Home Remedies for Sinus Drainage


To ease sinus discomfort, aim to drink plenty of fluids and use a humidifier to keep the air moist. You can also try nasal irrigation, chicken soup, or manuka honey — but call a doctor if your symptoms last more than 10 days.
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You know the feeling. Your nose is either plugged or like a leaky faucet, and your head feels like it’s in a vise. It feels better to keep your eyes closed because they’re puffy and sore. And your throat feels like you swallowed nails.
Read on for six natural ways that can help drain your sinuses

How can I naturally drain my sinuses?

How can I naturally drain my sinuses?
Sinus problems can be uncomfortable. However, there are effective remedies, from chicken soup to compresses, that you can use to alleviate the pain and discomfort of sinus issues.
1. Water, water everywhere
Drink fluids and run a humidifier or vaporizer.
Why is this important? Fluids and humidification help to thin mucus and drain your sinuses. They also lubricate your sinuses and keep your skin hydrated.
Hot beverages, like herbal tea, can be especially hydrating. Hot beverages also provide an extra benefit from the steam.
2. Nasal irrigation
Nasal irrigation is very effective at relieving nasal congestion and irritation.
Saline irrigation simply means gently flushing out your nasal passages with a saline solution. You can do this with special squeeze bottles, bulb syringes, or a neti pot.
A neti pot is an inexpensive apparatus that looks like Aladdin’s lamp. The saline mixture is available prepackaged. You can also make your own by following these steps:
Mix 3 teaspoons of iodine-free salt with 1 teaspoon of baking soda to create a dry mixture.
Dissolve 1 teaspoon of the dry mixture in 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) of distilled, sterilized, or filtered water.
To capture the liquid, you will want to irrigate your sinuses while standing over a sink or basin. Pour, spray, or squirt a liberal amount of the solution into one nostril while tilting your head so it flows out the other nostril. Do this with each nostril. It also flushes away bacteria and irritants.
Be sure to thoroughly clean your neti pot after each use, as bacteria can build up inside. In addition, never use straight tap water as this may contain bacteria that can infect your sinuses. If you do use tap water, be sure to boil it beforehand.
3. Steam
Steam helps relieve congestion by loosening mucus.
Give yourself a steam treatment using a bowl of hot water and a large towel. Add menthol, camphor, or eucalyptus oils to the water if you like.
Place the towel over your head so it falls along the sides of the bowl, trapping the steam inside. Most people do this until the steam dissipates. The steam from a hot shower can also work but is a less concentrated experience.
4. Chicken soup
One older 2000 study found that chicken soup reduces inflammation associated with sinus congestion and colds.
So what’s the secret? Scientists haven’t identified the active ingredient in chicken soup, but they speculate that the steam combined with the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the soup’s ingredients are what help clear the sinuses.
5. Warm and cold compresses
Rotating warm and cold compresses on your sinuses should also help.
Lay back with a warm compress draped across your nose, cheeks, and forehead for three minutes.
Remove the warm compress and replace it with a cold compress for 30 seconds.
Do this two to three times.
You can repeat this process two to six times each day.
6. Manuka honey
Honey may be a good alternative when a bacterial infection is causing your sinus congestion.
Some research suggests that honey has antibacterial properties. Manuka honey, in particular, has many therapeutic uses.
Try adding manuka honey to a cup of warm herbal tea.

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Causes of sinus trouble

Causes of sinus trouble
Your sinus trouble can be caused by a number of things, including sinusitis and rhinitis.
Sinusitis is an infection that causes inflammation and swelling of your sinuses. It is most commonly caused by a viral infection but can also be caused by a bacterial or fungal infection, as well as by an environmental allergy.
If you have allergic rhinitis, your immune system triggers the release of histamines that irritate your nasal membranes. This leads to congestion and sneezing. Allergic rhinitis can lead to sinusitis.
Chronic sinusitis is an inflammatory condition that normally lasts more than three months. Nasal polyps, which are noncancerous growths, can accompany chronic sinusitis.

When to see your doctor

When to see your doctor
It’s time to see your doctor if you experience:
symptoms that last longer than 10 days
a fever of 102°F (38.9°C) or higher
symptoms that get worse, including a spike in your fever or increased greenish nasal discharge
changes in vision
You should also see a doctor if you have asthma or emphysema or if you take medications that suppress your immune system.

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Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions
What is the best position to drain your sinuses?
Keeping your head elevated, especially when lying down, can help drain your sinuses naturally with gravity.
What is the best drink for sinus drainage?
Other than plain water, you can try warm water with honey, tea, broth, or juice.
How do I clear my sinuses immediately?
Since sinusitis is most commonly an infection, you’ll probably need to either wait for the virus to clear your system or take antibiotics for a bacterial infection. Your allergy medicines can help with chronic sinusitis, but see your doctor to make sure you’re on the best treatment course. That said, you can get some temporary, immediate relief by rinsing your sinuses with saline with a saline spray or a neti pot.


According to the AAO-HNS, around 30 million Americans have at least one bout of sinusitis each year. But these easy home remedies can help relieve your symptoms and ease your breathing.

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