Clogged sinuses not only disrupt breathing, they also interfere with our enjoyment of food. Clogged sinuses also cause headaches and uncomfortable pressure behind the eyes. In addition to over-the-counter decongestants, there are several ways to clear and drain the sinuses and restore normal breathing.
Irrigate your sinuses. According to the Mayo Clinic, rinsing the nasal passages can help relieve the symptoms of sinus congestion. Fill a neti pot with warm water and add one-quarter teaspoon of fine sea salt. Tilt your head, sideways, over the bathroom sink and gently pour half the salt-water solution into the upturned nostril. Tilt your head forward and let the water drain into the sink. Repeat with the other nostril.
Eat horseradish. According to Linda White, M.D., author of "The Herbal Drug Store," horseradish instantly clears the sinuses. You can eat the horseradish straight or work up to it, by mixing it with a food item. Mix one teaspoon unsweetened apple sauce with one teaspoon ground horseradish and spread the mixture onto a saltine or matzoh. Use horseradish sparingly if you have ulcers or other digestive problems.
Steam your sinuses. Combine three drops of rosemary oil, one drop of thyme oil and one drop of peppermint oil in a large ceramic bowl. Pour approximately one cup of boiling water over the oils. Lean over the bowl and cover your head with a large bath towel--making a tent over the bowl--and inhale the steam. Add more hot water or essential oils as needed.
Use scented handkerchiefs. Blend two drops of rosemary oil, one drop of geranium oil and one drop of eucalyptus oil in a small ceramic dish. Dip the four corners and the center of a cotton handkerchief into this mixture. Allow the handkerchief to dry then place the handkerchief to your face and inhale.
Massage the chest, neck and sinuses. Blend five drops of rosemary and geranium oils, three drops of peppermint oil and two drops of eucalyptus oil in one tablespoon of grapeseed oil. Dip your fingers into the oil and massage around your neck, behind your ears and over your cheeks, nose and forehead. Store the remainder in an air-tight container and apply as needed.
A bulb syringe will also work, in place of a neti pot. However, take care not to squeeze too hard. The flow should be gentle.
Many drug stores carry nasal irrigation solution; you can use this in place of a homemade salt-water solution.
Take care not to use too much salt in your neti pot. If you feel burning in your sinuses, empty your pot and remix your salt water, using less salt.
- Mayo Clinic: Home Remedies for Chronic Sinusitis
- The Herbal Drugstore; Linda B. White, M.D. & Steven Foster; 2000
- The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aroma Therapy; Valerie Ann Worwood; 1991
Julia Michelle has been writing professionally since January 2009. Her specialties include massage therapy, computer tech support, land and aquatic personal training, aquatic group fitness and Reiki. She has an Associate in Applied Science from Cincinnati State Technical and Community College in integrative medical massage therapy.