As far as colds, flus, and other ailments that befall us, I think sinus infections rank near the top for being the absolute worst. The sinus pain and pressure can be unbearable. Before you reach for over-the-counter medicine, consider these natural sinus infection remedies to help relieve symptoms. Sometimes overuse of OTC meds can actually exacerbate sinus pain instead of relieving it—too much of a good thing, as they say. These home remedies for a sinus infection will also help provide some relief for those pesky seasonal allergies. Read on for sinus relief!
1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Keep drinking to help naturally thin out mucous. Stick to clear liquids that are free of caffeine, sugar and alcohol – herbal tea, water, clear veggie or chicken broth are your best bets.
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. 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 nasal passages as well as offer anti-inflammatory benefits. The apple cider vinegar might be irritating if your throat is sore, so start with less and add more. The honey is there to cut the acid and help soothe. The cayenne is ultra spicy and will make your nose run. Add more if the smaller amount doesn’t have the desired effect. (It might also make you sweat!)
SPICY APPLE CIDER VINEGAR TONIC
- ¾ cup comfortably hot water
- 2-4 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more
1. Combine in a glass and sip
3. Ginger-Turmeric “Tea”
My favorite morning “tea” that I used to 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, and adds a boost of vitamin C from the lemon. The black pepper enhances the bioavailability of turmeric’s cur cumin. So, in other words, black pepper helps increase the effectiveness of turmeric.
GINGER TURMERIC “TEA”
- 8 ounces comfortably hot water
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 to 2-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Pinch ground cayenne pepper
- Combine in a glass. Let stand for a few minutes, then sip.
4. Steam Inhalation + Vaporizer
Humid air is your BFF when it comes to sinus relief. Using a vaporizer keeps air humid 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 turning 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 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 to prevent irritation: for every 8 ounces of water, use ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon baking soda. If your nostrils are particularly inflamed, you can add ¼ teaspoon vegetable glycerin for soothing. Don’t use water that’s too hot, or you risk burning already tender and irritated nasal tissue. Only use 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 wash the neti pot well with hot, soapy water and let it completely dry before 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 mucous, while the cold relieves pain.
It’s true! Humming has actually been shown to help open up nasal passages and clear out sinuses (source). So grab your earbuds, put on a favorite tune and start humming! The vibrations help loosen mucus.
The most recommended advice seems to be the very best. Sleep your way to feeling better by giving your body the rest it needs to fight off infection. If you can’t take time off work, or it’s impossible to completely rest for other reasons, a short nap can do the trick. If you have trouble falling asleep when you have a sinus infection because of pain and congestion, make sure to use a vaporizer or humidifier, sleep with your head slightly elevated, and keep your room nice and dark. And above all else, don’t be afraid to call your doctor if you don’t feel better in a few days.