7 Proven Home Remedies for Sinus Infection

Some home remedies, like inhaling vapor with eucalyptus, mint juice and saffron tea, contain anti-inflammatory, expectorant and antiseptic properties that help to reduce nasal cavity inflammation. They can help to relieve sinus infection symptoms, like pain or pressure in the face, stuffed nose and coughing.

Another home remedy for sinus infections is nasal and sinus drainage with saline water. This helps to eliminate excess discharge and reduce inflammation, which will help to relieve symptoms.

These home remedies can be used for about 2 weeks, however if there is no improvement after 7 days, you should consult your doctor for assessment and diagnosis. He or she may opt to start you on more specific medication.

1. Inhaling vapor with eucalyptus 

A good home remedy for sinusitis is inhaling vapor with eucalyptus, as it contains expectorant and antiseptic properties that quickly relieve nasal congestion. Learn about \.  Some people may be more sensitive to the essential oil that is released through the eucalyptus, and may actually experience worsening of symptoms. If you experience worsening with this treatment, stop it immediately.

Ingredients

  • 5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt 
  • 1 liter (about 8 cups) of boiling water

How to prepare

Place with boiling water in a bowl and add the essential oil and salt. Cover the bowl and your head with a towel and inhale the vapor. It is important to inhale the vapor as deeply as possible for up to 10 minutes. You can repeat this 2 to 3 times per day.

If you do not have essential oil at home, you can also soak eucalyptus leaves in boiling water, as the natural oil will evaporate with the water vapor.

2. Mint juice with nettle

A good home remedy for allergic sinusitis is drinking mint juice with nettle. This mixture contains anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic and decongestant properties that help to reduce sinus irritation and eliminate secretions.

Ingredients

  • 5 g of nettle leaves
  • 15 g of mint
  • 1 cup of coconut water
  • 1 tablespoon of eucalyptus honey 

How to prepare

Cook the nettle leaves in a pot of boiling water. Then place the cooked leaves in a blender with the mint, coconut water and honey, and blend until you achieve a homogenous mixture. You can drink this 2 times per day, between meals.

It is important to cook the nettle leaves before using them, as nettle can cause an allergic reaction (and cooking it can eliminate any allergy triggers).

3. Inhaling chamomile

Inhaling chamomile is an excellent home remedy for sinus infections, as chamomile contains excellent calming properties. Inhaling its vapor can warm and moisten the respiratory airways, which relieves sinusitis-related discomfort. This can be used by adults and children.

Inhalation by children should still be done under the supervision of an adult, even if the child has done it in the past, as there is a serious risk for burns.

Ingredients

  • 1 handful of chamomile flowers
  • 1.5 to 2 L of water (about half a gallon)

How to prepare

Boil the water and add the chamomile flowers. Allow this to soak for 5 to 10 minutes, and then cover the pot a towel. Place your head underneath the towel and inhale the vapor. You should breathe the vapor for at least 10 minutes.

4. Saffron tea

Saffron is rich in curcumin, a substance with potent anti-inflammatory properties. It helps to reduce the symptoms of inflammation, which can help with pain and pressure in the face, as well as the general malaise that comes with sinus infections.

Ingredients

  • 1 shallow teaspoon of saffron flowers or curcumin powder (about 200mg)
  • 1 cup of water 

How to prepare

Boil the water and add the saffron/curcumin. Allow this to boil for 5 to 10 minutes. You can drink 2 to 3 cups of saffron tea per day.

Another option is to consume curcumin in capsule form. You can take two 250mg capsules every 12 hours, for a total of 1 g per day.

The saffron/curcumin should not be used by pregnant women, or anyone who takes anticoagulants like warfarin, clopidogrel or acetylsalicylic acid, as saffron can increase the risk for bleeding or hemorrhage.

5.  Ginger tea with garlic

Ginger tea with garlic contains antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, due to the presence of substances like alicin (found in garlic) and phenolic compounds, shogaol and zingerone (found in  ginger). These substances help to treat symptoms of sinusitis like plugged nose, runny nose, sore throat and general malaise.

This tea also helps to strengthen the immune system and decreases the duration of the sinus infection.

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced in half
  • 1 cm of ginger root, or about 1/2 a teaspoon of powdered ginger
  • 3 cups of water 
  • Honey to sweeten (optional)

How to prepare

Boil the water with the garlic. Removed from the heat, and add the ginger and honey. Strain the infusion and drink.

Ginger should not be consumed by people who take anticoagulants, and therefore should be avoided in the tea in these cases. During pregnancy, you should not exceed 1 g of ginger per day, for up to 4 days.

6. Thyme and honey infusion

An infusion with thyme and honey is rich in anti-inflammatory and antiseptic substances, like thymol, carvacrol, cymene and linalol. It also possesses and expectorant action, which helps with the elimination of phlegm and relieves runny nose and plugged nose caused by a sinus infection. 

In addition, the honey helps to reduce inflammation, lubricate the throat and relieve coughing and phlegm. People who are allergic to honey, proplis or pollen should not add honey to their tea, and opt to use just the thyme.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of thyme extract, or 2 branches of fresh thyme
  • 1 litre (about 8 cups) of boiling water 
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

How to prepare

Add the dry thyme to the boiling water and allow it to soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain the infusion and drink up to 3 cups per day.

Thyme infusions should not be used by people with stomach issues, like gastritis or ulcers, or by people with liver problems. Thyme infusions should also be avoided by people who take anticoagulants like warfarin or clopidogrel.

7. Nasal irrigation with sodium bicarbonate

This home remedy for sinus infection involves the use of sodium bicarbonate, which can be an excellent option for relieving nasal congestion, reducing inflammation and eliminating secretion that caused plugged or runny noses. Sodium bicarbonate prevents the growth of bacteria in the sinuses and treats dryness within the nose, allowing for mucus to become looser.

Ingredients

  • 1 nasal irrigator or a 20 ml syringe without the needle
  • 1 teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate
  • 1 cup of warm water 

How to prepare

Mix the water with the sodium bicarbonate until fully dissolved and place in the irrigator or syringe. Lean your body forward, with your head tilted slightly to the side. Place the irrigator or syringe in the nostril and press until the solution comes out of the other nostril. It is important to open and breathe through your mouth while performing a nasal rinse.

You can repeat this 2 to 3 times per day in each nostril.

Another way to rinse your sinuses is to use 0.9% saline, which can be prepared at home with warm water and salt.

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Edited by Tua Saude editing team in March 2022. Clinical review completed by Manuel Reis - Registered Nurse in March 2022.

References

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  • YOUNG, Haw-Yaw; et al. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities of [6]-gingerol. J Ethnopharmacol. 96. 1-2; 207-10, 2005
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Clinical review:
Manuel Reis
Registered Nurse
Manuel graduated in 2013 and is licensed to practice under the Ordem dos Enfermeiros de Portugal, with license #79026. He specializes in Advanced Clinical Phytotherapy.