Sinus Infections and Allergies in TCM

Ok, doing some research to see what I can use that’s not man-made to get rid of sinus infections, and thought I’d share.

This link shows an experiment proving that antibiotics actually don’t work when treating a sinus infection. That, I could have told you without mass experiments. I’m prone to sinus infections, and so is my mother, and we’ve both been on antibiotics for a few weeks trying to kick the infection, although it eventually went away, seemingly without any help from the antibiotics. Of course, whenever taking antibiotics (if you must) I suggest taking acidophilus (good bacteria) to help replenish your bodies natural immune system. Antibiotics are known to kill all bacteria cells, not just the bad ones. This allows room for other infections and bad bacteria to enter your body without any immune system to be in its way. Acidophilus will act as that immune system until your body creates its own again.
You can use herbs in steam (inhalation) to help clear out your sinuses. Specifically (gathered from many sources, and found commonly): lavender, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil. These three can be added to boiling, steaming water and inhaled through the nose to clear the passages and induce healing. Eating lots of garlic or taking garlic pills will also help the healing process.
Two herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine are Gan Jiang (Dried ginger) and Bai Zhi (angelica root). In the past, when I’ve used dried ginger, I put it in boiling water, with fresh squeezed lemon and a bit of honey. Mostly, it helps with sore throats, but the properties of the herbs help healing too. Although fresh ginger works better for the tea, dry ginger would serve the same purpose. For more info on Gan Jiang, click here. Bai Zhi also expels wind-cold and dampness. I haven’t used this before personally, although by the sounds of it it’s pretty similar in properties as Gan Jiang. Info on it here, and here. I would assume you could use it in tea as well, although it looks like you can get it in powder, so you may add it to foods, or soups, etc.
Of course, accupressure works, so pushing on certain spots in the sinuses to help them clear. Also, applying a hot cloth helps, although if you add the lavender, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil to the cloth it will get soaked into the sinuses as well. I’d suggest filling a bowl with hot water and adding 2-5 drops of each oil, then soaking the cloth in the water before applying it over the sinuses. Apply approx. 3 times a day, for about 3 minutes each time. You can also switch the temperature of the cloth from hot to cold. For cold only use it for about one minute, whereas hot would be the three full minutes at a time.
Sadly, none of this is covered in western insurance, and these ingredients are expensive. But they have been proven to work better and faster, and can even prevent sinus infection. If you use these when you feel the onset of the infection or if you know you’ll be in an environment that will bring the allergies up, it will work to prevent the onset. Common allergies that cause infections are hay fever/spring allergies, dust and dry environments, and artificial fragrance (some people are affected strongly by non-artificial fragrances, although essential oils doesn’t seem to be a problem for most people). They say to not have cold air (breezes, etc.) on the head when you have an infection as it will cause the sinuses to tighten (cold contracts!) and make the pockets the infection is brewing in tighten which will inevitably make the movement of the infected mucus (out, hopefully) less possible. Any cold or dry environment would be a bad idea for this reason.
Also, if you’re interested in applying oil directly into the nostrils, as you would saline solution, nasya oil is a good option. Quote: “Certified organically grown herbs including brahmi, calamus and scullcap in a base of certified organic sesame and olive oils. Nasya is traditionally used in Ayurveda for sinus conditions and headaches, to promote clarity and balance prana. Useful for all doshas, it helps decongest the nasal passages while soothing and nourishing the tissues. Please note: this is a liquid product in an oil base that is intended for use in the nose. Contents: Certified organic Sesame and Olive oils, brahmi*, calamus*, skullcap*, Eucalyptus essential oil.” So, as you can see form the ingredients, this is a good bet for fast and simple application. You do drop the solution right into your nose, up to 5 drops in each nostril depending on how much mucus you need to clear. A good video on how to apply this can be found here.
I know essential oils have done loads for me and I’m not allergic to them, even though I’m allergic to other non-artificial smells (flowers, mostly). They are natural, and have been used for 5000+ years in oriental medicine to cure worse illness/injury than sinusitis. So, it’s worth a try. Especially if it can prevent the infection from happening at all, let alone getting worse.
Based on TCM Assistant, this concoction works wonders on sinusitis:
Bai Zhu Fu Zi TangAtractylodes and Prepared Aconite Decoction
Class: Expel Wind-Damp


Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae)  29.00 %
Fu Zi (Radix Aconiti Carmichaeli Praeparata)  29.00 %
Sheng Jiang (Rhizoma Zingiberis Officinalis Recens)  14.00 %
Zhi Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis)  14.00 %
Da Zao (Fructus Jujubae)  14.00 %
Eliminates Dampness
Eliminates Wind
Warms the channels
Calms painIndications
Wind-Cold-Damp affecting the muscles and channels.

Maxillary sinusitis
Paralysis of the face
Sensation of general discomfort
Sensation of heaviness of the head


One thought on “Sinus Infections and Allergies in TCM

  1. Edmond Pribish says:

    Acidophilus can really help balance the bacterial flora in the digestive system. They can also prevent the build up of polyps and cancer causing cells in the colon. `*:.:

    Till next time“>

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