How can I treat my sinus infection naturally?
An acupuncturist says: Typically accompanied by yellowish-green nasal discharge, facial pain, headaches and fatigue, a sinus infection can result from exposure to pathogens, allergens, air pollution, weather changes or stress. Antibiotics will help a bacterial infection, but not a viral one.
The treatment: Massage each side of the nose at the bottom edge of the nasal bones as well as the grooves at the widest point of both nostrils to the count of 10, three times each day. Or try Metagenics Sinuplex, which contains N-acetylcysteine to thin mucus, quercetin to stop your runny nose, vitamin C to reduce swelling of the mucous membranes and bromelain to relieve a headache. If your symptoms don’t clear up within a week, see an ear, nose and throat doctor. — Roberta Roberts Mittman, L.Ac., owner of Park Avenue Center for Wellbeing in New York City
An osteopath says: Taking antibiotics for a sinus infection significantly reduces the amount of “good” (as well as “bad”) bacteria in your respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. This allows Candida to grow and inflame the mucous membranes, contributing to fungal sinusitis.
The treatment: To stop Candida overgrowth, avoid sugar, dairy, wheat and alcohol, and take a daily probiotic (even when you’re not sick) with at least 2 billion CFUs. For the sinus infection, try Allimax (garlic supplements that are also antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal); 200 milligrams of echinacea three times daily; and 1,500 milligrams of the Chinese herb yin chiao three times daily. Also, it helps to remain hydrated, so drink 1⁄2 ounce of water for each pound of body weight daily. — Robert Ivker, D.O., author of Sinus Survival (Tarcher) in Boulder, Colo.
An ayurvedic physician says: Viruses and bacteria in your nose’s mucous membranes may cause a sinus infection. An unhealthy diet (think fried foods and rich desserts) could make your digestive and immune systems too weak to fight off infection.
The treatment: Eat plenty of easy-to-digest foods such as warm soups, steamed vegetables, lentils and cooked whole grains. To clear sinuses and boost digestion, drink warm herbal ginger tea and sprinkle stimulating spices such as ginger, turmeric, coriander and black pepper on dishes. Avoid cold foods and drinks because they suppress enzymes needed for digestion and constrict your already-blocked nasal passages. Also steer clear of congestion-causing dairy foods as well as alcohol, sugar and red meat—all trigger inflammation, which lowers resistance. — Nancy Lonsdorf, M.D., an ayurvedic doctor in Fairfield, Iowa