PRES­SURE?

Amazing Wellness - - REMEDY 411 -

UGH. IF YOU SU FFER FROM SI­NUSI­TIS, YOU’RE NO STR ANGER TO CON­GES­TION, ex­cess mu­cus, and un­com­fort­able pres­sure caused by a swelling of the si­nus cav­i­ties. You’re all too fa­mil­iar with stuffi­ness and throb­bing pain in the cheeks, fore­head, and around the eyes, ex­haus­tion, and headaches. Den­tal prob­lems (e.g., tooth or jaw) can also be an is­sue. And it’s common—si­nusi­tis, acute and chronic, af­fects more than 37 mil­lion Americans.

Why so many suf­fer­ers? Part of the rea­son is the way the si­nuses are con­structed. Th­ese air-filled cav­i­ties be­hind the bones of the up­per face con­tain cells that pro­duce mu­cus to trap bac­te­ria and pol­lu­tants. The sur­face of the si­nuses is cov­ered with cilia, tiny hairs that move back and forth, de­signed to push mu­cus through the si­nus open­ings and into the nose. But when mu­cus backs up, the nar­row pas­sages be­come clogged and pres­sure builds up, lead­ing to the headaches char­ac­ter­is­tic of si­nus prob­lems.

The in­flam­ma­tion or in­fec­tion that causes si­nus prob­lems can be trig­gered by bac­te­ria or viruses, cig­a­rette smoke, en­vi­ron­men­tal tox­ins, air pol­lu­tion, mold, air­borne al­ler­gies, food al­ler­gies, tooth in­fec­tions, den­tal prob­lems, over­growth of Can­dida al­bi­cans (yeast in­fec­tion) or ex­ces­sive con­sump­tion of dairy. Some­times, struc­tural ab­nor­mal­i­ties in the si­nuses, such as nar­row nasal pas­sages or the growth of a nasal polyp, can block the si­nuses and pre­vent nor­mal drainage.

Typ­i­cal treat­ments for si­nusi­tis in­clude Sudafed, an­ti­his­tamines, an­tibi­otics, or steroids. But their side ef­fects—in­clud­ing rapid heart rate, rac­ing pulse, jit­ter­i­ness and in­som­nia—make them less than ap­peal­ing. Hap­pily for si­nusi­tis suf­fer­ers, there are many safe and ef­fec­tive reme­dies for si­nus prob­lems. Skip the pre­scrip­tions, and breathe eas­ier with th­ese nat­u­ral treat­ments. Drink­ing lots of wa­ter helps thin sticky mu­cous se­cre­tions, mak­ing them drain more eas­ily from the si­nuses, as well as keeps the mu­cous mem­branes moist. Plain, fil­tered wa­ter is best, but herbal teas can also help; ginger and pep­per­mint help loosen and thin mu­cus, holy basil and licorice boost im­mu­nity, and marsh­mal­low soothes ir­ri­tated nasal pas­sage­ways.

You may also need to hu­mid­ify. Dry air ir­ri­tates al­ready-in­flamed si­nus mem­branes, slows pas­sage of mu­cus, and can ex­ac­er­bate in­fec­tions. If your home is ex­ces­sively dry, use a va­por­izer or hu­mid­i­fier. But don’t overdo it; too much hu­mid­ity en­cour­ages the growth of mold, a common cul­prit in chronic si­nus prob­lems. The best range is 35 to 45 per­cent hu­mid­ity. Or use hu­mid air lo­cally: take a hot shower, fill a sink with hot wa­ter and in­hale the steam, or breathe in the mist com­ing from va­por­iz­ers (not the steam from hu­mid­i­fiers; it’s too hot and can dam­age del­i­cate si­nus mem­branes). The Neti pot has been used in In­dia’s sys­tem of Ayurveda for thou­sands of years. To­day, its pop­u­lar­ity is grow­ing in the West, and it can be found in nat­u­ral prod­ucts stores ev­ery­where. Made of glass, ce­ramic, or plas­tic, the Neti pot re­sem­bles an Aladdin’s lamp. It is de­signed to be filled with a saline so­lu­tion and used to wash away pol­lens, mu­cus, viruses, and bac­te­ria from nasal pas­sages. The spout of the Neti pot is held to one nos­tril while lean­ing over a sink or basin, let­ting the wa­ter drain out of the other nos­tril. Re­search shows this tech­nique can help ease al­lergy and si­nus in­fec­tion symp­toms, and may even lower the chances of catch­ing the common cold, ac­cord­ing to some re­search. To make a saline so­lu­tion for the Neti pot: Dis­solve ½ tsp. non­iodized salt in 1 cup of warm dis­tilled or pre­vi­ously boiled wa­ter. Use once daily un­til symp­toms sub­side. Spir­ulina, a blue-green alga that can mod­u­late im­mune func­tion, is an ef­fec­tive treat­ment for al­ler­gic rhini­tis, an in­flam-

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