Chronic sinusitis refers to inflammation of the sinuses that continues for weeks, months, or even years. Allergies are the most common cause of chronic sinusitis. Chronic sinusitis can persist even after antibiotics are given.
It’s the most frequently reported chronic disease. Chronic sinusitis can also be caused by structural abnormalities of the nose, such as a deviated septum (the bony partition separating the two nasal passages), or by small growths called nasal polyps, both of which can trap mucus in the sinuses.
Acute sinusitis occurs when bacteria invade the sinus cavities and impair proper drainage of mucus from the sinuses to the nose. Chronic inflammation of the nasal passages or rhinitis also can lead to sinusitis. Allergic rhinitis or hay fever is the most common cause of chronic sinusitis and is a frequent cause of acute sinusitis.
Investigate your sinusitis. It could be food related, environmental, or reactions due to chemicals . Vasomotor rhinitis is caused by humidity, cold air, alcohol, perfumes, and other environmental conditions. Medical science believes the sinuses around your nose act like small air-quality filter centers. It’s their job to warm, moisten, purify, and generally condition the air you breathe before going to your lungs.
Entering bacteria gets trapped and filtered out by mucus and minute nasal hairs called cilia. This air-flow system can sometimes slow down when something impedes the cilia, if a cold clogs the sinus openings, or if an allergen swells the sinus linings. Then air gets trapped, pressure builds, the mucus stagnates, and bacteria breed. Infection sets in and you have sinusitis. When you get clogged up, you may end up with a permanent thickening of the sinus membranes and chronic congestion.
- Sinusitis can also be caused by a variety of factors, such as virus, fungal infections, and medication side-effects. Inhalation of airborne allergens such as dust, mold, and pollen, often set off allergic reactions.
- Those who are cigarette smokers and people who suffer from upper respiratory allergies are even more likely to develop bad sinus problems.
- There are four pairs of sinuses in the human skull that help circulate moist air throughout the nasal passages.
- The common cold is the most prevalent predisposing factor to sinusitis. Acute sinusitis typically causes symptoms of nasal congestion and a thick yellow or green discharge. Other symptoms include tenderness and pain over the sinuses, frontal headaches, and sometimes chills, fever, and pressure in the area of the sinuses.
Chronic sinusitis differs slightly, in that symptoms can be milder and may only include postnasal drip, bad breath, and an irritating dry cough. Hay fever, environmental triggers unrelated to hay fever, food allergens, and dental infections can also lead to sinusitis. Humidity is the key to keeping the cilia working, the mucus flowing, and the sinuses drained.
Managing Your Sinusitis
Prevention is the key!
- Twice a day, stand in a shower hot enough to fog up the mirror. Or lean over a pan full of steaming water with a towel draped over your head, creating a steam tent. Inhale the vapors as they waft up toward your nostrils. Eucalyptus oil is often used in a steam inhalation to help clear nasal and sinus congestion. Eucalyptus oil works similarly to that of menthol by acting on receptors in the nasal mucosa, leading to a reduction in the symptoms of nasal congestion. Just add 4 to 6 drops to a pan of steaming water with a towel draped over your head and inhale the vapors.
- Applying moist heat over the sinuses, is an easy way to wash away sinus pain. Apply a warm washcloth over your eyes and cheekbones and leave it there until you feel the pain subside. It may take only a few minutes.
- Flush out nasal secretions. Mix 1 teaspoon of non-iodized salt or sea salt with 2 cups of warm water and a pinch of baking soda. Pour it into a shot glass, tilt your head back, close one nostril with your thumb, and sniff the solution with the open nostril. Then blow your nose gently. Repeat on the other side.
- An Ayurvedic solution, similar to this is done in the same manner with a Netti Pot. It looks similar to a tea pot, but with a longer, narrower spout for the nostrils. These can be found in most health food stores.
- To clear excess mucus from the sinus, combine the juice from the horseradish root with the juice of 3 lemons. Take a 1/2 teaspoon between meals for several months until the mucus in the sinus clears.
Herbal Remedies for Sinusitis
- Bromelain Bromelain is a plant-enzyme. Bromelain is not actually a single substance, but a group of protein-digesting enzymes found in pineapple juice and in the stem of pineapple plants. It is primarily produced in Japan, Hawaii, and Taiwan. Local swelling is the releasing of histimines in a localized area causes the vasodilation and increased permeability of blood vessels. Bromelain has an anti-inflammatory effect and is a very effective treatment for sinusitis. It is recommend taking 200 to 400 milligrams three times a day on an empty stomach at least ninety minutes before or three hours after eating. Discontinue use if you develop any itching or rash.
- Cayenne Peppers contain Capsaicin, a substance that can stimulate the nerve fibers and may act as a natural nasal decongestant.
- Elderflower, is excellent for catarrh and sinusitis. This herb reduces symptoms and promotes healing.
- Garlic has the same chemical found in a drug given to make mucus less sticky. This is a wonderful natural antibiotic and detoxifier which protects the body against infection by enhancing immune function.
- Horseradish is an herb used traditionally, as it dissolves mucus. One half to one teaspoon (3–5 grams) of the freshly grated root can be eaten three times per day. Horseradish tincture is also available. One quarter to one half teaspoon (2 to 3 ml) can be taken three times per day.
- Nettle Leaf, 300mg, taken twice per day can lead to effective results. Stinging Nettle plant (Urtica dioica) relieves hay fever symptoms quickly in most people, has no toxicity, and is even a valuable source of iron and trace minerals. Do not take this herb if you have high blood pressure.
- Wood Betony is used in traditional European herbal medicine as an anti-inflammatory remedy for those with sinusitis.
Aromatherapy Remedies for Sinusitis
Aromatherapy can clear sinusitis by combating infection, opening up nasal passages, reducing congestion and relieving pain.
- Essential oils such as Cedarwood, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Lavender, Marjoram, Peppermint, Pine, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Tea Tree and Thyme are all beneficial for this condition.
- Cedarwood: is an excellent choice for treating respiratory problems. As an expectorant, it helps to dislodge and expel mucus, decreases congestion. As an antiseptic, it fights infection.
- Eucalyptus: fights bacterial and vrial infections. This oil stimulated regeneration of lung tissue. It increases blood oxygen supplies allowing more oxygen as well as nutrients to be delivered to the cells throughout the body.
- Ginger: stimulates the immune system. It warms the chill from winter and dampness, cools the body by inducing sweating, reduces the drainage of a runny nose and helps with respiratory infection.
- Lavender: clears congestion, stuffiness and soothes respiratory and throat disorders and boosts the immunity.
- Marjoram: eases respiratory disorders such as asthma, bronchitis, colds and flu and sinusitis.
- Peppermint: clears sinuses and improves breathing.
- Pine: fights respiratory infections and encourages the release of mucus. This oil relieves congestion and makes breathing easier.
- Rosemary: helps relieve respiratory disorders, fights infection, expels phlegm and assists in lymph drainage.
- Tea Tree: a cousin to eucalyptus, this oil relieve respiratory disorders, fights bacteria, viruses and fungi and has a reputation of improving immunity.
- Thyme: improves immunity by boosting the production of white blood cells. This oil is great for respiratory disorders.
Hydrotherapy for Sinusitis
Steam treatments and hot baths have a cleansing effect on allergies. Instructions for a warm bath: Fill your bathtub with water slightly warmer than body temperature, around 97° to 101°F (You can check the temperature of the water with a regular thermometer. ) As the tub fills with water add 2 spoons of Angel’s Mist Deep Soak Sea Salts to the bath water for a soothing, skin cleansing soak. Submerging as much of your body as possible, stay in the bath for at least 20 minutes, adding water as needed to maintain the temperature of the bath.
Steam Inhalation First, boiling water. Remove the pot from the stove. Add a few drops of lavender, eucalyptus and tea tree oil or the other oils listed above to the water and then with a towel, make a tent over your head and inhale the steam for 10-15 minutes. Add just a few drops of one – three oils only.
Consider cleansing the nasal passages with a Neti Pot. This Ayurvedic solution has been used for centuries to keep the nasal passages clear of mucus and congestion.
Nutritional Advice for Sinusitis
Water should be a very important part of any nutritional program. 6-8 8 ounces per day. Water allows for the cleansing, thinning and free flow of mucus in the system.
Some studies indicate that people with sinusitis have environmental allergies. Although food allergies may also contribute to the problem, some researchers believe food allergies only rarely cause sinusitis. If other treatment approaches are unsuccessful, people with sinusitis may choose to work with a nutritionist in order to evaluate what, if any, effect elimination of food and other allergens might have on reducing their symptoms.
Supplementation with 250 mg of Pantothenic Acid two times a day helps most patients suffering from allergic rhinitis, a significant predisposing factor for sinusitis. However, research has yet to investigate the effects of Pantothenic Acid supplementation with people who have sinusitis.
Histamine is associated with increased nasal and sinus congestion. Vitamin C (2,000 mg three times per day) reduced histamine levels in people with either high histamine levels or low blood levels of Vitamin C.
Bromelain, an enzyme derived from pineapple, has been reported to relieve symptoms of acute sinusitis.
Eliminate milk and all milk products from the diet, including prepared foods that list milk as an ingredient. An overwhelming majority of patients report dramatic improvement in sinus conditions after two months of this dietary change.
Do not smoke. Do not spend time around smokers or in smoky environments.
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