Last Modified on Apr 24, 2014
Garlic is one of the most potent and important medicinal herbs and superfoods, used worldwide for a wide variety of ailments. Since the time of the ancient Greeks, well over 2,000 years ago, doctors and scientists have been using and studying the healing qualities of garlic, including its powerful antibacterial properties.
Sinus infections manifest as inflammation in the sinus cavity that restricts the flow of mucus. Foreign irritants, allergens or other infection in the sinuses cause tremendous pain, feelings of pressure and headache. While a number of effective home treatments are available, garlic is one of the most valuable and potent natural remedies.
Garlic – A Pungent Home Remedy
While best known for its use in the kitchen, garlic's most valuable use may actually be as an effective medicinal treatment. While particularly effective for relieving sinus infection, this powerful antibacterial is often used for immune system support, preventing cancer, protecting the liver and the heart and lowering cholesterol.
How garlic works:
Garlic contains a number of unique sulfur compounds including allicin that make garlic an effective antibiotic and anti-inflammatory. When used as a home treatment, garlic naturally relieves swelling in the nasal passages, thus maximizing the flow of mucus in the sinus cavity and eliminating infection. Recent studies have shown the ability of diallyl trisulfide, a component in garlic oil, to protect the heart during and after cardiac surgery. Another garlic compound, diallyl sulfide, was found to be over 100 times more effective against the Campylobacter bacterium than two popular antibiotics. This bacterium is one of the most frequent causes of infections in the intestines. Garlic's effectiveness against this bacterium could have tremendous disease-reducing benefits to the food supply and the environment.
How to use garlic:
Garlic can be used as an effective health remedy in a variety of ways. One of the most effective and functional treatment options involves crushing the garlic and using it as a spread. To do so, chop or mince the garlic, allow it to rest for a short period. Mix the garlic with honey and take as a paste or spread it on a piece of toast.
Potential Side Effects
While garlic is an effective treatment option, it does possess some limited side effects because of its potency. Care must be taken when using the treatment to prevent such issues. It is generally considered safe when eaten, although a limited number of people may experience some gastrointestinal issues. Overuse may also cause some to experience excessive sweating or lightheadedness.
While the remedy is best known for its pungent flavor and aroma, it is also an effective home health remedy. Garlic can be used to treat congestion and inflamed nasal passages, alleviating the pressure associated with sinus infection.
The two articles below review some of the multitude of studies done on garlic.
1. Khalid Rahman and Gordon M. Lowe, Garlic and Cardiovascular Disease: A Critical Review, J. Nutr. March 2006, Vol. 136, no. 3 736S-740S
2. S. V. Rana, R. Pal, K. Vaiphei, Sanjeev K. Sharma and R. P. Ola (2011). Garlic in health and disease. Nutrition Research Reviews, 24, pp 60-71. doi:10.1017/S0954422410000338.
[YEA] 08/15/2013: Joyce from Kansas City, Mo: "Just wanted to share my experience with garlic and my first sinus infection which included dental/jaw pain and headache on one side of my face. For two days I crushed a clove or two of non irradiated garlic (there's a green sprout inside) every two hours and mixed it with some honey for swallowing. I chased that with a glass of water with a couple drops of peppermint oil - this not only helps with flavor, but settles the stomach. I felt much better by day 3 and continued the garlic three times a day. I am on day 5 and still taking the garlic 3x/day. My symptoms are gone. I am still blowing out some yellow on that side and will continue the garlic until it's clear."
[YEA] 07/07/2013: Dale from Durban, South Africa: "I underwent 3 sinus operations for a continuous sinus infection. Antibiotics for almost 6 months, finally my ENT recommended I use Pulmicort in my sinus wash, which opened everything up but my sinuses continued to generate large amounts of gunk on a daily basis. In desperation, after reading the remedies on this website I tried crushing a fresh garlic, adding hot water and washing my sinuses with the solution. Very uncomfortable, but within 4 days the daily flood of sinus gunk stopped. 18 months later I developed a head cold, and the sinus problems started again. I had continued with the daily saline sinus washes in the interim, but started the garlic routine again and within 4 days my sinuses cleared."Replies
[YEA] 08/15/2013: Glenn from Perth Australia replies: "I combined a mixture of garlic, tumeric powder, cayenne powder, onions and ginger and chillies, lightly cooked in coconut oil and within 2-3 I could breathe normally after 6 weeks of trying nearly every other home remedy: colloidial silver, Apple Cider Vinegar, tea tree oil, nasil wash hydrogen peroxide, they nearly all totally blocked my sinuses. But this combination has been a godsend for me, hopefully my 25 years of suffering sinus has come to an end"
[YEA] 04/29/2013: Eventgal from Gladewater, Tx: "Was blowing out bloody, yellow yucky stuff for a full week. I used garlic in my neti pot from instructions I found on YouTube. Chop up a few garlic cloves and LET THEM SIT FOR 15 MIN. Pour boiling water OVER the cloves, and then dispose of the garlic. Add sea salt (I use the packets). Use this mixture in the neti pot once it cools. My sinuses were so irritated that the first treatment was... Uh, exhilerating... Almost painful. The second was much better. I did three treatments (no more than 2 a day) and I was 100% cured. Really could have stopped after the second treatment because I felt SO MUCH BETTER. From experience, the garlic worked for me.
At the same time, I had a painful earache. A few drops of oil of oregano cleared that right up. No doctor or antibiotics necessary!"Replies
11/12/2013: Sunny from Ca replies: "Do you drop the oregano oil right on the ear?"
11/12/2013: Sunny from Ca replies: "Can I just boil the garlic instead?? Thanks!"
11/13/2013: Mama To Many from Tennessee, Usa replies: "Dear Sunny,
Straight oregano oil should not be put in the ear. It is very, very strong. I have used 1 drop of oregano oil, diluted with 3 drops of olive oil, on a cotton ball, placed in the opening of the ear for ear infection. Many will use oregano oil on the bottom of the feet for its antibiotic properties. I have done this for my children, but still diluted, 1 part oregano oil, 3 parts olive oil. It is generally recommended that you not put any essential oils into the ear.
~Mama to Many~"
[YEA] 04/05/2012: Udarg from Boise, Idaho: "I make a home preparation of a garlic solution by mashing 8 to 10 cloves of garlic and pouring just enough hot water over the top to cover and allow to stand for 2 days. I then strain out the garlic and add 1/2 to 1 teaspoonful of table salt to the mix and put the garlic-salt water into a small, clean vessel with a well fitted lid. When an infection is present I dip a Q-tip into the solution and carefully insert it into the affected sides nostril. I leave it in place until the person cannot stand it any longer. Once I remove the garlic saturated Q-tip I have them blow their nose. It doesn't take more than a few of these treatments to clear up a sinus infection. You will know it is clearing because the nasal mucus will begin losing the yellow or green color and begin to turn clear again.
This can be a rather irritating treatment, but it works and works fast, without any long term side effects. During treatment, it may be some what uncomfortable and there will be a tendency for some people to sneeze. But the Q-tip must be left for as long as the person being treated can actually tolerate it. Usually, even with bad infections, it only takes about five or six treatments to end the sinus infection completely."Replies
[YEA] 07/31/2013: Trigirl from Denver, Co replies: "Udargs method from Boise worked great! I chopped up a clove of garlic and added a few tablespoons of water. After letting the mixture sit for 10 minutes, I soaked some Q-tips in the solution. I stuck one Q - tip up each nostril as far as it was comfortable. I tried to go 2 minutes each session. The first session got my nose dripping. The second and third sessions included lots of sneezing. I was able to blow out lots of green and yellow mucous after these sessions. The fourth time didn't result in any sneezing and most of what I blew out was clear. I will try this again in a few hours. Lots of immediate relief, worth smelling like garlic!"
[WORKED TEMPORARILY] 11/25/2009: Junior from Bronx, New York: "I'm new to all of this, I came here hoping to get some info, I had a recent possible sinus infection and how do I know, it has a foul smell and it clogs the left size of my nose every night, I drink alot of teas sometimes garlic with green tea or Orange Juice, or I buy some halls vitamin c defense, it helps for a short time but then later on it comes back. Whats the best thing for me to do? I have vinegar in the house I can try that and see what happens."
[YEA] 01/09/2007: Michelle from Albuquerque, NW: "Fresh Garlic cured my Bronchitis and Sinus Infection. 1 finely diced clove (not the entire bulb) 3x's daily with any complimentary food that has been cooled almost to room temp (eg. diced tomatoes, avocado, chicken noodle soup, spaghetti sauce, pizza, or even apple pie.) Garlic is a natural antibiotic and antifungal. Within an hour or so, easier to breather and think, in 4 days cleared up symptoms. Took for 7 days to eliminate any chance of becoming ill again. Drawbacks: odiferous breath, and the odor also emanates from the pores of the skin. Use strong breath mints/cologne/essential oils to your liking."
[YEA] 02/22/2006: Barbara from Chickasha, OK: "I just inhaled some Hydrogen Peroxide and I am sitting here with my feet slathered in Vick's Sauve. I drank some Tomato Tea and now I'm sipping on ACV and honey. I also did my Russian Garlic Cure (see recipe below). Something is kicking in that's for sure! For two weeks I have had much congestion and coughing..very aggravating to say the least. So I am happy to report that things are calming down! All ideas people post on here are worth trying and I am one of those people who will try most 'home remedies' before I will go to a doctor. The poor things don't have a clue about stuff like this.. bless them. Most 'cures' are in our kitchen's anyway. One that I have had success with is one the Russians use. (Now I see why they are so ticked off..lol).
Chop up two or three cloves of garlic (very finely) put in small cup or whatever and cover with about 40 drops of water ,let it stand (10-15) min's so the water can absorb the oils from the garlic. The recipe calls for an eye dropper to drop 20 drops of garlic water in each of your nostrils. My suggestion is to drop a drop or two in one nostril at a time, to see how much you can stand because, if you have an infection there will be intense/immense pain! But please don't let that stop you from using the recipe until you have used it all! I nearly died when I did this the first time WOW I ain't kidding ya -- the pain was severe. But hey it worked great!! And you will notice there is no garlic smell while it is fighting the infection. Since I now know what this feels like I take it slowly.. I won't stop trying this because it works very fast."Replies
[YEA] 02/18/2009: Rena from Mineral Bluff, Georgia replies: "I want to thank Barbara from Chickasha OK about her Russian Garlic Cure recipe. OMG does it clear out the congestion in the sinuses. I know she had written this just about 2 years ago, so I hope she sees it.
I have been battling this sinus infection for nearly a year now, and tried so many things on this site that helped a little, but nothing blasted away the congestion like the Russian Garlic Cure. I diced up the garlic, and let it set in water just as Barbara instructed, strained it so I only had the garlic water, Then I hung my head over the bed and dropped several drops into each nostril (I couldn't see to count the drops). The pain was pretty intense but it was well worth it. I swear, if I had a marker, I could draw exactly where my sinuses are, because the pain directed me every square inch of where my sinuses were.
I wish I could report that the infection is gone, but some of it still remains. I am doing the Russian Garlic Cure daily to see if it will go away completely but at least I can breath again, and sleep most of the night clog free. Thank you again Barbara, and thank you Earth Clinic for having the best natural health site on the web.
02/05/2010: Debra from Kansas City, Mo replies: "I have a variation on the Russian Garlic cure. I crush one clove of garlic and let it sit for about a minute. Then drop it into a neti pot and swish it around until it smells strong of garlic. Then add a packet of salt such as Sinucleanse and stir in. Then rinse one side of the nose out, blow nose. Repeat with new solution on the other side. This hurts so bad but it works very well. You may have to use less garlic at first because it will have you about in tears if you use full strength."
[YEA] Norma from Catoosa, OK: "Sinus infections have been a life long problem for me. A few years ago I started using fresh garlic for blood pressure. I peel off a bit of the bulb and cut it into small enough pieces to swallow. Chase with water and dinner. Well after several weeks which include the time frame that I always get a sinus infection, I suddenly noticed I did not get my usual problem. The next few seasons came and went and I came to the realization that the garlic had cured my chronic sinus problem. Now when I feel sinus problems coming on, I have a extra bit of garlic and 'NO MORE SINUS PROBLEMS'. That was proof for me."
EC: The juice of garlic has a most beneficial effect on the entire system as it helps dissolve an accumulation of mucus in the sinus cavities, bronchial tubes and the lungs.