There are a number of natural herbal remedies for sinusitis which both support the immune system and are used for the treatment and prevention.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the most common chronic ailment in the United States is sinusitis. Often confused with the common cold, typical symptoms include headache, congestion, and a feeling of overall fatigue. Pressure and a feeling of fullness around the eyes, cheeks and forehead, a thick yellow or green mucus discharge indicating infection, or pain in the jaw or teeth are all strong indicators of a sinus infection.
Sinusitis is the mild to severe swelling of the sinus passages, which may develop into an infection. The four sets of sinus cavities around the eyes and nose are the first line of defense in protecting our lungs. Inflammation of the sinuses may occur from a number of causes, including dental infections, injury, anatomical abnormalities, bacterial infection, allergies, air pollution, smoking and emotional distress.
Conventional treatment of acute sinusitis usually involves antibiotics, decongestants and antihistamines – all of which have potential complications. Antibiotics upset the balance of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract and may further compromise an already stressed immune system. Antihistamines cause excess mucus to thicken, making it more difficult to expel and possibly causing more blockage. Decongestants promote drainage, but their stimulating action may cause anxiety, insomnia and elevated blood pressure.
Prevention is always more valuable than a cure; success in overcoming sinusitis begins with management; supporting the body’s immune system plays a key role in keeping the sinuses healthy.
Natural Herbs for Sinusitis Relief
Garlic (Allium sativum)
Garlic is a natural remedy for infections with a universal reputation as a broad-spectrum antibiotic. Garlic is considered by herbal practitioners to be one of the most effective anti-microbial plants available and has been used to treat sinusitis for a long time.
Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
This broad-spectrum herbal anti-microbial has at least two active constituents; berberine and hydrastine which makes this herb a good choice to treat sinusitis. Berberine is an alkaloid with antimicrobial qualities which are effective against a variety of pathogens such as strep and staph infections. Hydrastine is another immune enhancing alkaloid which also promotes mucus flow, providing a protective barrier for body tissues. Many herbalists consider goldenseal to be the most effective herbal treatment for acute bacterial infection.
Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea purpurea)
Studies have shown that echinacea is an immune stimulant that can speed recovery from bacterial, fungal and viral infections. One of the primary constituents of echinacea is inulin, which stimulates the production of macrophages and T-cells. Echinacea also suppresses hyaluronidase, an enzyme produced by bacteria to enable it to penetrate the protective mucus membranes of the body making this herb useful in treating sinusitis.
Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica, Urtica galeopsifolia)
Stinging nettle is rich in vitamins and butyric acid, an important short-chain fatty acid that is essential for a healthy metabolism. Nettle is especially effective in the treatment of respiratory disorders due to allergic reactions to substances such as mold, fungus and pollen.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Studies have shown lemon balm to be strongly antiviral, antibacterial, antihistaminic, antispasmodic and anti-oxidant. In Germany it is sold in antiviral preparations.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Other herbs that have traditionally been used for sinusitis treatment.
- Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
- Eucalyptus oil (Eucalyptus globulus)
- Horseradish (Armoracia rustincana)
- Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
- Pineapple (Ananas comosus)
- Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
- Peppermint oil (Mentha piperita)
- Spearmint oil (Mentha spicata)
- Gentian Root (Gentiana lutea)
- Primrose Flowers (Oenothera Biennis)
- Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)
- Elder Flowers (Sambucus nigra)
- Vervain (Verbena officinalis)
- Oakmoss (Evernia prunastri)
- Bayberry (Myrica cerifera)
- Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis)
- Common Plantain (Plantago major)
- Cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium, Cyclamen purpurascens)
The Use of Herbal Supplements, Vitamins and Other Herbal Remedies for Sinusitis
A healthy diet, plenty of water, essential vitamins, and the recommended herbal remedies for sinusitis will be especially valuable for those individuals who suffer from frequent bouts of sinusitis and wish to find an alternative to the continual use of conventional drug treatment.
One of the more popular herbal remedies for sinusitis in Germany is a combination of gentian root, primrose flowers, sorrel herb, elder flowers and vervain. Topical application of eucalyptus or peppermint oil is used to reduce nasal stuffiness; however these should not be taken internally. A traditional treatment for congestion is to inhale the steam of eucalyptus leaves via a humidifier or boil the oil or leaves in water and breathe the steam. Ayurveda medicine uses the Neti pot to flush the nasal cavity with salt water; a modern version that is simple to use is a simple saline nasal spray commonly found in drugstores; this can be done daily to prevent sinusitis or used several times a day to reduce sinus inflammation and speed recovery.
The use of antibiotics may be necessary in the treatment of some cases of sinusitis, particularly those caused by bacterial infection. According to the Mayo Clinic, chronic or acute sinusitis has the potential to develop into ear infections, vision problems, meningitis, asthma attacks, or even blood clots forming in the veins surrounding the sinuses which may cause stroke. If a sinus condition persists, it is important to seek medical treatment. Always inform your health care provider of any herbal remedies and supplements you are taking.