Sinuses are hollow cavities that are filled with air, found within the skull in the areas surrounding the nose, hence referred to as paranasal sinuses. There are four pairs of sinuses named frontal sinuses near the eye brows, maxillary sinuses near the cheek bones, ethmoid sinuses that lie behind the bridge and in between the eyes and sphenoid sinuses found behind the eyes, slightly above the ethmoid sinuses.
Functions Of Sinuses
All of these sinuses open into the nasal cavity and are charged with the responsibility of secreting the mucous through the cells that line the walls. Some of these cells play a part in the immune system of the body. The mucous secreted by the cells along the walls surrounding the sinuses is responsible for ensuring that the nasal cavity does not get dried during the process of inhalation and exhalation, even as the moisture of the mucous helps in trapping suspended particles and impurities and preventing them from reaching out into the lungs.
Causes Of Sinusitis
Sinusitis is a condition marked by inflammation of the paranasal sinuses, caused by bacterial, viral or fungal, infections. With inflammation, the mucous produced in the cells lining the sinuses are blocked from draining naturally, leading to heaviness of the head and possibly leading to further infections. If the inflammation and the associated conditions last for fewer than 8 weeks, the condition is said to be acute. If they last longer, the conditions are termed chronic; and if the conditions keep recurring frequently, perhaps thrice or more in a year and every year, they are termed recurrent sinusitis.
Sinusitis causes also include allergic reactions to pollutants and contaminants, changes in the air pressure due to altitude or depth, infections that may be associated with or caused by dental issues, physical injury caused to the head and affecting the sinuses, or other obstructions such as polyps and growths that may block the sinus passages, causing inflammation and leading to infection. Pregnancy, swimming, smoking and acid reflux are some of the other possible causes of sinusitis.
Symptoms Of Sinusitis
The common symptoms of sinusitis include:
- Pain experienced in and around the nasal cavity, as in the forehead, temples or behind the eyes
- Blocked nose, nasal discharge or a sensation of fluid oozing down the backside of the throat when lying down
- Sore throat, cough, fever or a sense of feeling unwell
- Tooth ache, bad breath or loss of sense of smell
Home Remedies For Sinusitis
Garlic And Honey
There may not be many equivalents to the healing prowess possessed by garlic, with a whole list of properties such as its being antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, and also an effective antibiotic, which makes it one of the potent home remedies for sinusitis. The health benefits of garlic are derived from one of its components called allicin, which is also responsible for garlic’s pungent smell and strong aroma. Garlic works in many ways as a home remedy for sinusitis – for one, the healing powers of garlic work on all parts of the body, promoting circulation and enhancing the performance of most body systems.
Further, garlic is found to boost the performance of the body’s natural defences, its immune system, thus helping the body fight off many of the harmful effects of invasive agents and microbes. Further, the antibacterial and antifungal properties of garlic also play a handy role in the treatment of sinusitis, since sinusitis could also be caused by fungal activity, while conditions of sinusitis prove to be just the right conditions for bacteria to thrive.
You could chew a couple of garlic cloves raw, if you like, to get the essence of garlic into your systems and letting it work for you. Alternatively, you could also make a paste of garlic in honey, which would be a combination of the benefits of garlic as well as the antibacterial properties and healing powers of honey. It would be a good idea to include garlic in your diet on a regular basis, which would also serve the purpose of adding flavour to your tasty cuisine.
Apple Cider Vinegar And Honey For Sinusitis
Apple cider vinegar has featured in a whole lot of texts concerning home remedies for sinusitis and for a lot of other ailments as well. This traditional solution to the problem of many a medical condition is found to be effective in treatment of sinusitis, on account of the considerable acetic acid content present in apple cider vinegar. The acidic environment created by apple cider vinegar, hence, proves to be effective in hindering the growth of bacteria and microbes, thus helping in home remedies against infections. It is this principle that has traditionally been put to good use with the administration of apple cider vinegar to wounds and to promote healing, reducing the impact of bacteria and infections on the conditions otherwise.
a.Caution with apple cider vinegar for sinusitis: Since apple cider vinegar is acidic, indiscriminate consumption could cause problems in the oesophagus, leading to tissue damage. In general, it is advised that apple cider vinegar could be used as a home remedy for sinusitis by mixing it up with honey, which reduces its harsh impact on the oesophagus with its soothing sensation, even as the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar for sinusitis is enhanced on account of the antibacterial effects of honey.
Thyme For Sinusitis
An herb that is known for its properties of expectorant is Thyme. Thyme is widely known for its strong flavour and its high iron content, used in cuisine. However, thyme is also used as one of the home remedies for sinusitis, given its effectiveness as an antibacterial agent.
Thyme is widely used in the treatment of many a respiratory problem, where the herbal extract could be consumed as tea, soothing the respiratory tract and working its way as an expectorant, getting rid of accumulated mucous and sputum. Thyme also comes in handy as an effective home remedy for sinusitis as well as for some of the other common symptoms as well as causes of sinusitis, as it proves its worth in treating allergic conditions and in curtailing persistent cough.
Oil Of Oregano For Sinusitis
Another aromatic herb whose essential oil is considered to be one of the effective home remedies for sinusitis is oil of oregano. The herb is known for its Vitamin K content, high fibre content and its antibacterial properties.
Oregano also has antioxidant properties derived from the compounds present in the herb, such as thymol and rosmarinic, which plays an important role in preventing damages to body tissues on account of free radicals. While the fibre content proves effective in helping the intestines get rid of harmful bacteria, there are the oils of thymol and carvacrol that are produced by oregano, which are known for their powerful antibacterial properties, which paves the way for eliminating bacteria in the system that might cause symptoms of sinusitis.
The best way to consume oregano as a home remedy for sinusitis is to include the herb as part of your diet – oregano is known to blend well with the likes of tomatoes and eggplant and is also used to enhance flavour in meat, apart from coming in handy as salad dressing. Alternatively, around four drops of oil of oregano could be added on to around 200 ml of warm water and used in nasal irrigation. You may need to check the concentration of oregano oil since some people may find it too harsh and may want to dilute the mixture to suit their tolerance levels.
Tea Tree Oil
One of the essential oils that is well known for its medicinal properties is tea tree oil. The effectiveness of tea tree oil as one of the home remedies for sinusitis is derived from the natural medicinal benefits offered by one of the components found in tea tree oil, called terpenoids, which are powerful antiseptic agents.
The antiseptic properties, combined with the general antibacterial and antifungal properties of tea tree oil helps in clearing nasal congestion and heaviness of the head associated with sinusitis. Tea tree oil, a few drops of it, could be added to around 400 ml of water which could be brought to boil – the resulting vapour could be inhaled by bending your head over the vessel that has the solution, even as the potent vapour clears blocked nose and helps in the easing of the blocked mucous that would have got accumulated in the sinuses.
Raw Vegetable Juice
You may not be able to find many other natural sources of vitamins, minerals and all the vital nutrients that make for a complete package as you could find in fresh vegetables. And the best way to get the most of what vegetables have to offer is to consume liberal quantities of vegetable juices as one of the tested home remedies for sinus infections. One of the combinations that you could make to prepare vegetable hot soup would be to use beetroot, carrot and cucumber to provide good relief from symptoms of sinusitis. Beetroot, with its rich Vitamin C and iron content, helps in promoting blood circulation and in boosting the immune system.
Carrot lies is one of the best sources of beta-carotene and vitamin A, which plays a key role in working against many septic conditions, even as the texture and nutrients of carrot do a good job in cleansing teeth and mouth and promoting oral hygiene in the process. Cucumber, with its richness in antioxidants, beta-carotene and vitamin C, plays the role of both beetroot and carrot put together, even as the antioxidant properties of cucumber come into play in protecting cell linings. You could make a hot, delicious soup of the three vegetables and consume then on a regular basis, letting the natural abilities of the vegetables work wonders in treatment of sinusitis.
Black cumin seeds are seemingly humble but potent seeds that have been traditionally used for their medicinal properties and are useful home remedies for sinusitis. Black cumin seeds have long been used in cuisine as a flavouring agent and to add crunchiness to food, as in the case of their addition to green salads. Their culinary applications apart, cumin seeds are rich in Vitamin A, B complex vitamins ranging from vitamins B2, B3, B6, B9 and B12, Vitamins C, E and K, and are also vast storehouses of a range of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc.
If that doesn’t sound impressive, you need to consider the impact that cumin seeds could have on the immune system, even as they boast of high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Black cumin seeds are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, which could come in handy in containing inflammation of the membranes and walls of the sinus, directly dealing with the issue and helping in draining accumulated mucous secretion within the sinuses.
Cumin seeds are also known for their anti-oxidant properties, since they are known to promote the production of glutathione, the anti-oxidant molecule that is present within cells. The increased production of glutathione within the cells pronounces the use of cumin seeds as an anti-oxidant agent, protecting cells and tissues from the harmful and debilitating effects of free radicals in the body. Apart from their use as garnishing agents in salads, black cumin seeds could also be used in the form of tea, where a teaspoon of the seeds could be added on to hot water and left to steep for around 10 minutes.
Fenugreek seeds are the humble, yet powerful seeds that have high levels of anti-oxidant properties, chiefly derived from two of the anti-oxidant vitamins present in the seeds – Vitamin A and Vitamin C. While the anti-oxidant properties help in the protection of tissues from the effects of free radicals, vitamin C proves to be an active agent that promotes an efficient immune system, the body’s own defence mechanism against infectious bacteria, serving as one of the home remedies for sinus infection.
There are the added advantages associated with the high levels of B complex vitamins present in fenugreek seeds, apart from their being rich sources of potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and calcium, along with a good deal of fibre. You could have regular doses of fenugreek seeds taken in for boosting your immune system by soaking a few of the seeds overnight in around 200 ml of water for consumption the next morning. You could also boil a tablespoon of fenugreek seeds in water and consume the solution with the seeds as fenugreek tea, as one of the effective home remedies for sinusitis.
The seemingly empty onions, predominantly used in cooking, turns out to be one of the useful home remedies for sinusitis. While you are suffering from sinus infection, anything pungent would seem beneficial and relieving from the oppressive conditions, and onions are particularly useful in treatment of sinus infections.
Onions are pungent and the chemicals present in onions have the capability to provide relief from the symptoms of strep throat. When you grind an onion peel into paste and make it moist with lemon juice and honey, you would have made a potent composition that could drive strep throat away.
Sinusitis would not be the same anymore, if you could uncover the potential of ginger and discover its medicinal properties. One of the most effective home remedies for sinus infections, ginger derives its healing powers from the compounds called gingerols, known for their anti-inflammatory properties. The anti-oxidant properties of ginger go well with its anti-inflammatory properties, which ginger would gladly attribute to its essential oils.
The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger clear the throat, work against the inflammation that characterises sinusitis and help in the draining of the mucous, thus contributing towards some relief from the heaviness of head. And as always, ginger’s nutritional value through the rich contents of vitamin A, C, E and B complex vitamins, along with reasonable levels of potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, calcium, iron, sodium, zinc, manganese and selenium, ensure that the body is in good shape and its immune system has been stimulated, equipping the natural defences of the body to fight against the bacteria and other microbes that would have made the clogged sinuses their home.
You could include the goodness of ginger in your system as perfect home remedy for sinus infection by slicing up the root and adding the slices to boiling cup of tea. You could also add ginger slices to a cup of hot water and sip it for effective relief from sinusitis, or you could go for commercially available ginger powder that you could add to your cup of hot tea. You may also want to add a squeeze of the charming and effective lemon to ginger tea so as to maximise the antibacterial power from the natural sources of ginger and lemon.
a.Precaution with Ginger: You would have to exercise restraint in the case of all herbal products and ginger would fall into the same category, where adding just the right amount of ginger regularly on a daily basis would suffice in terms of home remedies for sinus infections. Adding too much of the good thing could lead to gastric problems as in the case of acidity, given the strong and pungent nature of ginger.
Cinnamon is the spice that is known for its strong flavour, commonly used in the kitchen to add to the taste of quality food. This strong and aromatic spice also turns out to be one of the popular home remedies for sinusitis through a simple recipe.
You could avail of the commercially available cinnamon powder or crush cinnamon sticks into powder and add it to around 200 ml of water to be boiled. You could leave it on for a quarter of an hour, as the natural healing powers of cinnamon soak into the solution. You could then add a teaspoon of honey to the mixture and drink it two to three times a day for effective relief from the symptoms of sinusitis.
Black pepper is not just about spice – it is known for its medicinal properties and its rich nutritional value, in terms of Vitamin A, vitamin K and traces of Vitamin C, along with calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium, as well as iron sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium and fluoride. In terms of their being of use as home remedies for sinusitis, it is both the antibacterial properties as well as the diaphoretic effects that come into play – black pepper is known to induce sweating, which could take care of the feverish symptoms associated with the tiny black corns even as it provides instant relief from the heaviness of the head.
Further, the antibacterial properties come in handy in dealing with the host of bacteria that could be associated with an instance of sinus infection. With the anti-oxidant properties also playing a role in protection of tissues and cells, you could make the most of its healing powers by adding liberal quantities of black pepper (as much as you could take) to your favourite vegetable or chicken soup, providing instant relief from symptoms associated with sinusitis.
People associate bromelain with pineapple and with good reason. Pineapple is thought to be a supplementary component in home remedies for sinusitis on account of its bromelain content. Bromelain is a mixture of protein digesting enzymes known for its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to reduce pain to a significant extent.
The ability to reduce inflammation would play a role in helping people with conditions of sinusitis, even as bromelain is thought to be good on the system affected by symptoms of sinusitis, such as bringing down cough, easing nasal congestion and in general, improving the conditions of the respiratory tract. Further, bromelain is also found to enhance the performance of the immune system, thus proving to be of help in more than one way as one of the useful home remedies for sinus infection.
Eucalyptus is one of the well known home remedies for sinusitis. This aromatic oil is high on medicinal value and does make a difference with its healing and anti-inflammatory properties.
While eucalyptus would do a good job in relieving the symptoms of sinus infections such as cold, cough and severe headaches, the anti-inflammatory properties of eucalyptus also go down well with exerting control over the inflamed conditions associated with sinus infections. You could do well to add a few drops of eucalyptus oil on to a couple of glass of hot steaming water and inhale the steam deep and thorough, which would provide quick relief, clear nasal congestions and also clear the chest.
Echinacea For Sinusitis
The herbs, Echinacea purpurea, have been prescribed by herbal practitioners for centuries together to cure many ailments, and their application as home remedies for sinusitis is one of their important uses. Echinacea has rich reserves of volatile oils that, along with the polysaccharides present in the part of the herb above the ground, goes a long way in enhancing the effectiveness of the immune system. You could get Echinacea in the form of tablets or as dried roots that could be consumed thrice a day, especially in the initial days of sinus infection.
a.Cautions with Echinacea: You would be well advised to get medical advice before Echinacea may be administered to children as home remedies for sinus infections.
Vitamin A For Sinusitis
Vitamin A works well in dealing with septic conditions and sinusitis is one of those that would respond well to the right levels of vitamin A. Among the chief foods that have high Vitamin A content would be carrots, spinach, sweet potato, turnip leaves, mustard greens and lettuce, along with asparagus, leeks, tomatoes and broccoli.
Vitamin C For Sinusitis
This is another vitamin that could play an important role in home remedies for sinus infections, since Vitamin C is a natural anti-oxidant and is also known to play a vital role in pepping up the immune system, enabling the body to fight infections and keep bacteria at bay. Some of the foods that are high in vitamin C include citrus fruits such as lemon, orange and grapefruit, the kiwi fruit and tomatoes.
Zinc For Sinusitis
One of the minerals that could make a difference to your sinus infection, especially when used early on since the onset of sinus symptoms, is zinc. Being one of the essential minerals that is present in every cell of the body, zinc is responsible for the proper functioning of the immune system, even as its natural anti-oxidant properties play a key role in reigning in free radicals from wreaking havoc in the system. You could opt for zinc supplements or you could opt for natural sources of zinc, as in the case of oysters, wheat germ, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried water melon seeds, peanuts or low fat beef as useful home remedies for sinusitis.
Other Home Remedies For Sinusitis
Gargle With Warm Water
You may not want to slip this simple yet important step of using salt water gargle as one of the earliest home remedies for sinus infections. Just warm water up, add a tablespoon of sea salt or rock salt, and use it as a gargle around your throat in such a way that your mouth and the entire lining of the buccal cavity feels the soothing presence of the warm saline water. You may repeat the process twice or thrice a day and it is particularly effective if you start the process early on in your sinus infection.
Keep Your Environment Stable
While it is easier said than done, the underlying logic is that the mucous membranes are among the first to respond to changes in environmental temperatures, and it would help to keep the temperatures and atmospheric conditions stable to go with the other home remedies for sinusitis. As far as possible, do not keep travelling between hot and cold conditions, as in the case of leaving an air conditioned room and exposing to the heat outside and then getting back into the cold, which would have adverse effects on sinusitis and its symptoms.
Steam Inhalation For Sinusitis
This has been an age-old remedy for conditions of the respiratory tract such as cough, cold and flu, and one that comes in handy as one of the home remedies for sinusitis as well. Boil around 2 – 3 glasses of water, bend over the steam that emanates out of it, cover your head with a clean piece of cloth to prevent the steam from escaping out, and inhale the steam as much as you can for good relief from sinusitis. You could repeat the process three or four time a day for best results.
The best option for you would be to drink hot water, and to keep drinking it at regular intervals. Staying hydrated maintains the right amount of moisture in the mucous membranes and lubricates it. You could drink warm water and avoid cold water for best results.
Drink Hot Soups
There can be no substitute to the kind of relief that you would feel by consuming lots of hot soups as one of the delicious and tantalising home remedies for sinusitis. While anything hot is good for sinusitis, you could double the benefits up by consuming hot soups with some black pepper powder to add spice to it, which would be soothing on the throat and work just fine for sinusitis.
Spicy Food For Sinusitis
You may not be used to spicy food alright, but it could well be one of the effective home remedies for sinusitis. If you love spicy food anyway, this is your opportunity to go heavy on spicy food, since spicy food has been known to clear mucous accumulation and provide relief from sinusitis.
Saline Solution For Sinusitis
Another traditional and time-tested home remedy for sinusitis involves administration of saline solution as a nasal wash. One simple way in which it could be done is to take some saline solution in your palm, bend forward over the sink and inhale the solution through the nose to let it irrigate your nasal passage. It would be ideal if you could block one of your nostrils and inhale the solution gently through the other, spit out the excess solution and blow your nose to clear off the remaining solution in the nostrils.
Neti pots have also been widely in use for the purpose of nasal irrigation with saline solution, where you would have to tilt your head on one side as you bend over the sink and help the saline solution into the nose on the nostril that is at a higher position, letting the solution flow in through the nostril and come out through the other. You could repeat the process with the other nostril by tilting your head the other way. Saline solution could be purchased from the nearby drug store or you could make saline solution on your own, mixing one tablespoon of sea salt in around 200 ml of warm water for administering in one of the ways mentioned.
Sleep With Your Head Raised
This is a simple home remedy for sinusitis, which would help you sleep better without the tormenting symptoms of sinusitis, especially the headaches. Having your head at an elevated position helps the accumulated fluid get drained from the sinuses at night, relieving of the nagging symptoms of sinusitis. You could use a thicker pillow or use two of them to suit your needs and comfort levels.
Practise Hygiene For Sinusitis
This would also mean staying away from possible sources and causes of sinusitis. Home remedies for sinusitis are not just about cure but have much to do with prevention as well. If you are prone to sinusitis, you may wish to stay away from people having cold or other infectious conditions, especially in public places. And at home, if one of your family members is having cold or flu, try not to share utensils or clothes with them. Taking the right precautions would avoid unnecessary complications in the first place.
Avoid Cigarette Smoke
And this would include staying away from passive smoking as well as refraining from taking a puff or two.
Avoid Cold Drinks And Oily Snacks
They would only aggravate your conditions of sinus infection.
Avoid White Sugar And Sweets
Sugar creates the right environment for bacteria to thrive and you would be better off without sugar or sweets as you pursue home remedies for sinusitis.
Other Treatments For Sinusitis
The common treatments for sinusitis would involve saline nasal irrigation, as well as administration of decongestants and antihistamines to negate the effects of allergic substances in the sinuses. Expectorants could also be taken to help drain the accumulated mucous on account of blocked sinuses. Nasal corticosteroids are administered in acute cases, and when the patient fails to respond to them, oral corticosteroids may be prescribed.
Antibiotics are not normally prescribed to patients in the initial period of treatments for sinusitis, though they may have a role to play if the condition prolongs over weeks without any respite. In all of these cases, saline nasal irrigation should be continued to go with the rest of the treatment. Sinusitis should involve proper diagnosis, since there could be any number of underlying causes that might lead to sinusitis – if sinusitis is caused, for instance, by fungal infections, the appropriate treatment may be needed and have to be tailored based upon patient case history and the extent of infection.
Do approach your physician if sinusitis symptoms persist – persistent symptoms could be cause for entrenched bacteria, which could mean more serious symptoms and conditions with time. You might also want to seek medical advice if you find greenish sinus discharges or high fever, especially if you are prone to sinusitis, which, again, could mean an infection that deserves medical attention. Headaches are not always the symptoms of sinusitis that you could rely on, since you may want to seek medical advice if you have discharges that are not accompanied with headaches.
One of the more recent advances in the treatment of sinusitis is balloon sinuplasty, where a small and highly flexible balloon is introduced into the sinus cavities, inflated for a few seconds after it is kept in place and then removed. The idea is to enlarge the sinus passages that tend to be blocked, leading to sinusitis, and then releasing the balloon so that the sinus passages are restored to their normal shape and size.
Balloon sinuplasty is found to be an effective procedure carried out after administration of local or general anaesthesia, or is sometimes carried out without anaesthesia at all, since this treatment for sinusitis doesn’t involve invasive techniques that may cause bleeding or damages to tissues. Further, with minimal pain involved, there is limited hospitalisation and quick recovery, enabling the patient to get back to their routine in good time. This is particularly aimed to help patients who have been suffering from chronic sinusitis without much help from medication or home remedies for sinusitis.
Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
This is a similar procedure as balloon sinuplasty, but the difference is that this would involve surgical removal of possible causes of sinusitis and in clearing of the blockages that cause sinusitis. This involves the introduction of a wide-angled camera into the sinuses through the nasal passages to identify the causes of sinusitis and is followed by the introduction of surgical instruments into the sinuses through the nasal passages to eliminate the causes.
Sinusitis is treated without incision through the skin and this method is hence considered among the simpler procedures that might enable same day discharge after the procedure is completed. However, follow-up sessions may be required, where trips to the physician to remove traces of blood clots may be needed. Saline nasal washes may also be needed to keep the nasal passages moist, and some kind of steroidal nasal spray may have to be taken on a regular basis for a period of six months to contain inflammation. Antibiotics may also be needed after the surgery is done.