I did not know how painful sinus infections can be until I had a couple of acute attacks recently. My main home remedy for sinusitis is a steam inhalation with essential oils several times a day. Please note that I’m not trying to give medical advice in this article and I’m just sharing some natural remedies for sinus infection.
Sinusitis Symptoms and Causes
The sinuses get infected easily. The mucus membrane that lines them is similar to that in the nose, and an infection in the nose easily passes into the sinuses. In an acute sinusitis, the sinuses become swollen and inflamed, and mucus starts to build up.
Sinusitis symptoms include nasal congestion and breathing difficulties, pain around the cheekbones, the eyes and the forehead; a sinus headache, a thick yellow or greenish discharge, and possible other symptoms such as fever, ear pain, cough, sore throat and fatigue. Acute and chronic sinus infections have similar symptoms, but fever is more likely with acute sinusitis.
The common cold can lead to an acute sinus infection, but sinusitis can also be triggered by allergies and other health problems. Chronic sinusitis is a condition that lasts more than 12 weeks or keeps returning.
Natural Sinusitis Remedies
One of the easiest natural remedies for sinusitis, whether acute or chronic, is a steam inhalation. Read How to Do a Steam Inhalation with Essential Oils for step-by-step instructions. Three inhalations a day can bring relief fast and you could do up to 5-6 inhalations a day during an acute infection. The following essential oils are great for steam inhalations:
- Eucalyptus globulus or radiata: decongestant, antibacterial and antiviral
- Pine: decongestant, antibacterial
- Tea tree: antiviral, antibacterial
- Peppermint: antibacterial, decongestant, stimulating
- Lavender: antiviral, antibacterial, relaxing, relieves pain
Use 3-4 drops of one oil or a combination of oils. The hot steam and the oils together get the mucus moving and they also work against the germs that have caused the infection. Continue the daily inhalations as long as you feel congested.
More Sinusitis Home Remedies and Lifestyle Tips
Try placing a warm compress on the face to relieve pain and congestion. You can add a couple of drops of essential oils to the compress for extra relief. Try also massaging your face gently if it does not feel too painful. Use one or two fingers to do large circles from the bridge of the nose over the eyebrows and along the cheekbones. If you want to make up an oil blend for the face massage, add 1-2 drops of essential oil(s) into one teaspoon of sweet almond or other base oils. Lavender is one of the best oils for the face because it is gentle enough even for sensitive skin.
It may help to avoid milk, cheese, yoghurt and other dairy products during sinusitis because these are believed to increase mucus production. Drink lots of warm drinks: ginger tea and herbal teas such as peppermint tea can be comforting. If the air in your home is very dry (for example because of central heating), try a humidifier and diffuse essential oils (from the list above) in an oil burner.
Even if you have to seek medical help for acute or chronic sinusitis, these home remedies for sinusitis can help to relieve the symptoms. Read more about sinusitis symptoms and when to see a doctor on the Mayo Clinic online articles Acute Sinusitis and Chronic Sinusitis
Sources: Patricia Davis: Aromatherapy, an A-Z (Random House, 2004)