Sinusitis is an inflammation of the mucus membranes in the sinus cavities and is caused by infections of either a bacterial, viral or fungal nature, from a physical obstruction such as a deviated septum or nasal polyps, from allergies or environmental irritants, or from immunodeficiency and frequent colds.
Often sinusitis presents like a common cold that lingers on with constant or worsening nasal congestion and possibly discharge that becomes thicker and changes from a clear to a yellow or even yellowish-green colour.
In fact, sinusitis can be hard to differentiate from a common cold or hay fever and is unfortunately often treated unsuccessfully by antibiotics for that reason. In Chinese medicine we don’t differentiate between those disorders the same way Western medicine does. Instead we base the treatments on the presenting symptoms and the individual person’s health history and context of the complaint.
Characteristically people present with symptoms such as nasal congestion, excessive mucus, sneezes, sniffles, decreased sense of smell, a muffled and heavy head usually accompanied by sinus pain or tenderness, headaches, and low energy, maybe even a cough, toothache, or bad breath.
The colour, the amount and how viscous or sticky the nasal discharge is tell us a lot about the nature of the problem.
When people seek help with Chinese medicine it is typically because their symptoms linger in spite of treatments with antibiotics and sometimes surgery, and have become a recurrent or chronic problem.
Too often a vicious cycle follows repeated courses of antibiotics. The treatment gives short-term relief, but hasn’t solved the cause of the problem and can actually weaken the body’s own ability to fight re-current infections and lead to increased tiredness and depletion.
Acupuncture and herbal medicine can break this cycle and not only clear the uncomfortable symptoms of chronic sinusitis but actually STRENGTHEN the body to avoid the problem recurring and eliminate the excessive mucus production.
Acupuncture can help effectively free the flow in the sinuses and give instant relief during the treatment as well as work on the overall strength of the immune system.
Many Chinese herbs have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties, and herbs can transform the mucus as well as balance and support the organs that are most involved in fluid metabolism in order to reduce and prevent the congealing of fluids and the production of mucus both in the sinuses and systemically.
Stress and exhaustion, as well as dietary factors are often contributors to chronic sinusitis and mucus formation. Dietary recommendations will be part of a Chinese medicine treatment. In general it is recommended to avoid or limit foods which can contribute to production of excess mucus in the body, such as sugar, dairy products, fried and spicy foods, and red meat. Alcohol and smoking should also be avoided.
Foods such as coriander, oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, apricot seeds (citrus extracts), garlic, radish, and turnip can be beneficial as they help to clear the nose and resolve mucus. Drinking plenty of water will make the mucus thinner and relieve the blockage. We also highly recommend trying sinus irrigation with a salt water solution (kits can be obtained at most chemists).
In other words, Chinese medicine we treat the root cause of the problem and the results are long term benefits, with better immunity and clear sinuses.
Gardenvale Traditional Chinese Medicine