Sinusitis; What is It?
Sinusitis is inflammation of the sinuses usually caused by a virus, bacteria, or fungus. Common symptoms are pain and tenderness in the face, headache, nasal congestion, or nasal dryness. Sinusitis can be both chronic-continuous, acute-immediate, and it can also come and go. The sinuses are hollow cavities located in the bones around your nose and forehead. Those who suffer from sinusitis can attest to the fact that it can be a painful, debilitating condition.
But What Are They For?
God created our bodies perfect and so each organ and system has a purpose. Our sinus cavities are normally lined with a layer of mucous, and one of their functions is to trap bacteria, viruses, allergens, and other substances in the mucous and then drain it out of the sinuses. Sinuses also help to filter the air that we breathe in again protecting us from harmful substances.
Types and Causes
Sinusitis can be caused by bacteria, virus, fungus or a combination and can be acute or chronic. Allergies can also contribute to sinusitis.
- Acute sinusitis is usually an immediate infection that is resolved within 30 days. It often follows a cold or upper respiratory infection. Acute sinusitis can also be inflammation related to an inhaled substance.
- Chronic sinusitis lasts for 2 months or more and can also follow an acute infection. Many times those who suffer chronic sinusitis have had acute symptoms that come and go multiple times and then they just can’t seem to alleviate the inflammation completely. When sinusitis is not relieved by antibiotics or becomes chronic it is often because it has a viral, fungal, or allergenic cause.
Reducing inflammation is key with sinusitis and thus eliminating foods that can cause inflammation is a wise choice. The two main foods to eliminate are dairy and wheat. Including plenty of water daily can help thin mucous. A good rule of thumb is to drink half of your weight in ounces. Example 150 pound man would drink 75 ounces of clean, purified water a day. Adding foods that are rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory qualities can also be of great help.
Some anti-inflammatory foods:
- Biblically clean, wild caught fish, salmon, cod, trout, sardines, herring Good oils such as olive, flax, coconut, avocado, fish, nut and seed oils.
- Ginger, avocados, turmeric, colorful fruits and vegetables, berries and grapes.
- Nuts and seeds: flax seeds, walnuts, cashews, almonds, nut butters.
Topical application of salts, herbs, oils, water, and glycerin via the nostrils can be key in healing sinuses. The neti-pot can be a key tool for irrigating the nose and small amounts of these substances can be used to fit the individual. Other options are nasal sprays, steams, and applying herbal oils.
For nasal irrigation a basic neti pot recipe may be used to irrigate the nasal passages twice a day and herbs can be added based upon each individuals symptoms.
A basic recipe
- ¼ tsp vegetable glycerin
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp baking soda
Add these to 8 ounces of lukewarm filtered or distilled water. Tap water should never be used in a neti-pot due to potential parasitic infections. Flush nostrils as described in neti-pot directions.
Herbs can be taken several times a day to assist infection and stimulate the immune system. Each person is individual and so the herbs chosen will vary. The benefit of herbs over antibiotics is that they are antimicrobial and can help eliminate bacteria, along with viruses, and fungi. The key here is not to use herbs to replace antibiotics but to choose herbs that will help heal tissues and ease symptoms.
Differing Symptoms: Differing Herbs
Herbs may be used internally as teas, and tinctures or topically in a form of nasal irrigation or oil. It is important to determine safe dosages for each herb chosen.
- Dry sinuses and mucous membranes can benefit from demulcent, mucilaginous herbs such as marshmallow or slippery elm. These herbs can help ease painful, inflamed tissues as they provide moisture and lubrication.
- Moist symptoms with thick mucous and that plugged up stuffy feeling can benefit from drying aromatic herbs such as sage. Aroma-therapeutic and herbal steams can also help to drain secretions and open airways.
- Moist symptoms that are leaky, drippy with sniffing and post nasal drip may be relieved by anti inflammatory and astringent herbs such as yarrow and goldenrod.
- Inflamed and irritated tissues can benefit from anti inflammatory as well as astringent herbs that have healing properties to tissues such as goldenseal and yerba mansa.
- For congestion with a cough, wheezing, or secretions that need to be coughed up as well as congestion in the ears an herb like mullein is a great choice.
As you can see there are many causes, and symptoms when considering sinus infections. Because of this no two people will need the same herbs to help relieve their symptoms. It is also important to look at the root cause for each person and choose herbs and supplements accordingly. These are just some options for assisting sinusitis and it is important for each person to seek individual care from a trained practitioner.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose, cure, or treat.