Sinus infections are the result of inflammation of the mucous membranes, and most likely due to an overgrowth of fungi in the nasal cavities.
Mayo Clinic researchers found that “fungal organisms were present in 96% of patients who had surgery for chronic sinusitis, and that inflammatory cells were clumped around the fungi indicating that the condition was an immune disorder caused by fungal overgrowth.”
Chronic sinusitis causes long-term nasal congestion, excess mucus, nasal polyps, reduced sense of smell, and headaches. Over time, chronic sinus infections create an environment for bacterial infections that exacerbate these symptoms.
Repeated doses of antibiotics are not the solution! Excessive and inappropriate antibiotic use has led to antibiotic-resistant bugs that can cause serious consequences and changes to the microflora. Antibiotic overuse creates intestinal dysbiosis and weakens the immune system (70-80% of the immune system resides in the gut). According to researchers, it has been discovered that antibiotics were shown to be no better than a placebo and can actually make fungal infections worse. Unfortunately, antibiotics are one of the most over-prescribed medications, and even a single course of antibiotics can permanently alter the gut flora.
Sinus Infections: Identify the Root Cause
- Biofilm in the sinus
- Mercury toxicity
- Gut dysfunction, GERD, bowel inflammation, and toxins in the bowel
- Hidden food sensitivities and mucous-forming foods, specifically gluten, milk and dairy products
- Blockages (nasal polyps, cysts, tumors)
- Candida overgrowth, bacterial, yeast, fungal, mold and viral infections are the #1 cause of chronic sinus infections.
- Oral contraceptives
- Exogenous estrogen
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Overuse of antibiotics, including hidden sources of antibiotics (i.e. conventionally-raised animal protein)
- Autoimmune disorders
- Dental infections
- Adrenal insufficiency
- Lack of rest and sleep deprivation
- Ileocecal valve (ICV) dysfunction
- Liver and gallbladder dysfunction
- Smoking and second hand smoke. Air pollution. Extremely dry, cold air.
As you can see from the lengthy list above, the healing protocol will vary depending on the root cause. The following healing therapies and natural remedies have proven effective for eliminating chronic sinus infections.
Natural Remedies for Sinus Infections
Use Food as Medicine
- Stop eating inflammatory and mucous-producing foods. The typical culprits include gluten, wheat, corn, grains, sugar and all dairy products except for pastured butter
- Avoid mycotoxic foods such as peanuts, peanut butter, alcohol, hard cheeses, grains (wheat, corn, barley)
- Avoid all artificial sweeteners, fructose and sugar, food additives, vegetable oils, soy products, alcohol and caffeine, processed, packaged, fake foods
- Heal the sinuses: homemade chicken soup, raw apple cider vinegar, garlic, onions, ginger, turmeric (curcumin), cayenne and fresh grated horseradish
- Stay hydrated! Drink clean, filtered water (away from mealtime). Add fresh lemon or lime, a pinch of Celtic sea salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Vitamin A-rich foods support a healthy immune system and keep mucous membranes in tip-top form: sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, leafy greens, mango, papaya, egg yolk, and pumpkin
- Healthy fats such as pastured grass-fed butter that contains butyric acid, a fuel source for coloncytes. Organic coconut oil, rich in lauric acid is known for its antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties.
- Herbal teas: Pau ‘d arco, Nettles and Fenugreek
Paula’s Natural Sinus Relief Cocktail. Blend the following in a Vitamix or a high-powered blender: 12-16 oz. filtered water, 1 tbsp. raw honey, 1 tbsp. raw apple cider vinegar, the juice from one whole lemon, 1-2 cups fresh organic pineapple chunks, 2 scoops collagen powder, 1 tablespoon organic coconut cream, a knuckle of fresh ginger root, fresh turmeric root and a pinch of black pepper.
Lifestyle Tips for Sinus Infections
- Test for and rule out hidden infections. Chronic sinusitis is often linked to mycotoxins and underlying infections.
- Use a Neti pot to irrigate, rinse and cleanse the sinuses. I like the Nasopure, and it’s BPA-free!
- Aromatherapy oils such as tea tree, eucalyptus, goldenseal and rosemary applied as a compress to the nasal area or as steam inhalation are very helpful.
- Sinuses that are aggravated by weather changes often respond very well to acupuncture.
- Prioritize rest and sleep
- Use dust mite-free bedding. Wash the sheets and bed pillows often.
- Use HEPA filters. Change the air filters in your home every month.
- Have the HVAC unit serviced regularly
- Check air quality in your home and work place
- Check for mold and water damage
- Visit the dentist regularly since oral infections can easily spread to the sinuses.
- Oil pull 4-5 times weekly
- Consider mental and emotional stressors and their impact on overall health. Practice daily relaxation and restoration. Emotional stress weakens the immune system creating the perfect environment for infections to occur. Everything’s interconnected. Emotions are not separate from physical manifestations in our bodies.
Sinus Problems and the Emotional Connection. Researchers Dr. Robert Ivker and Dr. Geerd Hamer have shown that sinus problems are often triggered after the experience of an emotional “stink conflict.” This could be a severe emotional reaction to an actual odor or it could be the symbolic feeling that “this situation stinks.” Nearly all of Dr. Ivker’s patients with chronic sinusitis also had significant emotional issues, especially anger. According to New York Times bestselling author, Louise Hay, an underlying emotional cause of sinus problems is irritation to one person, specifically someone close to you.
DIY Neti-Pot Sinus Relief Recipe
In a 16 ounce glass jar, mix the following:
- 12-14 ounces of clean, filtered water or distilled water
- 1/2 teaspoon of Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt or non-iodized Kosher salt
- one drop of tea tree oil (an anti-microbial and anti-fungal)
- 6 full droppers of liquid iodine forte (as potassium iodide)
- Other options to add to the mix: aqueous zinc, colloidal silver, an opened capsule of saccharomyces boulardii
Fill the neti-pot or Nasopure with the solution. Shake to mix the ingredients. Cleanse and irrigate the sinus passages daily.
Nutrient and supplemental support for Sinus Infections
As with all nutritional support, it’s not a one-remedy-fits-all approach. The best way to determine your personal nutrient profile unique to your biochemistry is through a functional blood chemistry analysis.
We each have a unique biochemistry and each person reacts differently to different therapies. If you have chronic sinus problems or suffer with snoring, seasonal allergies, nasal polyps or chronic sinus headaches, it’s most likely due to the overgrowth of fungi in your nasal cavities. The key is to identify the root cause why you’re experiencing chronic sinus infections, test to assess, and follow a bio-individualized nutrition, lifestyle, environmental, and healing regime that works for you!