Sinusitis is an inflammation of the mucous membranes. Most cases of chronic sinusitis are not caused by infection but are actually an immune disorder caused by fungus. Mayo Clinic researchers found that “fungal organisms were present in 96 percent of patients who had surgery for chronic sinusitis, and that inflammatory cells were clumped around the fungi, which indicated that the condition was an immune disorder caused by fungus.”
Chronic sinusitis causes long-term nasal congestion, excess mucus production, nasal polyps, diminished sense of smell, and headaches. Over time, chronic sinusitis creates an environment for bacterial infections that exacerbate these symptoms.
Suppressive OTC drugs can trigger an infection and repeated doses of antibiotics are not the solution. Over-prescribing antibiotics has led to antibiotic-resistant bugs that are common today. Antibiotics destroy the friendly bacteria in our intestinal tracts. According to researchers, it has been discovered that antibiotics were shown to be no better than a placebo and can actually make fungal infections worse. The strategy is to thin the mucous and take nutrients that are anti-fungal and anti-bacterial in nature.
It’s essential to determine the root cause and rule out pre-disposing factors, which may include one or more of the following:
• Gut dysfunction, GERD, bowel inflammation and toxins in the bowel.
• Hidden food sensitivities
• Consuming the Standard American Diet (SAD). Overconsumption of milk and dairy products and mucous-forming foods.
• Blockages (polyps, cysts, tumors).
• Oral contraceptives and exogenous estrogens.
• Thyroid dysfunction.
• Overuse of antibiotics, which creates antibiotic-resistance.
• Autoimmune problems.
• Bacterial and Candida infections.
• Dental infections.
• Chronic stress, including emotional stress. Insufficient rest, relaxation and sleep.
• Ileocecal valve (ICV) dysfunction.
• Constipation or biliary/liver dysfunction.
• Smoking and second hand smoke.
• Air pollution.
• Extremely dry, cold air.
• Bacterial or viral infections. Biofilm bacterial infections were found to be present on the removed tissue of 80 percent of patients undergoing surgery for chronic sinusitis.
As you can see from the lengthy list above, the healing protocol will vary depending on each individual’s unique biochemistry. However, the following healing therapies and strategies have proven effective for avoiding chronic sinus infections.
Natural healing therapies for sinusitis
• Reduce the underlying causes of inflammation. This always starts by eliminating inflammatory and mucous-producing foods, which include gluten, wheat, corn, all grains, sugar and all dairy except for pastured butter.
• Avoid mycotoxic foods, such as peanuts, alcohol, hard cheeses, grains (wheat, corn, barley).
• Avoid all artificial sweeteners and sugar, food additives, vegetable oils, soy products, alcohol and caffeine, processed, packaged, and fake foods.
• Bone broth, raw apple cider vinegar, garlic, onions, ginger, turmeric (curcumin), cayenne and fresh grated horseradish are helpful antidotes for sinus sufferers.
• Drink plenty of clean, filtered water. Add fresh lemon or lime.
• Vitamin A-rich foods not only maintains healthy immunity overall, it also keeps mucous membranes healthy. Foods rich in vitamin A include sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, leafy greens, mango, papaya, egg yolk, pumpkin and green smoothies.
• Follow the Fat Loss Revolution lifestyle eating plan and an anti-Candida diet.
• Healthy fats such as grass-fed butter contains butyric acid, which is healing for the gut, and organic coconut oil, rich in lauric acid is known for its antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties.
• Herbal teas such as Pau ‘d arco, Nettles, Fenugreek.
• Natural sinus relief cocktail: 12 oz. filtered water, 1 tbsp. raw honey, 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar, the juice from a fresh lemon, 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger, a pinch of cayenne pepper and pinch of turmeric.
• Heal the gut. Determining any underlying cause of gut dysfunction is a must. Sinusitis is often linked to toxins in the bowel and intestines.
• Use a neti pot to irrigate, rinse and cleanse the sinuses. To make your own preservative-free saline solution, in a 16 ounce jar mix 12 oz. clean, filtered water or distilled water. Add one tsp. Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt plus 1-2 drops tea tree oil. May also add liquid iodine forte or liquid zinc.
• Aromatherapy oils such as tea tree, eucalyptus, goldenseal and rosemary applied as a compress to the nasal area or as steam inhalation are helpful.
• Sinuses aggravated by weather changes often respond well to acupuncture.
• Always get plenty of restful sleep. Use dust mite-free bedding.
• Use HEPA filters. Change air filters monthly.
• Visit the dentist regularly since infections in the mouth can easily spread to the sinuses.
• Consider mental and emotional stress. Practice daily relaxation and restoration. Emotional stress weakens the immune system creating the perfect environment for infections to occur. Emotions are not separate from physical manifestations in our bodies. The extensive research from Dr. Robert Ivker and Dr. Geerd Hamer has shown that sinus problems are often triggered after the experience of an emotional “stink conflict.” This could be a severe emotional reaction to an actual odor or it could be the symbolic feeling that “this situation stinks.” Nearly all of Dr. Ivker’s patients with chronic sinusitis also had significant emotional issues, especially anger. Chronic sinusitis patients tend to be type-A, high-achieving perfectionists.
• Enhance spiritual health. This may include meditation, prayer, gratitude, and spending time in nature.
Natural anti-bacteria and anti-fungal nutrients
• ADP, an emulsified oil of oregano, which means that it is emulsified in a sustained release form. ADP is the only oregano product what works throughout the small intestine.
• Homeopathic fungal-yeast support.
Nutrient support helpful for sinusitis
• Bile salts (Beta-Plus). HCL with digestive enzymes (Digestzymes).
• High-quality essential fatty acids: EFA sirt supreme.
• Immune-boosting multi vitamin/mineral: BioImmunozyme forte.
• Liquid iodine forte.
• Zinc, a powerful cold-and-sinus infection fighter.
• Turmeric (curcumin) is a powerful anti-inflammatory that has antiviral and antibiotic qualities, and is very healing for the sinus cavity. Gargling with turmeric can help heal a sinus infection and reduce chronic sinus inflammation.
Everyone is different and each person reacts differently to different treatments. The key is practicing patience and persistent. Curing your sinus infection naturally builds up your immune system, rather than letting the antibiotics take over.
• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Paula Owens, M.S., is the author of two books, is a nutritionist and fitness and fat loss expert with more than 25 years of experience. Visit Paula at www.PaulaOwens.com.