Jul 23, 2016
Sinus infections can cause miserable symptoms including headache, sinus pressure, congestion, cough and fever. Bacteria, fungi and viruses can all cause a sinus infection. Natural remedies for sinus infections, including apple cider vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, cayenne pepper and garlic, are effective at relieving the infection and the miserable symptoms that come along with it.
Causes of Sinus Infections
Sinus infections can be cause by bacteria, viruses or fungi. They can be a complication of sinus polyps, a deviated septum or allergies. If your sinus infections are caused by polyps or allergies, you should consider natural remedies to heal those problems, once you have your sinus infection under control. If you are prone to sinus infections, you may need to add some immune boosting herbs and supplements to your daily routine. You may also need to adjust your diet.
Natural Remedies for Sinus Infections
Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV is a wonderful remedy for sinus infections. It can be taken in water once or twice a day. ACV can also be diluted (a lot) with water and snorted up into the sinuses.
Colloidal Silver works very well for all sorts of infections. This remedy can be taken internally and it can be used to irrigate the nasal passages.
GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract)
Grapefruit seed extract is used for a variety of infections. It can be taken internally or diluted for use as a nasal irrigation to treat a sinus infection.
An old fashioned saline rinse is not only a very cheap remedy, it is quite effective. Salt is diluted in warm water and used to irrigate the sinuses. This rinse begins to help the sinuses drain immediately. At the same time, salt starts to kill the infection.
Hydrogen Peroxide and Sea Salt
Two common household items, hydrogen peroxide and sea salt, make a wonderful combination for fighting a sinus infection. Hydrogen peroxide an sea salt are used to flush the sinuses. This remedy often brings immediate relief from congestion and allows healing to begin.
A neti pot looks like an oddly shaped tea pot. Using a neti pot to irrigate the sinuses is a wonderful way to deliver healing therapies straight to the root of the infection.
Coconut oil allows you to let your food be your medicine. Coconut oil can be consumed as part of your diet, used inside the nasal passages or used for oil pulling. Read more about coconut oil for sinus infections here.
Humble castor oil has surprising healing properties. Gently massage castor oil onto your face over your sinuses. Castor oil penetrates the skin and fights the infection in the nasal passages. Don't worry about getting the oil on your face; this is also a natural wrinkle remedy. Do use an old pillowcase though as the oil can be hard to get out of clothing.
If you are dealing with a bacterial or fungal sinus infection, your good bacteria are compromised. Taking a quality pro-biotic will help to restore the balance in your system.
Essential Oils for Sinus Infections
Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano oil essential oil is a powerful remedy for a sinus infection. This oil can be taken internally to fight infection or it can be used to steam the sinuses.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
To use eucalyptus essential oil for a sinus infection, add 5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to 1 teaspoon of coconut oil or castor oil. Massage this oil on your face, avoiding the eyes and being sure to cover the areas above the sinus cavities. Eucalyptus is soothing and opens up nasal passages. This can be repeated hourly or as often as desired. If the oil is too strong for you, dilute it with more coconut oil.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil can be used in the same way as the eucalyptus oil above. Additionally, one drop of this oil can be added to any tea you might be drinking for your sinus infection.
Herbs for Sinus Infections
Cayenne pepper, used for sinus infections, is not for the faint at heart. This treatment does burn but it is so effective that those who try it are glad that they did. A small amount of the dried powder is applied to or snorted into the nasal cavity.
Garlic is an herb that fights a variety of infections. It is taken internally as one would take an anti-biotic. Garlic is also an anti-inflammatory herb and can help to drain the sinuses. Read more about the use of garlic for sinus infections on this page.
Ginger is a strong herb, especially if fresh ginger root is used. A 1/2 inch square of fresh ginger root can be sliced thinly and used to make a warm tea. Alternately, the slivers can be slowly chewed. The ginger will cause sinuses to drain.
Turmeric is used to treat infection and inflammation. A teaspoon of turmeric can be added to a cup of warm water or tea and consumed several times a day. It can also be mixed into applesauce. (Turmeric is often added to milk to treat inflammation, but since dairy products are usually contraindicated with sinus infections, if you wish to use turmeric in milk, use almond or coconut milk instead.) 4 capsules can be taken instead of the powder for those who cannot tolerate the taste of turmeric. Always take turmeric with plenty of fluid to avoid constipation.
Mullein is a gentle herb that works to thin mucous. Mullein tea is mild and pleasant tasting. Mullein tea can be taken liberally throughout the day. It is a nice complement to other natural remedies for sinus infections.
Elderberry syrup can be made or bought and used to boost the immune system. Elderberry tea with honey is another way to take this herb.
Astragalus root is a food in some cultures. It can be taken liberally to enhance the immune system. If you have frequent sinus infections, astragalus root can be taken daily in capsules or in a tincture to keep your immune system strong.
Vitamin Supplements for Sinus Infections
If your body is low in certain vitamins, your body will have a harder time fighting the infection. Below are several supplements that are critical to support your body during illness.
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
Hydrotherapy for Sinus Infections
To give some immediate relief for a sinus infection, consider a nice warm bath. Add a cup of baking soda or Epsom salt and a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil if you have it on hand. If you close the bathroom door and fill the tub using the shower head (using hot water) you will fill the bathroom with steam. The steam can help your sinuses to drain while you take your bath.
If you do not have the time or inclination for a bath, you can use hydrotherapy in a localized fashion. You will alternate warm and cool applications over the sinuses. The warm water will bring fresh blood to the area for healing. The cool applications will help to reduce inflammation.
- Get two bowls.
- Put warm water in one bowl and cool water in the other.
- Put a cloth in each bowl.
- Beginning with the cool cloth, wring out the cloth and place it over your face.
- After 1 minute, change to the warm cloth and hold that on your face for 30 seconds.
- Continue alternating for a total of 7 changes of the cloths.
- Start and end with the cool cloth.
This therapy can be repeated several times a day or as often as you desire.
Herbal Sinus Steam
Mix equal parts of the following herbs from your spice cabinet. (Skip whatever you do not have on hand.)
- minced onion (dried)
- minced garlic (dried)
- caraway seeds
- cinnamon chips (like a broken up cinnamon stick, or add some powder
If you mix up a pint jar worth of the dry herbs, it will last a little while.
When you need it, bring a pan of water to boil. Add 2-3 T. of mix. Being careful of the hot pan, use a towel to cover your head and the pan and breathe in the warm steam. This steam also works well for any cough that may accompany your sinus infection.
Dietary Considerations for Sinus Infections
When you have a sinus infection, it is important to avoid dairy products. Dairy products are mucous forming. Sugar and processed foods will contribute to inflammation and congestion.
Plenty of fluids is important to keeping the mucous in your sinuses thin and draining. Hot tea, hot vinegar tea, fresh juices, water and home made water based soups are all good choices. Fresh garlic, ginger, and horseradish are all wonderful to stimulate the sinuses. Use them to make a tea or as condiments for whatever else you fix.
Home made chicken soup does have healing properties. Make your own chicken broth (most store bought kinds have a lot of MSG.) To each cup of broth add a pinch of each of the following: sea salt, cayenne pepper, sage, garlic, onion, and thyme for a cup of broth that tastes delicous and will help with healing.
Sinus Infections Caused by Polyps
Nasal polyps can make you prone to sinus infections because air does not circulate well in your sinuses and bacteria has a place to collect and grow. In addition to using some of the above sinus infection remedies, consider using serrapeptase, an enzyme which can be helpful in dissolving polyps. You can also put a few drops of castor oil into your nose each day to reduce the polyps. (This is easiest to do when you are on your back.) For more natural remedies for sinus polyps, please see this page.
Sinus Infections Caused by Allergies
If your allergy symptoms are the reason you get sinus infections, take heart. There are many wonderful natural remedies to help with allergies.
Have you tried one or more of these remedies? We would love to hear from you!
Remedies for Sinus Infection
Yes- acupuncture is VERY helpful. I'm a chronic sinus sufferer and to some extent just have to live with it. BUT when it gets really bad, I see my acupuncturist 2 or 3 times over a week and the problem is much alleviated. There are good and bad acupuncturists so get a recommendation....
Tried neti pot but that only facilitated the mucus to leave my sinuses. Tried acupuncture and that helped a lot, but when on a course of Phellostatin and that was my first real relief...along with one capsule of Cayenne pepper which took away the post nasal drip...this should not be taken too often as it moves the blood and really clears the system. Chronic sinusitis with digestive problems...it was felt by myself and my acupuncturist that fungus was my problem even though I had take Diflucan almost 2x a month. Acupuncture really helps me along with the Phellostatin and the Cayenne Pepper. Acupuncture assists the body to do the clearing and healing needed. Acupuncture was my final and last straw to try as I had tried most conventional medicine doctors and their treatments. Nasal sprays and prednisone. I do stay away from dairy products, but am now noticing that even if I have some I do not react with inflammation as I did before! I can eat cheese and not sneeze or get stuffy anymore. Wish I had gone this route from the beginning.
For those of you who don't believe the A/C is the cause of the sinusitis, have you considered what lives inside your ductwork? It's not necessarily the air conditioner causing the problem, it's the mold, dust, and bacteria living in the ducts. These are easily cleaned. In my region, I call a local carpet cleaning company who also cleans ductwork with their steam equipment. Works beautifully to clean them.
The Air Conditioner (AC) theory is completely correct. I work in the HVAC industry and can tell you I learned a lot about health during my training. For example on the west coast we use large heat exchangers called cooling towers. The work by running water down a veined surface and pass air over it to evaporate water like a giant air humidifier. At the bottom of the tower is a large (500-1000 gal.) basin of water. Anytime you have a large pool of stagnant water exposed to atmosphere and moving air, bacteria, mold, and viruses will accumulate. And one species begets the other. Mold carry bacteria, bacteria carry viruses. So on occasion these tanks must be cleaned. It's is emptied of all water and refilled with a biocide of extreme toxicity. The reason being if anyone catches a breathe of the dried mold, you WILL get Legionnaires Disease. Care must be taken when designing the air duct system for the building to keep the air intake vents away from the cooling tower. Otherwise the entire building could be infected. Which has happened, btw. Conditioned air also is very dry. Most buildings rehummidify the air to a relative humidity of 40-50%. I always run a cool mist humidifier in my home with my AC during the summer. During winter, the air will naturally be dry. Cold air is denser. Think of squeezing a sponge. There just isn't room for the moisture. Then when the air is heated again and pumped into your home, is is even dryer. There is room for the moisture, and it is going to get it one way or another. It will pull it right thru your skin. So run a warm mist humidifier in the winter with your heater. Be careful not to over do it. That can cause mold issues. If you see condensate on your windows, it's time to turn off the humidifier.
When a air conditioner is running it removes all most all the humidity in the room. The air conditioner coil gets so cold that it dawls in moisture from the air. Similar to how a cold drink will sweat on a hot day. I think the absence of all this humidity dry out the nasal cavity and makes you more prone to infection.
Well there is enough from high end doctors and scientist air conditioners do cause sinus problems in a lot. Spewing mold spores, viral parisites, ect. the cooling unit is a toxin waste site. Repairman who do not handle correct can get very sick. Most don't know the connection 40 years ago I learned this and avoid like a plague and that's what it is. My sinus do still get infection of course my cures have been1- 2tbl sp ACV in large water 3x day, good results. 2- baking soda 1tsp in warm water and nettie pot and 1tsp in large water 3x day. Good results 3- 1tsp food grade activated charcoal in glass of water 3x day good results. At 70 I've never used pharmacuticals as they all weaken the immune system and most likely cause something else to go wrong. Let's face it, if they get you well, they make make no money.
I've had 4 sinus infections in my 32 year life and every single one I can tell you was a result from sleeping in a direct air path from an ac unit. EVERY ONE! I told my husband it was the ac's fault I get these infections and he thinks I'm crazy. Well, it's good to read that others have the same experience. I know it's from the ac but I didn't understand fully why until now.
I have had sinus surgery and have struggled with these sinus infections for over ten years.
Air conditioners are related to sinus infections, and having any type of heater on is even more related. Sinus infections develop when there are irritants in the sinus cavities that your body normally flushes out, but if there is not enough moisture (or other reasons like a deviated septum) they will not flush out like normal. So even just being dehyrdated can help a SI to flourish, but air conditioning and heating systems remove humidity from the air so if your body is used to having humidity help regulate the nose, and it is removed, it can cause bacterial growth in the form of infection.
Every year when the heat gets turned on in our house, I battle them and throughout the winter. That's why Doctors tell people with chronic sinusities to get to (or move to) the beach where the humidity and salt can help naturally.
I agree 100 percent that air conditioners give sinus infections. Every summer i get a sinus infection when air conditioners are in full swing everywhere you go. I avoid them at all costs in the summer.
Out of curiosity, I read your theory about ice cream and have to disagree. I have eaten ice cream ( all kinds ) since I was a kid ( I'm 43 ). I never had sinus problems...until, 7 years ago, when I met my husband, and started sleeping in an air-conditioned room. He practically "lives" on chocolate milk, and loves his air conditioner. He constantly has sinus trouble. I believe the air conditioner is the culprit.
Replied by Patrice
Posted by Mamta (Indiana) on 10/27/2006
i haven't taken any off the counter medicines for colds since 5 yrs !! and my condition was pretty bad when i came to the US. we got Ajwain seeds from an indian store or you will find it in the indian section of a chinese food store . Ajwain is indian oregano but very strong. every time i get a cold and chest is congested...i take one tsp of ajwain and roast it on a flat pan. once it starts to smoke , quickly put in a kitchen tissue and take deep inhalations, it makes you sneeze since all the nerve in the nose are raw from the cold....but in 5 minutes it all peaceful, no more colds. and RELIEF...esp. helpful in asthmatic attacks.....also have a strong concoction of ginger,black pepper, clove, basil and cinnamon...boil it in water for 5-10 min and after it cools a bit put a tsp of honey and have it hot. honey should not be heated. according to Ayurveda all these thing reduce phlegm in the body.... enjoy
Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is our favorite remedy for curing a sinus infection. Thanks to the creation of this Earth Clinic page in 1999, thousands of people now know about this amazing and effective home treatment.
Posted by Sam (Texas) on 09/29/2014
I have had really bad sinus pressure & pain for a couple days & knew it was a sinus infection. I have been reading all the sinus remedies & thought the baby shampoo sounded crazy, but I tried it anyway & it worked immediately! Since I'd been reading a lot ... I made my own concoction of 3 oz saline, 2 drops baby shampoo, a pinch of baking soda & 2 drops raw honey...shook it up & inhaled it. Within minutes the sinus pressure & pain started to give way & cleared out. I could function again. I just used it a 2nd time before bed to make sure I can breathe clear thru the night. No burning or negative affects. I thought I was going to the doctor for antibiotics & now I know that I am not. Thank you for this odd but effective bit of wisdom. I love earthclinic and all the kindred spirits here who take the time to share what works for them... and what doesn't.Replied by B
Posted by Alex (Los Angeles, CA) on 06/01/2008
I got a nasty sinus infection during the first week of January 2008. I went to my doctor a couple of weeks later and over the next few months I was given a variety of antibiotics, nasal sprays, singular, Claritin and a neti pot. I tried the silver spray and even used grape seed oil, oil pulling and apple cider vinegar but nothing worked until last week when my doctor gave me this simple advice.
She said: "Add two drops of BABY SHAMPOO to your saline nasal spray twice a day." I started that three days ago and I feel a thousand times better!!!!!!!! I am sending her a thank you note next week. Spread the word, use 2 DROPS OF BABY SHAMPOO IN YOUR NASAL SPRAY!Replied by Jean
03/11/2009Replied by Mike
South Florida, Florida
03/14/2009Replied by Joyce
Los Angeles, Ca
Posted by Enigma_aubrey (Portland, Oregon, United States) on 02/10/2011
I recently had a sinus infection, whhile feeling bloated. I was going to do a bit of a detoxing cleanse, and after I drank up the first glass of warm sea-salt and baking soda water my noses started running and I could breathe through my nose again. The entire infection cleared up soon afterwards. The only downside is that the salty water can give people an upset stomach.
Posted by Daisy (Jacksonville, Florida) on 03/28/2012
Oh, wow. The povodine idoine post might be the best tip on the whole site.
I have been using salt/baking soda sinus rinse for years, but never with the "miraculous" success others reported. There was even a couple of times when I felt like the rinse helped push the infection further up and further in. To combat this I have at separate times added either tincture of iodine or Lugol's in it -- very, very little because it has a nuclear sting -- which seemed to work and has helped in severe infections, but still nothing spectacular.
Over the last two or three days I have been building up to a full-blown sinus infection and came here to study the recommendations again when I came across this tip and realized that even though I have tried iodine, I have never tried *povidone* iodine, which is much less irritating to tissue and widely used in wound healing preparations.
I don't actually have any Betadine on hand except for some prepackaged surgical wipes a friend gave me (like wet wipes for your hands, but with betadine instead) but since I'd only need a few drops to try I figured that was enough. I knew the very first snort would tell me all I needed to know. So today when praparing the rinse I was going to do anyway, I tipped a few drops of water into the wipe packet, and then tipped the diluted betadine from the wipe packet into my sinus rinse bottle, added the water and salt/baking soda mix as usual, and had at it.
Oh. My. Gosh. It didn't sting a bit. And what's more, the building inflammation and congestion I'd had when I started was entirely gone by the time I mixed the second rinse only minutes later. (I usually do two rinses at a time. ) When I did the second rinse, instead of meeting the usual resistance from all the inflammation, the water ran out as fast as it ran in! And now, twenty minutes later, the relief is lasting just fine.
This is definitely a keeper, and not just because of povidone iodine's ease on the tissues and nasal mucosa. I have long had troubles with yeastiness, and am convinced that a lot of my sinus troubles are due to yeast... And as it happens, povidone iodine is active against fungi as well as bacteria. (I don't know about viruses, sorry. ) And if I had to place a bet, I'd say the near miraculous relief I got today was because it hit the yeast as well as whatever bacteria was trying to get a hold up in there.
Thank you so much for posting this little tip. The only thing I would add is that whoever tries it needs to make sure that they are using POVIDONE iodine (Betadine solution or its generic equivalent) and not tincture of iodine, or even a Betadine lotion/cream/cleanser/scrub, because it's not the same thing and there are a lot of products labeled Betadine. The ingredients in Betadine Solution are Povidone-Iodine 10%, Pareth 25-9, Purified Water, and Sodium Hydroxide, and that's it. If you put some other form of iodine in your nasal rinse, I'm going to bet that you come away sincerely wishing you hadn't, because I've tried them all and never found one that didn't sting like a mother until this.
Thank you again for posting this!!!