The painful, congested and puffy feeling in your face, a stuffy nose and a headache? Possible trouble spot: your sinuses. Before running off to get over-the-counter decongestants, antibiotics or painkillers, try these natural remedies to ease that achiness and congestion.
The sinuses are hollow pockets of air spaces in your skull, within the areas surrounding the nose. They produce mucus which drains into your nose. Colds, allergies, infections and other health conditions often cause your sinuses to get inflamed. Pain or pressure in your face, a stuffy nose, fatigue, headache, post-nasal drip, bad breath or a decreased sense of smell and/or taste that follow often indicate that your sinuses are congested. Trust me, I know how it feels. Are there natural remedies that can help? Thankfully there are. Here are eight remedies to help you overcome your sinusitis agonies.
1. Drink warm fluids
Drinking warm water, herbal or infused teas, clear veggie or chicken broths can do wonders. They help dilute your mucus, promote drainage and clear up your clogged sinuses. Avoid sugary drinks, coffee or alcohol as these can be dehydrating and worsen your symptoms.
Give this ginger-turmeric elixir a try as a morning drink – it’s packed with anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting benefits.
(Makes 1 serving)
- 8 ounces of hot water
- Juice from ½ lemon
- 1 to 2-inch pieces of ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper
- A pinch of cayenne pepper
Combine and stir all the ingredients in a glass. Let it stand for a few minutes, stir again and sip.
2. Natural tonics
Cayenne pepper, honey, ginger, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar are the ingredients you’ll need to make your homemade decongestant. This spicy yet soothing natural tonic helps thin out your mucus secretions and relieves the swelling around your narrowed nasal passages.
3. Warm compress
Place a warm, damp towel around your nose, cheeks and eyes for three to four minutes to help ease the sinus pressure and pain.
4. Steam vapours and inhalation
Have a warm, steamy shower and breathe in the moist vapours. This will help loosen your mucus and reduce the congestion in your nasal passages. Alternatively, create your steam inhalation remedy by dropping a few drops of eucalyptus oil into a bowl of steaming, hot water. Drape a towel over your head, close your eyes as you inhale the vapour from the bowl. This will moisturise your sinus cavities and provide you much-desired relief.
5. Sinus massage
I was amazed at the almost instantaneous relief I felt when I did a sinus massage on myself. Gently massaging the pressure points around my face helped relieve the congestion and pain in my sinuses. You can do this lying down or sitting up, applying the amount of pressure that you are comfortable with.
Here’s a quick how-to:
- Begin by placing your middle fingers at the top of your nose bridges then gently apply pressure as you move your fingers downwards towards the grooves under your cheekbones on both sides of your face. Gradually move your fingers towards your ears to drain out the mucus.
- Then place your thumbs just beneath your eyebrows and draw them towards your hairline. Next, draw your thumbs towards your temples and lift at your hair line. Continue until your entire forehead region has been massaged.
- Repeat two to three times.
6. Nasal rinse
If you’re making your own nasal rinse, use distilled, sterile or previously boiled then cooled water. Do a salt water wash or using a neti pot to rinse your nasal passages with saline solution. Head over here for a step-by-step guide on nasal irrigation. Be sure to rinse the irrigation device after each use with contaminant-free water and leave it open to air-dry.
7. Examine your diet
Food allergies and sensitivities may be the unassuming culprit behind your sinus woes. I grew up being food-allergy free, however, as I entered college, I began to notice that I experienced sinus attacks after consuming certain types of foods. Keeping a food diary helped me identify what these foods sensitivities were. The troublemakers were refined carbohydrates and dairy foods. Making a conscious, gradual change towards consuming more wholegrains and less dairy in my meals helped me tremendously. Thankfully, I still get to enjoy a few spoonfuls of yoghurt with my muesli or smoothie-fix!
Some of us may struggle with taking a rest with the never-ending to-do tasks that clamour for our attention daily. Lying in bed may be the last thing we want to do as it comes across as being unproductive. Take a moment to consider this: snoozing affords the rest your body desperately needs. This in turn will help your body fight inflammation and speed up recovery. Soon, you’ll be back on your feet, ready to take on your day!
Disclaimer: If your symptoms persist for longer than seven to 10 days or if you are running a fever, please consult your doctor immediately.