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Herbal Sinus Remedies for Fast Relief

Updated on February 20, 2009

Many people are turning to herbal sinus remedies to relieve pain without the side effects of over-the-counter or prescription medications. It is estimated that more than thirty million adults and children suffer from some sort of sinus pain every year. Many times, the pain is debilitating. If you’re seeking an alternative treatment, there are several effective herbal sinus remedies that you can make and use at home to get relief fast.

What Causes Sinus Pain?

The sinuses are located behind the nasal bones, and are lined with mucous membranes. When healthy, these membranes are open, allowing mucous to drain and air to circulate. However, when the membranes become inflamed, the sinuses become congested with mucous, and infection may occur. This blockage (and possible infection) can cause extreme discomfort and pain.

How is Sinus Pain Treated?

Typically, sinus pain is treated at home with over-the-counter medication. Or, if the pain becomes severe, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics or other prescription medications. If the symptoms have not become chronic or serious, there are also several herbal sinus remedies that can be administered at home.

However, in extreme cases, surgical intervention may be required. This is usually necessary only in the case of fungal sinus infection, or severe chronic sinusitis. For the typical sinus pain caused by congestion and the common cold, herbal sinus remedies can work wonders.

Ceramic Neti Pot
Ceramic Neti Pot

How to Use a Neti Pot

Neti Pots

Nasal irrigation is an ancient Ayurvedic technique known as Jala Neti, in which the practitioner flushes the nasal passages with salt water using a neti pot. This technique is commonly practiced in many parts of India, and has recently become popular in other parts of the world. Even Western medicine has accepted jala neti as a beneficial practice for relieving sinus pain and congestion.

Nasal irrigation is a great herbal sinus remedy that can be performed at home. A neti pot can be used with a simple salt water solution (see instructions below), or a nasal bulb or syringe can be used in place of the neti pot, if necessary. This technique can be administered up to four times per day to ease sinus pain and congestion.

How to Make Your Own Neti Pot Solution

Use this simple recipe to make your own neti pot solution. Alternatively, you can purchase a neti pot starter kit that includes the solution and neti pot. Or, if you’re thrifty, you can use this homemade solution for your sinus pain.


  • ½ teaspoon sea salt (or kosher salt, do not use iodized salt)
  • 8 ounces room temperature water (spring or distilled)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda


  1. Combine the ingredients in the neti pot.
  2. Stand over a sink, and tilt your head sideways.
  3. Place the spout in one nostril and tilt the pot so that water enters and comes out the other nostril. Mucous will come out with the water.
  4. Repeat until no more mucous is present in the water. Then, repeat with the other nostril.
  5. Gargle with clean water when completed.

You can also use a syringe or nasal bulb to apply the salt water solution. Simply follow the instructions above but replace the neti pot with the bulb or syringe. Coughing is normal after a nasal irrigation treatment, as some of the fluid drains down the back of the throat

CAUTION: If you have an acute sinus infection, do not use a neti pot, as it could promote the spread of bacteria. Ear pain or gagging means the irrigation is being performed too quickly or vigorously. .

Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Eucalyptus Essential Oil Steam

Eucalyptus essential oil is one of the best herbal sinus remedies. It relieves nasal congestion and sinus pain, when administered correctly. Eucalyptus essential oil can be found in health food stores, or ordered online. Make sure you purchase only 100% pure and natural essential oil. Follow the simple method below to ease your sinus pain naturally with this herbal sinus remedy.


  • Tea kettle (or pot for boiling water)
  • Water
  • Eucalyptus essential oil
  • Large towel (or old sheet)
  • Large bowl or pot


  1. Fill the kettle (or pot) with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Place the bowl on a stable surface such as a sturdy table.
  3. Turn the heat off on the kettle, and pour approximately six cups of water into the bowl on the table.
  4. Add 3-5 drops eucalyptus essential oil to the hot water.
  5. Position your head about arm’s length away from the bowl, and cover your head with the towel. Don’t get your face too close to the hot water, but close enough to inhale the steam.
  6. Breathe deeply for about ten minutes. Remove the towel if you feel uncomfortable or too hot.

CAUTION: Do not add more than five drops of eucalyptus essential oil at a time. While it is an effective herbal sinus remedy, it may irritate lungs if inhaled in too great a concentration. Children should not be subject to a eucalyptus essential oil steam. Eucalyptus essential oil should not be applied directly to the skin, or taken internally.

Elderberry Syrup
Elderberry Syrup


Elderberry, also known as elder flower, is another of the best herbal sinus remedies. It has been proven in laboratory studies, to reduce the amount of sinus secreted, improve sinus drainage, lessen the swelling of the mucous membranes, and decrease congestion. In addition, elderberry has been proven effective against at least eight different strains of the flu virus.

Preparations of elderberry syrup, tablets, juice, and extracts can be found at health food stores or online, and may be the only herbal sinus remedy you need. However, you can also make your own elderberry syrup (taken like cough syrup) at home, if you have dried or fresh elderberries.


  • 1 cup fresh elderberries (or ½ cup dried elderberries)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup honey


  1. Add water and berries to a pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Mash the berries, strain, and add the honey to the purple liquid. Stir well to combine.
  3. Bottle in a dark glass or plastic bottle, label with the contents and date, and store in the refrigerator. The syrup keeps for 2-3 months.

In addition to being a fantastic herbal sinus remedy, this elderberry syrup can also be used as a food. It is quite tasty and can be enjoyed on pancakes, waffles, with mineral water, or anywhere else you’d use syrup.


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    • Gina145 profile image

      Gina145 4 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks. I'll be looking out for both eucalyptus oil and elderberry syrup.

    • starbright profile image

      Lucy Jones 4 years ago from Scandinavia

      From experience I know that sinus inflammation is very painful. Thanks for the expertise and sharing. Voted up as useful.

    • profile image

      Sunray 5 years ago

      Great info. i'm very excited to have an elderberry syrup recipe. Thanks so much.