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Sinusitis - Sinus Infection
Your sinuses are tiny air-filled spaces found in groups at the front of the skull. When clear, your sinuses allow air to filter through them and this adds resonance to the voice (this is why your voice sounds thick and dull when your sinuses are blocked). The sinuses around the nose can trap small particles of debris and thus play their part to protect your lungs. Some sinuses are lined with mucous membrane to moisturise the air passages both for comfort and protection. Because they are such tiny air passages your sinuses can easily react to infection and inflammation and they become blocked and dry. An acute attack may last for 1-4 weeks but sometimes the underlying condition becomes chronic and this can persist for many months. The main triggers are infection, allergy and poor drainage. Acute sinusitis can be very painful and there is tenderness in the affected area. You may also experience eye swelling, and a thick nasal discharge; headaches are common, as well as a post nasal drip of mucus into the back of the throat. This can lead to a constant cough and bad breath. Many people think they have the start of a cold but generally a cold will finish after 7 days whereas sinus infections can continue for a month or more. People with asthma often have multiple allergies and are more likely to have sinus problems, as will workers in certain industries exposed to airborne particles.
Foods & herbs for the home
- Diet is particularly important because certain foods are known to increase mucus production – milk and dairy products in particular. Your mucus-producing cells are already in overdrive so it makes no sense to add to their burden. Wheat and wheat products are also known to trigger excess mucus. During an acute episode (while you have a cold or infection) try to adopt a mucus-reducing diet for 2-4 weeks by omitting these foods.
- For chronic sinusitis a more intensive approach of natural healing that focuses upon anti-inflammatory foods will provide wonderful support.
- There is a wide range of anti-inflammatory foods, spices, herbs and herbal teas that can assist you. Organic Cayenne powder and Organic Turmeric are widely available – use them freely, along with garlic. You can read more about garlic by downloading Jill Davies' free book “Garlic”.
- Also be generous with the addition of anti-inflammatory herbs in your cooking. Mediterranean Medley Mix of organic herbs is a great-tasting way to start. Marigold is one ingredient in these cooking herbs: learn more about this herb by down loading the free book by Jill Davies “Marigold”.
- Many herbs from your garden such as peppermint and rosemary have a strong aroma and can be used for helping to relieve congestion. Breathe and Clear Herbal Tea combines many beautiful herbs that can assist the respiratory system and sinus passages.
- Many people find that regular use of a neti pot helps them to keep sinuses clear after an infection has passed, although it can be an uncomfortable process if the sinuses are blocked.
- Many anti-inflammatory herbs are combined in easy-to-use Herbal Snuff powder.
- Steam inhalations can provide real short term relief. The anti-infectious qualities of many essential oils will also help to clear local infection or prevent bacteria from establishing. Steam inhalations must be regular to achieve this. Due care must be taken with any hot water method of steam inhalation. For children always use a safe essential oil burner for night time relief. Good oils to try include Eucalyptus and Camphor.
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