Sinusitis, the inflammation or infection of the mucous membrane lining the nasal sinuses (air-filled cavities in the bones surrounding the nose; above the eyes, in the cheekbone, behind bridge of nose, upper nose) is among the leading causes of time lost from work or school.
Non infectious sinusitis is caused by irritants or allergies. Chronic inflammation of the nasal passages also can lead to sinusitis. If you have allergic rhinitis, also called hay fever, you can develop episodes of acute sinusitis. Infectious sinusitis is caused by bacterial growth in the sinuses as a complication of cold or flu. When the opening to the sinus gets blocked and the mucus inside cannot drain, bacteria flourishes and the infection begins.
Sinusitis can be correlated with the disease named Pratisyaya described in Ayurveda. The causes described in Ayurvedafor this pratisyaya are excessive use of cold water, use of foods with cold potency, polluted air, dust, fog, smoke, cold wind, lack of sleep in the night, day sleeping, any cause that reduces the normal immunity of the body, climate changes, exposure to extreme heat or cold etc. Emotional factors & mental stress can also provoke the disease. Ayurveda also highlights the role of allergens, which is the most important among non infectious causes, in provoking the sinus problems.
Getting allergy and sinusitis can be a sign that there is an imbalance in your system. When you have an imbalance, you are susceptible to various diseases which can settle in weak areas of your body. Your resistance may be low, which can be caused by poor nutrition. Natural methods can help your body’s immune system to function correctly and resist bacterial invasions that cause sinusitis.
The Ayurveda treatment for sinusitis varies with the cause and stage of the disease. For acute conditions:
- Steam inhalation is effective.
- Decongestants to reduce congestion
- Pain relievers to reduce any pain
- Herbal Antibiotics to control a bacterial infection, if present
- Anti histamines if it is due to allergies
For chronic conditions:
- Nasya (nasal drops)
- Dhoomapana (medicated fume inhalations)
- Neti (nasal wash with water added with honey & rock salt)
Etc. which may hyposensitize and immuno-modulators are found to be effective treatment measures.
- Inhaling steam from a vaporizer added with few drops of lemon juice or camphor can soothe inflamed sinus cavities.
- Cold bath, cold wind, dust, smoke, day sleep, oily foods, etc are all the avoidable for a patient with sinus problems.
- Saline nasal spray, which you can buy in a drug store, can give relief.
- Gentle heat applied over the inflamed area is comforting.
- Better use warm food and water.
- Ginger mixed with milk or pepper powder mixed with hot milk is advised as drink.
- Taking dried ginger powder mixed with jaggery is good.
- The strong smell of garlic or acorus calamus powder can open the blocked nose
- Other treatments include smoke inhalation with rasnadi choorna or kachooradi choorna, intake of ayurvedic medicines like vyoshadi vataka, vasarishta, etc.
- Various Ayurvedic medicines like Indukantha ghritha, Kooshmanda rasayana, Agastya rasayana, Dasamoolarishta, Guggulu pancha pala choorna, Chyavana prasa etc can improve the body’s natural immune response and thereby their regular use as per prescription reduce the sinus problems
- Take Aswagandha powder, (Withania Somnifera) 10gms mixed with milk at bedtime.
The frequency of the sinus problems can be reduced by adopting the following tips;
- Intake of lemon juice daily in the morning with a teaspoon honey.
- Chew a few leaves of Basil (Tulsi) leaves daily
- Drop two drops of anutaila daily in the nostrils.
- Use Tulasyadi taila as head oil
- Rub a pinch of rasnadi choorna on the crown after bath.
- Daily practice of yoga and its breathing techniques under an expert’s supervision creates a protective shield against the allergic environment and thereby enhance the resistance to ailments.
Article by By Dr. V L Shyam, MD MPhil, Birla Kerala Vaidyashala