Chronic Nasal Congestion and Sinus Infections

Joan Haynes, ND

When sinuses are functioning normally, the mucus lining the cavity warms and moistens the incoming air and filters germs and particulates. But when the sinuses can’t drain properly, mucus accumulates making the area ripe for infection. An acute infection can often be treated with simple home care and immune-boosting strategies. However, chronic sinusitis needs a broader approach. In 1999, a Mayo Clinic study showed that almost 100 percent of chronic sinusitis patients tested positive for fungus. Chronic congestion caused by food or environmental sensitivities creates a perfect breeding ground for fungus and bacterial infections.

With my chronic sinus sufferers, I often begin with food allergy testing (to discover the source of the congestion) and a systemic antifungal protocol. We may also need to do an environmental evaluation, and improve digestion and stress response to improve overall health.

For an acute infection, you may want to try:

  • Allergy-Sinus Tincture (from BNH). 2 droppers-full every two hours. The herbs will thin the mucus, dry out the sinuses and fight infection.
  • Neti Pot. Irrigating the sinuses with a saline solution can reduce swelling and wash away irritants. The Rhino Horn is a great device and the instructions are very thorough.
  • N-acetylcysteine. 500 mg three times daily on empty stomach. Thins mucus secretions.

For chronic congestion and/or infections, you may want to try:

  • Food allergy testing either through an elimination-challenge diet or a food allergy panel.
  • NAET allergy desensitization.
  • Reduce mucus forming foods – dairy, refined flours, chocolate, eggs, fried and processed food.
  • Evaluation and treatment for fungal infection, including Candida overgrowth.
  • Regular use of essential oils, such as oregano, or combinations for respiratory health and immune boosting.