Scoop

Natural ways to keep sinus problems at bay

Sinus infections along with the resultant nasal congestion increase during the colder weather. Children in particular find the congestion caused by sinus infections quite troublesome with increased breathing difficulty from blocked nasal passages, continual runny nose and painful ears again caused by the build-up of mucus which can lead to ear infections. The increase in mucus is due to irritation/inflammation of the upper respiratory mucus membranes – this is caused by the respiratory infection but can also by caused by irritants such as pollens and dust which results in a watery discharge as in allergy situations.

Natural Ingredients

Using natural ingredients to assist the body to fight the infection and to support and dry the mucus membranes are important beginning steps. Keeping warm and having plenty of rest to assist in the recuperation time are also necessary. Warming drinks with Ginger root and lemon with honey are also very beneficial.

Decongestant Essential Oils

To assist with the relief of the congestion - inhalations using decongestant essential oils are a great way to ease the pressure in the sinus’s as well as potentially fight the infection. Useful decongestant essential oils are tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus and thyme. Remember you will only need to use a few drops of essential oil in a bowl or basin of hot water to have a very beneficial effect as the oil droplets become attached to water droplets in the steam which you inhale. If you do not have essential oils on hand the same effect can be achieved by using dried kitchen herbs of thyme or rosemary.

Anti Catarrhals

Specific herbs and essential oils taken internally to dry the mucus membranes are called anti catarrhals. These help to relieve the congestion by reducing the formation of phlegm. Herbs such as peppermint contain menthol along with cineole which have the effect of reducing the surface tension between the air and water/mucus in the lungs. Thus allowing the mucus to ‘flow’ and relieving congestion. Another beneficial effect of menthol and cineole is that they exhibit quite strong antibacterial and antimicrobial activity so very useful to use peppermint essential oil in an inhalation.

Licorice Root

Licorice is often thought of as licorice straps or the lolly form however Licorice root has a long tradition as a medicinal herb. Licorice root contains the compounds glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhetinic acid. Research has shown that these two compounds are primarily responsible for Licorice roots wide ranging therapeutic activity as an anti-inflammatory. For respiratory catarrh Licorice is especially useful in its action to move mucus from the respiratory tract as well as having a protective effect on the mucus membranes. It is also a very useful anti-tussive herb – reducing the amount of coughing.

Lemon Oil

Lemon oil is often referred to as having immune enhancing properties so using this oil in very small amounts both as an inhalation and internally may assist in stimulating an aspect of the immune system. Next time you are having a lemon and honey drink try adding a small amount of the washed peel.


For the best results in the treatment of sinus infections and congestion it is advisable to use an immune stimulating formulation to support the immune system. Make sure you discuss your specific needs with your local health professional.



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