Conditions & Ailments

Sinusitis, an inflammation of the nasal sinuses

What is sinusitis?

The normal working of the sinuses is so subtle that you do not even know about it. The sinuses are four pairs of openings in the bones at the front of the skull which are located above the eyes, on either side of the nose, behind the bridge of the nose and behind the cheekbones.

These openings are lined with a thin membrane that excretes mucus which passes through small openings into the nose.

When this membrane becomes irritated or infected it produces thicker mucus and the tiny sinus openings get blocked.

The sinuses cannot drain properly and causes headaches, a feeling of fullness in the face and excessive postnasal drip.

Symptoms of sinusitis

  • Fever- usually low grade
  • Headache
  • Earache
  • Coughing
  • Toothache
  • Facial pain
  • Cranial pressure
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Tenderness over the forehead and cheekbones

The postnasal drip caused by a sinusitis infection can cause nausea, a sore throat and bad breath. Sinusitis can also interrupt sleep which will result in fatigue.

Snoring is also a common sign that a person is suffering from sinusitis.

A doctor will often tap the forehead just over the eyes, the cheekbones and the area around the bridge of the nose to determine if the sinuses are infected. If the patient experiences any pain during this examination, there is an infection and immediate treatment is needed.

Types and causes of sinusitis

  • Chronic sinusitis - caused by small growths in the nose, injury of the nasal bones, air pollution, dental complications, emotional stress, smoking and exposure to irritant fumes and smells
  • Acute sinusitis - caused by bacterial or viral infections of the nose, throat and upper respiratory tract
  • Allergic sinusitis - caused by hay fever or food allergies, especially milk and dairy product allergies
  • Fungal sinusitis - people with compromised immune systems often suffer from this type of sinusitis and it is a potentially dangerous condition that needs aggressive treatment by a specialist

How can supplements help me?

In some cases antibiotic treatment is required, especially if it is a fungal sinusitis or a severe bacterial infection.

People who suffer from chronic sinusitis benefit from taking herbal supplements as it can help clear up the infection and prevent future infections.

Herbal supplements and herbal remedies do not have the same undesirable side-effects that conventional treatments and decongestants have.

Start by choosing an herbal remedy that boosts your immune system. Echinacea, astralagus, cat's claw and reishi or maitake mushrooms are your best options.

For acute sinusitis attacks try just one of these herbal remedies until the infection has cleared up. For chronic sinusitis, alternate each one of the herbal remedies in a two-week rotation to build and maintain your immunity.

Vitamin C and flavonoids are also immune boosters and offer additional benefit to people whose allergy attacks develop into full-blown sinusitis.

Nettle relieves allergy symptoms

Supplement Recommendations
Supplement Dosage
Echinacea 200 mg 4 times a day
Astralagus 200 mg twice a day between meals
Cat's claw 250 mg extract twice a day
Reishi / Maitake mushrooms 500 mg reishi and / or 200 mg maitake 3 times a day
Vitamin C / Flavonoids 1000 mg vitamin c and 500 mg flavonoids daily
Nettle 250 mg extract 3 times a day

Other recommendations

Eat a diet consisting of 75 percent raw foods.

Drink plenty of water and fresh vegetable and fruit juices. Also consume plenty of hot liquids such as herbal teas. These will help mucus to flow, relieving congestion and sinus pressure.

Try to eliminate dairy products that can increase mucus formation.

Boil a pot of water and add a few drops of eucalyptus oil. Remove the pot from the heat and lean your face over it to inhale the steam. This clears the sinus passages and eases breathing. NB - be careful of scalding your face with the steam.

Reminder

Please consult your medical practitioner prior to using any herbal medications should you be under their care. Suggestions offered are not intended to replace appropriate medical investigation and treatment.


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