The sinuses are small air pockets in the skull around the eyes, nose, and forehead that are lined with mucus membranes. They moisten the air we breathe in while also catching dust, microbes, and allergens before these can reach the lungs.
A sinus infection usually occurs due to a virus, but it can also be caused by bacteria or fungi. It is often triggered by a cold that causes swelling and inflammation of the sinuses and leads to a buildup of mucus, thereby blocking the sinuses. Other conditions that can cause a sinus infection include allergies, nasal polyps, a deviated septum, and exposure to pollutants and tissue irritants like over-the-counter nasal sprays, cigarette smoke and cocaine.
Common symptoms of sinus infections include a headache, facial tenderness, pain or pressure, nasal stuffiness, discolored nasal discharge, a sore throat, cough and fever.
To get relieve of a sinus infection, follow some easy natural home remedies. Also, consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Here are things you can that can help prevent sinus infections or clear them up when they happen to you.
1. Nasal Therapy
Nasal therapy is highly beneficial for sinus infections as it helps clear out mucus and other debris from your sinuses. It also keeps them moist.
- Mix one-half to one teaspoon of salt and a pinch of baking soda in a cup of lukewarm distilled or previously boiled water. Use this solution for nasal therapy. You can use it two or three times a day for about a week.
Plenty of fresh, clean, filtered water is essential to the health of our sinuses. The body relies heavily on water to perform every function. When we don’t get enough, the body sucks water from nonessential functions to keep the essential function going. This can quickly lead to thick mucus that doesn’t flow smoothly, clogs the sinuses, and encourages bacterial growth. 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. But 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.
Horseradish is another popular remedy for sinus infections. This spicy root has antibiotics properties which help to reduces inflammation. It also reduces mucus production as well as removes mucus from the nasal passages. It also contains high levels of sulfur which create antibiotic effect. Horseradish is particularly potent in the treatment of sinusitis and it clears upper respiratory passages, which helps with cold, influenza and lung congestion.
- Put a pinch of freshly grated horseradish in your mouth. Hold it in your mouth until its flavor dissipates, and then swallow it. Repeat a few times a day for about a week or until the infection clears.
Turmeric has antibiotic, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps to treat sinus infections and congestion. It has an active compound called curcumin that helps heal the swelling in the sinus cavity and clear the airways.
- Mix a pinch of turmeric powder in a glass of warm water. Gargle with it a few times a day for a few days.
- You can also drink a glass of hot milk mixed with one teaspoon of turmeric powder and a little honey. Drink it daily for about one week or until the infection clears.
Garlic works as a natural antibiotic to fight sinus infections caused by bacteria and viruses. It is particularly beneficial when the sinus infection is caused by bacteria. Garlic also has anti-fungal properties.
- Eat two to three fresh garlic cloves daily. Also include onion, garlic, cayenne pepper and horseradish in your soups and meals to help get rid of excess mucus.
- Chop two or three garlic cloves, add them to a pot of boiling water and inhale the steam of this garlic-infused water for a few minutes. Repeat a few times daily until you get relief.
Ginger has antiviral, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties that help treat sinus infections. The polyohenols present in ginger help inhibit the secretion of mucus, while maintaining normal nasal ciliary motility. Healthy cilia are important for sinus health as they filter allergens and prevent sinus infections.
- Cut a two-inch piece of fresh ginger root into slices. Boil the slices in one cup of water for about 10 minutes over low heat. Strain the solution. Drink this tea a few times a day for about a week. You can mix honey and lemon if you prefer.
Cayenne pepper is an effective home remedy to open up and drain the sinuses. Hot peppers can clear sinuses as it is rich in Capsaicin. This compound in chili peppers gives them their heat, eases pain, reduces inflammation, and increases mucus production. It boosts immunity, reduces swelling and inflammation, and improves circulation. Use it wisely and in moderation.
- Mix one teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a cup of hot water. Drink it two or three times a day.
- Mix one teaspoon of cayenne pepper and honey. Eat this mixture a few times a day.
8. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties that help treat sinus infections. ACV contains vitamins B1, B2, A, and E, calcium, potassium, and magnesium which clear sinus cavities and reduce allergy symptoms. ACV has antiseptic properties that fight against sinus infection and clears mucus. It balances the alkaline and acidic levels in the body and relieves sinus pain
- Add two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to a cup of warm water. Drink this solution three times a day for five days. You can mix honey to it if you prefer.
- Mix ½ cup each of ACV and water. Heat the mixture for 5 – 7 minutes and steam will come. Turn off the heat and inhale the steam for 3 – 5 minutes with your mouth and eyes closed, being careful not to burn your skin. Repeat regularly.
9. Essential Oil
Essential oils like tea tree oil, eucalyptus, coconut oil, thyme oil, peppermint oil, oregano oil and rosemary oil are very beneficial for sinus infection. Essential oil is strong natural antibiotic and anti-fungal. It works as a great antioxidant, immune booster and anti-fungal properties when taken internally, it can also be used topically to fight cold sores, nail fungus, and dandruff among other things.
By inhaling it, you deliver the antibiotic directly to your suffering nasal membranes. This may hurt at first, and you may feel a burning sensation. They help to clear nasal and chest congestion caused by colds and sinus infections, so you can use it with tea tree essential oil.
- Put a couple of drops of the any essential oil in one-half cup of boiling water and inhale the steam to clear the congestion and open up the sinuses. Do this daily until the infection is gone.
- Mix two or three drops of oregano oil in a glass of water. Drink this solution twice daily until the infection clears.
Beside these, oil pulling and putting coconut oil in a dropper then dropping it into your nose while lying down with head tilted back also really works. Do this after shower or inhaling steam.
Diet plays a major role in your overall health. Eating right will help your body fight infection and prevent it in the future. Oxidation damage can contribute to chronic sinusitis. Antioxidants protect the mucus membranes from free radical damage. So focus on foods rich in antioxidant which boost your immunity and prevent from sinus infection. Add ginger, garlic, onions, and hot chilies to your food. These help keep nasal passages clear. Eat foods rich in vitamin A like carrots, mangoes, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli. Eat foods that have anti-inflammatory properties. Also look for bright, colorful fruits and vegetables like citrus, kiwi, spinach, berries, pumpkin and other similarly vibrant foods.