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Herbal Sinus Treatment

Updated on December 12, 2012
Herbal teas for sinus congestion can have different ingredients.  Specific concoctions may work better than others.  Several recipes are given below.
Herbal teas for sinus congestion can have different ingredients. Specific concoctions may work better than others. Several recipes are given below. | Source

Natural Cures for Sinus Infection

The use of herbal sinus treatment is as old as man's history with plants. Men have explored many different herbs for their medicinal use and there are several different plants that have shown specific effectiveness as natural cures for sinus congestion, infection and/or inflammation.

This review of herbal sinus treatment covers herbs that can be used as healing teas and inhalants in their essential oil form. Also covered are herbal remedies that you ingest in tablet or capsule form. There are many different approaches and not all treatments work for all individuals, so a variety of herbs are covered that have shown strong evidence for helping people in this regard.

Essential Oil for Sinus Infection

There are two ways of using essential oils. First, you can put them on your clothing or your chest, or you can combine their use with steam. To do the steam method, put 5 drops of any of these essential oils in a pot of boiling water and cover your head with a towel over the pot and breathe in the vapors. Do this up to three times daily. Here are five recommended essential oils:

Arbor vitae oil - Scientifically known as Thuja occindentalis, scientific studies have shown that this essential oil stimulates the immune system and it has antiviral properties. It works for colds as well as upper respiratory tract viral infections. Another way to try this, if you don't have the essential oil, is to put the leaves in a pot and boil them until the oils are released, then breathe in the vapors.

Cajeput oil - from a tree related to Eucalyptus (Melaleuca quinquenervia or M. leucadendra), this strong-smelling, camphor-like oil also has antiseptic properties like tea tree oil when used on external wounds.

Eucalyptus oil - a well-known essential oil, containing eucalyptol, that helps clear out the sinus cavities and is part of Vicks VapoRub (which has menthol too). A combination with citrus oil and a pine extract has been indicated as useful in sinusitis as well. This oil is combined with cayenne in a commercially available nasal spray, Sinus Buster.

Niauli oil - (Melaleuca viridiflora), related to cajeput, the essential oil of this plant has similar properties.

Peppermint oil - There is some scientific evidence that this essential oil (menthol) works, however it needs further studies. But, it is an important part of Vicks VapoRub.

Essential oil extracted from the leaves of the arbor vitae plant, in addition to being effective for sinus congestion, have been found to have antiviral properties and use for upper respiratory tract viral infections.
Essential oil extracted from the leaves of the arbor vitae plant, in addition to being effective for sinus congestion, have been found to have antiviral properties and use for upper respiratory tract viral infections. | Source
Sambucus nigra (elderberry) flowers.  The dried flowers can be used in a tea or they can be ingested to help clear sinus congestion.
Sambucus nigra (elderberry) flowers. The dried flowers can be used in a tea or they can be ingested to help clear sinus congestion. | Source

Tea for Sinus Infection

Several plants are used as herbal teas, or decoctions, for sinus home remedies:

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) - Place 5 g of dried flowers in a tea ball and steep in a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes. This can be done 3 times per day. This herb stimulates the immune response to help fight disease. Not recommended for those who have diabetes.

Ginger - This root will not be hard to find. To make one cup of tea from this, grate two teaspoons of the fresh root and pour boiling water over it and let it steep for 15 minutes. To supercharge this tea, add a dash of cayenne pepper, which will help your sinuses produce more watery phelgm to clear out the thickened mucus.

Green Tea - This seems to work for some people, but you don't make a tea from it to get the benefits of clearing out nasal congestion, you chew the green tea leaves instead. There is a YouTube video that proposes this as an effective method. The theory is that it increases the blood circulation in your sinuses to help open them up. After you chew the leaves and extract all of the substance out of them, remove and discard the leaves, just like you would do with chewing tobacco.

Herbs that Can be Taken Orally

Garlic - Garlic has compounds in it that increase flow of mucus, reduce its thickness and reduce inflammation. If you don't like to consume fresh garlic by itself, consider putting it into dishes like guacamole or hummus.

Onion - Onion, being in the same family as garlic, has many of its healing properties. It also has a compound called quercitin, which reduces inflammation and nasal congestion. Quercitin is also found in leafy green vegetables. Slice up some fresh onions in your salad or find other recipes that use fresh onions.

Sinupret - A commercial product that contains Sambucus nigra (elderberry) flowers (18 mg/tablet), Rumex acetosa (common sorrel) which has Vitamin C and A, Primula veris (cowslip) which helps relieve sinus headaches, Verbena officinalis (European vervain) which helps with headaches and reduces fevers, and Gentiana lutea (gentian root) for its tonic effect. Medical trials have shown that Sunupret does help with sinusitis, but it apparently doesn't work for everyone. Try it and see if it works for you.

And Do This Too to Help Increase Circulation in Your Sinuses

Summary

As you can see, there are several approaches for using herbs to help cure sinus infections. What works for some people, will not work for others. This is because there are many different body types, constitutions and health histories. In addition to the information provided in this article, there are other cures that are available that you should consider. This would include oral consumption of apple cider vinegar, which helps thin the mucus. Food and supplement cures are also another avenue to consider. For a good summary of what works in that regard, see the reference below from the UCLA Integrative Medicine site. Also consider using the acupressure method given in the video.

Lastly, I advise you to first see a physician before using home remedies for sinus infection. Some of these methods help, but will not cure, a sinus infection. The suggestions in this article can help in your recovery, but they should be integrated in with your physician's advice.

For Further Reading

5 Tips You Can Do at Home to Help Cure Sinus Infection. ArticleGarden.com.

A Guide to Natural Ways to Alleviate Allergy and Sinusitis Symptoms. Explore Integrative Medicine, UCLA.

Aromatherapy. NYU Langone Medical Center.

Grieves, R. B. Cowslip. in: A Modern Herbal. Botanical.com.

Sinusitis. University of Maryland Medical Center.

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