6 Simple, Microbe-Friendly Remedies For Relieving Sinus Symptoms

The majority of colds, flu, and sinus infections are viral, and antibiotics can actually increase your susceptibility to future infections (both viral and bacterial) by depleting your body of its microbial defenses. Chronic sinusitis, one of the most common chronic ailments that affects millions of people in the United States, is itself a form of dysbiosis: sufferers have half the normal number of species present in their sinuses.


Antibiotics and steroid preparations contribute to that imbalance, increasing the likelihood of future infections and making bacteria more resistant, so the severity of infections increases. Antibiotic and steroid use can also increase your risk for fungal infections—a leading but under-diagnosed cause of chronic sinusitis. Researchers at Mayo Clinic found that a whopping 96 percent of chronic sinusitis patients—most of whom used antibiotics or steroids in the past for acute infections— had fungi in their sinus passages that were triggering an immune response and contributing to the chronic irritation and inflammation.


Before you take steroids or antibiotics, or commit to more drastic measures such as surgery, you may want to try these simple remedies for relieving your sinus symptoms:


  • Stay hydrated with plenty of water, herbal teas, and broth to help thin out mucus and unclog sinus passages.


  • Eliminate excess sugar from your diet to discourage the growth of fungi and other pathogenic bacteria. The Live Dirty, Eat Clean Diet is a great place to start.



  • Consider trying a natural antifungal such as oregano oil (three drops in a glass of water, twice daily) if you’ve been on a lot of antibiotics or steroids and think you may have fungal growth.


  • Use a neti pot— a container designed to rinse debris from your nasal cavity available at most pharmacies and health food stores— to help remove excess mucus, pollen, and other irritants (use distilled water rather than tap water, and add a pinch of sea salt).


  • Try peppermint, eucalyptus, or rosemary oil aromatherapy. Add a few drops to a bowl of very hot water, cover your head with a towel, and lean over the bowl to allow the steam to penetrate your sinus passages.


By: Dr. Robynne Chutkan