Our paranasal sinuses are mucus-making air cavities in the bones near the nose. The mucus keeps the inside of the nose moisturized and stops micro-organisms from entering the body.
But blocked nasal passages can trap mucus in the sinuses and lead to sinusitis—an infection or inflammation of the sinus lining.
It can be hard to tell the difference between allergies and sinusitis. The two conditions share the symptoms of runny nose, nasal congestion, and sinus pressure. Itchy, watery eyes and an itchy nose are telltale symptoms of seasonal allergies; thick green or yellow nasal discharge is the calling card of sinusitis.
Plant Extracts for Sinus Relief
Andrographis to Reduce Sinus Inflammation
This herb, native to India and Sri Lanka, has long been used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine practices to stimulate the immune system and reduce the inflammatory symptoms of sinusitis. But anyone taking certain meds such as blood pressure–reducing drugs, anticoagulants, and antiplatelet drugs should not use andrographis.
Bromelain to Thin Mucus
Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple. Studies show that taking bromelain supplements can help improve symptoms of sinusitis, including the thinning of mucus secretions. Bromelain thins the blood, so consult your healthcare practitioner if you take blood-thinning meds or have a bleeding disorder.
Quercetin as a Natural Anti-Histamine
This natural plant compound acts as an antihistamine and reduces mucus secretion. It’s often combined with bromelain and vitamin C in supplement form.
Butterbur for Allergy Relief
Butterbur works well for allergies, appearing to inhibit inflammation. In one study with more than 300 participants, butterbur worked as well as Allegra at reducing hay fever symptoms.
“A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of Andrographis paniculata fixed combination Kan Jang in the treatment of acute upper respiratory tract infections including sinusitis” by E.S. Gabrielian et al., Phytomedicine
“Oral bromelain attenuates inflammation...” by E.R. Secor et al., Evid Based Complement Alternat Med
“Pay close attention to symptoms to determine if cause is sinus infection or allergies” by Shawn Bishop, www.MayoClinic.org, 4/12/13