All About Sinus Infections and How Ayurveda Can HelpIf you suffer from sinusitis, you know how awful it can be. The uneasiness of a blocked nose and on top of that heaviness and pain in your eyes, and cheekbones, make the situation even worse and drive you to seek relief through medication.
But, researchers warn against using antibiotics unnecessarily. This is because most sinus problems are caused by viruses, and antibiotics won't help with that. Even when it's a bacterial infection, antibiotics might not speed up your recovery.
If you’ve tried everything and still experience those painful sinus symptoms, and wish to take a natural approach, it is time to consider Ayurveda.
Let’s first learn about sinus to understand how Ayurveda can help with sinus infections.
What is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is an inflammation (redness and swelling) of the tissue lining your sinuses. These are air-filled cavities within the bones between your eyes, behind your cheekbones, and in your forehead. They produce a slimy liquid called mucus, which helps to moisten your nasal passages and keep your nose clean, and free of bacteria and dust.
Healthy sinuses are normally filled with air. But when they become inflamed because of bacterial or viral infections or allergic reactions the normal drainage of mucus is obstructed. This leads to fluid build-up which allows germs to grow and cause an infection.
Conditions that can lead to sinus blockage include:
● The common cold and flu
● Allergic rhinitis, which is the inflammation of the nasal lining due to allergens.
● Small growths known as nasal polyps that develop within the nasal lining.
● A deviated septum, which is a displacement in the nasal cavity.
Sinus infections are commonly caused by viruses, although bacteria can also be a cause.
Symptoms of a Sinus InfectionThe classic symptoms include pressure in your face, especially around your nose, eyes, and forehead. This often worsens with head movement or bending over. You also experience headache, pressure or tenderness in the teeth, runny and blocked nose with a persistent cough, and thick, yellow, or green nasal discharge. Infection can also lead to sore throat, fever, bad breath, body aches, and tiredness.
Types of Sinusitis
Sinusitis is categorized based on how long it lasts and what causes it.
● Lasts less than 4 weeks.
● Caused by viruses such as the common cold.
● Symptoms include a stuffy or runny nose, face pain or pressure, and difficulty smelling.
● Lasts from 1 to 3 months.
● Symptoms are similar to acute sinusitis but last longer.
● Lasts at least 3 months or longer.
● Typically caused by bacteria.
● Symptoms can be similar to acute sinusitis but are persistent and may be more severe.
Recurrent Acute Sinusitis
● Infection reoccurs four or more times within a year.
● Each episode lasts less than two weeks.
● Similar symptoms to acute sinusitis, but they keep occurring repeatedly.
If you experience acute sinus problems, using over-the-counter (OTC) medicines can often help you feel better. But, if you're dealing with chronic sinus infections, relying on OTC medicines may only provide temporary relief, and the problem can worsen over time. Various surgical procedures may also be performed to drain the sinus.
But even these expensive surgical procedures can have complications like bleeding, oro-antral fistula (a hole between the mouth and sinus), or nerve issues causing pain and numbness in the face. To completely eliminate the infection, it's important to take a holistic approach. Ayurveda, which addresses the root cause of diseases, can be very effective in eradicating sinus infection too.
How Ayurveda Can Help?
In Ayurveda, sinusitis is referred to as "Pinas" which is caused by an imbalance of two subdoshas – Prana Vata, a subdosha of Vata that governs the brain, head, and mind; and Shleshaka Kapha, a subdosha of Kapha that maintains lubrication and moisture balance.
When both sub-doshas are out of balance, the waste product of digestion mixes with Shleshaka Kapha in the sinus area, resulting in a sticky mucus called Shleshma. This Shleshma settles in the area, blocking the channels of the sinuses. This restriction and blockage also disrupt Pitta dosha.
When all three doshas are not in harmony, your immune system becomes compromised. Your body becomes a fertile ground for germs like allergens, and viruses. Factors like air pollution, stress, fluctuations in hot and cold weather, and certain lifestyle patterns such as excessive consumption of cold, sweet, heavy foods, staying up late, or insufficient exercise can aggravate the imbalance.
Ayurvedic Approaches to Manage Sinus Infection
Ayurvedic treatment for the sinus includes herbal medications, nasal therapy, steam inhalation, and yoga. These ayurvedic remedies can effectively treat sinusitis without the need for surgery.
Nasya Therapy: Nasya is a well-known panchakarma Ayurvedic treatment that helps to clear excess mucus from your upper respiratory passages. "Nasya" means the nose, and this treatment uses various substances like medicated oil powder or fresh juice.
It is considered the best way to treat problems above your shoulders. The treatment drains excess fluids, mucus, and allergens from the sinuses. It can even clear trapped air bubbles. Nasya aids in easing congestion, reducing inflammation, and clearing the sinus passages.
This treatment begins with a warm oil massage of your head, face, and neck, followed by a precise amount of Nasya oil poured softly into your nostrils. The choice of oil is determined by the physician, considering factors such as your body constitution, current dosha balance, and any current health issues. After the therapy a fresh lining of mucus membrane forms and your drainage systems become normal.
Herbal medications: Of all the herbs in Ayurveda, Tulsi, or holy basil, is the most essential herb. Scientific research has confirmed its numerous benefits. Tulsi has been shown to protect organs and tissues against chemical stress caused by industrial pollutants and heavy metals, as well as exposure to cold temperatures, all of which are primary causes of sinusitis. You can find a blend of five rare tulsi varieties in Tulsi Drops , The medicine has antiseptic, antibiotic, antimalarial, and antimicrobial properties.
Another method that Ayurveda can help is by improving immunity, which can be achieved by the use of immunity-boosting medications such as Jeevan Sanjeevani Kwath. Strengthening your immune system not only helps build resistance against infections but also prevents dependency on medications, without causing any side effects.
Steam Inhalation: Inhaling herbal steam is another beneficial Ayurvedic approach to relieve sinusitis. Boiling water infused with herbs like eucalyptus, mint, or camphor should be inhaled. This helps ease nasal congestion, opens up sinuses, and provides relief.
Yoga: Specific yoga asanas and breathing exercises such as pranayama can effectively open up your sinuses, enhance respiratory function, and reduce congestion. Practices like Kapalabhati and Anulom Vilom are also beneficial for sinusitis.
Ayurveda offers highly effective treatment and medicine options for sinusitis. These solutions not only aim to cure the disease and restore your well-being but also provide long-term immunity and reduce your susceptibility to getting a sinus infection. While these approaches are beneficial, no Ayurvedic treatment should be initiated without a doctor's guidance. Consult an Ayurvedic doctor to determine the best treatment approach.