Helpful Herbs for Sinus Infections


Sinus infections are essentially an inflammation of the sinus cavities. While this may not sound that bad the resulting symptoms are troublesome, making both a good night's sleep and an active day challenging, especially in chronic cases. There is also the risk of an infection spreading to the lungs.

Sinusitis is characterized by coughing, headaches, tenderness on the head and face, mucus build-up, runny nose, sore throat, difficulty breathing, and a loss of smell. Rather than suppressing symptoms, herbal remedies are meant to remove mucus, reduce inflammation, and defend the body from the bacterial, viral or even fungal infection that may be the root cause.

Dealing with Mucus Build-Up

Herbs can benefit sinusitis by helping to break-up and expel mucus in the head. The following herbs are good for clearing congestion and cleaning nasal passages:

  • Marshmallow
  • Nettle
    nettle leaf
  • Red clover
  • Anise
  • Fenugreek

Fenugreek and thyme tea is an effective herbal remedy for sinus congestion. Blend red clover and nettle to help cleanse the system. Marshmallow is a valuable demulcent; it will soothe and protect inflamed tissue. As a herb with expectorant properties anise encourages the release of phlegm.

To make a healing herbal infusion use two teaspoons of one or more of these dried herbs. Steep in freshly boiled water for ten minutes. While treating a sinus infection, drink one to three cups daily.

Treating the Inflammation

Aside from marshmallow, which soothes irritated tissue, mullein will also help to reduce inflammation. Taking a hot bath with chamomile, or simply using a steam inhalation can help as well. This herb has both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

To use, add seven drops of chamomile essential oil, one ounce of fresh flowers, or four tablespoons of the dried herb to bath water. Breath deeply and relax. To make a steam inhalation fill a large glass bowl with boiling or very hot water. Add three tablespoons of dried herb or three drops of essential oil. Put your head over the water and inhale the volatile oils for ten minutes. Put a towel over your head for a more potent effect.

Treating the Infection


It is so important to address the actual infection when treating a sinus infection. Use these anti-microbial herbs to help eliminate the infection and strengthen the immune system. Echinacea can be taken in tea, tincture, or capsule form. Combine with the antiseptic, anti-catarrhal, and anti-inflammatory properties of golden rod for a potent sinusitis herbal remedy.

Peppermint, rosemary, thyme, and aniseed also have anti-microbial properties. Drink a herbal infusion, including previously mentioned herbs, to help protect the body.

All of these herbs for sinus infections are valuable for treating either acute or chronic sinusitis. They are safe for general use, but talk to your doctor about using herbal medicine, especially if taking medication or if you have a serious medical condition.


Hoffmann, David. The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies (Element Books, 1996).

Balch, Phyllis, CNC. "Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition." (The Penguin Group, 2006).

Page, Linda. "Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone, 11th Edition" (Traditional Wisdom, 2003).

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