A sinus infection can be very painful but also very common, affecting some 37 million Americans a year. A stuffy and congested nose, pain between the eyes or in the forehead, as well as upper teeth ache, are just some of the irritating and painful symptoms of a sinus infection.
Sinus infections are an inflammation of the lining in the sinus cavities caused by colds, flu, bacteria or allergies (including dry nose, swollen nasal membranes, allergies and seasonal hay fever). My own grandson has been having such infections recently and, after undergoing allergy tests, it is house dust mites that are the culprits.
Rather than over-medicating yourself or other members of your family with conventional drugs, you can turn to natural remedies instead.
But first some helpful tips to combat sinus problems
Top of the list is this method on how to clear the sinuses with your tongue and your thumb in just 20 seconds
Push your tongue against the top of your mouth and place a finger between your eyebrows and apply pressure. Hold it for about 20 seconds and your sinuses will begin to drain.
Here are some other tips
- Elevate the head while sleeping.
- Apply warm compresses to the face several times a day for 5 minutes each session.
- Vitamin C is an excellent immune booster, helping to fend off sinus infections. Try dosing with up to 1000 mg of vitamin C 1 to 3 three times daily.
- Drink plenty of liquids to help moisturize the mucus membranes and to wash away mucus out of the sinuses more quickly.
- Keep the home and the affected person's bedroom as clean as possible.
- Using a HEPA filter air purifier will also be beneficial.
- If your home is too dry, the nasal passages will be prone to dry out and become irritated, leaving hard bloody mucus and traces of blood every time the nose is blown. Plug in a humidifier or vaporizer in the bedroom, starting in the dry fall months, and carrying on through winter, to moisten the sinuses.
- Mold growth can be another problem, especially when the indoors is excessively humid, providing the ideal breading ground for both dust mites and mold allergens. If there is a sensitivity to mold, take a break from the humidifier while making sure it is cleaned regularly to prevent bacteria from breeding and infusing the air that is breathed in.
- Hopefully there are not many people who still continue to smoke inside. Those strong, chemical fumes from second-hand-smoke will definitely irritate the nasal passages, leaving everyone with dry sinuses and red dry eyes - even the smoker himself.
- Keep the air cool because raising the temperature indoors is another certain way to dry out the nasal membranes and cause sinus problems such as nosebleeds and dry congestion.
- Do you have pets, and consequently pet dander, in the home? Allergies to pet dander can live in the air, the carpets, sofa cushions and bedding to further irritate the sinuses. An extra deep-clean in winter including having carpets and ducts cleaned, as well as bathing your dog or cat weekly to cut down on dander, will help. If you have the chance to change from carpets to another type of flooring, all the better.
- You can hydrate your sinuses with a saline mist spray (which works in similar way to a humidifier) by lubricating and moisturizing the inside of the nose and nasal passages in dry environments. An alternative is a Neti pot with a simple saltwater solution (using lukewarm water and a teaspoon of salt).
- Inhale a steaming aromatherapy treatment of fresh herbs — suggestions include mint, rosemary, eucalyptus and aloe—to clear sinus congestion with a cooling sensation and by lubricating the nasal passages. The steam will also clear congested airways and promote free airflow in the nasal passage.
Finally, take care to avoid chemical-laden cleaning products in the home including surface cleaners, sanitizers, window cleaners and deodorizers. These can all give off strong fumes that linger for hours, making sure to irritate the sinuses. Instead use homemade or buy specialist natural cleaners for a much safer home environment.
Here are some of those natural remedies as promised...
Horse radish "sinus plumber"
You will need:
- 8 to 12 inch long piece of horseradish root
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Pinch of salt
Use a vegetable peeler to peel the surface skin off the tuber and chop into small pieces. Put into the food processor, add the water, the vinegar and the salt. Process until well ground, being careful to avoid getting the fresh horseradish close to your eyes. It is many times more potent than chopped onions. Always keep an arm's length away and work in a well ventilated area. Store in a glass jar and eat ½ to 1 teaspoon three times per day but starting off with very small amounts as it is strong but very effective. It will keep 4 to 5 weeks in the refrigerator.
How to use grapefruit seed extract (or GSE) to treat sinus infections
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). Most highly recommended is to irrigate your sinuses using saline water mixed with a few drops of GSE. It must be mixed with water because of its high concentration that could burn and irritate the sinuses if not diluted.
You can irrigate the sinuses by mixing a few drops of GSE with ¼ teaspoon of salt in a glass of 8 fl oz warm water (filtered and previously boiled - to be free of bacteria). Use the mixture to flush out the nasal cavities with a sinus rinse bottle or a neti pot. A neti pot is a ceramic (or plastic) pot that has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to act as a container and to rinse debris or mucus from the nasal cavity.
When using GSE for the first time, start with only one drop to see how the body reacts to the GSE, allowing the user to become accustomed to the smell and taste of GSE as it’s quite bitter. You can gradually increase the number of GSE drops to an absolute maximum of 6 drops mixed with saline water. Wash the sinuses 3 times per day for a period of one week.