Do any of these symptoms sound like you or a family member?
- Always stuffy?
- Throat perpetually scratchy, froggy, or thick?
- Head pounding from a sinus headache or infection?
- Multiple trips to the doctor each winter?
If you said yes to any of the above, then this Sinus Survival Guide is for you!
In this guide you’ll learn:
- How sinus infections begin
- Common factors that set the stage for infection
- Easy home care tips for your sinuses
- Natural supplements to prevent and heal sinus infections
- How to use Aromatherapy, Hydrotherapy, and Halotherapy for sinus health
- Remedies for poor indoor air quality
- How to do lymphatic self-massage to avoid and relieve infections
How To Get The Most From This Guide
We suggest you read through the entire guide and then pick one idea you’d like to
implement right away. Prevention is easier than curing an active infection, so,
especially if you tend to have sinus issues, make sure you add one technique to your
Common Sense Disclaimer: Remember, this guide is not intended to replace care by a medical
professional. If you think you might have an infection, contact your healthcare provider.
How do sinus infections begin?
The mucus in your sinus passages thickens and forms plugs and congestion. Bacteria love this moist, dark passageway filled with a thick substrate and whammo, you have an infection.
Often, especially if the infections are recurrent, you actually have yeast/fungus embedded in the mucous membranes rather than bacteria, and antibiotics won’t work. I’ll bet you, or a family member, have had the experience of taking antibiotics for a sinus infection with no results.
These fungal overgrowths are the most stubborn to treat and eliminate.
Some of the common factors that set the stage for sinus infections are:
- Dry heat
- Frigid outdoor temperatures
- Chronic dehydration
- Eating foods that produce a lot of mucus
Here are some easy home care tips for your sinuses:
1. Use a humidifier in your bedroom.
2. Drink plenty of clear liquids in the form of water, hot water with lemon, and herbal teas.
(Here’s a good hydration formula: Aim for ½ your body weight in ounces daily, so if you weigh 150 lbs, you need 75 oz. of fluid each day).
3. Limit dehydrating drinks such as caffeine and alcohol.
4. Eat less of these mucus producing foods and more mucus-thinning and drying foods.
Reduce your consumption of high mucus-producing foods:
- High-fat foods
Increase your intake of mucus-thinning and drying foods:
- Lemons, limes, and fruit
- Parsley, celery, cucumbers, onions, garlic
- Sauerkraut, other fermented foods
- Mustard, horseradish
Natural Supplements Can Help Prevent And Heal Sinus Infections
While there are MANY supplements that positively affect the sinuses, here are the top six we’ve found to be very effective in our years of working with clients with chronic sinus infections.
Oil of Oregano capsules: Kills bacteria, fungi and even viruses and are the perfect respiratory tonic all winter. Always use with a probiotic every evening. The probiotics will also improve your immunity.
Garlic: Kills fungus, yeast, and mold. If your infection is usually fungal, garlic plus oregano will be most effective.
Echinacea: The best-known immune booster for a sinus infection. This botanical boosts white blood cell production and it also causes the walls of bacteria to erode, so they can’t replicate.
Natural Supplements To Support Your Sinuses
Zinc: The body’s number one wound healer, needed to repair the mucus membranes that are ravaged by bacteria and fungi. Also boosts immunity; especially helpful for throats made sore from sinus drainage. Just crush a tablet and gargle for direct tissue repair in your throat.
Vita C: Another top immune vitamin, Vita C, is the best studied and understood of them all. It kills bad bugs and repairs damaged tissues. If you are fighting sinus problems maintain a high intake, between 2000-5000 mg/day as tolerated. If you develop diarrhea, reduce the dose.
NAC (n-acetyl-cysteine): A powerful anti-oxidant, liver protector, and mucus thinner. Use it all winter long as needed. I suggest 1000 mg twice/day, or more if needed.
Aromatherapy for the Sinuses
There are many essential oils that can help treat sinusitis, including tea tree, lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, pine, rosemary, frankincense, and clove. These can each be used alone in aromatherapy or mixed into a carrier oil and applied topically to the chest or nose.
Certain essential oils help kill bacteria and fungi and break up mucus.
These two make a fantastic combination for any bacterial/ fungal congestion.
Thieves, made by Young Living, is a combination that kills the bad bugs using cloves, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary. To that, we add Myrtle, which breaks up congestion.
Read on to find out how to use them.
How To Use Thieves and Myrtle Essential Oils
Option 1: Inhale steam that has 1-2 drops of both Thieves and Myrtle in the water.
Alternately, you can use Celestial Seasonings brand Breathe Easy Tea.
Option 2: Alternate hot and cold, wet towels on the face, using these essential oils in the water used to soak the towels. Do this for 15 minutes, three to four times daily. This is very soothing and a favorite of our clients.
Hydrotherapy for Healthy Sinus Care
You can also hydrate and sterilize the sinuses using a saline irrigation such as a Neti Pot or a Sinus Rinse Kit.
The Neti Pot, originally from Ayurvedic medicine, is a ceramic or plastic pot designed to rinse debris or mucus from your nasal cavity. Research has shown that neti pots are effective when used to alleviate congestion, facial pain, and pressure.
Here are some “best practices” from the Mayo Clinic for using your neti pot:
If you choose to make your own saltwater solution, it’s important to use bottled water that has been distilled or sterilized. Tap water is acceptable if it’s been passed through a filter with a pore size of 1 micron or smaller or if it’s been boiled for several minutes and then left to cool until it’s lukewarm.
To use the neti pot, tilt your head sideways over the sink and place the spout of the neti pot in the upper nostril. Breathing through your open mouth, gently pour the saltwater solution into your upper nostril so that the liquid drains through the lower nostril.
Repeat on the other side.
Halotherapy For Sinus Health
Another wonderful way to ease sinus problems is to have a session at a salt cave.
As you inhale the 84+ minerals contained in the cave made of Himalayan Sea Salt, your sinuses feel refreshed and cleansed.
The salt is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-fungal.
It is also a very peaceful, relaxing experience.
No Salt Cave nearby? You can take the Salt Cave home with you by purchasing a salt lamp. They’re beautiful and they infuse the air with the minerals and negative ions, which purify the air.
Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
Cleaning up your indoor air will greatly support your sinus health.
Try these ideas:
- Stop smoking.
- Reduce air pollutants/allergens.
- Use non- toxic cleaning products and avoid air fresheners.
- Equip your home with HEPA air filters to remove dust/debris.
- Get an air purifier or ionizer to kill mold spores. Combo filter/purifier units are available. Ionizers must be set properly to avoid producing ozone indoors.
- Place a plant in each room- they are great air cleaners.
Lymphatic Flush Self-Massage For Sinus Health
A bit of self-massage only takes a few minutes and is very effective for both preventing and relieving an infection. Simply repeat these steps for the Lymphatic Flush. Do it a few times a day, for six strokes each time:
1. Stroke lightly from behind the ears to behind your collarbone, using short strokes.
2. Dig your fingertips behind the collarbone and “pump” three to four times.
3. Stroke again in a diagonal fashion from behind the ear to behind the collarbone.
4. Then repeat the pumping action. This action will “milk” the lymph glands and allow them to drain into the chest cavity.
Sometimes chronic tension in the neck and shoulders prevents the lymph in the head from properly draining. The mucus that is trapped then causes congestion. This simple technique clears the head.
A few minutes a day with any one of these simple practices can make all the difference in your sinus health. Pick a tip and decide to implement it today, especially if you tend to have sinus issues. Prevention is easier than curing an active infection.
Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, pick one from each category and take the holistic approach to your sinus care!
A few minutes a day with any one of these simple practices can make all the difference in your sinus
health. Pick a tip and decide to implement it today, especially if you tend to have sinus issues.
Prevention is easier than curing an active infection.
Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, pick one from each category and take the holistic approach to your
Monica Montag, CN, HHP, Registered, Board Certified
Monica is the founder of BeWell Associates in State College, PA. She is a Certified Nutritionist (CN), certified Holistic Lifestyle Teacher (HHP), and health detective. For over 25 years she has helped her clients achieve optimal health through her knowledge of evidence-based nutritional therapies and her practical teaching of holistic lifestyle skills. Her mission is to inform and inspire her clients to wholeness and harmony of body, mind, and spirit.