What is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the tissue lining your sinuses. In healthy people, the sinuses are typically filled with air. However, in people who suffer from chronic sinusitis1, the sinuses become blocked and also get filled with fluid. In such a condition, it is common for germs to start growing, leading to a sinus infection.
Apart from infections, sinuses can also get blocked or infected due to allergies, the common cold, or even the flu. This causes various complications such as headache, difficulty in breathing, and snoring. In serious cases, sinusitis can also lead to meningitis2 or brain fever3.
Here are some of the common conditions that lead to blockage of the sinuses:
- Common cold
- Allergic rhinitis, which is an inflammation of the nasal lining
- Nasal polyps, which are small growths that occur in the lining of the nose
- A deviated septum, which is a shift or deviation in the nasal cavity
- Fungus can also cause sinusitis in people with weakened immune systems.
There are commonly two types of sinusitis – acute 4 and chronic. Acute sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses that lasts for up to four to five weeks. Chronic sinusitis5, on the other hand, can last for at least a couple of weeks and can continue to linger for years. The cause of chronic sinusitis is difficult to identify, and it is also more difficult to treat.
6 Effective Ayurvedic Nasal Treatment for Sinusitis
Ayurvedic nasal treatment for sinusitis involves liquefying and eliminating aggravated body energies with the use of herbs and diet. Ayurvedic medicines help cure sinusitis from its roots. The Ayurvedic nasal treatment of sinusitis is known as kaphaya shirashool chikitsa. The Ayurvedic belief is that poor digestion, a buildup of toxins in the body, and the suppression of the body’s natural self-repair and balancing mechanisms contribute to chronic diseases such as sinusitis.6
It is firmly believed that apart from irritating the linings of the airways, there are many toxins that lead to an inflammatory response in the body to foreign bodies that cause harm to the epithelial lining of the airways of your lungs. This, in turn, causes allergic and hypersensitive responses in your body.
Ayurvedic treatment of sinusitis focuses on a multipronged approach and involves a variety of detoxification processes through dietary modifications, lifestyle changes, and oral medications. The Ayurvedic strategy of treating sinusitis revolves around improving digestion and metabolism and removing the deeply embedded toxins in the body, thus eliminating the root cause of any future metabolic toxins. As per the beliefs of Ayurveda, healthy digestion allows the body to develop pure nutrient plasma, which nourishes your lungs and the airway tissues. It also boosts the body’s natural purification processes.7
Here are some natural Ayurvedic remedies for treating sinusitis.
Jala Neti or Nasal Irrigation
Jala neti is one of the most ancient techniques that has been used for years and years to clean the respiratory system and to remove toxins from the nasal passage. It is a natural technique that is used to prevent many respiratory ailments such as sinusitis8.
Also known as Jal neti kriya, this technique cleanses the nasal pathway to remove any blockages and mucus. The method involves pouring water in one nostril and flushing it out from the other nostril. This helps keep the nasal passages clean and also cleanses the sinuses, keeping the respiratory tract free of toxins and dirt. Since the sinus cavities end up getting blocked with toxins and impurities that cause inflammation and other respiratory disorders, Jala Neti helps reduce the clogging of the sinuses by continuously flushing the nasal cavities and preventing infection9.
Here are some of the benefits of Jala Neti:
- Regularly practicing this technique helps keep the nasal passage clean, boosting the strength of the respiratory system.
- It is an effective method in treating sinusitis, asthma, and also makes it easier for patients to breathe.
- It is an excellent method for keeping eyes, ears, and nose free of infections.
- It is also useful for those who have bronchitis as it keeps the nasal passages clear, meaning you do not need to breathe from your mouth.
- It also has a cooling effect on your brain as it draws out any excessive heat from the body. This has been shown to be effective in treating migraines10 even.
To practice this technique, you need to have a Jal Neti pot, which comes with an elongated nozzle that is small enough to be inserted into the nostrils. A copper Jal Neti pot is said to be the most effective. You need to have lukewarm or room temperature water, into which you add a pinch of salt and then pour this into the Jal Neti pot.
Here’s how to practice Jala Neti:
- You can do this either while sitting down or while standing. Bend towards the front to allow the water to flow in the correct position.
- Place the nozzle of the Neti pot inside your left nostril. The cone of the pot present at the end of the nozzle should be inside your nose.
- Now tilt your head towards the right side, opening your mouth to breathe. Adjust the tilt of your head to the point where the water flows from the left nostril and into your right nose, to being finally flushed out.
- Continue pouring the water into the left nostril until the water in the pot is finished.
- Fill up your pot again and repeat the procedure with the right nostril.
During the first couple of times, it is normal to experience some irritation in the nose, coughing, or sneezing. Ensure that your nose feels dry after you complete the process as otherwise, it may cause infections. Do not ingest this water as the toxins from your nasal passages can enter your body.
Applying a Paste (Lep) of Turmeric and Dry Ginger
Regularly applying a paste made up of turmeric powder11, dry ginger powder12, and amba haldi (mango haldi or wild turmeric) on the area where your sinuses are located helps eliminate the inflammation present in the lining of your sinuses.
To do this, you need to mix all three ingredients in equal portions. Take half a teaspoon of this mixture of all three powders and add two teaspoons of water into it. Now heat this till it turns into a thick paste. Apply this paste while it is warm over the area of the sinuses. Wash off the paste with warm water after 15 minutes.
Treatment with Carom Seeds
Take some carom seeds and place them in a small piece of cotton cloth. Tie it into a pouch. Using this pouch by heating it on a hot pan, apply hot fomentation over the areas of your sinuses.
Carom seeds are rich in antioxidants. They are known for their potent anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve chest congestion and is also an excellent natural remedy for colds and sinuses.
You can also first roast two teaspoons of carom seeds on a pan until you start to smell the seeds. Now put these roasted seeds in a cotton cloth and make a pouch for doing hot fomentation. Apart from placing this pouch over your sinuses, you can also rub this pouch on your chest to help counter congestion and a stuffy nose.
Another way you can get some nasal relief with the help of carom seeds is by making an herbal concoction by mixing the seeds with some other Ayurvedic herbs. Here’s how:
- Add 1 teaspoon of carom seeds, couple of basil leaves13, half a teaspoon of dry ginger powder, 1 clove, 5 black peppers, half teaspoon of turmeric, one-third cup of jaggery, into a half cup of water. Bring this mixture to a boil and strain the liquid. Let the liquid cool down.
- Have 2 teaspoons of this herbal concoction twice or thrice a day to get effective results in sinusitis and other respiratory diseases.
Saline Nasal Solution
Inhaling a saline solution made at home can also help relieve your sinuses14, mainly for clearing up a blocked nose.
It is easy to make a saline solution at home by using sterile water, baking soda, and salt. All you need to do is combine the following items:
- Clean water
- 1/4 teaspoons of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
After mixing these ingredients, pour this mixture into your cupped palms. Now sniff this into your nose from your cupped palms. Do it one nostril at a time.
If this seems uncomfortable to you, you can also use a clean, dry spray bottle to use the solution as a nasal spray. Spray gently into each nostril and repeat up to two to three times a day.
Almond oil is known to be a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals that are helpful in melting down mucus. When the mucus present in the nasal passages melts down, there is a reduction in pain associated with sinusitis. This also causes any nasal blockages to open up. There are also many other benefits of almond oil that can help in various respiratory conditions15.
Here’s how you can use almond oil as an Ayurvedic nasal treatment for sinusitis.
First, it is necessary to have pure almond oil for this procedure. Simply take a couple of drops of almond oil in a dropper. Lie down on the bed facing upwards. Now pour 1 to 2 drops of the almond oil in both your nostrils.
Other Ayurvedic Remedies for Sinusitis
Apart from the Ayurvedic remedies described above for treating sinusitis, here are some other tips that can help relieve the symptoms of sinusitis.
Ayurveda recommends having a Vata-Kapha calming diet towards treating sinusitis. This is because it is believed that Vata-Kapha is the leading underlying cause of sinusitis. You should avoid having too hot foods such as soups as well as too cold foods such as ice cream. Warm meals that are not spicy, are nourishing, easy to digest, and oil-free, are the best option to have if you have sinusitis.
Keep yourself hydrated at all times by drinking at least 3 to 5 liters of water. You can also think about adding certain spices to your water to help reduce inflammation and purify the sinuses. Spices such as basil, turmeric, ginger, etc., help get rid of the toxins that have built up in the body. These spices also ensure regular bowel movements, which is another critical factor in the Ayurvedic treatment of sinusitis.
Boil some water and add a few drops of eucalyptus oil, clove oil, and some mint leaves to it. Inhale, this steam helps release the clogged sinuses.
Take some fresh ginger or fresh garlic with honey and turmeric for getting relief from sinusitis.
Black pepper, cinnamon, garlic, and ginger can help in clearing up your sinuses. At the same time, avoid eating eggplant, banana, tomato, and bell pepper as these will block your sinus passages.
Many people prefer not to take prescription medicines for sinusitis because of the many side effects associated with them. For such people, opting for Ayurvedic treatments for sinusitis and other respiratory conditions can be beneficial. The above mentioned Ayurvedic remedies can prove to be highly effective in relieving the symptoms of sinusitis. However, it may take some days for you to notice any significant difference in your condition. These Ayurvedic remedies can also help you towards a speedy recovery from sinusitis. However, keep in mind that if you find that even after 2 to 3 weeks, there is no change in your condition, then you should see a doctor for treatment.
- Hamilos, D.L., 2000. Chronic sinusitis. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 106(2), pp.213-227.
- Younis, R.T., Anand, V.K. and Childress, C., 2001. Sinusitis complicated by meningitis: current management. The Laryngoscope, 111(8), pp.1338-1342.
- Giannoni, C.M., Stewart, M.G. and Alford, E.L., 1997. Intracranial complications of sinusitis. The Laryngoscope, 107(7), pp.863-867.
- Piccirillo, J.F., 2004. Acute bacterial sinusitis. New England Journal of Medicine, 351(9), pp.902-910.
- Parsons, D.S., 1996. Chronic sinusitis: a medical or surgical disease?. Otolaryngologic clinics of North America, 29(1), pp.1-9.
- Panigrahi, H.K., 2006. Efficacy of Ayurvedic medicine in the treatment of uncomplicated chronic sinusitis. Ancient science of life, 26(1-2), p.6.
- Lad, V., 1984. Ayurveda: The science of self-healing: A practical guide. Lotus press.
- Rastogi, S. and Rastogi, R., 2007. Jalaneti application in acute rhino sinusitis.
- Mittal, B. and Sharma, A., 2016. ROLE OF JALA NETI IN THE MANAGEMENT OF SINUSITIS.
- Nitin, P. and Awadhesh, P., 2015. JALA-NETI (A WAY TO PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH).
- Rathaur, P., Raja, W., Ramteke, P.W. and John, S.A., 2012. Turmeric: The golden spice of life. International Journal of pharmaceutical sciences and research, 3(8), p.1987.
- Ding, M., Leach, M.J. and Bradley, H., 2013. A systematic review of the evidence for topical use of ginger. Explore, 9(6), pp.361-364.
- Pushpangadan, P. and George, V., 2012. Basil. In Handbook of Herbs and Spices (pp. 55-72). Woodhead Publishing.
- Rabago, D. and Zgierska, A., 2009. Saline nasal irrigation for upper respiratory conditions. American family physician, 80(10), pp.1117-1119.
- Ahmad, Z., 2010. The uses and properties of almond oil. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 16(1), pp.10-12.