Three Foods That Help Treat Sinus Infections

By December 23, 2014Lists

Garlic and CayenneA sinus infection, or sinusitis, is an inflammation of the lining of the sinuses that often leads to persistent runny noses, headaches, fevers and facial pains. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, more than 37 million Americans – almost 12 percent of the United States population – suffer from at least one episode of acute sinusitis annually, and that number seems to be growing due to increased environmental pollution, greater urban sprawl, and a growing resistance to antibiotics.

Fortunately, the natural world provides us with many foods that are effective at cleaning the sinuses and killing the bacteria and viruses responsible for these issues. This articles contains a list of the best of these foods.


Almost all of the ancient healing systems of the world have venerated cayenne peppers as a powerful medicine, and for good reason: These fiery hot chilies are bursting with an active component called capsaicin that is proven to treat many medical issues, including sinus-related problems. For example, a randomized, double-blind study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in August 2011 showed that intranasal capsaicin could help treat the headaches, nasal congestion, and sinus pains and pressures associated with rhinitis (an inflammatory nasal condition that often leads to sinusitis).

To use cayenne pepper to treat a sinus infection, take a small pinch of organic, non-irradiated cayenne powder and snort it up each nostril. Then, allow the sinuses to drain into a tissue or sink. If you cannot tolerate the unpleasant burning sensation that arises from snorting cayenne, you can dilute the powder with some water, apply the mixture to an ear swab and administer it that way. Adding some cayenne pepper to your meals or taking it as a supplement can help accelerate the healing process.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Like cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar has a long history of use as a medicine and is well-equipped for treating sinus infections. Firstly, it is a natural antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory that can kill the destructive microorganisms that cause the infection. Secondly, it helps the body maintain a healthy alkaline pH level, which helps to break up mucus and discourage the proliferation of disease. Lastly, apple cider vinegar is a proven immunity booster, meaning it can help prevent sinus infections from occurring in the first place.

There are several ways to use apple cider vinegar to treat a sinus infection. The gentlest way is to mix one tablespoon of it into a cup of lukewarm water and drink the mixture regularly until the condition subsides. For a more aggressive approach, mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into a cup of warm water and snort one tablespoon’s worth of the mixture though each nostril. Each time, allow the sinuses to drain down your throat and then spit into a tissue or sink.


Garlic is often considered to be nature’s antibiotic and is known to treat countless medical conditions. Virtually all of garlic’s significant health benefits stem from its dense concentration of allicin, an organic sulfur compound that is well-known for preventing and treating disease due to its considerable antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. This allicin content is what makes garlic so effective at treating sinusitis.

Unlike cayenne pepper and apple cider vinegar, garlic is far too potent to be snorted. Instead, it’s a good idea to add some chopped or crushed garlic to your meals. It’s also possible to make an inhaler out of garlic by soaking some garlic cloves in water for between 5 and 10 minutes, crushing them into a paste and then inhaling the fragrance until the sinuses are drained.