Sinus infections can cause miserable symptoms including a 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 caused 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!
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 nasal irrigation to treat a sinus infection.
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, the 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.
A neti pot looks like an oddly shaped teapot.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 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.
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 a 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 is 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
Hydrotherapy for Sinus Infections
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.
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)
- caraway seeds
- 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 homemade 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.
Homemade 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 delicious 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