After compiling all of the below information from various sources and my own experience I found this blog by Dr. Mercola and it really says it all.
Mercola’s article gives the various reasons for chronic sinus infections and depending on the cause the remedy will vary as well.
Here is another amazing article by famed herbalist Jim Mcdonald called, Surviving Sinusitus if you wish to try an herbal approach.
Keep the mind set of asking what is the body trying to do and then help support it to do just that.
Be very reluctant to take antibiotics as more than 90% of chronic sinus infections are fungal in nature and the antibiotics will compromise your immune system, cause yeast overgrowth and general misery. There is much that can be done but as always remember to
1. Be frequent and persistent in your treatment
2. Deal with the whole body from nutrition to lifestyle needed change
3. Get the best quality for possible solutions whether that be food, water, supplements or herbs.
4. Get enough in your system to help
Development of nasal polyps
Nasal polyps can form when the mucous membrane of your nasal passages and sinuses is chronically inflamed. A nasal or sinus condition is generally defined as chronic if the signs and symptoms of inflammation last more than 12 weeks.
It’s unclear exactly how chronic inflammation leads to the formation of polyps, but the response of your immune system in the mucous membrane appears to contribute.
Nasal polyps may develop anywhere throughout the nasal passages or sinuses, but they appear most often near the openings to your sinuses.
So, if it were my client I would try to figure out what may be causing the inflammation. Food allergies/sensitivities can be a common cause.
Polyps, chronic inflammation, etc. is a symptom of something not being quite right in the body. Surgeries (though sometimes necessary) and nasal sprays are masking the symptoms instead of treating the root cause.
1. Increase anti-oxidant rich foods into the diet as well as nutrient dense foods in general.
2. Sometimes chronic mucous problems can result from coldness in the digestive system. Along with a paleo diet I would recommend eating spicy and pungent foods. While getting rid of a sinus problem, do it to tolerance. Meaning to eat as much spicy foods as is tolerable to help thin and expectorate the mucous.
3. Consume warming foods, warming teas and broths. Warmth helps dispel mucus. Heat moves stagnation
4. Hot soup with garlic, onions and broth going. Garlic and lots of it!!
I’m thinking it may help to take hot, spicy antimicrobial stimulants like cayenne pepper, garlic, and raw onions to cause her sinuses to run and eyes to water, get the stagnant congestion moving again, and kill the infection (Sharon)
5. Teas with lots of spices like cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and other spices. Like chai tea. My favorite wild chai recipe: https://wildblessings.com/wild-chai/
6. Cut out known allergens from your food (dairy products/gluten etc) and just see what effect it has. My chronic sinusitus didn’t permanently clear up until I addressed my food intolerances.
You may want to look into food sensitivities especially dairy. I have had several clients with the same sinus description, who after omitting dairy from their diet, never had it re-occur. Paul Bergner says in his clinical experience he has never seen a chronic sinus infection not related to a dairy allergy.
1. Reduce stress “It’s a well known fact that excess stress leads to increased levels of cortisol which leads to higher blood glucose levels and that makes your WBC lazy & makes you more prone to infections.”
2. Get her a spa massage to unwind
1. Elder flower tincture can be taken as a preventative starting several weeks before your allergies usually come on (if they’re seasonal).
2. Plantain tea (strained) in a neti pot, add a bit of sea salt (Jim Mcdonald)
3. Nasal spray of Yerba Mansa, glycerine and water
4. “Start with antimicrobial herbs from the get go. I think that was what was missing from your arsenal. You also have to take them in large amounts. Sometimes every 2 hours.”
5. Goldenseal in a neti pot it a great way to go. Adding goldenseal and/or yerba mansa tincture to a saline solution (1 cup water to 1/4 teaspoon salt) is often very effective. You could make tea as well. Doesn’t need to be super strong; in a neti pot, I might only add 5-10 drop of tincture per pour; maybe 15. You could also add this kind of tea to a nasal spray bottle (buy some saline nasal spray at the drug store, pull the spout off, rinse, and refill with your saline/herb mix). Note that such a preparation isn’t adequately preserved; if it spoils in the bottle, don’t spray it up your nose… empty and rinse the bottle daily. (Jim Mcdonald)
6. 10-30 drops of either Hydrastis or Anemopsis in a teaspoon of glycerine, with water added to make a total of 2 ounces. Apply as a spray to the nasal passages and throat every 2-4 hours.
7. Yerba Mansa tincture 3 times a day (20 drops or so) and Echinacea tincture the same amount
8. An herbal steam with sage and chamomile (once a day at bed time to help him breathe)
9. Drink a quart of Elderflower and Peppermint infusion daily
Elderflower is good for the ears. So is echinacea cuz it moves the lymph fluid out of the head. And nettle is fantastic for drying things up.
10. Soothing mucilagenous teas will help with the irritation.
11. You might try expectorating herbs like garlic, elecampane, etc. Help him to get all that gunk out.
12. How about ginger? It’s a stimulating expectorant and strong anti-inflammatory.
13. Elderberry helps expel mucus and it also is helpful to the immune system. Goldenseal helps the sinus and helps bacterial infections.
14. drinking a decoction of ginger root sweetened with elecampane honey.
are you sure it’s seasonal allergies? Any possibility you’re actually dealing with a chronic sinus infection? Or it’s possible that if you had some serious sinus inflammation during your flu and now your mucus membranes are over sensitive and irritated. A good mucus membrane tonic would help tons in such a case. Very small amounts of goldenseal might be appropriate.
neti pots are invaluable here and reduce inflammation and stuffiness in an incredible way. you can make the saline rinse with a soothing herbal infusion like calendula for added benefit.
steams made with beebalm (monarda) work wonders on all kinds of sinus congestions. many other mint family aromatic plants will similarly and all will help prevent sinus infection from trying to take hold.
but most of all, get to the root of the problem… many people with allergies have sluggish or inflamed allergies. depending on the person, either oregon grape root or dandelion can have a huge effect. I’ve gotten clients completely off steroid inhalers by nourishing their specific liver imbalance, especially when combined with the neti pot.
in the meantime, most any astringent will help dry up the drippies, especially goldenrod, elderflower and rose. That’s a purely symptomatic fix though.
Sage steam Sage is used for excessive mucus discharges, nasla catarrh and indurated sores and excessive secretions of saliva.
This herb was used as a staple remedy in the home and was thought to save and prolong life. The fresh leaves were used by chewing them for infections of the mouth and thtoat.
Sage is beneficial for mental exhaution and strengthening the ability to concentrate. It improves the memory and has been used to cure some types of insanity.
It was used as a lotion to heal sores and other skin eruptions. It will stop bleeding from wounds.
Sage contains vitamins A and C, vitamin B-complex. It has a lot of calcium and potassium. It also contains sulpher, silicon, phosphorus, and sodium.
In The Village Herbalist 3: Herbs for Colds, Flu, Hayfever and Allergies, she recommends Nettle and Lemon Balm for runny nose & allergy symptoms. There’s a honeygar (honey & vinegar) blend that she describes and also an allergy tea. For nasal congestion, she recommends 1 tablespoon honey with only 1 drop of thyme essential oil. If you get more than 1 drop, you have to add an additional tablespoon of honey. She says it clears you out within seconds!
Mullein tincture in the ears is known to dry up the fluid asociated with ear infections.
elderflower tincture, echinacea tincture and drink strong infusions of nettle. Nettle helps to dry things up really well. Better than anything I have ever tried.
Also large amounts of vitamin c with bioflavonoids is a good natural anti-histamine.
The key to success is take faithfully 4-6 times a day and do it for 2 weeks. Consistency is key.
Strong ginger decoctions.
Neti pot with heat clearing herbs like goldenseal.
Elecampane sounds like it will be useful.
For the sore throat: Herbal honey… ginger, horseradish, bee balm
I’ve found no better remedy for chronic sinusitis than yerba mansa, anemopsis californica. I’d try it in several 5-10 drop doses a day for a month, and see how you feel from there. A goodly portion of people who use it get immense benefit from it.
When I see clients who are already well into trying a multitude of treatments I find the best way to move forward is to know everything I can about what has already been tried.
Do you know which herbs you’ve tried so far? Duration of those herbs?
Which were most helpful? Which were least helpful?
What type of admiinistration seemed to help the most? You mentioned neti pot not working for you. What types of formulas have you tried in neti pots? Too much or too little saline can both be irritating. Adding something more moistening can be helpful (ghee for example). I mention other suggestions with the neti pot because I have had numerous clients who have struggled with it at first, but once they started using it in different ways it became the ONE thing that helped.
Brown mucus signifies bleeding in the nasal cavity. Thickness can imply too much heat. Both of those point to inflammation and dryness.
In TCM problems in the nasal cavities are often seen as originating in the lung and possibly the “wei qi” which we can simplify to mean the immune system.
In many traditions excessive phlegm originates with poor digestion.
Perhaps your protocols so far have dealt too much with the symptoms and not with the root cause. Not knowing more about you or more about what you’ve tried so far makes it hard to really know – just a guess.
The general recommended “prescription” for severe congestion is to use the neti pot up to four or six times a day.
my mom has chronic sinus issues, to the point that her sense of taste was nearly obsolete. I gave her a large bag of linden to drink a quart infusion of daily (since her taste was off, she liked it, but once her taste came back, she added honey), and a tincture of marshmallow root. The idea was that if she gave her body something nourishing WITH mucilage (linden & marshmallow are both mucilages), that her body would realize it didn’t need to produce so much mucus.
She drank the infusion nearly every day for 2 months, and while she still has bouts of sinus pressure & congestion, her taste returned & she feels, in general, much better.
The idea was that if she gave her body something nourishing WITH mucilage (linden & marshmallow are both mucilages), that her body would realize it didn’t need to produce so much mucus.
I like that – “like treats like”
Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements
She could have her Vitamin D levels checked, since vitamin D helps regulate the inflammatory response.
1. Ionic silver inhaled with a nebulizer will kill any infection. Then doing the same with ionic calcium will clear away any of the debris.
2. In terms of inflammation systemic enzymes are incredible for any inflammatory condition.
1. ACV diluted in a neti pot
2. An important thing to keep in mind too is try not to use chlorinated tap water. Distilled would be my preference 🙂
3. Slather garlic oil on the bottoms of your feet, put on socks and go to bed.
just stick my nose into a mug with of water with salt & a tiny amt. of baking soda. Inhale slightly & it really helps me.
4. Fire Cider for congestion. Denise has the detailed recipe on her blog. You can find it here:
Dr. Christopher’s Family Herbal course. We just studied about sore throats and swollen glands.
For the sore throat you take a plate and add 1 Tablespoon honey. To that add 1/2 teaspoon cayanne pepper and mix. Use a garlic press to squeeze out the juice, etc. from 4 cloves of garlic and mix together well. Take every half hour until sore throat gone.
For the swollen glands you make a fomentation using mullein and lobellia. Use a soft piece of cotton and wrap it around the neck, cover with saran wrap to keep it off your clothes, and leave it on for as long as you need to.
Horseradish should clear up the congestion in his head and allow things to open up.
Body and Energy Work
2.Last winter I suffered from a horrible sinus thing. I made a facial message oil with 1/4 t. olive oil, 6 drops mullein tincture, 2 drop lobelia tincture, and 1 drop cayenne tincture. I messaged this onto my face above the sinuses and down my neck behind the ear to unclog the eustachian tubes, too. They began to drain immediately. I repeated this three times a day for 3 days. It worked beautifully. I know one thing for sure–it does no harm.
3. do soft tissue massage of the sinuses (in the direction of the natural flow of mucus) to encourage drainage – seems to relieve some of the pressure & eases the ache.
4. Another thing to consider with sinus issues is the size of nasal passages. There are several manual therapists who work inside the nose with connective tissue to open things up. It’s a fabulous alternative to surgery. It’s part of the general curriculum for all structural integrators including Structural Medicine, Hellerwork, and Rolfers. (Rosalee)
Joyce, my mom suffered from sinus infections a whole lot. It wasn’t until she came to our chiropractor and began a chiro regimen that all signs, symptoms, and sufferings of sinus infections went right out the window. She has not had any sinus problems since she started in May 2010. I am a firm believer, that given her spinal alignment, the problem has to do with the subluxation in her neck that deals with facial ailments. So, research it, read up on it, and hope that it solves your sinus woes. Good luck…
5. Nasal irrigation is an ancient Ayurvedic technique known as jala neti, which literally means nasal cleansing with water in Sanskrit, where the practitioner uses a neti pot to perform the irrigation. Because modern medicine has long supported the use of nasal irrigation to clear sinuses and prevent sinus and nasal conditions, physicians also accept jala neti as simply one type of nasal irrigation, which can be performed using a neti pot or syringe.
Jala neti, though relatively less known in Western culture, is a common practice in parts of India and other areas in South Asia, performed as routinely as brushing one’s teeth using a toothbrush. It is performed daily, usually as the first thing in the morning with other cleansing practices. It may also be performed at the end of the day if one works or lives in a dusty or polluted environment. When dealing with problems of congestion it can be performed up to four times a day.
The first time I used it, I didn’t know what to expect. It was very gentle and could hardly feel the water at all.
After I used it though, that’s a different story. It. Was. Amazing.
I could feel the inflammation in my sinuses easing, my head felt clearer, my eyes felt bright, rested and “awake” and I could breathe. After so many years of suffering from sinus pain and dryness, I couldn’t believe how good I felt and how instant it was. I also couldn’t stop talking about it 😛
The week after I used it I noticed the dark circles under my eyes were disappearing. People actually asked me, “What have you done differently? Have you had a facial? Did you get your eyebrows done professionally? There’s something different about you!” (I think now it was because my face was relaxed. Before, when I had the sinus inflammation, my face was tense from the pain.)
When I don’t use the neti pot (when I run out of salt to mix in the solution) my nose feels dry and irritated again, my sinus head aches come back, I don’t sleep as well, I look more tired, my eyes aren’t as clear and feel dry. My vision isn’t as sharp and sneeze a lot more.
I can’t imagine not using the neti pot now that I’ve started; it’d be like never brushing my teeth again. What I love about it is it’s also a really gentle “therapy.”
Wikipedia also lists these benefits:
Nasal irrigation is appropriate for many sinonasal conditions and symptoms including:
Acute bacterial rhinosinusitis
Allergic rhinitis – hay fever
Atrophic rhinitis – ozaena
Empty nose syndrome
Facial pain or headache associated with sinusitis
Halitosis – bad breath
Phantosmia – phantom smells
Rhinitis medicamentosa – rebound nasal congestion
Rhinorrhea – runny nose
Rhinosinusitis – inflammation of the nose and sinuses
Sinusitis – inflammation of the sinuses (including chronic sinusitis)
The benefits of the treatment include:
Clearer vision due to cleaning of the tear ducts
Decreased use of medication
Deeper, more relaxed breathing
Improved sense of smell and taste
Improved sinus-related quality of life
Reduction of symptoms
do you have someone who can massage your head? Massage to the head works wonders for loosing up fluids in the ears. Sometimes that is one of the only things that works right away. Especially if you massage the neck and behind and around the ears.
Sinus Survival: The Holistic Medical Treatment for Allergies, Colds, and Sinusitis by Robert S. Ivker (Paperback – Aug 31, 2000)