The sinuses are small pockets around the eyes, nose and forehead that are lined with mucus membranes that moisten and filter the air we breathe. Because they are dark, warm, moist areas of the body, they are a haven for bacteria and fungi. Luckily, the body does a great job of removing or destroying these things before they begin. Infections usually only occur when the sinus membranes are damaged or mucus becomes too thick to move (congestion).
Photo by Fotolia/Piotr Marcinski.
We’ve all probably had sinus pain or pressure at some point—whether from allergies, colds or sinus infections. These symptoms tend to dissipate on their own, however, if you experience chronic sinus issues and wish to alleviate pressure and expel excess mucus, try these natural remedies.
As with many health issues, proper hydration can work wonders. Drinking the recommended amount of water, every day, will help keep your sinuses moist.
Irrigate Nasal Passages
Although sinus irrigation may seem foreign and uncomfortable to some, the process of flushing the nasal passages with a saline solution has proven effective for sinusitis and chronic sinus issues. Daily use of a neti pot will keep sinus passages moist and free from mucus build-up. If you’re recovering from a cold, experiencing allergies or battling general congestion, try flushing your sinuses twice a day instead of once.
Take a Steam
Have you ever noticed that your nose always seems to run after a nice, hot shower? Well, it’s not just you. Steamy showers, and hot water vapors, help moisten the sinus passages and keep them clear. Try adding a few drops of essential oils, to your bathroom or a pot of hot water, for a truly relaxing steam.
Some Like It Hot
If you love spicy foods, consider making them a regular part of your diet. Wasabi, mustard and hot peppers may help clear up congestion.
Don’t Say Cheese
If you’re prone to sinus infections or excess mucus production, try to avoid or limit the amount of dairy you consume. Milk and cheese have been known to thicken mucus, making your sinuses congested.
Our noses and sinuses are also the respiratory system’s first line of defense against foreign objects—bacteria, viruses, pollutants. Basic hygiene practices, such as washing your hands and covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough, along with these simple remedies will go a long way toward keeping your sinuses and respiratory system happy and healthy.