Last week, I was struggling with some kind of cold/sinus infection that has had me taking more time to rest and take better care of myself. I don’t deal with these annoying minor illnesses often, but when I do, I want to feel better fast! A few years ago, I got a sinus infection that just would not go away, despite trying lots of natural remedies. I started worrying I might need to go to the doctor for an antibiotic… so I started really researching home remedies for sinus infections.
When I want to learn how to fix something, I always start with the cause.
What causes sinus infections?
Sinus infections (also called sinusitis) occur when the nasal passages become blocked and filled with fluid, mucus, and germs. Common causes are:
- a cold– left untreated, a cold can turn into a sinus infection when it takes root in the sinuses.
- allergies– chronic nasal inflammation and presence of mucus can also harbor infection and turn into sinusitis.
- physical abnormalities, like a deviated septum, can cause the nasal passages to become unable to properly drain.
- chronic infection or overgrowth of fungus like candida (a yeast) or bacteria. Many pathogens can overgrow in the sinuses.
- poor immune function.
So, as with all disease and illness, it’s important to address the underlying conditions like pathogen overgrowth and strengthen the immune system with proper nutrition. But, when you’re battling an acute sinus infection, you want relief now! To heal a sinus infection, you need to reduce mucus, remove infection, and restore system balance. Here’s how I do that:
A neti pot serves two purposes. It can help to clear mucus from the sinus passages, plus, it helps to wash out infection. I use real salt with warm water in my neti pot, but have also tried other germ-killing agents. These can be really painful and I haven’t seen any added benefits personally over salt water. I have also used high-quality probiotics in the neti pot, as they can help to replenish the nasal cavity with good bacteria.
To use the neti pot
- fill it with sterile water and a little salt (I use about 1/2 tsp.). I find that getting the water just a smidge warmer than body temperature is just right.
- place the spout of the neti pot against the nostril you’re starting with, then press until there is a seal so the water won’t leak out.
- tilt your head over a sink and tip the neti pot to begin pouring the water through the nostril. It will travel up your nostril and through the sinuses, then come out of the other nostril. Sometimes severe congestion will prevent the water from being able to flow through. If that’s the case, you can try again later.
I find that I can blow my nose and get lots of mucus out after using the neti pot. I repeat the process on both sides.
Oregano tincture is one of my favorite remedies for infection. It’s powerful against all sorts of pathogens, including those that cause sinus infection. Oregano is what finally got rid of that horrible sinus infection I thought I would I would need antibiotics for.
Tinctures are my favorite way to use oregano, and there are two kinds that I use: I like this oregano leaf extract for less severe illnesses. It’s powerful without overdoing it. When I’ve got a doozy, however, sometimes I use this oregano spirits tincture, which also includes oil of oregano.
When I’m taking oregano, I make sure I’m using a good probiotic to ensure that my gut bacteria stay healthy.
This video really speaks for itself. I have found lymphatic massage to be so helpful. I actually try to remember to do it each morning when I take a shower, just for my health, but I have especially noticed improvement in congestion when I do this massage during illness. I’ve even done it on a baby and found it to be helpful.
Treat the infection if it spreads
When I get a sinus infection, it tends to spread to my ears as well. The mucus just builds up and harbors infection. If you’ve had one of these nasty infections, you know what I mean.
A couple of months ago, my kids got a respiratory sickness that had them all coughing and oozing snot. When my two youngest boys started complaining of ear pain, I cringed, knowing that the infection was spreading. When I know the ears are involved, I typically get them to the chiropractor, but it was late in the day and I wanted them to feel better fast.
I put a few drops of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide in each of their ears, one ear at a time, holding their head to one side for a few minutes, turning it over and draining the ear, then repeating on the second side. It worked like a charm! Only a time or two each and they didn’t complain about ear pain again.
With my own recent illness, I used the same trick and it really did work well- and quickly!
Self-care and immune system support
Finally, when I’m getting beat down by a sinus infection, I make sure to take extra care of myself and support my immune system. I do that by:
- taking daily detox baths. I fill a bath with hot water and add a couple of cups of Epsom salts, the soak for at least 20 minutes, and preferably until the water becomes tepid.
- drinking plenty of water. Staying hydrated helps the body to flush out sickness. Bonus points if you further support your system with sole water!
- eat/drink lots of broth. I tend to crave nourishing soup when I don’t feel well, so I make quick, simple soups and drink mugs of broth to support my immune system. See how to make poached chicken and a whole stock pot of broth here.
- get plenty of good sleep. That’s not always easy as a mama, I know, but when I’m not feeling well, I at least try to make sure I’m getting to bed early, so even if children wake me up, I’m getting the best sleep possible, which is a necessity for recovery from illness.