What does raw vinegar have to do with sinus health?!
Anne writes: Oil of Rosemary, Eucalyptus & peppermint have done wonders when I feel a sinus infection coming on. Someone recommended Raw Apple cider vinegar “with the Mother” for my immune system. Thoughts?
Hi Anne! Thank you for your question. Rosemary, eucalyptus (especially E. globulus) and peppermint are all excellent choices for respiratory health. In fact, one of my all time favorite retail herbal products is Simpler's Sinus Oil which contains 2 of these.
Respiratory infections can cause inflammation and irritation to the sinus membranes and these infections can be viral, bacterial or fungal. So, your approach of enhancing your immune system is wise since this will help your body fight off all pathogens.
Here are some tips to support your immune system and mucus membranes:
Avoid pathogens with frequent hand washing, pollutants that irritate sinus tissue, such as smoke and food & environmental allergens as best you can.
Rinse sinuses with a little saline every morning or night and follow with some hydrating oil -- hydrated tissues are more resilient than dry tissues.
Eat foods that support immune health:
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar (there's your answer!), kimchi and yogurt (pay attention - some people find that dairy aggravates sinus conditions). The beneficial bacteria they contain will help populate your gut which is where most of our immune system resides. Kimchi contains bacteria that are particularly helpful for sinus health.
Mushrooms: all mushrooms support immune health! There is research to support this, such as this study on shiitake mushrooms!
Add herbs to your routine:
Steam your face and sinuses with teas made from these herbs: chamomile, eucalyptus, peppermint and yarrow. You can also use essential oils, but I prefer using the whole herb to get a full consittuent profile. It's also less expensive and more sustainable. End with a little oil to hydrate the mucous membranes.
Of course, if home care isn't addressing a sinus infection then it's always a good idea to work with a local herbalist or health practitioner to get to the bottom of the issue.
Staff writer, Amy Charnay, MS, CNS, is co-founder of the delicious medicinal mushroom coffee product 'Reishi Roast' and founder of 'Herban Allies' a company dedicated to helping individuals build resiliency through herbs, nutrition and mindfulness practices. Amy works as a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) and clinical herbalist via Skype and in her office in northern California. She holds a MS in Herbal Medicine from Maryland University of Integrative Health and is an avid gardener and teacher of herbal medicine.