6 Tips to Clear Sinus Congestion
Published on November 6, 2014
by Dr. Caitlin Gordon

6 Tips to Clear Sinus Congestion

Published on November 6, 2014 by Dr. Caitlin Gordon

Sinus Congestion pathways on faceTis the season for stuffy noses. Many people find they have sinus congestion this time of year, especially in the mornings and evenings. Your sinus congestion may be due to allergies, the weather, or a cold. You may have accepted that you will just have to live with your compromised breathing throughout winter. Side effects of congestion can include bad breath, loss of smell and taste, and poor sleep. You don’t have to live with it!

Some simple tips for clearing sinus congestion:

1. Use a humidifier.

Especially in Colorado, as the temperature drops so does the humidity. Add indoor heating and the air can become incredibly dry. Dry air makes for dry sinuses which can then lead to swollen nasal passages. Using a humidifier while you sleep is easy, and can have a dramatic impact. I wouldn’t survive winter without mine. This one is cheap, easy to clean and replace the filter (found at Target), and does the job. Bonus: It helps keep your skin from getting dry and flaky too!

*A great addition to your humidifier water is a few drops of Eucalyptus essential oil. You can also dab diluted Eucalyptus oil directly under your nose to help open your sinuses. I use Eucalyptus oil in a mister in my office for patients with sinus congestion, and everyone loves it!

2. Reduce or eliminate dairy products.no-dairy sign

This includes milk, cheese, and yogurt mainly. Grass-fed butter and pastured eggs are usually not problematic. Dairy products can thicken mucus secretions and commercial varieties are generally inflammatory. In Chinese Medicine, dairy products are considered heavy and sticky in nature, which is exactly what we DON’T want happening in our noses. It is very common to find that by reducing dairy, mucus and swelling of the sinuses and throat are noticeably reduced. Other health benefits of reducing or eliminating dairy can include weight loss, clearer thinking, improved digestion, more regular bowel movements, less bloating and gas, clearer skin, deeper sleep, better energy, and faster healing. If you choose to consume dairy, I recommend goat and sheep’s milk varieties for easier digestion. We can work out an individualized diet plan for sinus congestion if you would like.

3. Consume spicy and warm foods.

Certain foods help strengthen the organ systems and channels responsible for sinus congestion. Consuming these foods helps naturally balance your body and offers relief from your stuffed-up symptoms. Examples of foods that help clear sinuses and strengthen your metal element (the element that tends to be most out of balance in autumn) include cinnamon, garlic, onion, hot peppers, ginger, horseradish, and fennel. Consuming foods that are cooked and heated, and avoiding raw foods such as salads and raw fruits, will further aid in reducing your sinus congestion. For delicious fall recipes that use these therapeutic ingredients check out Healthy Recipes.

4.  Use a Neti pot.

Neti pots or other types of saline washes can be very helpful in lubricating your nasal passages and breaking up mucus. Always use fresh water in a clean pot. I have to be honest and say that I do not use Neti pots because I find the idea of putting water up my nose slightly horrifying, but I know many patients and friends who swear by it.

5. Get some acupuncture.

Acupuncture works to strengthen the three organ systems whose channels directly impact the sinuses (lung, large intestine, and spleen). When these meridians are balanced, and your digestive system is working well, your body will not be producing mucus or inflammation in your sinuses. Diet is still an important part of the picture, but acupuncture helps give your system a strong nudge in the right direction by improving immune function, reducing histamine response, and calming inflammation. If your sinus congestion is due to a cold, acupuncture will help your body produce white blood cells to fight off the infection.

6. Use herbal medicine.

Instead of dosing yourself with antihistamines or decongestants all winter, both of which can be very harmful to your body when used on a regular basis, try an herbal formula. The wonderful thing about herbs is that herbs are really just food condensed into easy to swallow capsules or powdered teas. Because they are food-based, they are absorbed in your body more easily and work with your system to rebalance. No synthetic chemicals, no food dyes, no artificial flavors, fillers, and other crap. Just the good stuff. I use two different Chinese herbal formulas to treat sinus congestion with great success. I also have a homeopathic remedy that some people find very effective. Schedule an appointment and we will pick the right option for you. You can even skip the acupuncture if you would just like an herbal consult.

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_tagline_box backgroundcolor=”” shadow=”no” shadowopacity=”0.1″ border=”1px” bordercolor=”” highlightposition=”top” link=”” linktarget=”_self” buttoncolor=”” button=”” title=”” description=”The contents of this site, including text, graphics, images, and other material are for informational purposes only. Nothing contained in this site is or should be considered or used as a substitute for professional medical or mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please schedule an appointment for personalized health advice.” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″][/fusion_tagline_box][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]