Sinuses are air-filled chambers around the nose, on both sides of the forehead, between nasal passages and eye sockets, and around the cheekbones. When the sinuses become infected or obstructed, mucus forms and collects in pockets causing pain and swelling.
Causes of sinus problems include viral infection, bacterial infection, allergies, too much dairy in the diet, constipation, poor circulation, lack of exercise, and air pollution. Suppressive over-the-counter medications can drive infection deeper and produce side effects (although they do bring temporary relief).
Herbal teas are excellent sinus treatments. As you sip herbal tea, inhale the soothing vapors. Other good herbs for treating sinus problems include mullein, chamomile, comfrey, marshmallow, ginger, eyebright, fenugreek, thyme, echinacea, and calendula.
Aromatherapy can greatly benefit the sinuses. Eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, and rosemary essential oils help soothe and heal the entire respiratory system. Essential oils are also useful in a steam bath. Use lavender and eucalyptus -- they evaporate with the steam from the bath to penetrate and heal the sinuses. These oils may also be used in foot massage. Concentrate on the bottom of toes and balls of the feet.
Sinus problems usually benefit from a cleansing diet of vegetables, fruits, and grains. Greens, lemon juice, carrot juice, pineapples, papayas, and apples are good things to add. Don’t forget to drink plenty of pure, fresh water – the best remedy of all.
When the sinuses are stopped up, a good way to drain them is with horseradish. Grate a couple of teaspoons of fresh horseradish root and take a big spoonful by mouth. The sinuses will begin to drain and should be clear within a few minutes.
Mix a teaspoon of sea salt or table salt with a cup of hot water. Stir to dissolve. When lukewarm, snort up the nose and allow liquid to drain down the back of the throat and then spit it out of the mouth. If you have some powdered myrrh, add a pinch to the mixture before snorting. Myrrh may not completely dissolve and the mixture may need to be strained through a couple layers of cheesecloth before snorting. This all sounds awful but really works to ward off colds. Better to gag for a few seconds than to suffer weeks with a cold!
Before the start of cold and flu season, take regular doses of immunity herbs like ginseng, goldenseal, yellowroot, licorice, and astragalus. A strong immunity is the best way to protect against sinus infection. At the first sign of a cold (such as run down feeling with tickle in the throat or sneezing), begin taking three doses of astragalus a day for a week (but not with a fever). Often this one safeguard can kill a cold virus before it gets a chance to invade tissues and other body systems.
* Immunity building herbs should be rotated. None are recommended for constant long term use. Always consult with a healthcare professional before taking any herbal remedy especially if on prescription medication or pregnant.
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"The only way to really learn about herbal medicine is to touch and smell herbs, taste them, use them daily, and grow them if possible. Herbal medicine is a way of life. It is not a quick fix." ... Janice Boling herbalist, web designer, writer, photographer
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