Nov 6, 2012

Sinus Congestion

       A symptom of hay fever allergies and colds or flu, sinus congestion makes breathing difficult. Chronic sinusitis sometimes follows these illnesses, causing a dull ache around the eyes and face.

     To relieve sinus congestion, rinse the nasal passages with a solution of warm water and unrefined sea salt. Swimming in the ocean is one way to relieve congestion; another is to create the same effect while standing over the bathroom sink.
     Hand-held ceramic containers with long spouts have become popular for this purpose; see the Neti Pot in the appendix. Similar designs are available in some health food stores and catalogs. If you can't find a Neti Pot, ask your pharmacist for a nasal douche apparatus or simply hold salt water in your hand and sniff it up one nostril while you hold the other closed.

     The more salt water that irrigates sinus passages, the greater the relief. Use enough so that the water drains out through your mouth, washing away debris as it does. To disinfect as you rinse, add a few drops of grapefruit seed or citrus seed extract to the salt solution. Grapefruit seed extract kills bacteria, viruses, yeasts, molds, parasites, fungi and other pathogens on contact.

     Another therapy recommended by naturopaths is to rinse the nasal passages with goldenseal tea. Be sure the tea is warm, not hot, and add a pinch of salt to make the rinsing more comfortable and effective. Alternatively, add a pinch of salt to warm sage or thyme tea.

     Facial steam baths help clear sinus passages and allow free breathing. This therapy can be as simple as holding your head over a steaming bowl of chicken soup when you have a cold. If you have a facial sauna, sold in beauty supply shops and some pharmacies, plug it in and inhale.
     For an aromatherapy treatment, pour boiling water into a bowl to which you have added a few drops of congestion-relieving essential oils, such as eucalyptus, sage, rosemary, ginger or tea tree oil, or use chamomile tea. Make a tent of a large towel to cover your head and the bowl, then breathe the medicated steam for several minutes. Keep your head well above the bowl to prevent scalding, and come out for air as necessary.