Let’s say you’re pretty sure you have a sinus infection. You’ve googled the symptoms and you can mark off pretty much all of them. Post nasal drip? Check. Stuffy or runny nose? Check. Tiredness? Check. Facial pressure? Check. Maybe you’re a few days in and you don’t want to go to the doctor just yet. So what do you do? You look for natural sinusitis remedies. Your searches yield plenty of results, and it seems like among them, a few remedies get mentioned more than others, like nasal rinses, supplements and vitamins, fluids, and essential oils. How can you tell which ones will be most effective for you without breaking the bank? You read on for helpful information about each of them.

Causes of Sinus Infection

The CDC says: “Sinus infections happen when fluid builds up in the air-filled pockets in the face (sinuses). This fluid buildup allows germs to grow. Viruses cause most sinus infections, but bacteria can cause some sinus infections.” So a number of things can cause swelling in your sinuses, including allergies, smoking, colds, viruses, a weakened immune system, or even structural problems in your nasal cavities. Regardless of the cause, though, the symptoms usually include:

Symptoms of a Sinus Infection

Common symptoms of a sinus infection (i.e., sinusitis) are:

  • nasal congestion and/or discharge 
  • loss of sense of smell
  • mucus dripping down the throat from the nose
  • tenderness or pressure under the eyes or on the bridge of the nose
  • mild to severe pain in the forehead or temples
  • cough
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • bad breath or unpleasant taste in the mouth

As to how those symptoms actually feel, people sometimes describe them as miserable and like a “hot air balloon” inside their head. That’s where these natural sinusitis remedies can come in handy.


Supplements and Vitamins

No doubt you’ve heard that vitamin C does wonders, but consider that other vitamins, minerals, and enzymes can boost your immune system too. And if your sinus infection is caused by a virus, these remedies can also be helpful:


Bromelain is a protein-digesting enzyme mixture derived from the stem, fruit, and juice of the pineapple plant. However, it’s not something you can get enough of simply by drinking pineapple juice or eating the fruit. One 2013 study and a 2020 review point to its moderate effectiveness in alleviating symptoms. The medical professionals at Mount Sinai caution, though, that it “may increase the risk of bleeding, so people who take anticoagulants (blood thinners) should not take bromelain without talking to their doctor first. Taking bromelain with ACE inhibitors may cause a drop in blood pressure (hypotension).”


Quercetin is a flavonoid, which is a kind of plant compound found in deeply colored fruits, vegetables, cocoa, tea, and wine. In a 2020 rat study with intranasal administration of quercetin, the rats experienced diminished nasal inflammation.


Some studies show that this agent can help clear mucus if used with antibiotics.


One review of 2066 articles about alternative therapies for sinusitis found that capsaicin showed potential for relieving symptoms. If pain is your problem, capsaicin cream can help lessen your body’s perception of the pain, although it does have some side effects.

Capsaicin as a natural sinusitis remedy

Essential Oils

Some essential oils can be helpful with sinus problems, if used correctly. Their chemical properties give them antiviral or respiratory activity, according to some studies:

  • Eucalyptus (radiata, citriodora, globulus)
  • Peppermint
  • Ravintsara
  • Clary Sage

Some oils are best applied topically while others are better diffused. Please consult the product labels and use only as directed.


Nasal rinse as a natural sinusitis remedy

Nasal irrigation has been known to bring relief of sinus symptoms to some people without the use of medications, say the experts at WebMD. It requires the use of a Neti pot, which pushes a saline water solution through your nasal passageways, and a bowl to catch the drainage. Specific instructions can usually be found on product labels.


Very few studies exist about the effectiveness of acupuncture on sinusitis, but several verify its effectiveness on hayfever symptoms. Again, if done correctly, it can have some advantages over antihistamines, but more research needs to be done to verify that.

The Short of It

You’ve got options before you visit your doctor. If your sinus infection has lasted for less than 10 days or your fever has bothered you for less than 3 days, give these a try. But don’t hesitate to call your doctor if you feel your symptoms are severe enough to merit that before!

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