BACK TO ASK THE HERBALIST
ANSWERS FROM KAREN
My doctor diagnosed me with a sinus infection and
prescribed me antibiotics. Will this sinus infection
cause me headaches and what causes me to get a sinus
infection. Is it something I eat? Or am I deficient in
Could very well be what you're eating. White flour is the
number one culprit. I suffered from this myself for years.
Then, while on the Atkins Diet, I eliminated the white
flour from my diet and lo and behold, no more sinus
problems - at all! Amazing isn't it. I don't have trouble
with whole wheat ground flour, but if I even put a piece
of white bread in my mouth, within 10 minutes, my head
plugs up and I'm all phlegmy. You might try eliminating
white flour from your diet before pursuing other options.
Even with herbs, why take something you don't really need?
QUESTION: Can you recommend any herb to help
ANSWER: Help sinuses? What exactly are you trying
to accomplish? Lots of times, sinus problems are a direct
result of what we're eating. (personally, I can't eat
anything with white flour in it or my sinuses plug up, and
I mean immediately!) I would check to see what's in your
diet first to make sure you're eating correctly. Wheat and
corn are the two most common food associated with
allergies. I would make sure you aren't taking in any
white flour, white sugar, preservatives or artificial
sweeteners. Are your sinuses infected, or plugged up?
Actually, my favorite herb for a plugged up nose was
ephedra. The FDA has banned its use now in most of the
country, but if you have access to ephedra tea, it can
really help with a stuffy nose. My Allergy Tea might be
helpful for you. You can find it at www.allgoodegifts.com
in the Apothecary under medicinal teas.
ANSWERS FROM DAVID:
Question: I have been experiencing sinus problems now for some time. I have been
told that I have chronic sinusitis. What do you recommend?
Answer: Why do you have chronic sinusitis is it allergies, infections, poor diet, stress, lack of exercise, all these and more can affect this issue.
I would really like more information about you, diet, lifestyle, health etc. Without that I am taking a shot in the dark. It seems you have tried everything, but I will give you some things to think about.
For allergies use Eyebright and Gano Derma to lessen histamine response, check
what you are allergic too, many people are allergic to milk or gluten found
in lots of food products, others dust, mold etc. To reduce reaction remove
allergen from your diet or environment first and for most. For constant colds and flu use immune building herbs such as medicinal mushrooms or Astragulus to build your immune system, for acute onset of a cold or flu use Garlic and Echinacea in large amounts. Some people have taken up to 9 cloves a day the first couple of days, for Echinacea it has been used successfully at a teaspoon of tincture every couple of hours for the first 3 days.
Eliminate sugars and empty calories from your diet, anything with corn syrup,
glucose, sucrose, dextrose, maltose, and any alcohol sugars such as sorbitol,
all refined or bleach flour or wheat products, such as pasta, cereal and
bread. Stay away from all processed foods. The fuel of infection is sugar
and carbohydrates. Fat free products are full of sugars, they take the fat
out and add sugars for flavor and texture, avoid them also. No soda, juice,
sports drinks or sweetened teas or coffee.
Your diet should consist of water, vegetables, proteins then a small amount
of fat. Make a 3 X 5 card up and list the following:
2 Vegetables and fiber
Take the card everywhere you go, before eating or planning a meal pull the
card out and look at it, your choices are easy now, start with 1 as your
preferred drink, 2 should be your major part of the meal (look for the salad
or vegetarian menu choice), 3 protein should be the size of a deck of playing
cards about 4 oz, fats are not all bad and we need essential fatty acids, but
fats should consist of less than 15-20 percent of your diet. Use Olive oil,
fats from deep sea fish, small amounts of nuts and seeds on salad to dress the salad up. These should cover the fat requirement in your diet.
Fruits are also full of sugar and should be your dessert of chose if you have
dessert at all.
Use immune building herbs such as:
Astragulus, Huang Qi, Yellow Leader, Latin Name: Astragulus membrananceus
Use medicinal mushrooms such as Gano derma, Maitake, Shitake and Chaga to help build the deep immune system and fight infection. Make broths of the
mushrooms as a base for vegetable soup or take them as tinctures.
Get as much Garlic in you as possible, add it to your daily diet, you should
smell like garlic.
Herbs specific for Sinusitis are:
Elder Berry and Elder Flower, Latin name: Sambucus nigra (European), S. canadensis Long history of use for sinusitis, colds and flu helps fight the germs involved.
Sage, Latin Name: Salvia officinalis dries excess mucus
Thyme, Latin Name: Thymus vulgarus, T. serphyllum powerful antiseptic use for bacterial or viral conditions.
The Chinese herb Bai Zhi \Bi-Zur\, Angelica, Latin Name: Angelica dahurica it is been traditionally used for excessive mucus discharge which comes and goes, sinus headache, sinusitis, rhinitis.
Calamus, Sweet Flag, Bitter Root, Muskrat Root, Latin Name: Acorus calamus long history of use for colds and flu. head colds with congestion, sinus Headache with fullness.
Barberry, Oregon Grape Root, Latin Name: Berberis vulgaris A gargle for sinus infection.
Eyebright, Latin Name: Euphrasia sp probably the number one used herb for Sinusitis. Use tincture 1/2 a teaspoon up to 4 times a day.
Lomatium, Bear Root (Bear Medicine), Biscuit Root, Latin Name: Lomatium disectum traditionally used for acute and chronic viral or bacterial disease, make as a tea then Inhale for sinus infections and sinus headaches before drinking.
Usnea, Old's man beard, Latin Name: Usnea barbata Traditionally used for bacterial or viral conditions such as sinusitis.
Take Vitamin C 1 gram or more and take Zinc upwards to 200 mg per day to improve infection fight capabilities of your body.
Question: I just read that over 90 percent of chronic sinusitis is caused by a fungus
in the sinus cavity. can you suggest any herbs that might help eradicate
Answer: I don't know where you got your information, some people believe systemic Candadiasis (a fungus) causes allergic reactions in the body including sinus drainage or possible infection, if you had this you would be hospitalized. I am wondering if you have sinus drainage due to lots of colds and
flus, chronic infection or allergies. I am wondering what is the cause and why.
Here are my thoughts and suggestions:
For allergies use
Eyebright and Gano Derma to lessen histamine response, check what you are allergic too, many people are allergic to milk or gluten found in lots of food products, others dust, mold etc. To reduce reaction remove allergen from your diet or environment first and for most.
For constant colds and flu use immune building herbs such as medicinal mushrooms, astragulus to build your immune system, for
acute onset of a cold or flu use Garlic and Echinacea in large amounts.
But to simply answer your question here is a list of herbs that have antifungal properties:
Internally (use in diet)
Garlic, latin named Allium sativum
Thyme, latin named Thymus vulgaris
Cardamom, latin named Amomom cardamomom
Most of the aromatic herbs in your spice closest, onions, ramps
Herbs that can be used as medicines internally, with herbalist guidance, many of these have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties and many are only effective topically (they must be in contact with germ)
Myrrh, latin named Commiphora molmol or C. myrrha
Barberry or Oregon Grape Root, latin named Berberis vulgaris
Yellowroot, latin named Xanthorrhiza simplicissima
Chaparrel, latin named Larrea divaricata, L. Mexicana, L. tridentata
Usnea or Old man's beard, latin named Usnea barbata
Spilanthes, latin named Spilanthes oleracea
Externally use only
Black Walnut, latin named Juglans nigra, use green hulls
External use or inhalation into lungs and sinus
Lavender essential oil, Latin named lavendula officianalis
Tea Tree essential oil
A non-herb product called Propolis which is gathered Bee resin