Posted by Lauren (Denver, Colorado) on 10/07/2012
[YEA] I've been struggling with chronic sinusitic and nasal polyps for 4 years. Within a few months of my first bout with chronic sinusitis I also deveoped asthma, an allergy to aspirin and ibuprofen, and have since developed all kinds of food sensitivities. I believe what's at the root at all of this is simple: immune defunction. But treating that can be quite complicated and take a long time. It's taken me years of experimentation and emotional upheaval to find a natural regimine that shows results, and I've finally found a combination of things that is working. I have wanted to avoid surgery and over-medicating, so the results I am having so far are great. Actually, what brought me to this in the first place was this: I had been controlling my sinus issues with a nasal steroid for a year, and then suddenly got a bad infection on which the steroid and anything OTC had no effect on whatsoever. After 4 weeks of suffering, I got aggressive about the following...
First there is the diet. After being gluten free for several years and more recently elliminating processed sugars and dairy, I have adopted a Paleo diet that is beginning to take in principles of the Specific Carb Diet and even GAPS. Please Google especially the last two to find out more information about these things. Going grain-free and adopting a strict whole-foods diet (no 'organic' frozen pre-packaged foods) began to make a huge difference in how I felt overall. It has not cured my sinus issues, but it has supplied me with energy and vitality I otherwise lacked. It has elliminated most of the brain-fog I had for years with chronic sinusitis, and I have the energy to keep up with regular exercise, work, and school. It has also balanced out the bloating and wieght gain I've experienced being on low-dose nasal and lung steroids. Recent emphasis on rebuilding the gut using L-glutamine, therepeutic strength pro-biotics, home-made bone broths, and fermented vegetables has also increased this overall vitality. According to GAPS dieters, there is strong hope for being able to eventually tolerate the foods I developed sudden allergies and intolerances to (dairy, alcohol, almonds, grains) but for now I strictly avoid all of those things.
Next, there is the direct attack to the polyps and sinus infections. Twice a day to a half-filled neti pot, I put in 1/4 tsp salt, a few drops of tea tree oil, a few drops of concentrated Grape Seed Extract, and a few drops of Goldenseal. Since one nostril is completely blocked by visible nasal polyps, I simply soak what I can for a few minutes instead of passing the water from one sice to the other, as that's pretty impossible for me at the moment. In the other nostril, I can get the water far enough back that it runs into my throat. I let that happen a little bit, but otherwise, try to hold it in as it can be a bit intense with all the oils and instead just soak the area. When I'm done with the neti pot, I apply a few drops of Neem Oil into each nostril and suck back what I can. Neem oil is not only an anti-fungal/anti-bacterial, but it is also a strong tonifyer to the mucous membranes, like Goldenseal as well. I aim to balance the bacterial-fighting properties of waht I use with some tonifying properties to help rebuild damaged tissues. Every once and a while, I dab a qtip into coconut oil and tea tree oil and pply it directly to the visible polyps and surrounding tissues.
In the two weeks I've been doing that particular regimine, I've experienced visible shrinking of the polyps and of the surrounding facial swelling. I've reduced my usage of my prescription nasal steroid to once a day and might aim to slowly elliminate it to allow my immune system to properly function in my nose for further assistance. My stuffiness has come in and out- I believe that as the polyps shrink, a TON of trapped mucous is being released. Every once and a while, I almost literally scrape out (with a qtip) thick chunks of bright colored mucous, which I could see easily getting trapped with the polyps and feeding their inflammation. Also, as larger polyps shrink, I imagine they leave room for the medicine to finally start reaching other hidden polyps for healing, so I am not expecting overnight results.
I have some days where I can nearly smell in one nostril, and where the airflow is so clear that I forget my struggles. Congestion and inflammation always returns, but it comes in and out. On stuffier days, my neti pot regimine almost always brings instant relief, de-inflammation, and sinus draining.
FWIW, I've also been committed to weekly acupuncture treatments and taking Bi Yan Pian, a chinese medicine complex you can find on amazon at great prices. For chronic conditions, this sort of treatment can take a long time to start showing their effects, but I believe in their support. I have a community acupuncture place that I attend with sliding scale fees.
Most days, I also have a cup of ACV 'tea' sweetened with stevia and occasionally spiced with cayenne pepper. I regularly drink dandelion tea, tulsi tea, nettle tea, and also take spirulina and chlorella supplements, all for their blood-cleansing immune supporting properties.
After reading things here, I'm going to experiment with adding Castor oil to my regimine, directly into my sinus and as a pack on my liver. But so far I feel really good about what I have going and think it'll take some time to measure my results drastically. The relief I've received so far is incredible.