Sinus Infections
Health Benefits

Garlic for Sinus Infections

| Modified on Feb 12, 2024

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.

Continue reading below for feedback from our readers who have used garlic to treat their sinus infections!

Related Links:

Effective Natural Remedies for Heart Attack Recovery
Find Relief from Sinus Infections Naturally
Garlic: A Superfood for Health and the Immune System
Quick Sinus Relief: Natural Remedies for Congestion

21 User Reviews

5 star (19) 
3 star (1) 
1 star (1) 

Posted by Kathleen (Red Deer, Ab) on 12/28/2018

The remedies in the article didn't help with my sinus infections. The only remedy that helped and cured the infection is taking 6 cooked garlic cloves daily with food. Cook the whole (or half) the bulb @ 350 for 15 - 20 min. and eat the 6 cloves with food. Cleaned my sinuses right out.

Posted by Erin (Egg Harbor Township, Nj) on 05/19/2015


I wanted to share another option for the garlic used for a sinus infection. I am currently dealing with a horrible sinus infection because I spent hours using a blower in my yard to clear away all of the pollen that fell from my trees. It is my fault for not wearing a face mask...duh! I have used this remedy many times and recommend it to anyone who suffers from allergies or chronic sinus infections, as I am not a fan of antibiotics at all.

You will need a nasal mister (the mister style works best, but a saline squeeze bottle will work) I usually find that most pharmacies have a generic mister style sprayer full of saline that I can unscrew the top to set aside in container to refill later. This container works best because the tops can be taken off and usually costs well under $5. If using a squeeze bottle, you will just need to empty it and suction in the garlic blend a little at a time. I usually start with about a half of a clove, the mister bottle and distilled water (if you do not have distilled available, boil some tap to remove the chlorine and let it cool) mince the garlic and then place between two spoons to smash it, place it in the mister and add slightly heated distilled or cooled to warm boiled water and let it sit for fifteen minutes.

After cooled but still warm mist/squeeze two times in each nostril. It may sting and technically it should sting a little. If it does not sting a little, then add a little more garlic. As you use it more often and infection improves it will no longer sting. I use this same potion for 3 days and then make a fresh batch. Store it in the refrigerator and do this 3-5 times a day.

It will ease symptoms of pressure and pounding face and head right away. It calms the inflammation and after a few days to a week the infection will be completely gone without a trip to the Dr. and no antibiotic's needed. This also works for stuffy nose, allergies and common cold congestion. It is a life saver and I highly recommend it for anyone suffering any sinus complications. I hope this helps who ever is willing to try it.

Replied by Kathleen

Better boil that tap water for at least 5 minutes! Even tap water can carry a brain eating amoeba which can cause coma and death. Boiling for 5 minutes will kill any dangerous organisms that may be present.

Also.. be careful putting garlic in your nose or on the skin. It can cause blistering

Replied by Greg

True, But you breath in lots of tap water droplets when taking a shower. Chances of getting a brain eating amoeba from tap water is extremely rare.

Replied by Angela
(Traverse City, Mi)

Did this work for sinus congestion? My current sinus infection has been going on for about 6 weeks, and I'm very congested, so much that I can't really use the neti pot. I have had recurring infections for the past 3 years and can't seem to break the cycle. Eating a vegan no grain diet, taking hydrosol silver, zinc and other supplements to boost immune system, but not seeing great results.

Replied by Myway

I had boatloads of congestion with allergies and asthma - the trick for me was black seed oil (nigella sativa). 1 teaspoon, straight, then downed with water 2x a day. Tastes like rocket fuel but the results - incredible. Just get the most popular brand off Amazon....small bottle, to see if it works for you. If you decide to try this method, start on a day you have off from work. You will be blowing a lot.

If you can't shake that sinus infection, I would try diffusing either frankincense essential or myrrh (about 3 drops) in a diffuser, and let it run at night while sleeping. Do this nightly until the infection is gone.

Note: if you sleep with pets, keep them out of the room at night as it may make them feel wonky in the morning.

Good Luck,

MyWay :D

Replied by Rudy
(Parksville B.c. Canada)

Thank You so very much for your advice and and experience with garlic. Rudy

Posted by Regina (New York) on 02/02/2015

Double YEA! I so happy to find this information but I wished it were years ago.

I can't believe how fast and effective the Qtip soaked in garlic solution has almost completely taken away all the swelling and pain. Relief! I would normally think only a round of prednisone could resolve.

Posted by Anon (New Jersey, US) on 10/27/2014

I have had sinus infections every fall and winter for the past 20 years. They are rarely bad enough to disrupt my life significantly, but always unpleasant and draining. I used to take antibiotics and sudafed or mucinex almost immediately after the onset of symptoms (green phlegm, sore throat, congestion). Now I just rely on garlic, apple cider vinegar and keeping my nasal passages (and body) hydrated. Of these, garlic is the most effective by far. Apple cider vinegar seems to reduce the production of phlegm, but so does avoiding certain foods, like milk. Just a few days ago I was on the 3rd day of a sinus infection I was hoping would go away on its own and when I went out for dinner, I was lucky enough to be served a side of garlic bread with heaps of nearly raw garlic. That did the trick!

Replied by Marilyn
(Roanoke, Va)

This concoction truly worked for me. My headache was gone within an hour of drinking the ACV and 32 oz of distilled lemon water. I had the sauteed recipe for lunch and I'm almost ready to go on an afternoon run for the first time in 5 days. Thanks for sharing!!

Posted by Joyce (Kansas City, Mo) on 08/15/2013

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.

Posted by Dale (Durban, South Africa) on 07/07/2013

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.

Replied by Glenn
(Perth Australia)

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

Replied by Latoya
(Florida, US)

Did you put all that into your nose? Did it not burn?

Replied by Latoya
(Florida, US)

Did you put all that into your nose? Did it not burn?

Posted by Eventgal (Gladewater, Tx) on 04/29/2013

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!

Replied by Sunny

Do you drop the oregano oil right on the ear?

Replied by Sunny

Can I just boil the garlic instead?? Thanks!

Replied by Mama To Many
(Tennessee, Usa)

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~

Replied by Rob

Dr. Eric Berg is finally on board with using garlic tea as a neti-pot rinse for sinusitis. If you need a video tutorial, here is the link. I use two cloves of garlic to make mine. This really works!


Dr. Eric Berg Sinusitis Garlic Tea Neti-pot Rinse Modification Recipe:

Material Needed: – 2 cloves garlic – garlic press – 1 pint mason jar – distilled water or pre-boiled water – fine mesh strainer or coffee filter – measuring cup – neti-pot – USP salt Method: Squeeze/Press (two) cloves garlic into mason jar. Add 16oz distilled water to mason jar and allow it to steep for atleast 30 minutes. You are making a tea. After 30 minutes, strain out 8oz of this garlic tea into your measuring cup. Add to neti-pot w/ ¼ tsp salt added. Cap and shake neti-pot and flush out sinus membrenes. Curse like hell… repeat above 12 hours later with remaining garlic tea (i.e. 2x/daily or more). Always make a fresh batch in the morning.

Posted by Christine (St. Petersburg, Fl) on 03/06/2013

I have been suffering with a migraine from a terrible sinus infection, plus kidney pain and flu-like symptoms yesterday. I went to the acupuncturist and the nausea and migraine got worse. A 9 on a scale of 1-10. I finally took advil but it only diminished some. Enough to sleep. I have been eating nothing but cold apples, they are soothing somehow. I have taken garlic chopped up (1 clove) every 3-4 hours for over 24 hours. No relief, which usually kicks anything out of my system in a day or two. I also got some chinese herbs from the acupuncturist. No relief. I tried the ACV this morning. No relief. Tried the cayenne in warm water with honey, it seemed to work at first, but then it seemed to not work after only an hour and another dose. I am chicken about snorting the cayenne and dropping the garlic liquid with a dropper up my nose.

I tried chopping the garlic up (3 cloves) with fresh oregano about 2 tablespoons chopped. I poured just enough boiling water over it to cover, then I put a tiny pinch of cayenne in the mixture and let it sit for about 20 mins to a half hour. I put q-tips in the watery mixture and laid down and put the q-tips up my nose. I sneezed a few times and although it burned a little, it was actually relieving to the pain of the sinus infection and migraine I have been feeling. I have relief for the first time I almost 48 hours! Thank you so much earthclinic! I hope this helps someone else. I did it 3 consecutive times and I will do it several times before I go to bed tonight. I went from feeling 95% crappy to feeling 35% crappy after the q-tips. Huge difference!

Replied by Nanas3355
(Medford, Ma)

Garlic works to lessen sinus pain and help the sinuses drain. After one time, I feel much better already. I will try it again, so maybe three times a day.

Posted by Amanda (Virginia Beach, Va.) on 02/10/2013

Garlic juice is the cure all for the sinuses.

Posted by Udarg (Boise, Idaho) on 04/05/2012

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.

Replied by Trigirl
(Denver, Co)

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!

Replied by Paletti

Udarg's method seems to work! I didn't even let it stand for 2 days, just did it right away after blending and made me sneeze like crazy but felt much better afterwards. This morning no itchy feeling anymore. Will leave it for another day and then add the salt as mentioned. Thank you for sharing this Udarg!!

Replied by Bev

I have done this 3 times today and it does seem to be getting better.

How long can you keep the garlic/salt water mixture in the fridge?

Replied by Loretta A

I tried this Q-tip method and it's awesome. What I did: Chopped 2 big cloves of garlic, covered with boiling water, let it sit 10 minutes, soaked 2 Q-tips in it, shook off excess liquid, set a timer for 2 minutes, laid down and stuck the Q-tips in my nostrils.

Five seconds later I was sneezing like crazy. Pulled out the Q-tips and blew my nose (lots of yellow snot) then laid down and re-inserted the Q-tips. Twenty seconds later I was sneezing again, blew my nose again, and re-inserted the Q-tips. This time for two full minutes. When I blew my nose the third time, the snot was part clear, part yellow. Then I got fresh Q-tips and started again. I made it to 2 minutes then blew my nose (not much snot, and it was clear).

While I write this, I'm coughing because there's still phlegm in my throat. I will definitely repeat this process and I'm going to make some garlic tea for my throat. I've had sinus infections most of the time for two and a half years, and now, in just 5-6 minutes, it's 95% better. Wow.

Posted by Junior (Bronx, New York) on 11/25/2009


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.

Posted by Michelle (Albuquerque, NW) on 01/09/2007

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.

Posted by Barbara (Chickasha, OK) on 02/22/2006

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

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.

Replied by Rena
(Mineral Bluff, Georgia)

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.

Peace, Rena.

Replied by Debra
(Kansas City, Mo)

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.

Posted by Norma (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.

Replied by Susan
(St. Louis Park, Mn)

I have had a sinus infection for over 3 months and thought I might need an antibiotic, so I took 1 pill and had some unpleasant side effects, so stopped taking them and then got worse, including stomach pains and loose stools for quite a few days. Anyway, I wanted to try the garlic (juiced). I used to do it years ago, but had remained fairly healthy. I was reading how the Russian's used it during WWII to heal wounds when they ran out of antibiotics. Anyway, I'm going to start on it tomorrow and see how it goes. Sounds like it's helping folks. I hope so. I need to get well. Sending along prayers for all suffering. Thanks for the advise.

Replied by Julian

Hi, put some baking soda in the mix for the nasal rinse. It stops the pain.

I take garlic pills when I feel my sinus pain. It's gone within 2 days. I take 1400mg three times a day. It also helps with general health.

Replied by Ker

Well, I have tried this, this doesn't work. Garlic doesn't help at all. I even ate the minced garlic and munching on it and literally ate it and swallowed it. Gave me a really bad stomachache. This doesn't work. Garlic doesn't help at all when it comes to sinusitis.

Replied by Greg

Drink a glass of water or two when you swallow garlic. It nauseates me if I don't, to the point of almost throwing up. The water prevents that.