Battling sinusitis

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the nasal passages. Sinuses are air-filled pockets in the skull that are connected to the nose and throat by passages designed to drain away mucus.

If the sinuses are too small or poorly positioned to deal with the volume of mucus produced they can become clogged and pain can develop. If inflammation and/or infection occurs, sinusitis may result. 

Common signs and symptoms include pain, tenderness and swelling in the area of the affected sinus, as well as headache and malaise. The nasal mucus usually contains pus that is yellow to green in colour.

Other symptoms can include difficulty breathing through the nose, loss of smell, tenderness over the forehead and cheekbone, postnasal drip, sore throat, nausea, halitosis, snoring, reduced sleep, coughing, earache and toothache.


Sinusitis can be either acute or chronic. Acute sinusitis is most commonly caused by viral or bacterial infection and often occurs after an acute viral upper respiratory tract infection – for example, the common cold. 

Chronic sinusitis may be due to small growths in the nose, injury of the nasal bone, dental complications, smoking, emotional stress or exposure to airborne irritants.

Sinusitis may also be caused by allergies to foods or airborne allergens, such as allergies to dairy products or grass pollens.

Diet and lifestyle

Increase consumption of:

  • nutrient dense whole foods such as fruits and vegetables;
  • garlic, cayenne pepper, ginger and raw onion;
  • water and fluids;
  • hot liquids such as soups and herbal teas, to help drain the mucus;
  • possible supplements that may help include echinacea, acidophilus and bifidus, essential fatty acids, selenium, and vitamins A, B complex, C and E; and
  • fenugreek tea as it may help to reduce mucus formation.

Decrease or avoid consumption of:

  • dairy;
  • high fat foods, processed foods, refined and convenience foods; and
  • sugar and salt.

Other considerations:

  • Steam inhalation can help to promote drainage when essential oils are added to the water, such as eucalyptus, rosemary, german chamomile.
  • Avoid smoking and passive smoking.
  • A netipot, a small tea-pot like device that is especially designed for nasal irrigation, may help to reduce inflammation and congestion.
  • Chronic and severe sinusitis may require further investigation to check for structural abnormalities of the sinuses, growths, polyps and immune dysfunction.

by Sam Sample



Inglewood Pharmacy's picture
i myself suffer with chronic sinusitis