30 Natural Remedies for a Sinus Infection and Sinusitis

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses, and can be either chronic (lasting 8-12 weeks or longer) or acute (lasting less than 4 weeks). There are many causes of sinusitis and sinus pain, including viral and bacterial sinus infections – but it can also be caused by other sources of inflammation, including allergies.

Approximately 1 in 10 people will experience a sinus infection at some point in their lifetime, and the pain associated with it can be debilitating and greatly impact one’s quality of life. Symptoms can include congestion, pain or pressure in the face, nasal discharge or post-nasal drip, as well as a reduced ability to smell. Patients likely won’t have a fever.

While common treatments for sinusitis include antibiotics and even surgery in extreme cases, you don’t need to resort to such drastic measures if you prefer a more natural route. There are many natural remedies for sinus infections and sinus pain, including the ones below.

Note that the information below is no replacement for a doctor’s advice, and if you are unsure or your illness or treatment options, you should always consult with your physician first.

1. Enjoy a Cuppa Something Hot

hot-steam-sinuses

Turns out grandma’s chicken noodle soup is good for more than simply soothing the soul, so go ahead and enjoy a cup of the good stuff. “The hot steam from the soup may be its chief advantage, although laboratory studies have actually reported that ingredients in the soup may have anti-inflammatory effects.” New York Times, Twitter: @nytimeshealth

2. Grapefruit Seed Extract

A natural antibiotic, grapefruit seed extract can help to clear mucus and prevent other microbial contaminants from taking up residence in your nasal passages. “GSE is a strong natural antibiotic and works really well against fungus also.” Courtney @ Bun on the Rise, Bun on the Rise

3. Salt Water Rinse

Using a Neti pot or over-the-counter nasal irrigation system can help clear sinuses and relieve symptoms associated with a sinus infection while flushing any bacteria out. “Saltwater washes (saline lavage or irrigation) help keep the nasal passages open by washing out thick or dried mucus. They can also help improve the function of cilia that help clear the sinuses. This can help prevent the spread of infection to the other sinuses and reduce postnasal drip. It also can make the nose feel more comfortable by keeping the mucous membranes moist.” Healthwise for WebMD, Twitter: @WebMD

4. Steam

Hold your face over a bowl of hot water with a few drops of essential oil – peppermint and eucalyptus are especially effective – to help relieve congestion from sinusitis. Running a hot shower and breathing in the steam is also effective. “Boil a pot of water and remove it from the stove.  Add 3 or 4 drops of tea tree oil.  Cover your head and pot with a towel and inhale (as much as you can). You will need to inhale for 5 to 10 minutes.” Courtney @ Bun on the Rise, Bun on the Rise

5. Skip the Booze

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Alcohol, especially beer, has an inflammatory effect in the body, and that includes in the nasal passages. Frequent or over-consumption of alcohol can exacerbate sinus pain. “It is amazing how even casual consumption of alcohol can cause nasal and sinus membranes to swell, exposing them to irritation and infection.” SinusWars, Twitter: @sinuswars

6. Pressure Points

Acupressure, or other manual manipulation of the sinus areas (performed by a trained osteopath) is a natural remedy that can help relieve sinus pressure and congestion in a matter of minutes. “Believe it or not, a simple 5 minute face massage that you can do yourself, anywhere, will bring you the much needed (yet temporary) relief from your blocked nose – Without medication.” 5-minutes.net

7. Clear the Mucus

Removing excess mucous can help relieve irritation and reduce inflammation in the sinuses. Not to mention you’ll be breathing easier. “Even with one inhale of this warming pungent drink, you’ll be able to breathe through your nose and feel less cloudy in your head.” – Lizzie Fuhr, PopSugar, Twitter: @lizzie_fuhr

8. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

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Drinking plenty of water and other fluids can help clear mucus from your nasal cavities and help drain from your sinuses. “Patients with sinusitis should drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Water, which helps lubricate the mucous membranes, is the best fluid to drink.” University of Maryland Medical Center, Twitter: @UMMC

9. Turn Up the Heat

We’ve all experienced it – that head-clearing sensation that occurs when we eat a really spicy dish – it can clear even the most stubborn of sinuses. “Spicy foods that contain hot peppers or horseradish may help clear sinuses.” New York Times, Twitter: @nytimeshealth

10. Turmeric

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A powerful anti-inflammatory, turmeric is a natural remedy that can help relieve inflammation in the sinuses caused by a nasty sinus infection. “The active ingredient in turmeric, known as curcumin, helps to heal the sinus cavity and clear the airways. Since sinus infections are caused by nasal inflammation, and turmeric possesses anti-inflammatory properties, the spice can be an effective solution for sinus infection.” Mike Barrett, Natural Society, Twitter: @naturalsociety

11. Apple Cider Vinegar

A cureall for many things that ail you, apple cider vinegar can help thin congestion associated with sinusitis. “Acv thins the mucus to clear sinuses. Apple cider vinegar helps to deliver a number of nutrients to the body that supports overall immune system and prevents infection. Once the infection has developed, the substance in ACV helps to dilute and used as rinse to thin the mucus almost immediately and to eliminate the infection very soon. It acts as both nasal rinse and nutritional supplement.” Home Remedies for Life

12. Avoid the Pool

Inhaling chemicals like the chlorine at the local swimming pool can irritate the nasal passages, so steer clear if you find it irritates your sinuses. “Sinusitis-prone people may be uncomfortable in a chlorine treated swimming pool as it irritates the lining of the nose and sinuses.” SinusWars, Twitter: @sinuswars

13. Breathe Deep

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Breathing techniques associated with mindfulness-based practices such as yoga, meditation and hypnotherapy can help to relieve the pain associated with sinus infections. “These practices rely on the mind’s ability to influence pain perception and are especially helpful with chronic or recurrent pain that is often seen with sinus pressure.” Chris Iliades, MD, Everyday Health, Twitter: @EverydayHealth

14. Oregano Oil

Given its status as a powerful antifungal and antimicrobial, using oregano oil as a natural home remedy may help relieve or resolve problems associated with sinusitis. “Use of oregano oil in vapor form is one of the best options to cure sinusitis. Mix 2 to 3 drops of oregano oil with half a cup of boiling water. Cover your head and cup with a towel to trap the steam and breathe to inhale it. This will help to clear the nasal passages.” Snehal Motkar, Buzzle, Twitter: @BuzzleDotCom

15. Change Your Diet

Certain foods can be particularly irritating for those suffering from a sinus infection, including dairy, gluten and sugar. Cutting these foods from your diet can often help resolve or lessen symptoms of sinusitis. “Cutting out dairy products can also improve sinusitis symptoms as they encourage mucus production.” Anastasia Stephens, Daily Mail, Twitter: @MailOnline

16. Sleep With Your Head Elevated

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Sleeping with your head elevated – either propped up with extra pillows or with leg extenders attached to your bedframe – can help to drain the sinuses and relieve any symptoms you might be experiencing. “Sleep propped up on pillows or semi-upright in a chair, or raise the head of your bed by using leg extenders.” Sandra Ketcham, Livestrong.com, Twitter: @SandraKetcham

17. Fermented Cod Liver Oil

Rich in vitamins A and D, plus Omega-3 fatty acids, fermented cod liver oil can help clarify skin conditions, and remedy autoimmune disorders – including the chronic inflammation associated with sinusitis. “Furthermore, the primary benefit of fermented cod liver oil is the concentrated presence of naturally occurring fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E and K2 that are scarce in modern diets.” Diane Sanfilippo, BalancedBites.com, Twitter: @balancedbites

18. Minimize Outdoor Airborne Irritants

Outdoor air irritants like smoke, smog and car exhaust can’t always be avoided, but by limiting your exposure to them, you can help reduce sinusitis pain. “You may assume that staying indoors is the best solution in avoiding harmful fumes from the outdoors; however, did you know your sinuses could be exposed to even more harmful irritants inside your very own home?” Dr. Garrett Bennett, NYCFaceMD.com, Twitter: @drgbennett

19. Treat Indoor Airborne Irritants

Pollen, smoke, dust mites, pet dander – all of these airborne pollutants can contribute to sinus irritation and make your sinus infection even worse. One way to treat this is by installing an air purifier in your home to remove any pollutants. “Just put the purifier on your nightstand and keep it on the whole night. Works wonders!” Mayaman72 via EarthClinic.com, Twitter: @Earth_Clinic

20. Supplement Smart

supplements-sinusitis

Adding certain natural supplements into your daily diet can help relieve symptoms and address any nutritional shortfalls that might be contributing to your sinusitis pain. “Vitamin C and Vitamin B6 help prevent inflammation and excessive histamine levels while zinc strengthens overall immunity.” Anastasia Stephens, Daily Mail, Twitter: @MailOnline

21. Reintroduce Moisture Into Your Home

Dry air, especially during the winter-time, can exacerbate any symptoms you’re feeling from sinus infections. Running a humidifier can help take the edge off some of the dryness in your home and help you breathe easier. “Air-conditioning and dry-air heating systems can cause sinus irritation and dryness, which can potentially increase eye puffiness in the morning.” Sandra Ketcham, Livestrong.com, Twitter: @SandraKetcham

22. Break a Sweat

Much like exercise can help in other aspects of your health and contribute to general well-being, so too can it help prevent and relieve symptoms of sinusitis. So step away from the TV and computer and take a stroll around the block. “Developing and adhering to a weekly exercise routine is a necessity when it comes to maintaining healthy sinuses.” Dr. Garrett Bennett, NYCFaceMD.com, Twitter: @drgbennett

23. Hot Compress

One simple, natural technique for relieving pressure and pain associated with sinusitis is to alternate applying warm and cold compresses to the nasal passages. “Place a hot compress across your sinuses for three minutes, and then a cold compress for 30 seconds. Repeat this procedure three times per treatment, two to six times a day.” American Academy of Otolaryngology, Twitter: @AAOHNS

24. Hum a Little Tune

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As strange as it may sound, research out of Sweden found that humming can help to clear sinuses and reduce your chances of developing a sinus infection. “Humming increases both airflow through your sinuses and the level of nitric oxide in your sinuses. The combination of nitric oxide and airflow may reduce your risk of sinusitis.” Chris Iliades, MD, Everyday Health, Twitter: @EverydayHealth

25. Butt Out

Multiple studies have shown that smoking causes irritation to the nasal passages, and butting out can help reduce that irritation almost instantly. “Tobacco and smog are famous for causing irritation of the sinus lining which causes bad drainage of mucus.” SinusWars, Twitter: @sinuswars

26. Wash Your Hands

One of the most common causes of sinusitis is bacterial and viral infections, and frequent, proper hand washing is one of the best ways to reduce the spread of germs, so wash well and wash often – especially during cold and flu season. “You can help prevent problems in your sinuses by practicing good hygiene. For example, wash your hands before eating and after using the bathroom. Be cognizant of what you touch during the day. Make sure to wash your hands before touching your face.” Brindles Lee Macon, HealthLine.com, Twitter: @healthline

27. Eat Well

diet-sinuses

The best offence is a good defence, and that’s true when it comes to preventing and healing from sinusitis. Eating a diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables can help boost your immune system. “A nutritious diet can not only decrease inflammation in your system, but also boost your immunity to bacteria that can lead to sinus infections.” Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, Twitter: @PacificCollege

28. Garlic

Full of powerful antiviral components, garlic is considered a nutritional powerhouse and used by people in many cultures for its curative properties. “As sinus is a bacterial infection, garlic helps to destroy the bacterial infection and cures the sinus problem.” – HomeRemediesforLife

29. Horseradish

With as much kick as hot sauce and other spicy foods, horseradish is a natural remedy that can help to clear any blockages associated with your sinus infection. “The traditional treatment for sinusitis is to “take a half teaspoonful of grated horseradish sauce without dilution both morning and afternoon. Do not drink anything or eat for at least ten minutes after the dose.”” Life Extension Magazine, Twitter: @LifeExtension

30. Lemon Balm

lemon-balm-sinus-pain

An herb used in many medicinal treatments, lemon balm can help kill bacteria that cause or worsen symptoms of sinus infections. “You can boil some dried lemon balm leaves for about ten minutes. Then sieve the mixture and use the water to gargle. It provides great relief from sinus congestion.” Sanchita Chowdhury, BoldSky, Twitter: @rinisanchi