As far as colds, flus, and other ailments that befall us, I think sinus infections rank near the top for being the absolute worst. Sinus pain and pressure can be unbearable. Before you reach for over-the-counter medicines, consider these natural sinus infection remedies to help relieve symptoms. Sometimes, overuse of medications can cause side effects and may actually exacerbate sinus pain instead of relieving it—too much of a good thing, as they say. These home remedies for sinus infections are anti-inflammatory and may also help provide some relief for those pesky seasonal allergies. Read on for sinus relief!
1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Keep drinking fluids to help thin out mucus naturally. Stick to clear liquids that are free of caffeine, sugar, and alcohol. Herbal tea, water, and clear veggie or chicken broth are your best bets.
Fevers, poor appetite, and all of those nasal secretions can leave your body pretty dry. Taking enough fluids to prevent dehydration is more important than eating when you have an infection. So drink often throughout the day, even if you are not feeling thirsty, and make sure you are urinating frequently as a sign you are getting enough.
2. Spicy Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic
Natural tonics and teas made with ginger, lemon, apple cider vinegar, and cayenne pepper really help clear out nasal passages and provide relief. Cayenne is especially helpful (source). You know how your nose runs when you eat spicy food? Precisely. That’s the desired effect. The other ingredients help boost the immune system and provide anti-inflammatory benefits as well.
This DIY sinus remedy is concentrated and will help clear out the sinuses. The apple cider vinegar might be irritating if your throat is sore, so start with less and later add more. The honey is there to cut the acid and help soothe. It also works as a potent antimicrobial to stifle the growth of pathogens, namely, bacteria and viruses. The cayenne is ultra-spicy and will make your nose run.
And why, exactly, would you want your nose to run more? Well, in the case of a sinus infection, it is important to release the collection of mucus in the nasal passages by diluting it and making the nose run. This helps to clear bacteria and creates a less favorable living situation for those bugs that are left inside. A good flow of nasal secretions is what you want to achieve, so try to add a little more cayenne if you can!
3. Ginger-Turmeric “Tea”
My favorite morning “tea” that I drink on an almost-daily basis. It helps in a similar way as the apple cider vinegar tonic but employs the help of turmeric and ginger, which are anti-inflammatory (turmeric source)(ginger source), and adds a boost of vitamin C from the lemon. The black pepper enhances the bioavailability of curcumin, which is the active ingredient in turmeric. So, in other words, black pepper helps increase the effectiveness of turmeric.
- 8 ounces comfortably hot water
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 to 2- inch piece fresh ginger grated
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Pinch ground cayenne pepper
- Combine in a glass. Let steep for a minute or two, then sip.
4. Steam Inhalation + Vaporizer
Humid air is your BFF when it comes to sinus relief. Using a vaporizer keeps moisture in the air and is great to use at night while you sleep. Warm, steamy showers also help loosen mucus and clear things out. Create your own steam inhalation remedy by sprinkling a few drops of eucalyptus and/or peppermint oil around the shower, then turn up the water to as warm as you can stand it. You can also use a homemade aromatherapy shower tablet.
Another classic remedy: Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl or pan of steaming hot water, drape a towel over your head, close your eyes, and breathe deeply for instant relief. Eucalyptus oil has anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. It serves as a decongestant, an expectorant, and helps reduce the swelling of mucous membranes.
5. Nasal Rinse
Neti pots are recommended by doctors as a natural, safe way to clear out nasal passages and relieve sinus pressure. Be sure to use the right ratio of ingredients to prevent irritation: for every 8 ounces of water, use 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. If your nostrils are particularly inflamed, you can add 1/4 teaspoon vegetable glycerin for its soothing effects.
Don’t use water that’s too hot, or you risk burning already irritated and tender nasal tissue. Using distilled water (or water that has been boiled), prepare one batch of water per nostril, and follow the instructions on your neti pot carefully.
It’s safe to use twice a day—once in the morning upon waking, and once at night before heading to bed. Make sure to sanitize the neti pot thoroughly with hot, soapy water and invert it over a clean cloth to completely dry after each use.
6. Hot + Cold Compress
Alternating hot and cold compresses can help with sinus pressure and pain. Hold a fairly warm, slightly damp washcloth over eyes and nose for 3-4 minutes, then switch to a cool washcloth for 30 seconds. Repeat several times. The warm compress helps loosen mucus, while the cold relieves swelling and pain.
It’s true! Humming has actually been shown to help open up the nose and clear out sinuses (source). The vibrations help loosen mucus and work to keep air moving through the nasal passages. So grab your earbuds, put on a favorite tune, and start humming!
The most recommended advice sometimes seems to be the very best. Sleep your way to feeling better by giving your body the rest it needs to fight off infection. That way, it doesn’t have to be occupied with so many other functions while trying to keep up with you. If you can’t take time off work or it’s impossible to completely relax for other reasons, just laying down to fully rest your body, whether asleep or not, can do the trick.
If you have trouble falling asleep when you have a sinus infection because of pain and congestion, try using a vaporizer or humidifier, sleep with your head slightly elevated, and keep your room nice and dark.
There are quite a few things you can try to help relieve the pain and suffering from sinus infections. Remember that upper respiratory tract infections (colds) are what cause the initial problem. Then, right when you think your cold symptoms are beginning to improve, but the sinuses remain clogged with secretions that will not run out, your neighborhood bacteria will multiply and set up shop in there.
That is what causes the new onset of fever, chills, sinus pain, and overall worse feeling you get with the onset of a sinus infection. So right away, you need to kick your sinus-clearing efforts into high gear. Try the nasal washes, teas, vaporized essential oils, healthy food, and just plain rest to help your immune system do its job well.
And, above all else, don’t be afraid to call your doctor if you are not beginning to feel better in a few days.257