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Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)(5.00 out of 5 stars) 3 reviews
Written by John Immel
The Brilliance of Stuffy NosesAyurveda's approach redirects frustration away from our stubborn, sealed and sulking snout and instead towards the root cause. Once brilliantly buffered from exposure to the cold air and blanketed by a thick layer of mucus, the comfy cozy sinuses warm up again. Our nose knows that viruses thrive on the surface of cool mucus membranes. It's winter, and a stuffy nose protects delicate sinus tissues by swelling shut and filling with fluids to prevent nasal breathing. Forcing them open again would create vulnerability to infectious attack.
The Dignity of BoogersThe example above highlights a perspective that respects the body and dignifies its responses to disease, from boogers to blood pressure, however uncomfortable the symptom may feel. This perspective is core to many traditional healing systems on the planet from Ayurveda to the western nineteenth century Vitalists. These healing systems suggest we work with the body, embracing symptoms as teachers or clues rather than struggling against them. The presence and type of a stuffy nose helps us clarify the cause, whether due to blood stagnation, chronic cold, or underlying allergy.
DefinitionsNasal congestion is the blockage of the nasal passages, also known as nasal blockage, nasal obstruction, blocked nose, stuffy nose, or stuffed up nose. Nasal congestion is usually due to swollen nasal membranes from inflammation of blood vessels.
Sinusitis is any condition of inflammation in the sinuses connected to the nasal cavity. A simple runny nose is defined by unusually large amounts of nasal fluids with or without inflammation and blocked nasal breathing. Catarrh is a runny nose with thick mucus and white blood cells in response to an infection. Snot and Boogers are the slang term for congealed nasal mucus as it dries.
Types of Stuffy NosesMany stuffy noses result in the Common Cold. When chronic cold forces the nose to remain stuffed, the inability to flush mucus from the nasal passages may also promote growth of bacteria and viruses. A delicate balance is the key to avoiding sinusitis. The very ordinary ailment we call a common cold is known as Pratishyaya in Ayurveda. Common Colds indicate the presence of rhinoviruses, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), adenoviruses, enteroviruses, and many others. Other types of stuffed or blocked noses include polyps and injury to the temples (not covered here).
The main causes of stuffy and runny noses are:
Signs & Symptoms
There are four pairs of sinuses in the head. The location of the pain can indicate where the infection is more prominent.
DevelopmentSinusitis usually follows a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. The viruses damage the cells lining the sinuses, causing inflammation, swelling, and buildup of fluids that obstruct the nasal passages. The obstruction disrupts elimination of bacteria normally present in the sinus cavity. The bacteria multiply and invade the sinuses causing thick yellowish or greenish exudate. Allergens, pollutants, dryness, and chronic acid reflux create a similar effect, damaging the lining of the sinuses.
Streptococcuspneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis are normally involved in acute sinusitis. Staphylococcus aureus and anaerobes are sometimes involved in chronic sinusitis. Fungi is an increasing cause of chronic sinusitis, especially in people with compromised immunity, such as with AIDS, leukemia, and diabetes.
Ayurveda considers these pathogens opportunists taking advantage of an underlying weakness. Rather than fight the pathogen, Ayurveda considers the pathogen a symptom and addresses the deeper disease patterns that promote their growth. Disease patterns that commonly lead to infection of the sinuses include a diet or lifestyle with an excess of the following qualities:
TreatmentSoups are traditional dietary foods for common cold and sinusitis. The warm broth of a vegetable or chicken soup warms the blood and entire body.
Kapha people often get stuffy noses in the spring when the blood is naturally rich. If heavy, rich foods have triggered a flood of mucus, a day of light fasting helps clear mucus and dry out the blood. Keep the head and chest warm with a hat and plenty of layers. Sweets and dairy should be avoided including cheese, yogurt, & milk because these provoke mucus (Kapha). Avoid cold water and swallowing mucus. Pitta people get stuffy noses due to allergies and Vata people due to cold quality and toxins in the colon.
Cilantro and an Ayurvedic herb called guduci are hypoallergenic.
Mouth breathing and suppressed appetite causes significant dryness irritating nasal passages. Take care to prevent dehydration. Vata may employ daily oil massage except where fever is present to balance dryness and keep the skin warm. After the acute infection has resolved, five drops of ghee, sesame oil, or nasya oil (medicated nasal oil) in each nostril daily will help the sinuses heal and restore the senses of taste and smell. Foods that are difficult to digest should be avoided. Cleanse the colon with gentle laxatives such as triphala and enema therapy.
Proper DrainageProper drainage of the sinus passages will help the bacterial infection to resolve. Since all infection involves Pitta dosha and inflammation, avoid substances that clear the sinuses by further irritating them.
Disclaimer: 'Sinus Infection' could be serious and should be checked by a medical doctor.
Symptoms Tell A StoryThe first step to healing is learning patterns from your symptoms. Symptoms are clues that reveal underlying imbalances, showing you where your body is weak. Specifically, they reveal the doshas & qualities that may have become aggravated. If you notice a quality or dosha appears next to many of your symptoms, it helps you establish a pattern that may be systemic.
Sinus Infection indicates one or more of the following doshas and qualities may be aggravated. Generally you would avoid foods and lifestyle habits that would aggravate these qualities:
Key: V = Vata, P = Pitta, K = Kapha. A slash through a dosha means it an aggravated dosha. To learn more about the symbols above, click on them.
Stage of Disease: 4 - Tissue DegenerationIf you have symptoms in this category it means your imbalances have overwhelmed your body's resistance causing a full-fledged disease. Once imbalance reaches this stage it is more likely to cause acute or chronic conditions. You might be tempted to focus your attention on fighting diseases in this category, but dismiss earlier warning signs of imbalance. Ayurveda emphasizes healthy diet and lifestyle choices to restore balance. The preventative approach suggests you pay careful attention to every stage of disease development.
Please review these herbs & products below to determine which ones might be helpful for Sinus Infection.
The following herbal actions and effects have been traditionally suggested for 'Sinus Infection'.
|Ginger (Dried)||Ginger (Fresh)|
|Radish (raw)||Red Onion (raw)|
|Salt (Mineral Salt)|
|Cough with mucus / wet cough||Mucus Congestion|
|Mucus/congestion in mornings||Can breathe through nose|
|Stuffed nose (can't breathe)||Snot / dried mucus|
|Thick mucus||Swallowing mucus|
|Spitting out mucus||Cry easily|
|Food allergy||Seasonal allergies|
|Animal/dander allergy||Detergent allergy|
|Dust allergy||Mold allergy|
|Limited sense of smell||Limited sense of taste|
|Sinus pain around eyes||Sinus pain in cheeks|
|Sinus pain in forehead||Aching jaw|
|Bad breath||Fatigue / tired|
|Frequent Nausea||Nasal Polyps|
|Anger, irritable, ambitious, analytical||Yellow mucus|
|Blood or pus in mucus||Green mucus|
|Fever (current)||Ear pain/infection|
|Thin mucus||Dryness Aggravates|
|Runny nose||Post nasal drip|
(5.00 out of 5 stars) 3 reviews
Wow! As always, an article full of rich, unique content!
I remember a remedy from childhood - when we had a headcold, we'd take a pinch of anise seeds (ajwain) wrapped in a soft hanky and sniff at it all day. It was comforting for sure, but I don't recollect if it helped with the symptoms.
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