An Ayurvedic View on Sinusitis
by Dr. Arun Aravind - Ayurveda Physician
Sinusitis refers to an inflammation of the sinuses that often occurs with a viral, bacterial or fungal infection. It usually follows a common cold, flu or other upper respiratory tract infections. Sinuses are air filled spaces in the skull lined with mucus membranes and acts as passage through which the mucus is able to drain, warms up the breath and facilitates the air circulation.
Sinusitis is medically classified in three levels:
- Acute -- symptoms last up to 4 weeks – caused by upper respiratory infection (Bacterial/ Viral)
- Sub-acute -- symptoms last for 4 - 12 weeks
- Chronic -- symptoms last 3 months or longer - mostly due to long term swelling and inflammation of the sinus glands (Bacterial/ Fungal)
- Bad breath (halitosis) / Loss of smell (anosmia)
- Cough usually bad at night aggravated by Cold conditions, cold food and drinks
- Continuous sneezing
- Head ache – Pain behind the eyes, tooth ache, pain in the cheeks etc
- Sore throat and post nasal dripping
Ayurveda Therapies for Sinusitis
Depending upon the condition a treatment regimen is planned, which includes internal medicines and a unique purification therapy called Nasyam.
Nasyam is one of the five purification therapies practiced in Ayurveda called the Panchakarma therapy.
Medicated oils / medicinal powder / herbal juice extracts are administered through the nostrils in the form of nasal drops. Prior to the administration of this therapy oleation and sudation therapies are recommended which will help to loosen the adhesive toxins, thereby facilitating the subsequent elimination.
Procedure of Nasyam
The patient is asked to lie down in a bed with his hand and legs kept straight. His head is maintained at a lower position by keeping the pillow below the neck. The lightly warmed up medicine is then instilled into one nostril, while the other is kept closed. The same process is repeated with the other nostril. The soles, shoulders, neck, ear and palm are gently rubbed after the administration of the procedure to enhance the detoxification process.
The impurities must be spit out along with the medicine that reaches the mouth. The spitting is repeatedly carried out turning to both sides while the patient is in the lying down position. After the procedure warm water mixed with rock salt is given for gargling. This process is advised to be repeated for 7 – 21 days.
- Garlic is one of the best medicines for sinusitis. Squash 3-4 garlic cloves and mix them with honey – consume twice daily 5 minutes before food.
- Mix black pepper, long pepper and dry ginger (Trikatu) with honey, which is very good for chronic sinusitis
- Diluted milk boiled with turmeric improves the immune system and helps to reduce stuffiness.
- Plain steam inhalation is one of the most effective ways to get rid of and prevent sinusitis.
- Thulsi juice 5 ml + honey 2 ml helps in sinusitis and improves the immune system.
Diet for Sinusitis
- Fresh fruit juices, vegetable soups, plenty of warm water
- Well balanced diet by including seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables, fruits
- Avoid fried, starchy foods and drinks, rice, pasta, pastries, cakes and candies
- Avoid banana, eggplant, bell pepper, tomato
- Avoid skipping or delaying meals as this will upset digestive balance and cause formation of toxins.
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