You probably never think about your sinuses when they’re working well. For most people, breathing is pretty painless. But, when you do get a sinus infection, you're totally aware of them. The pressure of a sinus infection can be painful.
Here you will find natural remedies for sinus infections, including lifestyle solutions, home remedies, Ayurvedic remedies and Yoga for a sinus infection
How Sinus Problems Begin
The sinuses are air-filled pockets that are connected to the nose and throat with passages or channels designed to drain away mucus. When these channels become clogged, and full of mucus, the pressure increases which invites infection.
But before I talk about the natural remedies, let me give you a short explanation about the triggers and symptoms of clogged sinuses.
Causes of Sinus Blockages
The most common triggers of sinus blockage are:
- Common cold
- Allergic rhinitis
- Nasal polyps
- Deviated nasal septum
- Any surgery done to nose
Sinusitis can be Either Acute or Chronic
Acute sinusitis is typically caused by bacterial or viral infections
Chronic Sinusitis may be caused by injury to the nose, poor digestion, air pollution, dental complications, stress, smoking, exposure to fumes or smells, air travel (changes in pressure) and allergies.
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Symptoms of Sinusitis
Some of the symptoms of a sinus infection are:
- Stuffy nose with thick, greenish yellow mucus discharge
- Persistent cough
- Loss of smell and taste
- low-grade fever
- Difficulty breathing
- Post nasal drip
- Sore throat
- Bad breath,
- Facial inflammation and pain.
If tapping the forehead around the eyes, cheekbones, or bridge of nose causes pain, your sinuses may be infected.
Before you experiment with any of the natural remedies for sinusitis mentioned here, I advise you to consult with your physician if you have a sinus infection or any other health conditions.
Natural Remedies for Sinus Infections
I have divided the solutions for sinus health into four categories:
Lifestyle Solutions to For Sinus Health
Most sinus problems begin with dry sinuses.
Mucus is produced in response to dryness, so drink plenty of warm fluids to hydrate keeping your sinuses moist.
Drink at least 2 liters of water a day, along with other fluids like soups and herbal teas. Warm liquids help the mucus to flow which relieves congestion and sinus pressure.
Also, tale warm water and herbal teas and avoid anything iced.
To know whether you are hydrated enough, notice your urine’s color. It should be clear.
Cut down on sugar, salt, refined foods, alcohol, and caffeine
Alcohol, caffeinated drinks, sugar, salt, refined foods, and cigarettes – all these promote dehydration. The dryness thickens the mucus and clogs the airways, which are already inflamed. So, stay away from these, especially during the infection!
Protect Yourself From Allergens
If your sinus congestion is due to an allergic response, protect yourself from airborne irritants. Keep your indoor air clean and change your home air filters regularly to avoid irritants like pollen and mold spores.
If you have pets that live inside, make sure you give them regular baths and buy a HEPA filter.
Vacuum your home twice a week to eliminate any fur or dander.
Protect yourself while traveling. Always carry water with you so you’re hydrated and avoid dust, wherever possible. These tips help in reducing the reoccurrences of a sinus infection.
A good air purifier is one of the natural ways you can protect yourself from sinusitis. Place one in the rooms where you spend most of your time. I recommend a HEPA air purifier to remove pollen, mold, and other irritants. Also, if you live in an arid climate having a good humidifier is helpful, but make sure to keep the filter clean.
In my view, a Himalayan salt lamp is a nice natural alternative to keep your room clean and free from allergens.
There are times when food sensitivities trigger sinusitis. Eliminate sugar and cold, frozen foods from your diet completely. You might also want to avoid gluten-based foods as they could be an unknown trigger.
Dairy increases mucus production. Try some healthy milk alternatives.
Do not use force when blowing your nose because it forces the mucus back into the sinus cavities.
Home Remedies for Sinus Health
One of the most effective natural remedies for sinus infections. Onions are a powerful antibacterial which helps to clear infection and germs. Cut a medium-sized onion in half and bring to a boil in in 3/4 – 1 cup water. Turn off heat and inhale the scent to open the clogged sinuses. You can also drink the water from this concoction twice a day to clear up the nasal passages from within.
Adding cayenne pepper, garlic, ginger, horseradish, and onion to soups and teas will help reduce mucus and open your nasal pathways. Cayenne pepper has capsaicin, a powerful compound that has the power to stimulate circulation. It also helps in clearing up the passages.
Apple Cider Vinegar
A natural decongestant, apple cider vinegar eases the sinus pressure by thinning the mucus. Mix 2 TBS unfiltered raw ACV to 1 cup hot water. Mix 1 TBS lemon juice and honey to taste. Drink this tea 3 – 4 times a day.
Use a vaporizer to inhale steam to keep the nasal passages and tissues moist. Fill a bowl with hot steaming water and just inhale the steam at a distance of about 6 inches. (Be careful not to get too close so that you scald yourself).
Add Essential Oils
Essential oils can be an effective form of natural medicine. All plants have unique qualities that we can use to heal.
Ways to use essential oils:
- Use a diffuser
- Put a few drops on a cold compress and inhale directly
- Massage into your temples or on either side of your forehead AFTER diluting it with a carrier oil such as almond oil).
You can add a few drops these essential oils to the water:
Basil – Good for sinus congestion
Eucalyptus – One of the best oils for any respiratory tract problem (relaxes the flow of mucus).
Rosemary – Standard inhalation for respirator and sinus problems
Camphor – Eases a sinus headache
Place a towel over your head to capture the steam and breathe deeply. Do this several times a day for 5-10 minutes.
Warm and Cold Compress
Compresses relieve clogged sinuses and ease inflammation. Apply a warm compress on your blocked sinuses for about 3 minutes followed by a cold compress for 20 seconds. Repeat the process 5-7 times to see a noticeable improvement.
You can also use a Neti Pot, a small teapot-like device designed to keep the nasal passages clear. Fill the pot with sea salt and water (Video instructions on how to use Neti Pot below)
Ayurvedic Remedies for Sinus Health
Ayurveda is based on the laws of nature. It teaches you to put into practice Nature's great principles of health and natural living.
If you are new to Ayurveda, and its holistic approach to health, knowing the roots of Ayurveda will be useful.
Ayurveda treats the person, and not the disease. For this reason, I recommend learning the basics of Ayurveda yourself. Learn about yourself, what your doshas are, and what lifestyle will enable you to live a long disease free life. (Everyone is a little different)
In addition, it's likely you'll benefit from seeing a qualified practitioner. This way you'll get a treatment program designed especially for you and your constitution. If you don't know what your doshas are, you can begin by taking the test here.
Eat fresh seasonal foods and avoid foods that are low in nutrition and high in sugar and fat, like anything heavy, oily, fried, or hard to digest. Instead, eat plenty of vegetables, beans, organic poultry, and fish that is not farm raised. Stay away from cold foods and drinks.
Avoid a Cold Wet Head
It's a good idea to avoid swimming if you have a sinus infection.
Eat Kitchari. Kitchari is the chicken soup of Ayurveda (recipe here) made with split mung beans and basmati rice and health promoting spices that heal and make it easy to digest.
Turmeric is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It's also an antioxidant that eliminates free radicals which strengthen immunity…making it one of the powerful natural remedies for sinus infections. Prepare a concoction by boiling 1 tsp turmeric powder with 1/2 tsp black pepper and cumin seeds. Add honey to taste. Sip twice a day to bring down the inflammation and pain.
Nasya is an Ayurvedic procedure that cleanses your clogged sinuses.
Massage your face thoroughly with a warmed sesame seed oil for a few minutes. Then warm Nasya oil by holding a dropper filled with a little oil under hot water till it's warmer than your body. Tilt your head back and exhale completely. Add 2 drops of this oil in each nostril and massage your cheeks and forehead to allow the oil to flow into the sinuses. Use daily for two weeks for sinus congestion and as needed thereafter.
Basil/Ginger/Black Pepper Decoction
The combination of basil, ginger, and black pepper is one of the most recommended natural remedies for sinus infections.
Boil 1 cup water with 10 crushed Holy Basil leaves, 1/2 Tsp freshly crushed black pepper and a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger. Simmer the mixture until the quantity is reduced to half. Strain the mixture and add honey to taste. Consume warm. (This decoction can also be used to ease a sore throat and headache due to clogged sinuses).
Amalaki or Indian Gooseberry
Indian Gooseberry, aka Amla, is a rich source of Vitamin C, one of the most powerful antioxidants. Regular intake of 2 caps/day boosts your immunity, lowering the chances of a frequent sinus infection.
A traditional health jam made with over 40 powerful Ayurvedic herbs, but the chief herb in Chyawanprash is Amalaki. Chyawanprash has been used for over 3000 years as a natural multi-mineral and multi-vitamin formulation.
Yoga for Sinus Health
Yoga has been practiced by countless people for thousands of years. Once you start to practice Yoga, you will begin to enjoy better health, deeper sleep, a sharper mind, and a better outlook on life.
In addition, you'll also notice an improvement in your posture, flexibility, vision and general appearance. In other words, you'll feel more vibrantly alive and enjoy better health.
Skull cleansing breath, as it is called in English, is a yogic breathing technique that stimulates decongestion of the sinuses. It promotes better circulation and expels the toxins via forceful exhalations, offering relief.
Sit in a comfortable seated posture, keeping your spine straight.
Rest your hands on your knees.
Close your eyes and relax your body
Take a few deep breaths to prepare yourself for the practice. Take a deep inhalation through your nose and forcefully expel all the air in the abdomen and pulling the navel to the spine.
Keep the inhalations passive while exhalations should be forceful.
Practice 20 to 30 strokes. Once you complete 30 strokes, practice 2-3 rounds of normal breathing before resuming kapalbhati practice. Practice 2 more rounds of 30 strokes each.
Nasal irrigation is one of the most sought after natural remedies for sinus infections. And, this practice is known as Jal Neti in yogic terms. It helps to irrigate the nasal cavity, clear the mucus and contaminants, and offer you relief.
Add 1 tsp salt to 1-liter lukewarm water and dissolve it. Fill a neti pot with this water. Keep your mouth open during the entire process as you will be breathing through the mouth.
Bend your head over the sink. Insert the spout of your Neti Pot into your right nostril slowly and carefully, closing it completely. Bend your head forward, tilting it to the left allowing the water to flow out through the left nostril. Use half the water to irrigate your right nostril.
Once you complete the right side, repeat the same with the other side.
Once you finish the cleansing, practice a few strokes of Kapalabhati to eliminate water remaining in your nostrils.
Practice Jala Neti daily to see noticeable changes.
The Fish Pose. It opens up the chest and lungs and promote circulation to the face and brain. This pose is an inversion, so it promotes drainage of the sinuses. It also eases the pain and pressure you feel on the face due to clogged sinuses.
Lie down on your back, legs stretched out, and hands resting on the sides. Inhale and lift your head off the mat and look ahead, As you exhale, push the palms into the floor, and lift the chest up towards the ceiling. Rest the crown of your head on the mat. Curve your tailbone, while elbows remain close to your ribs.
Hold the posture for 3 minutes, breathing deeply.
Inhale and lift your head off the mat. Gaze at your toes and rest it back on the mat to come back to the initial position.
Close your eyes and relax for a while before sitting upright.
See Your Doctor
These natural remedies for sinus infections are time-tested and effective. But, do the smart thing and see your doctor anyway.
You can always include these natural solutions along with the medications that your doctor recommends. And if you do end up taking antibiotics for a sinus infection, be sure to add a probiotic supplement to your program. (Do not take the probiotic and the antibiotic at the same time).
Conclusion of Natural Remedies for Sinus Infection
I've give you lots of natural remedies for sinus health here. So, it can be helpful to read it over again to digest the information, or bookmark it for future reference.
Now it's time to take action. This may be mean learning to modify your diet and lifestyle, starting to use a neti pot, or learning hot to support your body's healing with Ayurveda, essential oils, or Yoga.
Prevention is better than cure! So take care and stay safe!
Leave me a comment if you have a question or just want to say hello.