Sinus infections can be a painful and uncomfortable experience, but they don’t always require antibiotics. A natural home remedy for sinus infection in many cases may work better, especially if it’s viral.
Learning whether your sinus infection is caused by a virus, bacteria or fungi is often the first step in determining how to remedy it.
We’ll also discuss options on how to get rid of sinus pressure, headache and pain associated to sinus infection, and some natural antibiotics which may be beneficial for treating recurrent sinus symptoms.
Types of Sinus Infections
Before treating a sinus infection naturally you need to know what’s the origin of your sinus infection.
There are three main types of sinus infections:
- Viral sinus infection (most common type, usually presents itself in the form of a runny nose with clear mucus and frequent sneezing, and it usually resolves on its own without any special treatment);
- Bacterial sinus infection (presents itself as a secondary infection with sinus pain, pressure, dental pain or headache, when the congestion worsens. It develops usually after a viral upper respiratory infection (5-7 later); The viral infections likely create the perfect conditions for the development of a bacterial infection in the sinuses. A bacterial infection can last longer, the mucus is more dense with green or brown color (doctors recommend antibiotics of it doesn’t clear up after 10-14 days).
- Fungal sinus infection or sinusitis (common in immunocompromised individuals and in cases of prolonged use of antibiotics. The classical signs is ‘cheesy’ and ‘clay-like’ mucus, but it may require more tests for an exact diagnosis). This is the most stubborn form of sinus infection and may take longer to treat.
Natural Remedies For Sinus Infection
Decongestants are usually not recomended for prolonged use as well as antihistamines because they have not been shown to be useful long- term, and also can lead to impaired drainage. Therefore antibiotics are the most popular for treating bacterial sinus infections. But due do incresed bacterial resistance it’s effectiveness is declining in the last few years.
Related: Flu Bomb Drink Recipe For Cold & Flu
Even with antibiotics, it will still take some time to fight off an infection, because it will stop the bacteria reproducing temporarily. And if your body’s immune system is not strong enough to fight, often a secondary infection will follow.
If you had a few rounds of antibiotics without much success you probably already know that. And you’re looking for other options on how to get rid of a sinus infection naturally, with home remedies.
How To Get Rid of Sinus Infection Naturally
Fortunately, there are several natural remedies for sinus infection that can also ease sinus pain nad help with recurrent sinusitis. I tried them all, and some of them proved to be less/more effective than others.
Here is my top three :
- Sinus rinses (it helps you get rid of sinus congestion, re-establish normal drainage and reduce bacterial load);
- Steam inhalation (it helps relieve sinus pressure and tooth pain related to it, headache or facial pain);
- Diet and supplimentation (can create a less favorable environment for pathogens to grow) by reducing the intake of sugars and simple starches (pasta, bread, sweets), processed foods etc, and complementing with anti-bacterial/anti-fungal supplements.
Let’s dive in some of these home remedies that can help reduce sinus inflammation and improve the drainage of mucous.
Sinsus Rinse (Nasal Irrigation)
This is one of the most effective home remedy for relieving sinus pressure and helping clearing the mucous.
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Use a neti pot or a nasal rinsing bottle, fill it with warm boiled, distiled or sterile water (to prevent contamination), mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda + 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Now, you can use only this saline sinus rinse recipe, but if you have a chronic or stuborn sinsus infection you migh need extra help.
Use your usual nasal irrigation with warm saline water and enrich it with these ingredients:
- 1/2 teaspoon of xylitol (it was shown that xylitol irrigations can improve greatly the symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis as compared to saline irrigation. It makes it harder for bacteria to hold on to the tissue in the sinus passages, which makes it a great natural remedy for bacterial sinus infection).
- 5 to 10 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) – an antiviral and antibacterial agent derived from grapefruit and can also help treat a sinus infection naturally. For kids you can use less drops (like five), for adults I found to be effective 7 to 10 drops, mixed in the saline solution.
- Ozonated water – can also be used as natural remedy for sinus infection. It provides gentle effective cleansing and is used during surgeries to keep open areas sterile to prevent infections. It can limit bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast, and protozoa from growth. Ozonating water can easily be performed by using a cheap ozone generator.
- 7 to 10 drops of coloidal silver – there is a study that used it twice daily (0.015 mg/mL) in sinonasal rinses for 10 days and showed that it’s somewhat effective, but it may require a more prolonged use for better results. Personally I like to add 2 drops in each nostril after rinsing.
- 1 drop of antibacterial essential oil (such as sage, lavender or tea tree) – 1 to 2 drops maximum mixed in the saline solution, if you use more, it could irritate your mucous membranes. These are amongst the most gentle and effective essential oils that have a therapeutic grade.
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar – mix 1 teaspoon in the saline solution. This remedy can help reduce inflammation and pain, as well as getting rid of excess mucus due to it’s astringent properties and some probiotic components.
Sometimes I combined these ingredients (when the infection was advanced) like xylitol, iodine, grapefruit seed extract and essential oil – all together, sometimes I used 2 combinations at a time.
These are the natural remedies I tried for my sinus infections and sometimes they worked better than antibiotics for me. I used to get a lot of infections in the past, 3-4 times a year guaranteed. But not anymore, unless there is a series of factors combined that contribute to that.
Treating a sinus infection naturally may take a few days (in order to see the effect) it’s not instant like with antibiotics, so be patient.
- When performing a nasal rinse, lean forward over the sink, and tilt your head down (keep your mouth open). Then straighten your head and allow the solution to drain out first, blowing very gently. Do not blow the water out hard because that can hurt your ears and give you an ear infection.
- Garling your throat a couple of times after rinsing your nose is also helpful, sometimes the mucus gets stuck in the throat even if your nostrils seem clear. Try to tilt your head and shift your neck muscles as you rinse to get it in all the nooks and crannies. Scraping your tongue and brushing your teeth also helps.
- It’s best to act fast once a sinus infections settles in, once it’s a full blown infection (that usually last more than 10 days) I’ve only found antibiotics to work, unfortunately. Other key, is to work out what is actually causing the inflammation.
Also keep in mind that every case is different, so if you have a chronic sinus infection it’s best to use your judgement. Any and all of this advice might be contra-indicated for you, and I’ am not recommending any of the above without consultation from a qualified practitioner. Consult with a doctor first and find out the real cause.
How To Get Rid of Sinus Headache
Steam inhalation and warm compresses over the sinuses can help with reducing headache and pressure pain related to sinus infections.
For steam inhalation you can use a steam inhaler that covers not only your nose but also the forehead. Add a drop or two of essential oil in it. For example juniper berry oil and eucalyptus essential oil is great for relieving sinus congestion. This works only temporarily, so it’s best done 2 to 3 times a day.
This remedy also helps relieve tooth pain from sinus pressure. Additionally you can use a DIY Oil Blend For Toothache.
How To Relieve Pain From Sinus Pressure
Additionally you can use a warm pad over your painful sinus area. A cheap effective solution is to place some rice or salt into a small sock and heat it for a couple of seconds in the microwave. It takes about 20 to 30 seconds.
Place this warm sock on your forehead or cheek and let it stay there for about 15 to 20 minutes or until it cools down. It’s such an easy way to get rid of sinus pressure and so calmative that I usually fall asleep with it and I’m pain free during the night.
You can also make an oil dilution with anti-inflammatory essential oils (mixed with a carrier oil) and massage the painful areas to help reduce the sinus pressure. Great essential oil are: frankincense, sage, clove and chamomile.
Massaging the pressure points of the sinuses can help relieve nasal congestion, pain, or both. The method is called accupressure, it’s very effective especially when you have sinus pressure without congestion.
Natural Antibiotics for Sinus Infection
Natural antibiotics can be used for sinus infection, although more studies are needed to confirm their effectiveness. But it’s not going to hurt if you add a few drops of these natural compounds in your remedy for sinus infection. If you’re buying, just make sure you choose clean supplements with these quality check tips.
• Oil of oregano – it has powerful antifungal and antibacterial properties, you can mix 4 to 5 drops of oregano oil in some carrier oil. I like to mix it in a teaspoon of cod liver oil, which is a good source of anti-inflammatory omega-3s, Vitamin A and D3.
• Garlic – many studies confirm that garlic has potent antimicrobial activity against both bacteria and fungi. You can make an immune boosting tonic, or a flu bomb drink and take it daily. Or you could crush some fresh garlic cloves and swallow them as pills in order to avoid that garlic breath.
• Probiotics – you need to take good quality probiotics for your gut health, as well as for helping reducing and balancing bacteria load in the sinuses, especially if you had antibiotics. There are specific probiotic strains for upper respirastory health (BLIS K12 & M18). Eating eating fermented foods (fermented cabbage, beets, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon) is a another way to diversify probiotic strains in the gut.
Relieving sinus infection without antibiotics is possible if you use natural home remedies and a healthy lifestyle. Make sure to include lots of good quality anti-inflammatory foods in your diet, this is key to reducing inflammation and helping the body fight off infections.
If you try out these natural home remedies for sinus infection, let me know how it went in the comments below!
Note: This content is not intended to be medical advice and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please read the disclaimer for more information.
Untreated sinus infections can lead to chronic / recurrent sinus infections and even more serious health problems, such as permanent nasal obstructions, swelling, persistent headache, meningitis, neurologic and vision problems. It’s important to seek medical help if the infection does not improve with natural remedies after a week.
The duration of the infection depends on its origin and severity. Most sinus infections last 7 to 10 days, however they can range from as little as 3 days to more than three weeks.
Yes! Oil of oregano, garlic and probiotics have been found to have antimicrobial activity against both bacteria and fungi. Goldenseal is also a great herb with antifungal and antimicrobial properties.
Yes, viral sinus infections are contagious. Bacterial and fungal sinus infection can also spread from one person to another when you share personal items, however it is not as common. To prevent the spread of infection it’s important to wash your hands regularly.
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