Inflammation of the sinuses, or sinusitis, affects approximately 30 million adults, as reported by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of those cases, 15 million result in physician visits. Expensive prescriptions and over-the-counter sinus remedies carry numerous side effects and may need medication to manage them. Herbal remedies offer a cost-effective method of alleviating symptoms of sinus headache and pressure with many fewer side effects.
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Echinacea, also known as purple cone flower, acts as a powerful immune system supporter. At the beginning signs of sinus irritation, take 300 to 400 mg every few hours, up to nine doses a day, until symptoms resolve, states Linda B. White, M.D. and Steven Foster in their book, “The Herbal Drugstore.” Echinacea should be taken on a two-weeks-on and two-weeks-off schedule for best results; otherwise a tolerance to echinacea’s healing properties develops. People allergic to ragweed should not take echinacea.
Elderberry, known as Sambucus nigra, breaks up mucus and acts as an antioxidant, providing a rich source of vitamin C, according to Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, in her book “Prescriptions for Herbal Healing.” This herb is sold as frozen and dried in capsules and as an elixir. Take elderberry according to package directions.
This Chinese herb, used for centuries in its native country, works over time to build a strong immune system. Chinese households typically brew this herb as a tea in a large pot and drink a cup or two of it daily to fortify the immune system. Unlike echinacea, this herb may be used on a daily basis, states Balch. This herb is also sold as a freeze-dried capsule or tincture.
Garlic’s potent healing properties fight bacteria, the root cause of sinus infections. A capsule that delivers 5,000 mg of allicin, the active bacteria-fighting compound in garlic, work well to prevent sinus problems, reports White. Garlic may also be eaten raw or added during the last few minutes of cooking in order to preserve its healing properties.
The root of the ginger plant offers an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving remedy to alleviate sinus headaches. Ginger’s warming properties also work to fight infection. Sinus sufferers may take ginger in freeze-dried capsules, according to package directions, or add the fresh ginger root to a salad for a spicy zing.
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