure you consult with your personal doctor since bromelain is known to cause drug interactions which may have dire consequences for the patients.
- Juice the pineapple slices to get just enough juice to sip and use in the dropper.
- Using a dropper, suck some of the pineapple juice.
- Tilt your head sideways so that your forehead and chin are leveled.
- Breathe through your mouth and place a few drops of the pineapple juice through one nostril.
- Give a minute or so for the juice to drain through the lower nostril.
- Repeat steps 4 and 5 with the other nostril.
- Use this remedy thrice daily for ease in managing the symptoms of the sinus infection.
5. Grapefruit Seed Extract:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: Grapefruit seed extract (abbreviated GSE) nasal spray.
Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is a potent antibiotic used in the management of sinus infections. The extract is obtained from dried grapefruit seeds which are ground to get a fine powder. For the ease of use as is the case in this remedy, the extract is used in form of a nasal spray which can be obtained from the local store. When drops of the extract are used to manage sinus infections, GSE clears the mucus and creates a hostile environment for the proliferation of allergens and irritants in the sinus cavity.
- Use the nasal spray as directed.
6. Herbs Such as Turmeric And Ginger:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Fresh turmeric/ginger, pestle and mortar, glass of water.
Herbs constitute a diverse group of natural remedies used in the treatment of sinus infection. Turmeric has a characteristic fragrance that is a favorite for many in the culinary field, yet the amazing thing is that this herb may also be used to treat sinuses. Turmeric contains a compound known as curcumin whose potent anti-inflammatory properties help provide relief for inflamed sinuses.
Other benefits include its warming effects as well as its antioxidant properties. Ginger on the other hand, helps drain the mucus from the clogged packages, this preventing the blockage of the sinuses. This, in effect, eliminates the accumulating sinus pressure and helps you feel so much better. One of the most important benefits of using ginger is that it helps treat an upset stomach, where the latter is often a side effect of persistent mucus drainage through the sinuses.
- Peel both the ginger and the turmeric herbs before cleaning to get rid of dirt and debris.
- Chop the herbs into sizable pieces before grinding using a pestle and mortar.
- Place the mixed herbs in a cup and add water to the brim.
- Bring the mixture to boil before turning off the heat and allowing the herbs to steep for some 5 minutes.
- Pass the mixture through the strainer and allow the tea to cool.
- Use this remedy thrice daily to treat the sinus infection over a period of several days.
7. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Organic apple cider vinegar (abbreviated ACV), a cup of hot water, a teaspoon of honey (optional, may be replaced with a teaspoon of stevia).
Organic apple cider vinegar is a handy remedy that is loved for its efficiency in the natural treatment of sinus infections. ACV provides relief by thinning the mucus and unclogging the sinus cavities. This not only reduces pressure in the cavities, it also reduces the characteristic swelling and inflammation that manifests with this infection. ACV may be taken as a dilute solution when mixed with water, or may be added to a cup of tea depending on one’s preferences. There are additional health benefits with the use of ACV, so tap into this amazing natural ingredient as often as you can.
- Place three tablespoons of ACV in a cup and add hot water to the brim.
- Stir in a teaspoon of honey and drink thrice daily for the treatment of sinus infections.
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Two medium-sized onions, water in a pan
Onions are a great natural remedy for the natural treatment of sinus infections. Onions contain sulfur which acts as an antibacterial and helps eliminate the infection. There are different ways to use onions, and while the fastest would be to chop portions of the onion and inhale the aroma, this also carries with it the capacity to cause irritation of the eye membranes. For this reason, it is recommended to use boiling water and inhale the resulting steam. This method therefore combines the advantages of steam therapy with the benefits of onions.
- Peel the onions and wash with cold water.
- Meanwhile, boil the water in the pan.
- Chop the onions into small pieces. This works better when compared to placing the whole onion simply because small pieces have an increased surface area for the release of the aroma, hence increasing the remedy’s potency in treating sinus infections.
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Fresh horseradish, grater .
Horseradish works well in the treatment of sinus infection that results from the common cold. The flavor and aroma of the radish reaches the sinus and thins the mucus. This causes the mucus to drain with ease, thus managing the infection with ease.
- Peel the horseradish and wash with cold water.
- Grate the radish to get sizable pieces.
- Chew on a few pieces at a time, allowing the flavor to proceed to the sinus region.
- Once the flavor and aroma dissipates, swallow the radish and repeat the procedure severally in one sitting.
- Repeat twice daily or until the infection clears.
In addition to the remedies, it helps to avoid dehydration and to compliment this with a proper diet. Take foods that boost your immunity such as those that are rich in Vitamins A and C.