Herbs for sinus infections are usually chosen for their ability to strengthen the immune system. It is important to understand what function each herb has so you can choose the ones that fit your needs the best.
Sinus infections are known as sinusitis. Sinusitis is inflammation of the sinus membranes, which traps air along with sinus secretions. Bacteria grows in this moist environment and this is what eventually leads to infection.
Often, an infection will start off as a cold or allergy. A deviated septum also commonly contributes to frequent sinus infections. If you suffer from sinusitis on a consistent basis, you should strengthen your immune system to prevent infections from occurring in the first place.
Types of Herbs for Sinus Infections
Immune Strengthening Herbs
It is most certainly easier to keep from getting sick than it is to heal once you become sick. In the case of sinus infections, working to prevent them is the best course of action. You can do this with herbs that boost your immune system. These herbs can protect you from frequent sinus infections as well as general infections.
Astragalus: Astragalus is an immune boosting herb that is good for people who get recurring infections. This herbs helps macrophages work more effectively. Unlike echinacea, it is ideal for those with HIV/AIDS as well as those with lupus and other autoimmune illnesses.
Astragalus is best if taken over the long term. Take it daily during cold and flu season or times when you are especially prone to sinus infection, such as allergy season.
Cat's Claw: Cat's Claw is able to fight sinusitis and helps the immune system fight off infection faster. It has the unique ability to reduce over-abundant macrophages or increase a deficiency of macrophages.
Do not take cat's claw if you are an insulin dependent diabetic. When taking cat's claw in pill form, add vinegar or lemon juice to the water you use to wash it down. This helps release tannins which make the herb work more effectively.
Echinacea: Echinacea has long been known as an immune strengthening herb. It works because echinacea contains phytosterols and polysaccharides. These activate immune cells called macrophages which destroy infections from bacteria and viruses.
Echinacea should be taken for up to two weeks at a time. Taking this herb all the time will make it less likely to help your immune system. It can be rotated with the other immune building herbs listed here.
Do not take echinacea if you have an autoimmune illness, HIV or AIDS. Echinacea stimulates T cell production which could lead to more infection.
Infection Fighting Herbs
If you already have a sinus infection, you can still take herbs to eliminate it.
Bromelain: Bromelain helps eliminate sinus congestion. Do not take if you have an allergy to pineapple.
Cat's Claw: This herb is not only useful for preventing infection. It will also help your immune system fight a current infection. It is also good for reliving inflammation.
Elderberry: Elderberry syrup will help break up mucus where bacteria grows. Drink plenty of water to help your body eliminate the mucus.
Immune Building Tinctures
In the book Herbal Antibiotics, author Stephen Harrod Buhner gives some very effective recipes using tinctures (note: tinctures not essential oils) for immune building and for sinus infections.
To prevent infections, the author recommends blending ⅓ ounce echinacea tincture, ⅓ ounce red root tincture and ⅓ ounce licorice tincture into a one ounce bottle. To use, take one dropper full each hour at the first sign of symptoms.
The author also suggests a homemade nasal spray to fight sinus infections. Make it by combining five drops each of the following tinctures:
To the mix, add three drops grapefruit seed extract. Combine into a one ounce nasal spray bottle and add enough purified water to make a full once. Spray into your nostril as often as you need to at the first sign of infection.
These herbs have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but have some clinical studies published about their efficacy.
All of these herbs for sinus infections have been found effective and do not present the side effects of antibiotics. See if they will work for you as well.