I was going to post my GFCF tortilla soup recipe this morning but my daughter had a different plan. She started the day with that famous green yucky drip…So today’s topic is “How to treat sinus infections at home.”
I knew something was up when my daughter wouldn’t eat her breakfast. In her early years, she refused to eat – literally nothing (sound familiar?). Now she eats everything in sight. But today, I had to beg, plead and cojole. Something was definitely up. Then it happened….the green ooze.
In case you don’t know, green mucus is an indicator of infection. It’s important to nip nasal infections quickly because the infection can spread to the ears and throat. Do you know what it feels like when junk drips down the back of your throat? Now imagine you are language impaired and can’t tell anyone. Misery. Pure misery. It’s best to be prepared so that you can start treatment as soon as possible.
Plantain (Plantago) is my herb of choice for sinus infections. It grows freely between the cracks of sidewalks, in yards and anywhere that gets heavy foot traffic.
I use it three ways: oil, tincture and wash.
I rub plantain oil across the sinus area of the face and sides of the nose. The oil penetrates into the sinuses and clears the infection. Typically green mucus will turn clear with just one application. Just to be safe, I also rub the oil behind the ears in case any infection is starting there.
I give 3 drops of the tincture by mouth every hour or so to treat any systemic infection that might be going on. If you try this at home, be sure to use gluten-free tinctures if you follow a GFCF diet or have a gluten-sensitivity.
The last way I treat sinus infections is with a wash. You may be familiar with the netipot. They are fabulous little pots for washing out the nasal cavity. However, they can be daunting to a child or adult with autism. Instead, I use the little syringes that pharmacies offer for giving medication to young children. I mix a solution of warm water (absolutely no hotter than body temperature) with a pinch of baking soda (too much can be painful) and sea salt. I then add a few drops of plantain tincture. Sometimes I brew a tea of plantain leaf and use that, but more often than not I need it done quickly and just use the tincture.
After the solution is made, I gently irrigate each nostril of my daughter’s nose and catch it with a towel. This procedure is lovingly called ‘elephants’ at our house. The idea is that she will blow the solution and mucus out her nose, but that rarely happens. Sometimes I will tickle her and that will blow everything out. Most of the time however, it just runs out her nose or down her throat. Its ok though. The solution is not harmful if swallowed and will actually help if there is any infection in the throat.
Other than plantain, garlic is a cure for virtually all infections. Increasing garlic intake during this time can be helpful as well. For a tasty way to eat raw garlic, try our recipe for tapanade.
The FDA would have a field day if I didn’t say “The information presented here should not replace medical care. Always seek the advice of a medical doctor. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The statements made here have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.”
But I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that traditional healers have been successfully treating this condition with herbs for centuries!