I’ve experienced many ailments in my 28 years. Rickets. Scarlet Fever. (Yes, seriously). But never sinus infections. That is, until last year, when I experienced my first sinus infection ever. I now understand what all the fuss is about – they’re awful!
Since then, I’ve experienced one more sinus infection and I hope to never experience the pressure, headaches and loss of smell that is characteristic of this all-too-common problem. Thankfully, I’ve found some natural remedies that help me treat my sinus infections and prevent them from happening again.
What is a Sinus Infection?
Sinus infections (sinusitis) are an inflammation of the sinuses and can be caused by viral, fungal or bacterial infections. When our sinus openings (sinuses are air-filled cavities in the skull) become blocked from inflamed tissues or mucus build-up, they can become infected.
Sinusitis can also be a symptom of intolerances to certain foods or pinched nerves, which can cause inflammation in the body.
Many doctors will prescribe antibiotics or recommend over-the-counter nasal sprays, but, as our name implies, we like to take a natural approach. The following suggestions can help treat the symptoms while also addressing the root cause of the inflammation.
(Communicate with your health practitioner if you are experiencing occasional or frequent sinus infections. This article should not be construed or used as medical advice, but rather a personal account of what natural remedies I have used to treat my own sinus infections.)
Natural Remedies that Work
Essential oils are very potent remedies that can really simplify healthcare. A number of essential oils contain antimicrobial properties, making them a powerful tool for treating bacterial, viral or fungal infections.
Peppermint oil or eucalyptus in a humidifier can help to open up your nasal passageways. If your nose is really stuffed up, you can apply peppermint essential oil to the bridge of your nose by diluting one drop in a tablespoon of a carrier oil, like coconut oil. (Make sure you stay clear of your eyes – it burns.) Frankincense essential oil is another good option for putting on your nose to clear up stuffiness. (Find 100% pure essential oils here.)
You can also add certain essential oils to your Neti Pot to irrigate your sinuses.
You can help clear up a sinus infection by irrigating using a Neti Pot with a saline solution. You can find a Neti pot online or a local drug store and they often come with packets for making the saline solution you need. Irrigation can help clear out excess blockage, relieve pressure and stimulate healing. For optimal results, you’ll use the Neti pot a few times a day.
If you have pure essential oils, you might also consider adding them to your solution. After you add the saline solution to your Neti pot, you can add one drop each of frankincense, rosemary and eucalyptus essential oils. Irrigate as usual. You can find more essential oils treatment options here.
I love my chiropractor and will use any excuse to get an adjustment. Of course, I’d rather visit him as a preventative measure, but I’ve also found that his treatments can help me with acute ailments.
While I’ve always believed in the power of chiropractic care for good health, I was surprised to learn that an adjustment can actually help treat and prevent sinus infections. Your spine might be out of alignment and pinching or pressing on a nerve, causing sinus inflammation. A chiropractic adjustment can realign your spine, removing the pressure and allowing your body to heal.
Fermented Cod Liver Oil
Our immune system is our natural defense against illness. Therefore, boosting your immune system can help you to quickly heal and even prevent future sinus infections. Fermented Cod Liver Oil is an excellent immune system booster. It contains vitamins A and D, as well as essential Omega-3 fatty acids your body needs.
Fermented Cod Liver Oil can be pricey, but I’ve found that the cost of buying it in bulk and taking it on a daily basis is far less than the doctor visits and prescription medicines I avoid. If you don’t like the taste (I don’t blame you), you can find flavored cod liver oil or capsules to help you and your family take this long-time immune-system-boosting remedy. (Find high quality fermented cod liver oil here.)
Along the lines of boosting your immune system, you can also add herbs to your diet that boost your immune system. Two herbs that are known for their ability to boost the immune system are garlic and astragalus root. Garlic, the common culinary bulb, can simply be added to your food more frequently to help boost your immune system. Astragalus is a Chinese root that can be used for cooking soup.
If you don’t like the taste of those herbs, or cook them less frequently than you like, you can also find them in capsule form. (Find high quality herbs here.)
Food intolerances or allergies can be another possible cause of sinus inflammation. Eating foods that your body can’t tolerate can result in inflammation all over your body, including your sinus cavities. After some elimination and experimentation, my mom has found that whenever she eats popcorn, she immediately experiences sinus inflammation. She can avoid this problem by simply not eating popcorn.
Other common causes are eggs, soy, gluten, sugar or dairy. If you suspect one (or more) of these could be the problem, remove it from your diet and note any changes in symptoms (also note any reactions when you add it back to your diet).
Prevention is obviously the easiest way to treat a sinus infection. Building up your immune system is the best measure of prevention. In addition to taking fermented cod liver oil and using certain herbs, try to eat a real food diet that is free of processed foods. Also, aim to get plenty of sleep. Sleep is crucial to good health as your body uses this time to repair and heal.
What are your favorite ways to treat and prevent sinus infections naturally? Don’t hoard, share with the community!
Resources and References
- Sinusitus via PubMed Health on U.S. National Library of Medicine website