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Ah, springtime. There’s nothing quite as glorious as that first spring day when the sun is shining, the air feels warm, and the day is full of opportunity.
Unless, of course, you’re stuck inside battling a sinus infection.
Around our homestead, sinus issues are all too common. Both my husband and I suffer from allergies, so we are a constant sniffling mess – or so it seems.
Fortunately, though, we’ve learned over the years how to make the most of our situation and have explored a range of natural remedies to keep ourselves healthy. I don’t necessarily eschew modern medical treatment – in fact, I think it’s important to visit the doctor on a regular basis.
However, I also understand that medications are overly prescribed and that you can often treat minor symptoms with easy homestead remedies.
Your springtime schedule is likely packed to the brim with all of the items you need to check off on your spring homestead to-do list. Don’t waste any more time sneezing, coughing, and blowing your nose. Consider these homestead remedies for your sinus woes.
What Causes Sinus Problems?
Sinus issues can broadly be referred to as sinusitis. If you have a short-term infection or one that flares up and then disappears entirely, you have what is referred to as acute sinusitis. A long lasting issue, or one that keeps rearing its ugly head despite several types of treatment, is known as chronic sinusitis.
There are so many potential causes for sinus problems that it would take a much longer article to detail them all – I could probably write a book about all of the struggles I’ve had with my sinuses! These little cavities in our face are responsible for so much of our wellbeing, yet you probably don’t even know they’re there unless you have some serious issues with them.
I have terrible allergies. Working on a farm requires me to be outside and to be exposed on a regular basis to things I am extremely allergic to – like ragweed pollen. For years, I ignored my allergies because I thought the only way of treating them was with over-the-counter or prescription medications.
I tend to avoid medication whenever possible, and until I realized that there are other ways to prevent and treat allergies (like immunotherapy and nasal irrigation), I just pretended I didn’t have them.
As a result, my sinuses became incredibly blocked – to the point where I eventually needed surgery because my face was in constant pain.
Allergies aren’t the only cause of sinus problems. You can also have excessive mucus or blockages (I know, gross) due to things like a cold, the flu, an imbalance of bacteria in your body, or a reaction to environmental toxins. You can even get frequent or recurrent sinus infections if you have a deviated septum or nasal polyps – in other words, some kind of structural abnormality that prevents your body from working properly.
You can have a whole host of symptoms when you are battling a sinus infection. These include, but are not limited to:
- Facial pain or tenderness
- Pressure behind the eyes, as well as in the face, nose, and cheeks
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
When to See the Doctor
In this article, I gave you some good tips for battling a sinus infection at home -but remember, I am not a doctor (nor do I play one on tv). Therefore, you should always seek out medical attention if you are dealing with sinus problems – even if you want to go the natural route and try some of these more holistic options at home.
Only a doctor will be able to determine whether your sinus problems are caused by bacteria (which will need antibiotics), allergies, viruses, or some other issue. I always recommend checking in with the doc just to make sure you are doing everything you can to get (and stay!) healthy.
1. Nasal irrigation
Nasal irrigation kept me sane and feeling (somewhat) clear of sinus blockages when I was waiting to have my sinus surgery. This is perhaps my favorite method for providing sinus relief, particularly because it removes any allergens from your system, too – I’m looking at you, allergy sufferers!
You can purchase a Neti Pot, but I personally love these squeeze bottles made by Neil Med. Neil Med actually offers a few different products designed to relieve nasal congestion, but these are so easy to use and inexpensive, they’re hard to pass by.
Now, some people (like my husband), cannot stomach the thought of squeezing water up one nostril and have it come out the other. And if you have any structural abnormalities in your nose or sinus cavities, it may not work as well. However, I cannot recommend enough that you give it a try. Even if you don’t have frequent sinus infections, it can be a great way to relieve allergy symptoms and other issues, too.
2. Steam inhalation
Steam clears up your sinuses by loosening mucus, thereby reducing nasal congestion in your face. You don’t have to own a humidifier for this to be effective, either. All you need to do is make a DIY steam treatment with a bowl of hot water and a towel.
If you’d like, you can add certain essential oils to the hot water, like eucalyptus, menthol, peppermint, or camphor – these should help improve sinus drainage. Place your head over the bowel and cover your head with the towel so that it drapes along the sides of the bowl. This will trap the steam.
Then, just breathe in until the steam until you begin your sinus pressure begin to clear, or until the water cools (whichever comes first!). Taking a hot, steamy shower can also help relieve the sinus pressure in your face if necessary, too.
3. Bone broth
It’s not an old wives’ tale! Your grandma’s chicken soup actually did make you feel better when you were suffering from the sniffles.
Why? Chicken soup reduces sinus inflammation and can help you feel better if you are suffering from an immunity-related problem.
There are a couple of reasons why bone broth is so effective at clearing out your nasal passages. First, it’s packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help fight infection and prevent another one from occurring. Bone broth also has collagen, which is important for healthy cell functioning.
If you raise chickens for meat, you probably already have access to an ample supply of nutrient-dense (and tasty!) bone broth. Plus, you’ll likely eat your bone broth piping hot, and the steam (as I already mentioned) will help clear you out in no time.
4. Warm or cool compresses
If you have a sinus headache and your temples are aching from your blocked sinuses, there is nothing that feels quite as good as a warm or cool compress on your forehead. Whether you choose to go warm or cold is up to you – I personally find the feeling of a warm pad to be incredibly soothing. It can also facilitate sinus drainage.
All you need to do is lay down with a warm or cool compress draped across your face -place the compress wherever your sinuses are bothering you. You can alternate with a cool or warm compress (the opposite of your first choice) every thirty seconds for best results, and you can repeat this process as often as you’d like.
I like to add a pinch of horseradish to my steam inhalation remedy. I’ve found that horseradish is effective when ingested or when the fumes are inhaled as part of the steam inhalation technique. This herb has an incredibly strong, pungent scent and taste, and can help clear your sinuses out in a jiffy. Just be warned – it’s not exactly a pleasant process!
Garlic has powerful antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant, and antifungal properties – this vegetable really has it all! If you don’t already include garlic as part of your regular diet, you need to start.
Not only will it help protect you against a range of illnesses, but it can also clear your sinuses out. Ever had a steaming hot bowl of garlicky pasta when you’re sick? You likely noticed that your nose started to run almost immediately.
That’s how great garlic is at treating sinus issues.
Oh, and if you’re having problems with vampires, it can help with that, too.
Turmeric is packed to the brim with curcumin, an important compound that helps fight inflammation in the body.
Since sinus inflammation is often the direct cause of chronic inflammation in the body, consuming turmeric either in whole or powdered form on a regular basis can help your body function in a healthier way. You can also purchase a turmeric supplement to automate your intake of this important herb.
8. Chile peppers
When you’re suffering from a sinus infection, it’s the perfect time to go out for some spicy tacos or enjoy those jalapeno poppers you’ve been wanting to try! Spicy foods of all kinds can help clear out your sinuses, but chile peppers are particularly effective at doing so.
My husband gets annoyed with me because my cure for just about every kind of ailment is to drink more water. Have a stomachache? Drink some water, it will flush out the toxins. Headache? You’re probably dehydrated. Tired? Drink up. Pig got out of the barn? You could probably use a glass of water.
I joke, of course, but water is hugely important in your overall health and wellbeing. And don’t give me that garbage about how you don’t like the taste of water. We’re human beings, and we need to drink water! When you have a sinus infection going on, you need to make a special effort to increase your intake of fluids.
The moisture will loosen the mucus in your face and make it easier to breathe. Try to drink clear liquids that don’t have any added sugar, caffeine, or alcohol. Good options include plain water, herbal tea, or broth.
Go back to the basics by consuming honey to fight your sinus infections! Honey is incredibly effective at killing bacteria, and can even go after drug-resistant strains that are difficult to treat when you have a sinus infection. While manuka honey is the best type of honey to use when you are fighting an infection, any kind of honey will offer you the relief you need.
11. Apple cider vinegar
I’ve tried to follow this tip, which I’d heard so much about and was quite eager to try out. However, I couldn’t get past the taste of the vinegar and had to spit it out. Therefore, I can’t quite tell you whether it’s effective or not – but there is a ton of information online about it that it’s definitely worth a try!
Sinus sufferers may get some relief from drinking a mixture of dilute apple cider vinegar with water. This is because apple cider vinegar has potent antibacterial and antifungal properties, and it’s also rich in infection-fighting vitamins.
Mom knows best, and that’s why she used to force you to sleep when you were feeling under the weather. I really can’t state enough how important sleep is in helping your body fight fighting off infections. Make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep per night, and sleep with your head elevated if you’re having trouble with your sinuses.
13. Essential oils
If you haven’t jumped on the essential oils bandwagon yet, you need to! Herbal remedies are highly effective against viruses and bacteria, and you should start by including herbs as part of your daily diet. The best ones to add include oregano, basil, and parsley, but they’re all packed with nutrients that can help keep you (and your sinuses!) healthy.
Inhaling certain essential oils can also help to relieve your sinus woes. Consider using options like lemon balm, oregano, peppermint, and menthol in a diffuser. These can help open up your sinuses and get you breathing better in no time.
Acupressure is a natural Chinese medicine that involves applying pressure to certain points in the body. This is believed to help relieve pain or other illnesses. It can help ease your sinus symptoms and can be done at home or by a professional practitioner.
And if acupressure freaks you out, remember that a simple facial massage (that you can complete yourself!) is also an effective way to relieve sinus pressure. Use your fingertips to lightly massage each side of your nostril. Move around your cheeks or wherever else your face aches, and move your fingers in a circular pattern for a few minutes. You can complete this as often as you’d like for improved drainage.
When I first started experiencing my sinus problems, which lasted for well over a year before I finally had some relief, I foolishly allowed myself to be put on four separate rounds of antibiotics.
The doctors continued to think that this sinus infection was something I could kick with antibiotics, which, of course, was not true. The antibiotics didn’t even come close to touching the blocked sinuses in my face.
What they did do, however, was kill off much of the healthy bacteria in my gut. When you take antibiotics, they don’t just kill the bad stuff – they kill the good stuff, too. Once I finally stopped taking antibiotics, I had another problem on my hands to deal with in addition to the sinus infection – I found that I was constantly fatigued, bloated, and experiencing serious digestive problems.
I started eating more fermented foods and yogurt and found that my problems quickly began to dissipate. The reason for this is that roughly eighty percent of your immune system is located in your gut. The trillions of good bacteria that live there help regulate your health, and when they are imbalanced, you can have a whole host of problems.
Ironically, your gut bacteria are linked to your sinus health, too. If you have too few healthy gut bacteria you can experience chronic inflammation – which often shows itself as a sinus infection.
Eat plenty of fermented foods, like sauerkraut, lacto-fermented vegetables, and yogurt. You can also take a probiotic supplement to make sure you have a healthy ecosystem in your digestive tract.
16. Vitamin C
Maintaining a healthy immune system is the easiest way to avoid recurrent sinus infections. If you want to stay healthy, you need to up your dosage of vitamin C. This isn’t the only vitamin your body needs, of course, but it’s one of the most important in fighting infections, which is why your mom always recommends drinking a glass of orange juice when you are sick!
The best way to get more vitamin C is through your diet, but if you have trouble consuming enough of this critical nutrient, you can also take it in supplement form.
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that’s not just a cliche – there is so much truth to this statement that it absolutely had to have a spot on this round-up of tips. If you’re suffering from sinus problems, you likely want some kind of miracle sinus infection cure.
Unfortunately, while there is no one perfect cure for everybody, the best prescription is to prevent the infection from occurring in the first place. How do you do this?
By taking care of yourself.
Admittedly, this was something I was really bad at. I learned my lesson! Over a year of serious pain and fatigue was not worth it, and I recognized afterward that I needed to take better care of myself to prevent this problem in the future.
Now, I am on a treatment regimen for my allergies, and I do a nasal rinse pretty much every day to help flush out allergens and environmental toxins. I also eat an extremely healthy diet, get lots of exercise, and tons of sleep.
If you are able to take care of yourself in this way, you won’t find yourself Googling sinusitis treatments quite as often in the future – at least, we can only hope!
What other tips do you have for clearing out your sinuses – without relying on pharmaceuticals?
Be sure to weigh in by leaving a comment, and subscribe to our email newsletter for regular tips and tricks on homesteading – wherever you are. You can also follow us on Instagram (@jrpiercefamilyfarm) and Pinterest (J&R Pierce Family Farm) for frequent updates. Happy homesteading!
*Disclaimer – This article should not be taken as medical advice. I am not a doctor, and merely recommend natural remedies that have been effective for me. Always seek out the opinion of a doctor or other medical professional before attempting any of these treatments.