Springtime Sinus Support
Dealing with sinus woes can be a huge headache. Here are our tips so you can enjoy your spring! Plus, a recipe!
Whether its a nasty sinus infection, allergies or something else, follow our handy springtime suggestions for keeping your botanical and herbal remedy cabinet stocked for spring and summer!
Lisa Turner writes: "The inflammation or infection that causes sinus problems can be triggered by bacteria or viruses, cigarette smoke, environmental toxins, air pollution, mold, airborne allergies, food allergies, tooth infections, dental problems, overgrowth of Candida albicans (yeast infection), or excessive consumption of dairy. Sometimes, structural abnormalities in the sinuses, such as narrow nasal passages or the growth of a nasal polyp, can prevent normal drainage.
Typical treatments for sinusitis include Sudafed, antihistamines, antibiotics, or steroids. But their side effects-including rapid heart rate, racing pulse, jitteriness, and insomnia-make them less than appealing. Happily for sinusitis sufferers, there are many safe and effective remedies for sinus problems. Skip the prescriptions, and breathe easier with these natural treatments."
Hydrate & Humidify
Drinking lots of water helps thin sticky mucous secretions, making them drain more easily from the sinuses. It also keeps the mucous membranes moist. Plain, filtered water is best, but herbal teas can also help; ginger and peppermint help loosen and thin mucus, holy basil and licorice boost immunity, and marshmallow soothes irritated nasal passageways.
Go (Blue) Green
Spirulina, a blue-green alga that can modulate immune function, is an effective treatment for allergic rhinitis-an inflammation of the nasal membranes that's characterized by sneezing, nasal congestion, and nasal itching-that's linked to sinusitis. In one study, spirulina significantly improved symptoms, including nasal discharge, sneezing, and congestion. It's thought to protect against sinusitis via its antimicrobial actions. Look for it in powders, tablets, or capsules, and be sure to choose high-quality varieties that have been tested to be free of heavy metals.
Bid Adieu to Dairy
It has long been thought that dairy increases congestion and mucous production, and can exacerbate respiratory problems. Until recently, scientific studies failed to show a relationship between dairy and mucus production. More recent studies suggest that the type of milk may be the culprit. Certain breeds of cows produce milk that contains beta-CM-7, a protein that can stimulate mucus glands in the sinuses, respiratory tract, and digestive tract in certain susceptible people. If you're plagued by sinus problems, try getting rid of dairy for a few weeks to see if symptoms improve.
Get Some Sun
It's the best way to increase the body's levels of vitamin D, which may alleviate sinus problems by enhancing immune function. More specifically, vitamin D suppresses inflammatory response, and helps the body prevent viruses and infections in the sinuses. Studies have also shown that people with chronic sinusitis have lower levels of vitamin D. About 10-15 minutes of direct sun three to four times a week is enough to help the body produce sufficient vitamin D. If you live in the northern United States, have darker skin, are over 70, or spend very little time in the sun, consider a vitamin D3 supplement.
SINUS BUSTER TEA
Author: Dianne Wenz
Yield: 1 cup
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger root, or ¼ teaspoon dried ground
- 1 teaspoon fresh minced turmeric, or ¼ teaspoon dried ground
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Herbal tea bag, just as Breath Easy or Throat Coat
- 1 drop oregano oil, optional (make sure it's food grade oil)
In a small pot over medium heat mix together the water, lemon juice. apple cider vinegar, ginger root, turmeric, black pepper, and cayenne.
Stir everything together and then add the tea bag.
Allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes, then strain, and pour into a mug. Add the drop of oregano oil, if using.
Drink while the tea is still warm.