Natural Remedies to Treat and Prevent Sinus Infections

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Sinus Infection Treatment

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

Sinus Infection Treatment 1

Essential Oils

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.

Neti Pot

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.

Chiropractic Care

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.)

Herbs

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.)

Elimination Diet

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).

Other Tips

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!

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Resources and References

  • Sinusitus via PubMed Health on U.S. National Library of Medicine website

About Nina Nelson

Nina is a writer, student midwife, and mama of four. She blogs regularly at Shalom Mama and loves helping others create wellness through simple living. Check out her website for more simple wellness tips and connect with her on her Nina Nelson G+ profile.

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DISCLAIMER: Information on DIY Natural™ is not reviewed or endorsed by the FDA and is NOT intended to be substituted for the advice of your health care professional. If you rely solely upon this advice you do so at your own risk. Read full Disclaimer & Disclosure statements here.

Comments

  1. Lorene says

    In defense of chiropractors, so often people think they have had more damage done to them because many times you will feel worse after they’ve adjusted you than before you went. That often is because your back has been out for so long that the muscles on one side of your spine stretch and the other side gets shorter. When the chiropractor adjusts you, it stretches out the shorter side and can almost feels like a pulled muscle. If you don’t keep going back until those shorter muscles stretch out, they will just pull your back out of place again and you’ll be right back where you started from. The muscles are like a rubber band and have to be worked with for awhile before they will “stay put”. On the other end of the coin, I have been to a quack chiropractor once. I kept going back and realized it wasn’t me, he was NOT the chiropractor for me.

  2. Christi says

    where do you get your essential oils? i’ve always heard there are some better than others….but never really know how to tell the difference of which ones are good ones, and which ones aren’t. any advice?

  3. caroline says

    I just want to comment. I deal with sinus issues aLL-THE-TIME ever since I was a baby. They never went away. If that is like you- look into h pylori infection and getting the gut bacteria under control.

  4. Ruth says

    I can’t take credit for this helpful tip because I’m just trying it myself, but my friend said that my allergy related sinus problems could be a reflection of the health of my colon. She recommended me eating an apple before bedtime each night along with a glass of water. My chiropractor also showed me a way to drain my sinuses using pressure points. So far, these things seem to be helping.

      • Ruth says

        The one my chiropractor had me try was at a point where my jaw ends behind my ear lobes. He said that this is where your eustachian tubes end. He applied light pressure to that area effectively pinching the tube shut, and had me inhale fast and hard. (almost like a snort) I could feel drainage going down the back of my throat immediately. I went home and found a website at http://www.acupressure.com that shows pressure points in relieving colds and flu. I found it to be very helpful. Hope this helps 🙂

        • Dee Pangilinan says

          thank you! I just tried it now, and it cleared up my sniffles! ^_^ And about what your friend said about the colon, it might be more the stomach, caused by mild reflux. Our doctor told us that it – the reflux – was what aggravated my husband’s laryngitis last year, and there was one time after a particularly yummy party where I really overate that I felt acid come up as I burped, and I felt it hit my sinuses! Talk about a wake-up call to start eating more moderately! You’re the second one I’ve seen online talking about an apple before bed. We’ll try that. Thanks!

  5. Ava says

    I have a question: do any of you get sinus infections in your upper sinuses? I only get them there, so there is no pressure. I just get mild headaches and start getting dizzy. My sinus openings are a little small (family problem), and this happens once a year. Does anyone have something that will work for that? I used to shoot up a mixture of salt, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide with an ear bulb (works great for shooting up high), but nothing seems to work for those upper cavities besides antibiotics. Any ideas?

      • Lorene says

        Sorry I wasn’t quite done and hit submit. My problems were with my upper sinus’s when I was told about the vinegar water.

  6. bdonaher says

    I add a dropperful of goldenseal tincture to the neti pot solution. Make sure it is responsibly harvested though – wild goldenseal is endangered.

  7. Whitney says

    One of the most helpful things I have found to help my husband (who suffers from severe sinusitis due to a deviated septum) is Wild Oil of Oregano purchased at the local health food store! He claims it clears his sinuses better than anything else. We also use air purifiers in each room, as our sweet dog (Husky/Border Collie mix) sheds like none other, and it irritates my husbands sinuses. 🙂

    • Catherine says

      how does your husband use it? does he take it orally, or add it to a neti pot, or breathe it in a bowl of hot water? I am looking to try anything!

  8. Shere'e Edwards says

    I’m enjoying all the other comments. I’m going to try the different versions listed in the comments because I need all the help I can get.

    @Shayla The comment regarding pico de gallo, can I try to add to a broth? because I dont know if my son (12yr. old) can handle the spicy taste.How would I adjust it for his age, if any. I’m so scare of the prescription drugs. Thank you.

  9. Doreen says

    Hi! I used to get sinus infections too. I found that if you drink ACV diluted in water twice a day it goes away along with Neti pot and a natural nasal spray with grapefruit seed extract from nutribiotics.

  10. db says

    I use the neti pot with about an 1/8 tsp of Celtic Sea Salt, about 1/2 tsp of coconut oil and a really good probiotic. If you have probiotic in capsule form empty 1 capsule into the pot. I use a liquid brand called Living Streams which you dose by a dropper as it is so powerful. I use half a dropper at first as it causes some strong burning, then after a day or so slowly add a full dropper. I do this a couple times a day then once a day for 2 or 3 days after the symptoms are gone.

  11. Shayla says

    Whenever I get sinus or chest congestion,I make pico de gallo, which is chopped onion,jalapeno,tomato and cilantro.It helps thin mucus and clear it out , plus add nutrients that you need when you’re I’ll.Thanks for the other tips!

  12. Jeanie says

    I find that if you put 1/2 teaspoon of xylitol into the neti pot before rinsing the sinuses are soothed and more resistant to congestion and the allergens in the air. Or I get a sinus spray called Xlear that has xylitol in it.

  13. Rita Troyer says

    I use 1 tsp xylitol in my netti pot along with sea salt and a pinch of soda and that has helped keep us all from getting any colds this winter….as soon as we notice a runny nose starting, we do the neti pot, once or twice a day also take vitamin c every hour and we have not had one cold this winter and all around us the colds were raging! Praise the Lord!

  14. Crystal says

    I had multiple sinus infections a year (4-8) from ages 12-30. I was always prescribed antibiotics. After a year of constant infections that left the doctors shrugging their shoulders I did my own research. I’ve eliminated almost all wheat/gluten and diary, and I’ve only gotten it once in the last 4 years! My asthma has also disappeared and my allergies are better. Both wheat and dairy are mucus-forming, and I feel it instantly when I indulge.

  15. catherine says

    In Europe, doctors recommend shining an infrared light at the sinuses to warm them, and break up the build up…. it works really well!

  16. Blue says

    I used to get sinus infections with the seasonal weather changes in Autumn and Spring. A few years ago someone told me to try always inhaling through my nose, never through my mouth, if possible. Since then, I have never had a sinus infection again.

  17. Lorene says

    Years ago I had a serious sinus infection. I was on my second round of antibiotics and was still suffering terribly. A chiropractor at my church saw me suffering and when I told him what my problem was he said to get a nasal sprayer, empty it and add about 5-6 drops of vinegar and fill it with water. I did that and had instant relief! After about a day of doing this my infection was gone!!! He told me that a lot of times people us saline when they have that problem and it is the worst thing they can do. He said when you blow and blow your nose, the acid in your nose is all out of balance and everyone (including doctors) think you need saline which just leaches the acid out more. I shared this with a lot of my friends who suffered from severe allergies and it worked wonders for them also. Just use until you feel better, it won’t hurt you.
    (I went to the store and purchased the cheapest thing I could that was in a nasal sprayer and then went home and dumped out the solution and rinsed out the container.)

    • catherine says

      how did you ingest it? how much? the whole thing, into both nostrils? what kind of vinegar?

      • Lorene says

        I’m sorry, I guess I wasn’t very specific on the instructions. I used white vinegar as it is a little more acidic than cider vinegar and just spray a couple of sprays in either both or if the infection is just in one side and the other side is not having problems, just spray in the affected nostril.

        • Catherine says

          sorry, one more question. did you use like a sprayer, like afrin bottle, or a squeeze bottle? I have a sinus rinse squeeze bottle, but I’m not sure if it is something you need to spray or squeeze. I have tried everything but this, and am going to try it!

          • Lorene says

            Yes, I kind of sniff it in to get it up into your sinus’s. If you have a sprayer that does a fine mist it doesn’t bother you. I know it really worked for me and some of my friends that had terrible allergies and their sinus’s were all stopped up, it cleared them up also. It took them a little longer because they were so stuffed up but it cleared them up.

  18. Eve says

    You guys are THE best!!!!! I’ve had sinus headaches all my life ( I think they turn into tension headaches on myself). I can’t wait to try these ideas!

  19. Shere'e Edwards says

    Thank you for this information. I have an 12yr old with allergies and he does get sinus infections, so I have been giving him the cod liver capsules so that he can take it three times a day. I also have been using the neti pot. I found that this has calmed his pain 80%, so I think as I compared this info to what I am doing I’m confident that I’m on the right track. I’m trying to get my hands on a great diffuser to vaporized the essential oils in the air. I can’t wait to get it. Thank you for this great information of the natural ways to help sinus infections. I’m glad I subscribed.

    • Eileen Griffin says

      Shere’e, I’m so glad to hear that you are finding help in this information. I have been following DIY for several months now and LOVE them!

      I just wanted to stress to you however not to forget the Chiropractic treatment suggested. So many people are scared of chiropractic, some because of the unknown – never tried it – some because a ‘try’ went sour. Just like ALL medicine, there can be a ‘rough’ experience, a doctor that works better for one person than another, or even ‘kwaks’. But that shouldn’t discount the profession all together. I have four kids, and we just about NEVER have to see a med. doctor for sinus infections anymore, because we just about always couple the other treatments with a chiropractic adjustment, and MANY times we can feel the difference before we’ve even made it home…it just ‘unclogs’ the pathways within us making everything work normally again. It’s amazing! Just a nudge of encouragement! (And chiropractic usually doesn’t cost NEARLY as much as medical visits! 😉

      • bridget says

        totally agree with chiropractic care! i would recommend trying this suggestion first. it helps with such a wide array of problems/oncoming illnesses, ect. and to think all because the body is slightly out of alignment – what an impact that has on our health! finding the right chiropractor is key. i’ve had to shop around but found two amazing practitioners in my city. worth every penny of preventative health care 😉