I was talking to my friend the other day, who complained of yet another sinus infection. Runny nose, facial pain, difficulties breathing, headaches and fatigue were marking her days as of late. Why do I get them? she pondered. The reasons stretch from air pollution, stress (the omnipresent cause of uncountable health problems) and weather changes, to a lowered immune system contracting a viral or bacterial infection.
Sometimes a lifestyle change is required to eliminate the substances and factors that cause the infection, such as not using chemical cleaning products or starting to meditate. My friend sighed. She needed an answer: how to get rid of the nuisance. The antibiotics work (with side effects) only if the cause is bacterial, but not if it’s viral. So I told her about garlic, honey and apple cider vinegar – the three natural remedies I found to be the cure to almost everything.
Let’s have a look at how these wonderful products can help you cure uncomfortable, repetitive, tiring, suffocating, embarrassing (I’m sure I left out some unpleasant descriptive adjectives, but you get the idea) sinus infections.
Inhalation with garlic
If the infection is not fully blown yet, inhalations should be your first course of action to alleviate discomfort. Boil a pot of water and then add minced fresh garlic to it (3 to 4 cloves should do). Get yourself comfy, cover your head and pot with a towel and start inhaling. It might be uncomfortable at first, but it will help. The steam alone is an amazing decongestant and helps to clear the breathing pathways. When you add other healing ingredients, the positive effects multiply. Garlic is an extremely potent natural antibiotic, and is antiviral and antifungal. see also my article how to make garlic syrup for chest infections.
Inhalation with apple cider vinegar
Instead of fresh garlic, you can also use apple cider vinegar. A 1:1 proportion with steaming water will create a powerful mix. Apple cider vinegar thins the annoying mucus.
Inhalation with essential oils
Some swear by adding tea tree oil (a few drops will suffice), as the oil is another strong natural antibiotic and antifungal. 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). Also eucalyptus essential oil helps clear nasal and chest congestion caused by colds and sinus infections, so you can use it instead or with tea tree essential oil. To learn more about essential oils you can find useful information in my e-book Magical Aromatherapy. This e-book will help you to discover the power of essential oils and the most effective ways to use them.
Make sure to only use raw honey. If filtered (often done for appearances’ sake), the honey loses most of its healing properties. We really have our priorities wrong these days! Raw honey is a magnificent antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal bee creation, and boosts the immune system. Followers of Ayurvedic medicine suggest starting the day with honey water. You simply mix a teaspoon of honey into a glass of warm (not hot!) water. Your body is then geared to start the day. Now, for maximum therapeutic kick to get over a tenacious sinus infection, you can try out this combination:
– a glass of warm water
– 1 teaspoon of honey
– 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
– 3 cloves of minced raw garlic
Mix well and drink to your sinuses’ health!
Or, if the abundance of tastes (or garlic breath), slightly scare you, just try mixing apple cider vinegar and raw honey, and consuming that 3 times a day. Two tablespoons of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of honey will send your sinusitis packing.
Neti Pot / Sinus Irrigation
One of the most popular treatments using a salt and water solution to flush out the nasal passages is the neti pot. This is a small ceramic pot that you fill with a mixture of ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt to each 16 ounces (two cups) of warm water. Some prefer to add an additional ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, per cup, to the mixture to adjust the pH of the irrigating solution to that of the body. You need to use previously boiled water to prepare the solution. Don’t use tap water.
Once you’ve filled the neti pot, tilt your head over the sink at about a 45 degree angle. Place the spout into your top nostril, and gently pour the saline water into that nostril. The saline water will flow through your nasal cavity and out the other nostril. Blow your nose to get rid of any remaining water, then refill the neti pot and repeat the process on the other side.
The basic explanation of how the Neti pot works is that it thins mucus and helps flush it out of the nasal passages. People suffering from daily sinus symptoms found relief from using the neti pot on a daily basis. Once the symptoms subsided, you can reduce it to three times a week.
You can also use a special bottle to rinse your sinus. I’ve used a bottle called NeliMed Sinus Rinse to rinse my sinuses and I found it extremely easy to use. You need to fill the bottle with the the same water solution that I mentioned above, tilt your head over the sink at about a 45 degree angle. Put the nozzle tip snugly against one of your nostrils. Squeeze the bottle and repeat the same process for the other nostril.
Not many people know that when treating certain conditions, horseradish is just as effective as chemically-synthesized antibiotics and it can sometimes even be superior to over-the-counter drugs. Horseradish is particularly potent in the treatment of sinusitis and it clears upper respiratory passages, which helps with cold, influenza and lung congestion. Read my detailed article about horseradish including how to use it and recipes to clear your sinuses.
Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE)
Grapefruit seed extract (GSE), which is made from the pulp and the seeds of the grapefruit, acts as a natural antibiotic. It has antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral properties and is a very versatile natural remedy. You can take GSE in different forms: you can irrigate the nasal passages, take it in a capsule or tablet form or drink it mixed with water (or other fluid). To get the full instructions on how to irrigate your sinuses With GSE, read my previous post How To Use Grapefruit Seed Extract To Beat Sinus Infections.
The elderberry is a bush that can reach to a great height with small white flowers and dark purple sweet-sour fruit. You can also make an infusion from the flowers of the elderberry plant, which has been shown to prevent inflammation and infection in the respiratory system and is effective against winter ailments including sinusitis. Use 1 heaped teaspoon of dried flowers per 1 cup of boiling water. Simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Allow tea to cool, strain the tea and drink.
If you consume these beautiful gifts of nature regularly, your immune system bolstered, there is a fighting chance the sinus infection will stay clear of you for the foreseeable future. Good luck!