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Natural Remedies for Sinusitis
Think you might have chronic sinusitis? If so, you have plenty of company. In fact, the National Center for Health Statistics reports that this condition is the most chronic disease in the United States. Also known as allergic sinusitis, this ailment is more common in women, particularly those between the ages of 45 and 64.
Symptoms that may be associated with chronic sinusitis include:
- Head and nasal congestion
- Runny nose and/or postnasal drip
- Increased irritability
Acute sinusitis is an infection usually beginning with a cold and characterized by facial pain, sinus swelling, postnasal yellow mucus and extreme fatigue. These symptoms may be accompanied by a fever, a stuffy and runny nose, sore throat, cough and laryngitis; and they may require medical attention, according to Robert S. Ivker, D.O., author of Sinus Survival (Tarcher/Putnam).
Sinuses: Natural Air Filter
It's important to protect sinuses because your sinuses filter the air you breathe. They also protect your lungs from disease by filtering out bacteria, viruses, dirt, dust, pollen, and other harmful airborne agents.
Although antibiotics are commonly prescribed for sinusitis, they have limited use. "Sinusitis is often caused by a virus or fungus, and antibiotics are ineffective against these pathogens," explains Bob Rountree, M.D., who practices in Boulder, Colorado.
If you suffer from sinusitis, these simple home remedies may help — or even prevent the condition in the first place.
Natural Remedies for Sinusitis
What remedies are effective for preventing and relieving the symptoms of sinusitis? Rountree suggests the following natural remedies:
1) An air filter/HEPA filter combination
Because allergies are major culprits in sinusitis, a combination air filter/HEPA filter can eliminate potential allergens such as dirt, dust, pollen, air pollutants and animal dander. It also may help to use allergen-proof mattress and pillow covers and install an air filter on your vacuum so that it doesn't distribute dirt and dust.
2) Irrigating sinuses with saline solution
Nasal washes are effective as topical disinfectants. Mix 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon baking soda in 4 ounces warm water. Use a Neti pot or a bulb syringe to flush out your nose 2-4 times daily. Colloidal silver (1 dropperful six times daily) and commercial nasal washes containing Echinacea and Goldenseal are also effective.
Quercetin is an anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting bioflavonoid found in the skin of red onions and apples. It helps decrease mucus production and swelling by blocking the release of histamine from immune cells. Quercetin can also be taken as a dietary supplement.
4) N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is an altered form of the amino acid cysteine. This antioxidant thins mucus and provides antiviral action. Use of this substance has long been prescribed by medical doctors to treat lung congestion associated with cystic fibrosis.
5) Boosting your immune system
Chronic sinusitis can indicate that your immune system is compromised. Taking an antioxidant supplement containing vitamin C, vitamin E, carotene complex, selenium and zinc can help bolster your immune system. Olive leaf extract and garlic may also help by fighting yeast, which can be linked to sinus infections.
6) Hot towels or ginger compresses to your eyes and cheeks
Hot towels and ginger compresses may help reduce inflammation and open nasal passages.
7) Limiting dairy products, refined carbohydrates and sweets
Dairy products may produce sinus-congesting mucus, while refined carbohydrates and sweets suppress immune function.
In addition to the above recommendations, if you have sinusitis you might try bromelain, an enzyme that has been shown to reduce swelling and inflammation in the sinuses. And, whenever possible, reduce your stress levels. Ivker says that emotional stress is one of the most probable causes of sinusitis because stress lowers immune response in the body. So while you're taking your natural remedies, also consider taking a break.
Consult your doctor before using any health treatment — including herbal supplements and natural remedies — and tell your doctor if you have a serious medical condition or are taking any medications. The information presented here is for educational purposes only and is in no way intented as substitute for medical counseling.