Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Curing a sinus infection naturally

I haven't featured a lot of natural remedies on this blog because *toot my own horn* I don't really get sick much.  When I do, I usually do absolutely nothing and just ride it out.  However, this year, I have had a cold several times.  I blame the toddler.  This past cold has lasted in some form or another, seven weeks now.  I was sick (achy, congested, sneezy, lethargic) for about two days and then I had congested sinuses pretty much every night for the next five weeks, until it came to a head again about two weeks ago with sever congestion, sneezing, and otherwise utter sinus misery.  My nose was so stuffy I thought I might suffocate.  Unfortunately, congestion is REALLY hard to get rid of naturally.  If I wasn't nursing I might have just taken a Benadryl and called it a day.  Even if I didn't avoid chemical medication, decongestants have always given me terrible side effects including restlessness, out of body experiences and feeling just plain high.  Decongestants are absolutely not safe for pregnant and nursing moms.  I finally decided that I must have a sinus infection (though I don't know for sure).  After all, you can't be stuffy for two weeks and not have it worsen.  Once I figured out to treat an infection instead of just the symptoms, I started to get better.

Here's what works and what doesn't for me.  Any number of these remedies might work for you depending on the severity and the cause of your congestion.

For congestion:

Worked for me:
Boil a pot of water and remove it from the stove.  Add 3 or 4 drops of tea tree oil.  Cover your head and pot with a towel and inhale (as much as you can).  You will need to inhale for 5 to 10 minutes.  This helped, but only for 10 or 15 minutes, then the congestion was back.

Didn't work for me (but may for other types of congestion):
- Neti Pot - this is great if you have allergies and need to flush something out of your nose.  It is also good to use if you have a sinus infection to keep the mucus moving.
- Stinging Nettle - this only works if you have a true allergy.  Take capsules or drink tea.  Can be taken regularly through allergy season to avoid allergy flare ups.
- Bamboo Extract - I have no idea what this was supposed to do, but I went to my herbalist in a state of desperation asking for something that will "clear my nose and do it TODAY." I choked up the $42 and took it for 3 days and it did nothing to clear my congestion  Maybe it would help to get over the cold, but I don't know.  Bamboo extract should not be taken during pregnancy. 
- Saline Spray - Good for "light" congestion associated with pregnancy or allergies.  Doesn't help for inflamed sinus passages like I have.

For the infection:
Grapefruit Seed Extract - This is really the only treatment I have tried that has given me relief.  GSE is a strong natural antibiotic and works really well against fungus also.  You can buy a spray from NutriBiotics that is a GSE spray, or you can make your own by adding 2 oz of distilled water and 3 drops of GSE to an eye dropper.  Tilt your head back and drop a whole eye dropper full into each nostril and swing your head forward so that it is upside down.  Hold like this for 20 or 30 seconds for it to fill your sinuses.  Bring your head back to upright and let it drain and blow your nose gently.  Obviously, the pre-made nasal spray is going to be easier.  Do this every hour or as close to every hour as possible for a week.  I know it sounds like a lot, but it depends on how desperate you are to avoid antibiotics.  I didn't start doing this until just Saturday, and my nose finally started to clear (at least during the day) by Monday.  It isn't fast, but it works.  If I would have started the GSE nasal spray weeks ago, I bet I wouldn't be going through this now.

Another GSE option is to use it in a Neti Pot.  Add 2 or 3 drops to your pot and flush.  Do this every hour.

I also think you should take GSE internally.  You can get capsules or take the liquid in some sort of beverage.  It tastes terrible so you need a strong beverage (perhaps some decaf coffee).  Take this several times a day.

General tips
- Avoid dairy like the plague.  Dairy thickens your mucus and it will make you so much more miserable.  I know, I ate frozen yogurt one night and the congestion was instantly magnified.
- Take something to thin your mucus.  Fenugreek thins mucus and moves it out of the body (not to be used during pregnancy, but is great while lactating).  Warm lemon water or apple cider vinegar does too.  Squeeze a whole lemon into 8 oz of water.  Sweeten with stevia and drink regularly.  Or add 2 tbspns of ACV to 8 oz of water and drink.  I didn't do the ACV, but I've read it thins mucus quite well.  You need your mucus thin and watery not thick, slimy, and green.
- Drink lots of water.  That will thin your mucus too.
- Avoid sugar.  Sugar weakens your immune system and if you have an infection, sugar will feed it.
- Take an immune booster.  Astragulus or Black Elderberry, and always take Vitamin C.  Echinacea is a good option too.

Internal infections are really hard to get rid of naturally.  You'll have to really be persistent and throw some good stuff at it.  But it can be done.  I'm still trying to get rid of mine, and I've been taking the GSE for 5 days now.  If you know of any other suggestions, I'd love to hear them. 


  1. I use GSE also and it works great. I put a few drops in the Neil Med Sinus Rinse bottle with the salt that comes in the kit, add distilled water and the GSE and it flush a few times a day. I also use Euphorbium made by Heel and it clears it up nicely too. THANK YOU for your post!

  2. I love this!

    There is cure for sinus infection. I know you have asked yourself "Why does it keep coming back?'' I know because I had asked myself the very same question for years.

    I once suffered from a chronic sinus infection. I tried every single antibiotic, decongestant, nasal spray, irrigation device… you name it, I tried it.

    It was only when the Doctor suggested sinus surgery that I began seriously looking for an alternative to the scalpel, stitches and a life time of saying “If only had found a sinus treatment that
    worked.” and I found it all here

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  4. I have been really impressed by going through this awesome blog. treatment for sinus infection

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  6. I had sinus surgery 8 weeks ago..After 4 weeks the infection was back. I refuse to take antibiotics. Doc prescribed a steriod sinus rinse to use with my netipot twice a day - it's done nothing. I'd like to use GSE but need a good brand I can trust. Can't rinse during the day. any ideas?

    1. I use GSE all the time and it is great for sinus problems. During the daytime and for easiness I use Nutribiotic Nasal Spray Plus Nasal Lubricant with Grapefruit Seed Extract.

      This is just a couple of quick squirts up the nose and get on with the day.

      I also clean the nasal bottle and make my own out of GSE...just a few drops in clean purified water.

      Hope this helps

  7. Please Note: This is not for your nose! This is to rid your body of the infection like an antibiotic would work. WARNING: DON'T TAKE MORE THAN RECOMMENDED - THIS CHANGES YOUR BODY'S PH AND THAT IS NOTHING TO PLAY WITH - SO STICK TO THE RULES FOR YOUR SAFTY (and also to avoid the diarrhea that will happen if you take more than 1/2 teaspoon at a time.) If you read the box you will see that it is recommended for human consumption as an antiacid or laxative.
    Drink 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda (yes Arm and Hammer) in 4 ounces of warm water, or tea, or etc. 6 times the first day, then 4 times per day for 2 to 3 more days. This makes your body alkaline and virus', germs, bacteria, fungus and more cannot live in this environment - so they die. I have done it twice and I am still amazed at how quickly and efficiently it works.

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  10. There are a lot of ways to naturally get rid of sinuses. I have a friend that uses a saline solution to clean out his nose and open up the airways a little. Sinus infections are tough in the sense that they are just built up pressure that makes everything hurt. I use a variation of methods to try and rid my body of the infection completely.

  11. Sinusitis is a common infection therefore everyone should know at least how to get a basic sinus infection treatment at home before you can reach a doctor. This knowledge could be useful in many situations, including the ones when you are away from home, on an expedition or somewhere else where you cannot get medical help. See more

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  13. I'm pretty encouraged. I've been searching how to get rid of a sinus infection today. Came across GSE. I've kept this on hand for the better part of 10 years. Mostly only used in my cleaning spray. Have started my Neti last night. Added 1 drop of GSE in the pot with the 1/4tsp of salt. I'm sure this isn't a cure all after one time but this is the first time my left nostril has been clear in DAYS. I don't think I have a sinus infection yet but I feel it was headed in that direction. I seriously can't believe I'm breathing through the left side. I fully expect to keep dealing with the nasal congestion and using my neti pot for a bit but even just this little bit of a "break" is wonderful. Thanks!

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