The sinuses are cavities in the bones around the nose, the cheeks, and the eyes. These cavities are lined with membranes that produce mucus, and when the sinuses are functioning normally, this mucus serves a protective purpose. It warms and moistens incoming air and filters it for germs. When sinuses can't drain properly, however, the mucus accumulates and becomes stagnant, making the area ripe for infection.
Sinusitis, which is the name for an infection of the sinus cavities, can be quite unpleasant and often painful. The mucus build-up leads to clogged nasal passages, thick drainage, and a general feeling of weariness and discomfort. The swollen membranes feel even worse, because they can fill up the tiny sinus cavities and press against the bones of the face. If you are unsure whether your head congestion is sinusitis, bend forward from the waist. If you feel heavy pressure of pain against your cheekbones of your eyes, you probably have sinusitis.
Sinusitis may be either acute or chronic. Acute sinusitis is usually caused by a complication from another respiratory infection, such as a cold, the flu, or bronchitis. Any of these infections can lead to blocked drainage, which in turn causes sinusitis. If the sinus membranes don't have a chance to heal fully, an acute case can easily turn into a chronic one.
Recurring colds and flu warning signs of a suppressed immune system-may lead to chronic sinusitis, as can other factors that consistently cause an obstruction of the sinus cavities. Repeated exposure to environmental allergens and irritants, such as mold spores or tobacco, is a common cause, as are food allergies or a diet that's high in mucus-forming foods.
Research has shown that chronic sinusitis is most often related to an immune response to a fungal infection in the sinus cavity. This research was first released in 1999 by a Mayo Clinic study, and the results have since been duplicated in subsequent studies. Natural practitioners often treat people who have chronic sinusitis for a systemic fungal infection, and this condition is helped by such an approach.
Sinusitis is an all-too-familiar ailment, but it can often be treated and prevented with simple home care and immune-boosting strategies. If your symptoms don't disappear within a few weeks, however, or if you have intense sinus pain, consult your doctor. In severe and prolonged cases, sinusitis can lead to serious diseases like pneumonia or even meningitis.
** All of these prescriptions below have been proven effective; level of effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your doctor when taking any and all supplements.
The top 7 vitamins and supplements shown to
Prescription for Natural Cures by James F. Balch and Mark Stengler
Super Prescription #1 Antibiotics – All Natural - LifeSource Product – All Natural and Safe. Take as directed on the container daily. These types of formulas contain a great synergistic blend to help with sinusitis.
Super Prescription #2 Echinacea and Goldenseal - LifeSource Products - See All of our Echinacea/Goldenseal Products. Take 450 mg twice times daily. This combination of herbs works well for acute sinusitis by enhancing immune function and reducing mucus congestion.
Super Prescription #3 Oregano Oil - LifeSource Product - Take 360 mg daily, or take as directed on the container. Oregano oil has potent antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Super Prescription #4 NAC - N-acetyl-L-Cysteine – LifeSource Product - Take 500 mg three times daily. This nutrient thins mucus secretions so that the sinuses can drain more effectively.
Super Prescription #5 Bromelain - Take 600 mg two times daily between meals. Look for products standardized to 2,000 M.C.U. (milk-clotting units) per 1,000 mg or 1,200 G.D.U. (gelatin-dissolving units) per 1,000 mg. Bromelain has a natural anti-inflammatory effect and has been shown in studies to improve acute sinusitis. Protease enzyme products also have this benefit.
Super Prescription # 6 Grapefruit seed extract - This is available as a nasal spray for sinusitis. Use the spray four times daily for acute sinusitis and twice daily for chronic sinusitis.
Super Prescription #7 Colloidal Silver - Use it as a nasal spray, or dilute it in a saline solution. Use the spray four times daily for acute sinusitis and twice daily for chronic sinusitis.
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· Pressure and pain around the cheekbones and the eyes
· Clogged nasal passages
· Thick, greenish-yellowish nasal discharge
· Diminished sense of smell or taste
· Fever (more often in acute cases; rarely in chronic)
Anything that blocks the sinus cavities or causes the mucus membranes to swell can lead to sinusitis.
· A respiratory infection
· Environmental allergies, especially hay fever
· Environmental irritants, including tobacco and pollution
· Food allergies or sensitivities, especially to milk
· A diet that's high in mucus-forming foods
· A dental infection
· Any activity that places pressure on the sinuses; swimming, scuba diving, flying in planes
· An immune system reaction to a fungal infection in the sinus cavity
· Systemic candidiasis
During an acute infection, eat lightly. In addition to 1 glass of clean water every two waking hours, drink plenty of herbal teas, vegetable juices, and broths. Chicken soup-especially with lots of vegetables-is still one of the best therapies for any respiratory infection.
Once the worst stage of an infection has passed, focus on foods that produce little or no mucus: whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits, cold-pressed oils, and raw seeds and nuts.
Several foods will aid mucus drainage and ease the pressure in your sinuses. Add cayenne, garlic, onions, or horseradish to your soups or meals. For a powerful sinus drainage remedy, eat a small spoonful of crushed horseradish mixed with lemon juice. (You may want to be near a sink or have a towel handy after taking this potent combination.)
Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil will reduce inflammation. Take a teaspoon of oil every day during the infection, or add some flaxseeds to cereals or salads.
If you must take an antibiotic for a sinus infection, be sure to consume a nondairy source of friendly bacteria, such as kefir or sauerkraut.
Foods to Avoid
People who suffer from chronic sinusitis must banish all mucus-forming foods from their diet. Dairy products are the worst culprit, but refined flours, chocolate, eggs, and fried and processed food cause high levels of mucus as well. If your case is acute, avoid these products for the duration of your illness. When you feel better, restrict your consumption of them to prevent recurrence.
Sugar and fruit juices should be reduced or eliminated because they feed yeast, which is often present in people who have chronic sinusitis.
Salt and alcohol both have dehydrating effects on the sinuses and result in further inflammation. Avoid alcohol and severely restrict salt intake.
During an acute infection, reduce your intake of solid foods and focus on water, broths, and juices. This will help your body focus on healing, rather than on digestion.
If you have a chronic case of sinusitis, go on a two- to three-day juice fast to rid your body of allergens, environmental irritants, and mucus. Green drinks will encourage mucus expulsion.
· Vitamin C has anti-allergy and immune-enhancing effects. Take 1,000 mg four times daily. Note: Reduce dosage is diarrhea occurs.
· Bioflavonoids are helpful for people with allergies. Take 500 mg three times daily of a mixed bioflavonoid formula.
· Grape seed extract or maritime pine bark extract reduces inflammation of the sinus. Take up to 300 mg daily for chronic sinusitis.
· Garlic (Allium sativum) also fights infection and also helps to drain sinuses. Take 250 to 500 mg twice daily.
· Elderflower tea is another traditional remedy that thins mucus. It also increases circulation to the sinus area.
· Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is an anti-inflammatory herb-as well as a cooking spice-which will reduce sinus pressure. Find an extract standardized for 400 to 600 mg of curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) and take 400 to 600 mg three times a day, or use 1 to 2 cc of a tincture three times a day.