Top Herbs for sinus drainage
Your sinuses are the first line of defense between your lungs and the rest of your respiratory system. Too often, they can become inflamed and clogged during seasonal challenges and exposure to environmental pollutants. Herbs can help support overall sinus health.
Herbs can provide your body with support to help it keep functioning properly and maintain a healthy respiratory system.
Your sinus trouble can be caused by a number of things, including sinusitis and rhinitis.
Sinusitis is an infection that causes inflammation and swelling of your sinuses. Sinus infections are one of the leading reasons antibiotics are prescribed, but they’re only effective in treating 2 to 10 percent of these infections.
Chronic sinusitis is an inflammatory condition that normally lasts more than three months. Nasal polyps, which are noncancerous growths, often accompany chronic sinusitis.
If you have allergic rhinitis, your immune system triggers the release of histamines that irritate your nasal membranes. This leads to congestion and sneezing. Allergic rhinitis can lead to sinusitis.
You know the feeling. Your nose is either plugged or like a leaky faucet, and your head feels like it’s in a vise. It feels better to keep your eyes closed because they’re puffy and sore. And your throat feels like you swallowed nails.
Sinus problems can be uncomfortable. However, there are effective remedies, from chicken soup to compresses, that you can use to alleviate the pain and discomfort of sinus issues.
Steam from boiling water can reduce congestion, and inhaling additional vapors can also alleviate nasal inflammation. Making a mug of herbal tea and inhaling the soothing vapors is a great way to ease inflammation at the site. Look for herbal teas made with mullein leaf, chamomile, comfrey, marshmallow, and fenugreek, as they all bolster the respiratory system, or thyme, sage, and elderflower which are natural antimicrobials. Adding a slice of ginger (a potassium-rich antimicrobial) and/or lemon (another antimicrobial high in Vitamin C) can also help thin mucus and relieve pressure on the sinuses.
Top Herbs for sinus drainage include:
Garlic is a known antibiotic and anti-inflammatory, high in Vitamin C, vital sulfur (which helps boost immune function), and other enzymes and minerals that help stave off cold and flu viruses. Working regular amounts of garlic in a healthy diet is one way to prevent sinus infections from occurring, but once symptoms manifest it can also be taken medicinal (either eaten fresh daily or taken in pill form) to help expedite recovery (though the user is warned: eating a clove of fresh garlic can trigger acid reflux in those with digestive sensitivities).
Try mixing one chopped glove of garlic with a spoonful of raw, local honey, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.
Black Seed Oil comes from the seeds of the Nigella sativa flower and has been used for thousands of years throughout its native environment around the Mediterranean to support lung, sinus, and respiratory health.
Cold-pressed oil Black Seed Oil is an excellent way to experience the benefits of this Ayurvedic herb for sinus support because the preparation process maintains the plant’s natural balance, keeping the oil as close to the original plant as possible, and preserves the seed’s full-spectrum of healthy constituents.
Stinging Nettle may seem like nothing more than a nuisance that leaves behind a rash if you touch it, but this herb has a long history of use by Ayurvedic professionals as a way to support the body’s inflammatory pathways, which, in turn, can support upper-respiratory and sinus health.
Eucalyptus and peppermint oils have long been used to relieve acute upper respiratory problems, from bronchitis (our Photo Editor’s Mother swears by it!) to the ever-popular Vick’s Vap-O-Rub, which harnesses the scent of both medicinal plants to open up the nasal passages. Both eucalyptus and peppermint oils are naturally antimicrobial and gentle enough to be applied directly to the bridge of the nose to help open up nasal passages. Our favorite way to use them is to put them in a humidifier in a bedroom to promote passive healing while you sleep (which is the best cure for any illness, by the way).
Apple Cider Vinegar’s high pH helps thin and break up mucus (sorry, we had to say the word!) to help clear airways and reduce swelling. With trace amounts of vitamins B1, B2, A, E, and calcium, potassium, and magnesium, it can also reduce allergy symptoms that might be triggering sinusitis. With its natural antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, Apple Cider Vinegar is also a great digestive aid: try diluting one tablespoon of ACL in 8 oz of room-temperature water and drinking it first thing in the morning and throughout the day (just be sure to use a straw to protect your tooth enamel).
Made from the pulp and seeds of grapefruit, Grapefruit Seed Extract acts as a natural antibiotic and antiseptic that stabilizes the body’s pH (which fine-tuned it to fight infection!). According to Livestrong, Grapefruit Seed Extract can help kill fungus and bacteria in the sinus cavity and can be taken in capsule or tablet form. Those not prone to seasonal allergies can also use it to irrigate the nasal passages when mixed with a safe saline solution or distilled water. Just follow the directions on your Neti Pot and add a few drops of the extract (be sure to start small– better to begin with a weaker dilution that a stronger one). This rinse can be used up to 2 or 3 times a day until symptoms subside.
Bayberry has a long tradition amongst Native Americans, who use the bark as an herbal tonic to help maintain various functions in the body, including sinus and respiratory health.
Ayurvedic professionals value Bayberry for its high tannin count and its warming properties.
This unique combination supports the body’s natural defenses (which can help support your lungs and the respiratory system even during seasonal challenges).
The Plantain herb is unrelated to the often more familiar plantain fruit, which looks like a banana.
Plantain herbs have been traditionally used to support a healthy immune response both internally (when taken as part of a balanced diet) and externally (when applied as a topical agent).
Because plantain naturally contains mucilage and has moist cooling properties, it has an inherent ability to support mucous membrane health. It’s these properties that make Plantain one of the best herbs for sinus health support.
The Licorice plant has been cultivated for generations and prized as a flavoring in food, tobacco, alcohol, and candy. The active ingredient in Licorice is glycyrrhizic acid, which is 50 times sweeter than sugar.
Licorice is considered a tonic plant in many traditional medicinal systems and is one of the most widely used and trusted herbs among traditional botanical practitioners.
The Licorice plant has traditional uses that support lung function, respiratory strength, and a healthy mucous membrane.