Sinus Infection
Natural Remedies

Cure a Sinus Infection with Natural Remedies

| Modified on Jan 20, 2023
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Sinus Infection Remedies

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.

Often it helps to clear your sinus congestion while taking these supplements for a sinus infection.

Watch our video below on this a particularly fast-acting ACV remedy to clear sinus congestion!

Relieve Sinus Congestion in 10 Seconds

Colloidal Silver

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.

Saline Rise

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.

Neti Pot

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

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.

Castor Oil

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 

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
  • Zinc
  • B-Complex

Hydrotherapy for Sinus Infections

Steam Bath

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.

Facial Hydrotherapy

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)
  • sage
  • thyme
  • caraway seeds
  • cloves 
  • 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!

Additional Pages of Interest:
Ice Cream and Sinus Infection Connection
Chronic Sinusitis Remedies


2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Wendy (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) on 06/05/2013
5 out of 5 stars

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....

Posted by Cherry (Cayman Islands) on 10/20/2006
5 out of 5 stars

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 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.

Air Conditioners and Sinus Infections

3 User Reviews

Posted by Americana (California) on 10/07/2013

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.

Air Conditioners and Sinus Infections
Posted by Michael (San Jose, Ca) on 02/15/2013

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.

Replied by Marsh57

Thanks Michael, you're right on target. I used to suffer horribly from the same when staying at hotels/motels. After speaking with an Indoor Air Quality professional, he explained molds/bacteria/nasty stuff is being recirculated over and over. I now stay in home rentals (haven't caught an infection while on vacation since! ). After the segment on national tv showing the germs on bedspreads, blankets, carpet under black lights in hotels/motels, that did it for me. Disgusting, scary and creepy.

Air Conditioners and Sinus Infections
Posted by Goose (Pittsburg, Pa) on 05/16/2012

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.

Air Conditioners and Sinus Infections
Posted by Art (Everett, Washington) on 02/20/2012

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.

Air Conditioners and Sinus Infections
Posted by Arica (Columbus , Usa) on 09/16/2011

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.

Air Conditioners and Sinus Infections
Posted by Marie (Nashville, Tn) on 01/21/2011

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.

Air Conditioners and Sinus Infections
Posted by Jen (R) on 01/06/2010
0 out of 5 stars

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.

Air Conditioners and Sinus Infections
Posted by Tina (Lake Luzerne, NY) on 09/30/2007
0 out of 5 stars

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
(Nashua, Nhl)
0 out of 5 stars

I Just had to add my two cents re Air Conditioning filters. My mother lived in this very expensive, assisted living facility in Florida for 5 years. I only saw them change filters once and it was disgusting all the debris. As a result she was sick constantly with frequent URIs and ended up in the ER 3 times. Moved her to another facility less expensive without all the entertainment frills etc. But filters were mandatorily changed every 3 months. It has been 4 years and she has not been sick once since she has moved there and she will be 90 this April. So this was certainly an eye opening experience for me. Check those AC filters often!!!!

Ajwai Seeds

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Mamta (Indiana) on 10/27/2006
5 out of 5 stars

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

Apple Cider Vinegar, Manuka Honey, H2O2

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Len Cicio (Nyc) on 04/05/2017
5 out of 5 stars

I went through 3 operations for severe nasal polyps that were so bad, I started developing rings under my eyes. Very hard to focus and concentrate and feeling very tired like I had a bowling ball in my head! After a year or 2 they kept coming back and you have to imagine your worst congestion 100 X magnified.

I had my last operation 3 years ago and about this past early February it started coming back with a vengeance. I started taking 1 teaspoon of apple cider mixed in a hot glass of water. On top of that I bought New Zealand Manuka honey (400g) Cup of hot water with a heaping teaspoon of this and a teaspoon of organic cinnamon. Once in the morning and once at night.

Finally took Hydrogen peroxide 3% dipped in a q tip till very saturated and for 1 minute on each side of the nose, slowly worked it through each nasal passage all the way back. I'm a new person and my sense of smell is returning. Feel like I did right after my operation. I do this consistently every day. It works! Good health to everyone! Len

Replied by Andrewfer
(Uk, Scotland)
5 out of 5 stars

I need to try this tonight... I have a neilmed rinse bottle... Will try with half a tsp of ACV and half a tsp of manuka honey and one of the sodium sachets that came with the neilmed bottle... I hope this works because I have been suffering for such a long time, I was born with a bad deviated septum and had sinusitis all my life, until I recently got it corrected. I had a full rhinoplasty, septoplasty and turbanate reduction...the surgeon messed up and while cosmetically it looks great, the procedure itself and the "recovery" was traumatizing, This was nearly 8 years ago and I never recovered, only got so much worse, lost all sense of smell and taste, have constant pain, pressure and PND. I also suffer from bad reflux which makes it 10x worse... I will try the rinse with ACV and Honey and also drink some too in hope that it might help with the reflux.

Thank you.

Ayurvedic Method with Oregano Oil, Tea Tree Oil

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Kiara (Los Angeles) on 06/10/2018
5 out of 5 stars

Ancient Ayurvedic method for Sinus Infections

I did my 7 doctor rounds for my sinus infections no luck... So, I did research and cured my sinus infection naturally and so fast. I was amazed by it! I think the magic is in the tea tree and oregano oil.


Get 1 clean sterilized glass quart jar fill it with four cups ( 4 cups makes one quart) of distilled or filtered water. I boil the water for ten minutes to sterilize then you MUST let if cool down to room temperature.

Then add

  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • Then add only one drop of Oregano Oil and add one drop of Tea Tree oil. These two oils are strong so one drop of each is all you need.

Pour the cooled solution into neti pot. I used this solution a couple times during the day and then again right before bed.

Here is the key:

When I pour this solution into my sinuses using my neti pot, I stand over the sink and I tilt my head slightly downward in the sink and then I take a deep breath in using my nose while pouring the solution into my sinuses. Then I hung my head upside down for 15 minutes and moved my head side to side and back to get the solution deep into my sinuses. Keep a towel handy in case it begins spilling out.

After 15 minutes I release the solution into the sink and spray the sink with disinfectant. I truly hope this helps someone as much as it has me.

Baby Shampoo

3 User Reviews
5 star (3) 

Posted by Sam (Texas) on 09/29/2014
5 out of 5 stars

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

Could you please put the remedy exactly with the amounts? I will be very grateful!

Baby Shampoo
Posted by Alex (Los Angeles, CA) on 06/01/2008
5 out of 5 stars

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
(Edwardsburg, MI)

How do I get the baby shampoo into my nasal spray bottle? Can't unscrew top and no other way to get it in?

Replied by Mike
(South Florida, Florida)

The tip on all the ones I have used will pull out with a little force. Currently I have Saline Nasal spray from Publix (3 oz) and it pulled out fine. If you cant get it with your fingers try a small pair of pliers with very light pressure (so you don't clamp it shut). I hope this helps.

Replied by Joyce
(Los Angeles, Ca)

My allergist told me to use 1/4 tsp. baby shampoo in my squeeze bottle that holds 8 oz. with warm water to rinse my sinuses. I had forgotten that until reading these posts. Going to do that now as I feel a sinus infection coming on. Have been recovering from a cold for the last couple of weeks that just never seems to go away.

Replied by Ria
(Seattle, Wa--usa)
5 out of 5 stars

I'm in shock. I'm so glad I found this thread. I've had the most stubborn flu this year. I'm a regular sinus rinser...I use NeilMed's packets and squeeze bottle. After my first round of flu taking 11 days to heal, a friend (I could kill him! ) kissed me without permission when he was just starting to get sick...and I got sick again. It was settled into my sinuses for another week, so I start looking for ideas.

Using the 1/4 tsp baby shampoo to 1 c. warm water recipe worked for me immediately! Wish I'd sought more knowledge sooner, but grateful to know this now!

Replied by Leo

Kindly let me know what kind of BABY SHAMPOO and type of saline nasal spray.

I have bad sinusitis...Really appreciate your help.