Sinusitis: Alternative Healthcare for Traditional Healthcare Professional
Pre-edited version of a 2001 article published in Advance for Respiratory Care Practitioners.
Desmond Allen, PhD, ND, RCP
Dr. Allen advises all readers to consult their physician before abandoning any pharmaceutical therapy or adding any natural remedy. He also encourages everyone to take responsibility for their own healthcare decisions, and to seek the opinion of an alternative healthcare professional.
A lingering bout of sinusitis can be a most annoying condition. Aside form the irritation and embarrassment of continual sniffling, blowing and sporting a red nose, there is the discomfort of sinus pressure, headache and poor sleep. True, there are synthetic pharmaceuticals that provide some relief, but we are all aware of their short comings.
On the other hand, nature has provided a number of organic substances that prove very effective for relieving the ill effects of sinusitis. Itís quite amazing that these natural remedies go virtually unnoticed in our society. But then, we are a society that revolves around making a buck. And what pharmaceutical company could successfully market such advanced substances as garlic or oregano.
Indeed, these two herbs are possibly the best kept secretes of the pharmaceutical industry. Granted, both of them have a distinct odor, but then, so do the putrid perfumes most people wear. Iím convinced that one of the more popular fragrances, worn by many of our senior citizens, is packaged and sold as a popular ant spray under another name.
But thatís another issue . . . back to sinusitis. If there is a mild fever, yellow or green purulent mucus, garlic is an invaluable anti-inflammatory and antibiotic. It contains a remarkably high level of sulfur-containing volatile oils that are easily absorbed and circulated throughout the system. Two or three gloves, two or three time a day should do.1 Of course garlic capsules are available with much of the odor producing ďallicinĒ removed, but they are more costly. Oil of oregano is also an effective antiviral, antibiotic and antioxidant. As a member of the mint family it is also a diaphoretic, expectorant, and an excellent treatment for colds and sinusitis.2 A few drops under the tongue and a drop under the nares can bring instant relief from persistent sinus congestion.
Ma Huang, is a very effective decongestant and astringent.3 However, you will not want to take this before bedtime, at least, not if you plan to sleep. Also, because it contains adrenalin, ephedrine, and nor-epinephrine, it should be used in moderation and with caution. It can be contraindicated in such disorders as anxiety, glaucoma, heart disease, high blood pressure.1 It is best to consult a local alternative medical professional before use.
Echinacea and goldenseal are very helpful. They are alterative and anti-inflammatory agents that stimulate the immune system and counteract pus. Goldenseal is an astringent that dries and cleanses mucous membranes and inhibits drainage.3
A tea made of grindellia and yerba santa is an effective expectorant, antispasmodic, and sedative that soothes mucous membranes. Boneset tea can also help break sinus congestion. It is an expectorant, and an antipyretic that combats inflammation, pain, and infection anywhere in the body.
Your local herbalist can provide you with certain compounds made of natural herbs that have long proven traditions. For example, an effective astringent, anti-inflammatory, and decongestant, is a compound made of the liquid extracts of eyebright, goldenseal, horseradish, nettle, and yellow flower. For acute conditions associated with fever, infection, and inflammation, another helpful compound is the liquid extracts of red clover blossom, licorice root, buckthorn bark, burdock seed, stillingia root, Oregon grape root, phytolacca root, prickly ash root, and wild indigo. These herbs work synergistically through the lymph, glandular and mucous membranes systems to promote the breakdown and elimination of metabolic wastes.4
Other herbs such as anise, fenugreek, thyme, horseradish marshmallow, and red clover help to loosen phlegm and clear nasal passages. Mullein, horsehound, and flaxseed oil can reduce inflammation and bring relief. Feverfew is known for relieving headaches. Supplements of vitamins A, C, bioflavonoids, beta-carotene, coenzyme Q10 and Zinc are also very helpful for boosting the immune system.1
Various cell salts are effective as well. Calcium phosphate, for an albuminous discharge; sodium chloride, if the discharge is clear, watery; potassium chloride, if white, fibrous; potassium sulphate, if sticky, yellow or green; calcium fluoride, if yellow, lumpy; and if the discharge is purulent, alternate calcium sulphate with silica oxide. If there is inflammation, alternate with iron phosphate.
Ceratin localized treatments are also suggested; an intra-nasal douche with goldenseal tea. A warm solution with sea salt and bicarbonate of soda is also an effective lavage. Swabbing the nasal passages with the oil of bitter orange, or placing a few drops of the oil of oregano in the nares can bring relief. So too will the inhalation of a steam with oregano or marjoram. A poultice made of menthol, eucalyptus, or ginger placed over the sinuses can also be of benefit.1
Some have reported relief from the raw, burning sensation and from the accompanying headache, by placing a few drops of vitamin E oil in the nostrils a few times a day.
Other, temporary lifestyle changes are also in order. Increase the consumption of raw vegetable and reduce the consumption of table salt and dairy products. Sugar is out. So too is smoking. Drink plenty of distilled water, fresh fruit and vegetable juices and hot beverages. It is recommended that you bring the mucus into the back of your throat and then expectorate, rather than blowing nose. Such pressure can force the mucus back into the sinus cavities.1
Youíll be amazed at the effectiveness of some of these simple remedies. Perhaps the most impressive, of which I have personally heard numerous testimonies from chronic sinusitis sufferers is the oil of oregano. I continually hear of its wonderful, life altering effects: sinus passages are opened, headaches subside, sleep is permitted, etc.
1. Balch James F and Balch Phyllis A. Perscription for Natural Healing. 2nd ed.; Garden City Park, NY: Avery Publishing Group; 1997, pp. 476-8.
2. Michael Tierra. Planetary Herbology. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press; 1988, p. 151.
3. Pederson Mark . Natural Herbology. 4th ed.; Warsaw, IN: Wendell W. White Company; 1998, p. .
4. Smith Ed. Therapeutic Herbal Manual. 2nd ed.; not listed: 1993, pp. 22, 46.
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