Allergy season is here… and I’m sick right now. I’ve recently been feeling the effects of a sinus infection. I used this opportunity to play around with herbs, supplements and foods in order to nail down a solid game plan the next time this happens. If anyone’s not sure what a sinus infection feels like, it’s usually associated with cold like symptoms with pressure felt in the nasal and frontal forehead area. Runny noses, coughing are all possibilities but don’t appear in all sinus infections. Right now I have some body aches that are also associated with sinus issues.
One of the most valuable lessons I learned throughout this whole experience is that my sinus infection is heavily tied with seasonal allergies. For anyone unaware of why we get allergies, the basic explanation is that the symptoms we get are a result of the inflammation that our bodies produce by our immune system responding to allergens. An allergic response will release histamines and inflammatory markers. The sinus infection follows after these symptoms. Swelling of the sinus and nasal membranes serve as the perfect environment for bacterial infection to fester.
There are three things we need to remember when tackling a sinus infection.
1. Loosen up the mucous that’s stuck in the nasal region. Nothing scientific her. Break the mucous down so its easy to move and flush it out (Blow your nose, spit, whatever it takes)
2. Reduce Inflammation. Remember that inflammation as a result of a histamine response (more specifically of the mucous membranes which line the nasal and sinus areas) is what got you here in the first place.
3. Rest. This is easy. If your allergies have turned into an infection, then the immune system will need support.
So the big question is how do we fix it? Here are some of the things that I found that helped me in combating a sinus infection.
Supplements to consider:
When dealing with thick mucous, proteolytic enzymes also known as protein digesting enzymes, help break mucous down into a thinner consistency. These enzymes have the ability to break down complex proteins at the site of inflammation, while having some anti-microbial properties.
Bromelain (an extract of pineapple stem) – Helps to breakdown thick consistency of mucous.
Silkworm enzyme – in nature this enzyme breaks down the cocoon of silkworms and serves as an anti-inflammatory as well.
Goldenseal and Echinacea - These are herbs both used in immune boosting formulas and can serve you best with your cold like symptoms.
Quercetin: Quercetin decreases allergic response by keeping histamine in the cell.
Vitamin C: Pairs well with Quercetin as an antioxidant that also supports the immune system. .
I’ve also found that some physical intervention is required. While I was sick I used a neti-pot at night followed by some coconut oil mixed with peppermint up my nose. You can use your pinky finger to dab some oils into your nostril region.
Give the body some time to rest and you should be up and running in no time.