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Health Condition

Sinusitis

  • Bromelain

    Bromelain, an enzyme derived from pineapple, appears to relieve symptoms of acute sinusitis.

    Dose:

    3,000 MCU three times per day
    Bromelain
    ×

    Bromelain, an enzyme derived from pineapple, has been reported to relieve symptoms of acute sinusitis. In a double-blind trial, 87% of patients who took bromelain reported good to excellent results compared with 68% of those taking placebo.1 Other double-blind research has shown that bromelain reduces symptoms of sinusitis.2,3 Research with bromelain for sinusitis generally uses the enteric-coated form. Enteric-coating prevents the stomach juices from partially destroying the bromelain. Most commercially available bromelain products today are not enteric-coated, and it is not known how the potency of these different products compares.

    Studies conducted in the past have used bromelain compounds with therapeutic strengths measured in units called Rorer units (RU). Potency of contemporary bromelain compounds are quantified in either MCUs (milk clotting units) or GDUs (gelatin dissolving units); one GDU equals 1.5 MCU. One gram of bromelain standardized to 2,000 MCU would be approximately equal to 1 gram with 1,200 GDU of activity, or 8 grams with 100,000 RU of activity. Physicians sometimes recommend 3,000 MCU taken three times per day for several days, followed up by 2,000 MCU per day.4 Much of the research conducted has used smaller amounts likely to be the equivalent (in modern units of activity) of approximately 500 MCU taken four times a day.

  • Cineole

    The main ingredient of eucalyptus oil, cineole, may help speed the healing of acute sinusitis.

    Dose:

    Take an amount containing 200 mg of cineole three times daily
    Cineole
    ×
      

    The main ingredient of eucalyptus oil, cineole, has been studied as a treatment for sinusitis. In a double-blind study of people with acute sinusitis that did not require treatment with antibiotics, those given cineole orally in the amount of 200 mg 3 times per day recovered significantly faster than those given a placebo.5 Eucalyptus oil is also often used in a steam inhalation to help clear nasal and sinus congestion. Eucalyptus oil is said to function in a fashion similar to menthol by acting on receptors in the nasal mucous membranes, leading to a reduction in the symptoms of nasal stuffiness.6

  • Eucalyptus

    Eucalyptus oil is often used in a steam inhalation to help clear nasal and sinus congestion. It acts on receptors in the nasal mucous membranes, leading to less stuffiness.

    Dose:

    Refer to label instructions
    Eucalyptus
    ×

    Caution: Do not use eucalyptus oil internally without supervision by a healthcare professional. As little as 3.5 ml of the oil taken internally has proven fatal.

    The main ingredient of eucalyptus oil, cineole, has been studied as a treatment for sinusitis. In a double-blind study of people with acute sinusitis that did not require treatment with antibiotics, those given cineole orally in the amount of 200 mg 3 times per day recovered significantly faster than those given a placebo.7 Eucalyptus oil is also often used in a steam inhalation to help clear nasal and sinus congestion. Eucalyptus oil is said to function in a fashion similar to menthol by acting on receptors in the nasal mucous membranes, leading to a reduction in the symptoms of nasal stuffiness.8
  • Gentian Root, Primrose Flowers, Sorrel Herb, Elder Flowers, and European Vervain

    An herbal combination of gentian root, primrose flowers, sorrel herb, elder flowers, and European vervain has been found to help promote mucus drainage from the sinuses.

    Dose:

    Refer to label instructions
    Gentian Root, Primrose Flowers, Sorrel Herb, Elder Flowers, and European Vervain
    ×

    One of the most popular supportive treatments for both acute and chronic sinusitis in Germany is an herbal combination containing gentian root, primrose flowers, sorrel herb, elder flowers, and European vervain.9 The combination has been found to be useful in helping to promote mucus drainage (“mucolytic” action) from the sinuses.10 The combination is typically used together with antibiotics for treating acute sinusitis.

  • Horseradish

    Horseradish is an herb used traditionally as a mucus-dissolver.

    Dose:

    Refer to label instructions
    Horseradish
    ×
     

    Horseradish is another herb used traditionally as a mucus-dissolver.11 One half to one teaspoon (3–5 grams) of the freshly grated root can be eaten three times per day. Horseradish tincture is also available. One quarter to one half teaspoon (2 to 3 ml) can be taken three times per day.

  • Wood Betony

    Wood betony is used in traditional European herbal medicine as an anti-inflammatory remedy for people with sinusitis.

    Dose:

    900 mg per day of diosmin and 100 mg per day of hesperidin
    Wood Betony
    ×
     

    Wood betony (Stachys betonica) is used in traditional European herbal medicine as an anti-inflammatory remedy for people with sinusitis. Modern clinical trials have not been conducted to confirm this use of wood betony.

What Are Star Ratings
×
Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Holistic Options

A warm salt-water solution poured through the nose may offer some relief from both allergic and infectious sinusitis. A ceramic pot, known as a “neti lota” pot, makes this procedure easy. Alternatively, a small watering pot with a tapered spout may be used. Fill the pot with warm water and add enough salt so the solution tastes like tears. Stand over a sink, tilt your head far to one side so your ear is parallel to the floor, and pour the solution into the upper nostril, allowing it to drain through the lower nostril. Repeat on the other side. This procedure may be performed two or three times a day.

Some practitioners may treat sinus problems using various manipulation techniques. A single case study described treatment of chronic sinusitis and sinus headaches with spinal manipulation, massage, and a technique called: “bilateral nasal specific” (BNS). The BNS procedure involves inflating small balloons within the nasal passages, creating a change of pressure and, theoretically, a realignment of nasal bones. Initial treatment of a 41-year-old woman with manipulation and massage for approximately one year had resulted in only temporary, mild relief. Her headaches resolved immediately following each treatment that included BNS, followed by increased amounts of postnasal discharge and an improved sense of smell. At the end of two additional months of care, her headaches were reduced significantly in intensity and frequency.12

References

1. Ryan R. A double blind clinical evaluation of bromelains in the treatment of acute sinusitis. Headache 1967;7:13-7.

2. Taub SJ. The use of bromelains in sinusitis: a double-blind evaluation. EENT Monthly 1967;46(3):361-5.

3. Seltzer AP. Adjunctive use of bromelains in sinusitis: a controlled study. EENT Monthly 1967;46(10):1281-8.

4. Gaby AR. The story of bromelain. Nutr Healing May 1995:3, 4, 11.

5. Kehrl W, Sonnemann U, Dethlefsen U. Therapy for acute nonpurulent rhinosinusitis with cineole: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Laryngoscope2004;114:738-42.

6. Schulz V, Hansel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy, 3rd ed. Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag, 1998, 146-7.

7. Kehrl W, Sonnemann U, Dethlefsen U. Therapy for acute nonpurulent rhinosinusitis with cineole: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Laryngoscope2004;114:738-42.

8. Schulz V, Hansel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy, 3rd ed. Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag, 1998, 146-7.

9. Schulz V, Hänsel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy: A Physician's Guide to Herbal Medicine. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1998, 163-4.

10. März RW, Ismail C, Popp MA. Action profile and efficacy of a herbal combination preparation for the treatment of sinusitis. Wien Med Wschr 1999;149:202-8.

11. Mills S, Bone K. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. London: Churchill Livingstone, 2000, 21.

12. Folweiler DS, Lynch OT. Nasal specific as part of a chiropractic approach to chronic sinusitis and sinus headaches. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1995;18:38-41.

13. Ogle KA, Bullock JD. Children with allergic rhinitis and/or bronchial asthma treated with elimination diet: a five-year follow-up. Ann Allergy 1980;44:273-8.

14. Rowe AH, Rowe A Jr. Perennial nasal allergy due to food sensitization. J Asthma Res 1965;3:141-54.

15. Derlacki EL. Food sensitization as a cause of perennial nasal allergy. Ann Allergy 1955;13:682-9.

16. Davison HM. The role of food sensitivity in nasal allergy. Ann Allergy 1951;9:568-72.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2019.