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sinus infection

January 20, 2005

I had one recently....tried to treat it myself as I get quite a digestive upset from antibiotics. My last episode with a C-pack (antibiotic) I was sick (nauseated/diarrhea) for six weeks. Anyway, I took amoxicilin for 10 days as my doc recommended; however, I still don't have a good "smeller" and I feel the infection is not completely gone. Any recommendations for an alternative approach???

Comments (26)

  • Heathen1

    The only thing I'd suggest is a preventative... in Temecula, do you have much humidity? That would help, plus drinking a lot of fluids and when you start getting some sinus, I'd drink mullein tea, eat yer garlic and maybe do a couple of days of echinacea when you feel one coming on.

  • johnyb


    sinusitis can be acute (ocassional cases) or chronic (happenning regularly) in nature. Aggravating factors include smoking, pollution, adenoids (tonsils), a cold environment, allergies etc. Dietary factors can aggravate the disease, particularly dairy intake in chronic sufferers, as this is mucous promoting in some individuals. Inadequate fuild intake can also aggravate sinusitis.

    Assuming you are a healthy person with uncomplicated acute sinusitis, a herbal prescription may include: Echinacea, Eyebright, Garlic, Horseradish, and Golden seal ( a definate. This herbal would be continued 2 weeks after sinusitis has cleared. For chronic cases the gameplan might change.

    I would suggest drinking 2 litres water daily, avoiding dairy and wheat products,alcohol and addressing any environmental factors that may be contributing to sinusitus such as occupational dust exposure, keeping warm during winter, ceasing smoking, avoiding any known allergens such as pollen etc.

    Also a stream inhalation of tea tree, eucalyptus and menthol oils can also be useful, 3 or more times daily, particularly in cold weather.

    Diarrhoea after and during antibiotic use is a relatively common side effect seen as antibiotics temporarily knock out much of our good gut flora whilst serving their purpose of eradicating the bad bacteria that is causing your sinusitis.

    An effective way to minimize this side effect is to supplement with a probiotic powder that contains acidophillus/bifidus strains of good gut flora. The aim is to repopulate the gut flora asap. Vitamin C in a powdered form mixed with warm water should also be taken. You'll find this works well. A good quality B vitamin/multimineral should also be taken for general wellbeing during convalescence.

    The probiotics and vit C powder can be bought at a health food store, I'd see a herbalist for the herbs.

    Hope that is of some help.


  • tressa

    Thank you, Heathen, John. I pretty much tried most of the above - but John - I will try some of the other herbs you suggested. I used horseradish on my sandwiches - didn't do a thing to "burn" my sinuses. LOL. One thing you can't control and that is the environment. I work in Orange County at a manufacturing company - don't smoke. I have had allergies all of my life and I LOVE to garden. My diarrhea and nausea were quite acute a couple of years ago after antibiotics....sending me to ER twice.

    Thanks again for your reponse!

  • johnyb


    with regard to horseradish, you have described a common scenario that illustrates the importance of seeing a herbalist for good quality herbs. A person recieves the right advice on which herb to take for a particular condition, for instance horseradish for sinusitis, but then innocently and unknowingly, does not consume a therapuetic dose and later claims the herb did not work. This happens with herbs that cross into culinary use more so.

    You'd need to eat alot of horseradish in sandwiches to gain a therapeutic effect. I'll explain. A standardised fluid extraction (1;2) will contain 1 gram of dried herb for every 2 mls of fluid herbal extract. Therefore, at a daily dose of 2-4 mls, that's the equivalent of 1-2 grams of dried horseradish. Now, that in turn is equivalent to a greater measure of raw herb, such as you'd put in your sandwiches. How much i cannot say exactly, but I'd guestimate more horseradish per day than anyone would find enjoyably palatable.


  • tressa

    Thanks John. I know your are in Australia - but how would you suggest going about finding a good herbalist. Our insurance here does not cover herbalists or holistic doctors. It could become pretty expensive to look until you find the right fit - it you know what I mean.

  • johnyb

    Hi Tressa,

    yes I understand costs can be hard to bear without insurance cover. I did a quick search and maybe the below link to ANMA might be a starting point for finding a herbalist/naturopath in your area.

    Here is a link that might be useful: ANMA

  • jujubean74

    Some insurance companies now provide coverage to see chiropractors, and many chiro's are also naturopath's as well. I don't know if this helps you, as insurance still isn't going to cover the cost of herbs. But maybe if your ins. would cover a consultation w/ a natopathic chiro (which now that I think about it seems unlikely, but worth looking into), then maybe that could at least give you some ideas.

  • tressa

    Thanks for the thought, jujubean, but our insurance does not cover chiropractors.......

  • cacye

    If Echinacea doesn't work, you might want to add herbs to
    make you sweat and something to make you expel the phlegm.
    Echinacea is kinda like adding chlorine to a pool without
    using the filter or the pump, to quote Michael Moore, and
    I agree. Plus if your infection is fungal(and your area
    gets fungal infections from ground spores) then most anti-
    biotics are going to make it worse. If a tea ball full of
    thyme as a tea in a cup of water makes you feel better,you
    might want to consider anti-fungals.

  • kfgesq

    I have been usinf querticin complex for horrible tree pollen allergies this time of year and giving them to my daughters for same. It is working well. Also there is a "tree pollen" remedy from Bioallers that works well in conjunction with that. I have also in the past used collodial silver for sinus infections and had great results.

  • Vikk

    Here you go. Give this a try.

    From a formerly chronically congested person.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Nasal irrigation--this works!

  • Vikk

    This method is a lot easier than the one I used to use, which entailed irriating through the nose and back into the throat, which is a continual fight against the gag reflex until you get very used to it.

    Remember, just keep one nostril below the other and keep breathing through the mouth. If any gets into your mouth, it won't hurt you at all.

    Using the recipe and technique above, you'll even notice your ears clearing. It really does help. I use an empty squirt bottle that was once eye solution. Just keep it clean and get at least 8 oz of solution a day through and you'll notice a difference in a few days. Initially you should notice right away some change/help.

  • jujubean74

    I am a chronic sinus sufferer also. I have found the most help/relief from the following:
    -I use the irrigation method mentioned above, it really does help a lot.
    -Drink lots, tons of water (a gallon a day)
    -garlic and vit. c supplements
    -occationally use a tincture called super-tonic that my DH makes, its pretty much the same tincture that Richard Shultz sells for around $20 for a 1-2oz. dropper bottle, it cost us that much or less to make 2+ gallons of it
    -lobelia tincture on occation if congestion moves to my chest
    -breathwork and breathing exercises
    -earcandling on occation
    -3% hydrogen peroxide soak in each ear (done by laying on side and filling ear canal w/ peroxide and waiting 10min, or until fizzing stops) I've only tried this once when I came down with a cold and noticed a significant difference.

    To make 'Super-tonic' you need:
    -A large jar (we use a 2 gallon jar)
    -raw apple cider viniger
    -horseradish root
    -ginger root
    -hot peppers (cayenne &/or habeneros)
    -white onions ( we usually leave these out )
    Chop everything up small,(where gloves to handle peppers and be very careful!) my husband further puree's them in the blender w/ liquid (vodka or viniger), not sure if you have to do that though, we've ruined a few blenders that way. Add it all to your jar, top jar off with equal parts raw apple cider viniger and vodka and seal jar. Place in a cool dark place. Shake the jar around about once a week. It needs to sit for two weeks, we usually let ours sit about 1-2months, and start straining out liquid after probably a few days if we really need it. Strain it through cheese-cloth, squeeze the bulky stuff out too. Warning, this stuff smells really, really, extremly bad, not exageration. You'll need to be able to open windows and use fans, lol but just breathing it helps clear you out. It tastes even better than it smells! I have to shoot it too the back of my throut, my dh will gargle the stuff- but I couldn't do it! He claims you need to swish it around your mouth. Let me tell ya, if your really clogged and you take this stuff- you can litterally feel everything start to move, your ears burn, it's fun!

  • Betz11

    There are a lot of interesting suggestion here. Let me tell you what I do. I get all of supplies from the health food store, and make my own capsules. (You can also buy a capsule machine there.) I buy one once each of echinacea, yarrow, ginger, and goldenseal powders. Mix them all together and pack them tight into #00 capsules. I keep them on hand, and when I feel a sinus infection coming on I take 2 capsules three times a day. It knocks it quicker than anything I have ever tried. These herbs are "hot" herbs and natures own antibiotics, but they do not have the side effects that other remedies do. Good luck.

  • Ina Plassa_travis

    another vote for saline irrigation, here...and i'm way on the chronic sinusitis side of things. my medical history is 90% ear/nose/throat/lung infections, and 5% things that require stitches, with the other 5% being more normal complaints- flus, feminine issues, rashes, backaches.

    and I seem to bounce between bacterial and fungal infections (I've got them pegged now- the fungi makes grey snot. the bacteria make yellow snot)

    garlic is my best friend- to the point I have started growing my own, like I grow nip for the cats. a clove will chase a scratchy throat away before it turns into anything worse.

    horseradish is one that I SHOULD grow myself, but am afraid to, having seen whole gardens taken over by it ;)

    I like my vitamin C in the form of citrus- limes, ideally, since i like the acid, too.

    for the more fungal infections, I will dip just the tip of a q-tip in tea tree or rosemary oil, and swish it in the saline for my irrigation- but watch out, that is NOT for beginners.

    washing out the humidifier twice a week, and using eucalyptus and tea tree oil helps.

    and I keep a tiny little bottle of helichrysum absolute around, but it has a smell that makes oregano oil smell floral by comparision (it smells like turpentine or something) but that in a steamer with the tea tree will chase things out of my lungs.

    I've gotten away with just one dose of antibiotics this year, despite the sick-making weather we've had.

  • jackerie629_yahoo_com

    Put about two cups of water in pot. Add three drops of thyme oil(serpyl), 3 drops of clove bud oil, and 3 drops of cinnamon leaf oil. Heat until it just starts to simmer then turn heat down to low. I was told to put a towel over my head but I don't do that. Inhale the steam through your nose and breath out through your mouth...do this for about five minutes...turn heat up just a bit if you start to lose steam. Careful not to get TOO close as you can burn yourself with steam and also this combination of oils is quite strong. Adjust the height of where you inhale the steam according to your comfort level. It is gonna burn/sting just a bit. First day do it like 5 times then like three times per day...or more if you want...it's all natural and it won't hurt you. After infection is gone, do it once or twice per week. Breathing this concoction in through your mouth is a good way to prevent bronchitis. Oh yeah, close your eyes cuz it does sting a bit if you get it in your eyes...I mean you get over it but just close them. :p

  • thurstjo

    I notice that the different parties provide various remedies for treating chronic sinus conditions. I would also recommend investigating the sources of your problems that by changes in your diet or environment could work in conjuction with the remedies that you have recommended or possibly resolve the situation once and for all. There is a very good book that has helped several people I know to the point that they no longer suffer with sinus problems. The book is "Alternative Approach to Allergies, An: The New Field of Clinical Ecology Unravels the Environmental Causes of" by Theron G. Randolph. Do an internet search on the book, you should be able to find it locally.

  • apollog

    I use a neti pot (aka 'nasal irrigation') for general sinus health. Since I started about 2 years ago, my chronic sinus issues have improved by 80%. I mix 1/4 tsp salt (with a little bicarbonate) per cup of water, heat for about 12 seconds in the microwave to make it approximately body temperature, and put it in a neti pot and pour it through one nostril, out the other.

    This helps moisturize the sinuses, flushes allergens, and improves the health of the cilia and mucous membranes.

    Some neti practices include adding a drop or two of vegetable oil (sesame or sunflower) to moisturize when humidity is low, or use of diluted herbal teas with salt to directly treat the sinuses.

    I bought my neti pot at a major pharmacy chain near my house - it included basic instructions and 50 or 100 premixed saline packets (nice for travel). Now I mix my own salt and the cost per day is a fraction of a cent.

    There is a short book on Neti by David Frawley that covers the subject in more depth. Good if you Really have sinus issues, but not necessary if you just want to do the basic saline rinse from time to time.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Neti page at Wikipedia

  • rusty_blackhaw

    Jeez, the spammers have been busy while I was away.

    Here's a classic claim from the site:

    "All SinusWars remedies are safe, 100% natural and have no known side effects."

    I can believe this, seeing as the sellers seem to be big on homeopathy. Water (which is what homeopathic drugs consist of) is "100% natural" and safe, assuming you don't drink enormous quantities of it. The known side effect of losing your money on worthless products should be guarded against, however.

    Hey, I've rarely had sinus infections in my life and they cleared up in a lot faster than 4 weeks time on their own, without my ever having used this company's products. So there's my testimonial - don't buy this company's glop and your sinus problem will soon be a thing of the past. :)

  • eibren

    Well, since eric brought up the subject of homeopathy, I would like to mention that I frequently use a sinus remedy by Hyland. I keep quite a few of their remedies to hand, because they come in little 2 inch by 1 inch plastic bottles that are convenient to store or take with me on travels. I think Hyland provides a reasonable number of pills for the money, too--most remedies seem to be under $10 a bottle.

    I have felt positively about the "sinus" one since I used it while visiting the home of a relative that had several birds in the house, as well as other animals. I have quite a few allergies, and usually would have gotten a sinus infection in such circumstances, but did not that time.

    Now, I take it at the first sign of any sinus problems.

    For an already-established sinus infection, I suspect that Western medicine, herbal and mechanical methods like Neti, and homeopathy might all have their place.

  • harvesthunt

    Another vote for a neti pot! I love mine. It took a few tries to get the hang of it, but once you to it's a piece of cake!

    Also, I use an essential oil mixture in my humidifier all winter long (and since I've started that this past year, I haven't had a single sinus infection).

    1 part lemon oil, 2 parts eucalyptus, and 3 parts rosemary.

    I make it up in a bottle, sometimes putting a little extra of the lemon so it smells less medicinal, and put about a dropperful a night in there.

  • makcounter

    You can try Buckwheat Honey for sinus problem. It contains high levels of antioxidants and is a very effective natural remedy for cold and sinus infection.

  • cacye

    Herbal possible ways that are not very hard: Fresh Echinacea if you can find or grow it (Rudbeckia works just as well) a lot and often with elderberry. Easier is to get Huang Lian (Coptis root) and take the pills (make sure they have huang lian in them--a type called huang lien does not) And take according to the directions, about 3 pills 3 times a day. Do not take more or your infection will spread to other parts of your body. Chuan xin lian (Andrographis) will also work and you can take a lot of it with less worry. If you are pregnant don't use these methods. These herbs are powerful antibiotics. I have used them in infections that nothing has touched for years. Get a Chinese herbalist to make up a tea for you if you can. those are smelly, and usually taste bad, but they are pretty good.

  • HerbDoctor


    I agree with you about coptis. Good post.

    I use coptis in many of my formulas because it drains heat from the liver which is large contributor to most head region problems/infections. Another one I use which is similar is scutellaria.

    And, as you suggested, if someone needs more specific and customized formulas, see your local Chinese herbalist, one who can do a pulse diagnosis and blend the herbs right on the premises.


  • rusty_blackhaw

    Huanglian contains a mixture of alkaloids of which berberine and similar compounds are thought to be active (among other things, it is being investigated as an anticancer drug.).

    As you might expect, there are potential toxicities and drug interactions which are discussed here.

  • HerbDoctor


    By the way, coptis can be substituted with its western counterpart: Barberry root.


    This post was edited by HerbDoctor on Sun, Feb 24, 13 at 9:26

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