5 Herbal Remedies for a Sinus Infection

Monday Apr 7 | BY |
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Sinus Infection

In addition to your neti pot, try these herbs for faster relief of your sinus infection.

The headaches. Earaches. Stuffiness. Insomnia.

Sinus infections are the pits, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they plague over 28 million American adults every year. The Cleveland Clinic states that the prevalence of acute sinusitis is on the rise, though they don’t say why.

A sinus infection is most commonly caused by a virus, though sometimes it may be bacteria that are to blame. Typical treatment involves antibiotics if your healthcare provider determines bacteria are involved, but with the growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria, the general recommendation is to take medications only if you really need them.

Meanwhile, there are herbal remedies that may help you beat this infection on your own.

1. Fenugreek
A member of the pea family, fenugreek produces seeds that are used in curries and baked goods, and has also been found to help stabilize blood sugar. It’s been used traditionally to reduce swelling in the lining of the sinuses, which can help greatly in relieving pain behind the eyes and soothing headaches. It can also encourage drainage.

2. Thyme
Used as a disinfectant in mouthwashes, thyme is an astringent and a powerful antibacterial. A member of the mint family, it’s long been used to treat respiratory ailments, and is said to encourage expectoration of phlegm. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that thyme was used traditionally to treat bronchitis and cough, and that two preliminary studies suggest it may help treat acute forms of these conditions. They add that thyme oil should not be taken by mouth. Try supplements instead.

3. Grapefruit Seed Extract
A 1999 Mayo Clinic Study concluded that the cause of most chronic sinus infections was an immune response to fungus. Researchers suggested that over 90 percent of people who suffer from recurring sinusitis are sensitive to inhaled fungus, and suggested a change in approach by physicians. Grape seed extract is a powerful anti-fungal agent, as well as an antibacterial. A 2002 study confirmed its antimicrobial benefits, as did a 2010 study. Drink plenty of water with each dose.

4. Stinging Nettle
This herb has anti-inflammatory properties and also helps interfere with the body’s pain signals, which can help ease a pounding head. In fact, it’s long been used to help cure the pain of rheumatism and arthritis, and clinical studies have confirmed this use. Other studies have found it to be effective at calming sneezing and nasal congestion. It also contains natural antihistamines, which can help open up constricted nasal passages. Stinging nettle has natural detoxing properties similar to dandelion, which can help flush bacteria and waste out of the body, speeding along healing.

5. Eucalyptus
Studies have shown that eucalyptus relieves inflammation in the sinuses. A 2004 study assigned 152 people with acute sinusitis to receive a eucalyptus extract or a placebo for seven days. Those that took the eucalyptus experienced greater improvement in symptoms like headaches, nasal blockage, and quality of nasal mucus. At the end of the study, 92 percent of those taking it experienced improvement in more than half their symptoms, while only 45 percent of those taking placebo did so. In addition, at the end of the study, ultrasound exams showed no swelling or fluid in the sinuses of 95 percent of the eucalyptus group, compared with only 51 percent in the placebo group.

Do you use herbs to help heal a sinus infection? Please share your suggestions.

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Ponikau JU, “The diagnosis and incidence of allergic fungal sinusitis,” Mayo Clin Proc. 1999 Sep;74(9):877-84, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10488788.

Heggers JP, et al., “The effectiveness of processed grapefruit-seed extract as an antibacterial agent: II. Mechanism of action and in vitro toxicity,” J Altern Complement Med. 2002 Jun; 8(3):333-40, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12165191.

Waidulla N Al-Ani, et al., “Antimicrobial Activity of Grapefruit Seeds Extracts,” Al-Rafidain Dent J. 2011; 11(2):341-345, http://www.iasj.net/iasj?func=fulltext&aId=9091.

“Eucalyptus Oil Relievers Sinusitis,” Bastyr Center for Natural Health, http://www.bastyrcenter.org/content/view/327/.

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story, a northwest-based writer, editor, and ghostwriter, has been creating non-fiction materials for individuals, corporations, and commercial magazines for over 17 years. She specializes in the health and wellness field, where she writes and ghostwrites books, e-books, blogs, magazine articles, and more.

Colleen is the founder of Writing and Wellness. Her fantasy novel, “Rise of the Sidenah,” was released with Jupiter Gardens Press in September 2015. Her literary novel, “Loreena’s Gift,” is forthcoming in spring 2016 from Dzanc Books. She lives in Idaho. www.colleenmstory.com

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