Tag Archives: Neti Pot

Nasal Irrigation with a Neti Pot May Be the Magic Bullet Against Coronavirus-19

Amy Baxter, MD, holding a Buzzy, the physiologic pain blocker she invented

Amy Baxter, MD, is a pediatric emergency physician, pain management researcher, engineer, writer and mom as well as the founder and CEO of Pain Care Labs in Atlanta. Baxter is probably best known as the inventor of the Medical Design Excellence Award winning Buzzy® physiologic pain blocker. She’s a doctor known for creative solutions to medical challenges.

And now she’s got an idea for lessening the impact of Coronavirus-19 and the severity of COVID-19.


Source: Library of Congress

While Wuhan, the sprawling capital of Central China’s Hubei province, and other parts of China have been hard hit by Coronavirus-19, nearby Thailand, Laos and Vietnam have had a remarkably low number of cases. Baxter’s take on this is that nasal irrigation (also called nasal wash), a personal hygiene habit  widely practiced in Thailand but not in China, helps explain the difference. 

Performing regular nasal irrigation with a solution of sea salt and warm water is an easy and effective way to clear nasal secretions; improve nasal congestion; decrease post-nasal drip; stop runny nose, sneezing and coughing; alleviate sinus pain and headaches; improve taste and smell and even improve sleep quality. It’s also an inexpensive natural remedy with a very low risk of side effects. (Piromchai, 2019)

 Nasal irrigation has long been considered a good way to remove viruses and bacteria from sinus cavities. Baxter points out that recent clinical trials demonstrate that nasal irrigation reduces the duration and symptoms for other viral illnesses like flu and the common cold. Baxter has multiple reasons for believing that this approach can also be effective with Coronavirus-19. She notes that “SARS-CoV2’s viral load is heaviest in sinuses/nasal cavity.”

Also, the known sex and age discrimination of COVID-19 supports her conclusion. “Children don’t develop full sinuses until teens; males have larger cavities than women, and the cavities are largest [in those] over 70 years,” Baxter says. At least so far, children have been the least affected by COVID-19 while the elderly and men are dying at faster rates.

Regarding the very low COVID-19 death rates in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, Baxter says, “Yes, they wear masks, and yes, they bow and don’t shake hands, but the biggest difference between them and places like South Korea or Japan is that nasal irrigation is practiced by 80 percent of people.” Laos has had less than 20 reported cases, and Vietnam roughly 300. (Hall, 4/20/2020) & (Hall, 5/16/2020)

Last week, on May 15 2020, Thailand reported they had no new cases of COVID-19 and and no deaths from it. “Since the outbreak started, there have been 3,025 reported cases of the coronavirus in Thailand, leading to 56 deaths. These numbers are surprisingly low in a country with a population of 70 million inhabitants that is also a popular tourist destination. (Hall, 5/16/2020)


SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, isolated from a patient and imaged using a transmission electron micrograph. (Credit: NIAID)

Source: Discover Magazine

Viral load is a measurement of the amount of a virus in an organism, typically in the bloodstream. It’s usually stated as virus particles per milliliter.  A high viral load jump starts the virus’s effort to make its host sick.

Having a high viral load may increase the odds that the recipient will develop COVID-19 while also raising the risk of that person’s immune system’s becoming overloaded in its battle against the virus. An often cited example of this explanation is that someone who becomes infected indirectly by touching a door handle may develop a mild case of COVID-19 compared to a person who inhales a large load of the virus from an infected person’s sneeze or cough. (Boyd, 5/6/2020)

Some disagree but many in the medical community believe that the size of the initial viral load of Coronavirus-19 influences whether or not an individual develops COVID-19. Baxter points out that flushing the build up of viral particles from the sinuses once or twice a day “gives the immune system time to figure out what it needs while reducing the enemy.” (Hall, 5/16/2020)

Source: DailyMail.co.uk

Emerging research indicates that the relationship between viral load at exposure and being sickened by this coronavirus is probably more complex – and also different from that of other communicable viral respiratory illnesses like influenza, MERS and SARS.

Infectious dose refers to the number of viral particles needed to establish an infection. “We don’t know what this is for covid-19 yet, but given how rapidly the disease is spreading, it is likely to be relatively low – in the region of a few hundred or thousand particles, says Willem van Schaik at the University of Birmingham, UK.

“Viral load, on the other hand, relates to the number of viral particles being carried by an infected individual and shed into their environment. “The viral load is a measure of how bright the fire is burning in an individual, whereas the infectious dose is the spark that gets that fire going,” says Edward Parker at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

“If you have a high viral load, you are more likely to infect other people, because you may be shedding more virus particles. However, in the case of covid-19, it doesn’t necessarily follow that a higher viral load will lead to more severe symptoms.” (Geddes, 3/27/2020)

“Depending on the virus, people need to be exposed to as little as 10 virus particles — for example, for influenza viruses — or as many as thousands for other human viruses to get infected.

“Scientists do not know how many virus particles of SARS-CoV-2 are needed to trigger infection. COVID-19 is clearly very contagious, but this may be because few particles are needed for infection (the infectious dose is low), or because infected people release a lot of virus in their environment.

“In the case of the original SARS or influenza, whether a person develops mild symptoms or pneumonia depends not only on how much virus is in their lungs, but also on their immune response and their overall health.” (Lakdawala & Gaglia, 4/18/2020)

Whether viral load or infectious dose turns out to be a deciding factor for becoming ill with COVID-19 and/or having a severe case of it, it’s clear that the state of your immune system and your overall health is of the utmost importance. When our sinuses are blocked with gunk, we can’t breathe well through our noses. And we all know from personal experience that being able to breathe freely is vital to our physical and mental health. Nasal irrigation washes out nasty viruses, bacteria and fungi from our sinuses and nose – and helps us breathe fully and easily.


Clinical trials have shown that practicing nasal irrigation reduces the symptoms and duration of viral illnesses like the common cold (a simpler coronavirus is one of 100 viruses causing a ‘cold’) and the flu. Its impact on Coronavirus-19 hasn’t been fully studied yet but Dr Baxter “believe[s] strongly that nasal irrigation is the key to reducing COVID-19 progression of symptoms and infectivity.” She points out that the viral load of SARS-CoV2’s is heaviest in the sinuses and the nasal cavity. (Hall, 5/16/2020).

Many in the medical community believe that the viral load of Coronavirus-19 influences whether or not an individual develops COVID-19. Baxter points out that flushing the build up of viral particles from the sinuses once or twice a day “gives the immune system time to figure out what it needs while reducing the enemy.” (Hall, 5/16/2020)

Nine new registered trials investigating the effects of nasal irrigation on Coronavirus-19 are currently underway: at Stanford University, the University of Kentucky, NYU Langone Hospital, University of Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt University and elsewhere. (Hall, 5/16/2020)

Dr Baxter recommends that anyone who has been exposed to or is positive for COVID-19 do nasal irrigation with the following solution:

  • 1/2 teaspoon of povidone-iodine
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (see note below)
  • Mixed with 8 ounces of lukewarm boiled tap water

Povidone-iodine is a broad spectrum antiseptic solution commonly used for skin disinfection before and after surgery. It kills a broad range of pathogenic microbes – bacteria (Gram-positive and -negative), viruses, fungi and protozoa. Povidone-Iodine is also known as iodopovidone. Some brand names are Betadine, Wokadine and Pyodine, available at stores like CVS and on Amazon.com.

My note: Use sea salt, not processed table salt in your nasal irrigator. Table salt is very harsh and will sting.


So I did a little research into povidone-iodine to see if I was willing to run it through my sinuses and found an article called Povidone-iodine: Safe Use of a Common Antiseptic posted by the National Capital Poison Center. Reading through the information there on how to use this antiseptic safely and the warnings about who should avoid using it, I decided it wouldn’t be safe for me. I have a thyroid condition and am generally hypersensitive to many substances (including a large number of pharmaceuticals) so will forego povidone-iodine and continue using sea salt and filtered water in my neti pot.

I recommend reading the National Capital Poison Center’s short and informative article to see if providone-iodine would be safe for you.


Using a neti pot is an inexpensive and easy way to irrigate your sinuses and nose. They often look like little tea pots or genie lamps and come in a large variety of shapes and materials.

Neti pots are gravity-based containers designed for pouring a saline solution into one nostril and having it flow out of the other nostril. They were developed in ancient India as part of a set of purifying and cleansing ayurvedic yogic practices. References to neti pots appear in Indian writings from 3,000 BC – though they were likely invented centuries before that.


Here’s a video of how to use a neti pot to irrigate your sinuses to remove any nasty allergens, bacteria, viruses and molds that have taken up residence in there. Though the process may look scary or disgusting, you’ll find it easy and highly beneficial once you get the hang of it. I recommend doing it in the shower.

A few suggestions:

  • You can buy those more expensive packages of neti pot salt or get a big container of pure sea salt and use some of it. I like to use Pink Himalyan Sea Salt (fine) or La Baleine Sea Salt (fine). Do not use processed table salt. It’s harsh & will sting.
  • I recommend getting a ceramic rather than a plastic neti pot – much easier to keep it clean. The ceramic ones can be sterilized in the dishwasher. I’ve used the same white ceramic model for a few decades.
  • Using warm, filtered water in lieu of distilled water should be fine too.
  • If you use your neti pot in the shower, you don’t have to worry about dribbling the salt solution down your shirt and can also lean against the shower wall to get your head at the right angle so the solution doesn’t run down the back of your throat.

That’s the basic way to use a neti pot to get the gunk out of your sinuses and nose – clean hands, warm water and sea salt.

See NATURAL TREATMENT FOR SEASONAL POLLEN & MOLD ALLERGIES for more information on using a neti pot to clear seasonal pollens, mold and fungal biofilms out of your nasal sinuses. (Hardin, 5/26/2019)

Many thanks to Christian Lillis, Executive Director of the Peggy Lillis Foundation, for sending me the 5/16/2020 article on nasal irrigation for Coronavirus-19. The mission of the Peggy Lillis Foundation is to build a nationwide Clostridium difficile awareness movement by educating the public, empowering advocates, and shaping policy.


Boyd, C. (5/6/2020). The AMOUNT of coronavirus you get infected with decides how severe the illness is, SAGE scientist warns. DailyMail.co.uk. See: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8291955/AMOUNT-coronavirus-infected-decides-severe-illness-SAGE-scientist-warns.html

Geddes, L. (3/27/2020). Does a high viral load or infectious dose make covid-19 worse?
See: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2238819-does-a-high-viral-load-or-infectious-dose-make-covid-19-worse/#ixzz6N6fwfHOf

Hall, C. (4/20/2020). Nasal Irrigation Is the Key to Reducing COVID-19 Progression, Doctor Says: Amy Baxter, MD, Say6s Nasal Irrigation May Be the Best Way to Treat Positive Coronavirus Patients. See: https://bestlifeonline.com/nasal-irrigation-covid-19/

Hall, C. (5/16/2020). This One Habit May Be Why Thailand Has So Few COVID Cases, Doctor Says: This Personal Hygiene Habit May Help You Avoid the Coronavirus. See: https://bestlifeonline.com/thailand-coronavirus-hygiene/

Hardin, J.R. (5/26/2019). NATURAL TREATMENT FOR SEASONAL POLLEN & MOLD ALLERGIES. See: https://allergiesandyourgut.com/2019/05/26/natural-treatment-for-seasonal-pollen-mold-allergies/

Lakdawala, S. & Gaglia, M. (4/18/2020). What We Do and Do Not Know About COVID-19’s Infectious Dose and Viral Load: Two virologists share their thoughts about these often-used terms. DiscoverMagazine.com. See: https://www.discovermagazine.com/health/what-we-do-and-do-not-know-about-covid-19s-infectious-dose-and-viral-load

National Capitol Poison Center. (2019). Povidone-iodine: Safe Use of a Common Antiseptic. See: https://www.poison.org/articles/povidone-iodine-safe-use-of-a-common-antiseptic-193

Piromchai, P. et al. (2019). Effectiveness of nasal irrigation devices: a Thai multicentre survey. See: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6542345/

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.



AccuWeather 2019 US Spring Allergy Forecast

If you’re one of the one in five Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies and your sense is that your sinuses are making you more miserable each passing year, you’re not imagining it. The cause of all this misery is climate change. Rising average temperatures and wetter conditions lead to surging amounts of pollens and longer allergy seasons.
More pollen means more seeds and even greater amounts of pollen the following year. To make matters worse, warmer average temperatures across the year mean spring starts earlier and winter arrives later.
Researchers estimate that pollen counts of all varieties will double in large parts of the US by 2040. (Irfan, 5/21/2019)

Changes in tree pollen allergy risk by 2100 if CO2 reaches a concentration of 970 parts per million

Tree pollen allergy risk in the United States

Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America

“A recent study in the journal Lancet Planetary Health found that airborne pollen counts have been increasing around the world as average temperatures climbed. The majority of the 17 sites studied showed an increase in the amount of pollen and longer pollen seasons over 20 years.
“And the faster the climate changes, the worse it gets. That’s why residents of Alaska, which is warming twice as fast as the global average, now face especially high allergy risks.
“Taken together over the long term, seasonal allergies present one of the most robust examples of how global warming is increasing risks to health. Allergies are already a major health burden, and they will become an even larger drain on the economy.
“’It’s very strong. In fact, I think there’s irrefutable data,’ said Jeffrey Demain, director of the Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Center of Alaska. ‘It’s become the model of health impacts of climate change.’
“And since so many are afflicted — some estimates say up to 50 million Americans have nasal allergies — scientists and health officials are now trying to tease out the climate factors driving these risks in the hopes of bringing some relief in the wake of growing pollen avalanches.” (Irfan, 5/21/2019)

Climate Change Projections for Pollen Production

Source: Climate Central

So pollens are making us feel miserable … then there are the molds!

Source: consumer Reports

The symptoms of mold allergies are similar to pollen allergies and bacterial infections of the sinuses. The difference is that mold spores breathed into your sinuses form biofilms in there to create warm, cozy protected spaces for the colony to live. If you spray a decongestant up your nose, the biofilms keep the spray from reaching the spores inside the biofilm. So if you’re having what feels like a cold that won’t go away no matter what you do or extra-terrible, long-lasting pollen allery symptoms, it could well be molds have made themselves at home in your sinuses.


Source: rtkenvironmental.com


Biofilms are communities of micro-organisms which adhere  to each other and often also to a surface. These  groups of adhered cells produce a slimy protective coating around themselves and like to embed themselves inside  warm, moist cavities like our sinuses where  they can keep themselves safe from other pathogens. (Nature.com, 2019) & (Wikipedia, 5/21/2019)

Source: PicsWe



“Symptoms such as an inflamed nasal passage, body aches and a cold that worsens usually suggest a sinus infection caused by bacteria. However, sometimes sinus problems aren’t due to bacterial infections alone but are caused from molds.

“Sinuses are air-filled passages in the face and head that are lined with a mucous membrane, which is a thin, moist layer of tissue. A sinus infection from mold is a condition occurring when the mucous membrane becomes inflamed because a person inhales airborne spores released from mold, which is a type of fungus, usually growing in moist damp areas.

“A mold sinus problem and infection caused by molds can easily be overlooked . Exposure to mold in people who live in fungal conditions are likely to suffer from sinus infections yearly.

“Understanding the production of bio-film from mold,bacteria and yeast is key in understanding how to rid the body of pathogens from the sinuses, lungs and other parts of the human body.

“Bio-film is produced by certain species of fungus / mold, bacteria, and some forms of yeast. These pathogens secrete a slime, or protective coating around themselves protecting them from other environmental pathogens, which would attack or disable them. Since pathogens within the bio-film are protected by the bio-film they have no direct contact with the blood, therefore any anti-fungal, or bacterial medications rarely have an effect on those protected pathogens. This is why many people suffer multiple sinus surgeries, over and over again, as the surgeon failed to remove all of the bio-film from the sinus cavities allowing regrowth to occur and the continuation of the Mold Sinus Problems (emphasis added).

 – (Mold Victim, 2019)
This short video tells you perhaps more than you want to know about biofilms and why they cause us misery when nasty ones take up residence in our sinuses or elsewhere in our bodies. Gross but very interesting.


The most northern parts of the globe are getting hardest hit by global warming and the resulting increase in allergies.
“Alaska is warming so fast that computer models have had a hard time believing the results. That’s having huge consequences for allergy sufferers in the state, and not just from pollen.
“Demain from the Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Center of Alaska explained that rising temperatures are melting permafrost beneath Alaskan towns, causing moisture to seep into homes. This dampness then allows mold to grow, causing more people to seek treatment for mold allergies.”  (Irfan, 5/21/2019)



If your sinuses have been making you miserable this spring, here’s a natural way to help yourself feel  a whole lot better – without taking any decongestants, other allergy meds or antibiotics.
Here’s a video of how to use a neti pot to irrigate your sinuses to remove any nasty allergens that have taken up residence in there:


A few suggested variations that differ from the way Ashley uses her neti pot in the video:
  • I recommend getting a ceramic rather than a plastic neti pot – much easier to keep it clean. The ceramic ones can be put in the dishwasher to sterilize. I’ve used the same white ceramic model for a few decades.
  • You can buy those more expensive packages of neti pot salt or get a big container of pure sea salt and use some of it. I like La Baleine Sea Salt (Fine).
  • Using warm, filtered water in lieu of distilled water should be fine too.
  • If you use your neti pot in the shower, you don’t have to worry about dribbling the salt solution on your shirt and can also lean against the shower wall to get your head at the right angle so the solution doesn’t run down the back of your throat.
So that’s the basic way to use a neti pot to get the gunk out of your sinuses – clean hands, warm water and sea salt.



You can break open any probiotics capsule you take in supplement form and add its contents to your neti pot along with the warm water and sea salt.
A warning: You’ll probably feel a burn as you pour the  resulting solution into your nostrils. I can only say a few minutes of mild to moderate burning is worth the relief you’ll feel when you realize you can breathe again.



This is what I came up with when I had some kind of long-lasting fungal infection in my sinuses during the fall of 2016. Fungi are a group of spore-producing organisms that feed on organic matter – including molds, yeast, mushrooms and toadstools. I was pretty sure no mushrooms or toadstools were growing in my sinuses and nasal passages but was pretty sure the infection contained molds and/or yeast because it felt different and much more intense than any of the sinus infections I used to get  when I was younger, before I started tending better to my gut microbiome.
So I added the contents of these two supplements to the warm water and sea salt in my neti pot.
  • Allicidin
  • RepHresh
I already knew about the biofilm-penetrating property of a supplement called Allicidin because I’d taken it to break open the endospores formed by Clostridium difficile when I had that nasty bacterial infection living in my colon in 2010.
About Allicidin:
  • SUPPORTS BOTH CARDIOVASCULAR & IMMUNE SYSTEM: Allicidin features a full spectrum, botanical formula made from premier quality garlic extract with notable amounts of allicin to assist you and your family with exquisitely thorough immune and cardiovascular support, just when you need it.
  • ALLICIN, THE ACTIVE FACTOR IN GARLIC: Premier Allicidin is known for its Allicin OrganoSulfur Complex which yields the unique nutrient Allicin. Allicin is a legendary organosulfur immune compound found in garlic that is activated in garlic when the fresh bulb is pressed, causing it to release the catalyzing enzyme, alliinase, which quickly converts alliin to the immune-active compound, allicin.
  • OUR TOP IMMUNE SUPPORT PRODUCT: Premier Allicidin is our Top Product for all those people who are in need of immune and cardiovascular support.
  • 100% VEGETARIAN: Premier Allicidin is the realization of a breakthrough fermentation process yielding all natural vegetarian ingredients, and its incredible formula is verified by independent testing according to USP guidelines and standards.
  • UNCOMPROMISING QUALITY: At Premier Research Labs, we never compromise on safety, efficacy, or quality on any product. We go a quantum leap further by striving to produce products that are 100% excipient-free and made with solvent-free vegetable capsules.
You can buy this useful, high quality supplement on Amazon:

Premier  Research Labs Allicidin- Supports Both Immune and Cardiovascular Health (60 Capsules)

Then I chose the probiotic formula RepHresh as the probiotic to add to my neti pot because it contains two lactobacillus probiotics (L-reuteri and L-rhamnosus) to target vaginal yeast infections, a type of fungal overrun.

You can also buy RepHresh on Amazon:

RepHresh Pro-B Probiotic Supplement for Women, 30 Oral Capsules


A few comments on this two-step attack on fungal infections in the sinuses and nasal passages:
  • If you’ve got a heavy duty fungal colony living in biofilms inside your sinuses and nasal passages, try using Allicidin alone in your warm water and sea salt solution for a day or two to give the biofilms a chance to be truly penetrated.
  • Then use Allicidin the following day with the addition of RepHresh in your basic solution so the probiotics in the latter can ggain good access to the fungi to do them in.
  • You’ll experience a mild garlic smell inside your nose after the Allicidin solution has  run through your sinuses. There’ll also be some small black specks inside your nose. Changing the solution in your neti pot to just warm water and sea salt will get both out.
  • The Allicidin and RepHresh solutions will both likely burn a bit as they come in contact with the delicate mucous membranes in your nose and sinuses. Again – that short discomfort is worth getting rid of the fungal infection so you can breathe again and feel like your old energetic self.
  • You might need to repeat the two-step process one moretime if you’ve got long-established bacterial and fungal colonies growing in your sinuses.


Please let me know if you have success with these neti pot treatments or come up with useful modifications of my suggestions.




Probiotics for Sinusitis and Sinus Infection

What I Did for Sinus Misery

Do You Want to Just Suppress Your Allergy Symptoms or Actually Fix What’s Causing Them?

Yerba Santa for Sinuses



If you’d like to know which particular pollen and mold counts are high in your area, you can check the National Allergy Bureau Pollen and Mold Reports issued by the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. You can also sign up for personalized email alerts from them.


Source: footage.framepool.com











American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. (5/26/2019). National Allergy Bureau Pollen and Mold Reports. See: https://www.aaaai.org/global/nab-pollen-counts?ipb=1

Hardin, J.R. (2013-2014). Sinuses. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/symbiosis-versus-dysbiosis/sinuses/

Hardin, J.R. (2014). Probiotics for Sinusitis and Sinus Infection. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/09/18/probiotics-sinusitis-sinus-infection/

Hardin, J.R. (2016). What I Did for Sinus Misery. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2016/10/09/what-i-did-for-sinus-misery/

Hardin, J.R. (2017). Do You Want to Just Suppress Your Allergy Symptoms or Actually Fix What’s Causing Them? See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2017/05/16/want-just-suppressyour-allergy-symptoms-actually-fix-whats-causing/

Hardin, J.R. (12/24/2017). Yerba Santa for Sinuses. See: https://allergiesandyourgut.com/2017/12/24/yerba-santa-sinuses/

Irfan, U. (5/21/2019). It’s not your imagination. Allergy season gets worse every year: Pollen allergy seasons continue to get longer and more intense as temperatures rise. See: https://www.vox.com/2019/4/8/18300342/pollen-season-2019-allergies-climate-change

L. H. Ziska et al. (3/2019). Temperature-related changes in airborne allergenic pollen abundance and seasonality across the northern hemisphere: a retrospective data analysis. The Lancet Planetary Health, 3:3. See: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(19)30015-4/fulltext
Mold Victin. (2019). Mold Sinus Problems & Bio-Film in the Body. See: http://moldvictim.org/mold-sinus-problems-bio-film-in-the-body/
Nature.com. (2019). Biofilms. See: https://www.nature.com/subjects/biofilms
Wikipedia/ (5/19/2019). Biofilm. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biofilm



© Copyright 2019. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved. 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

What I Did for Sinus Misery

Updated and reposted on 6/8/2018.













Source: www.entspecialistinbangalore.com
Source: www.entspecialistinbangalore.com


Those of you who know me personally or follow this blog know  my focus is on addressing the underlying cause(s) of a health problem rather than simply putting band aids on its symptoms – and also that I generally react badly to pharmaceuticals. So when my sinuses became horribly stuffed up during the second long period of very hot, wet weather this past summer (mercifully over now) and the congestion kept getting worse instead of going away, I knew I had to figure out what was causing this misery in my sinus microbiome and how to fix it.
After suffering through chronic sinus problems for decades, culminating in two surgeries to remove nasal polyps, and not wanting to live that way any more, I’d set myself the task of stopping my allergies and thought I’d succeeded once and for all. Yet, after many years of relatively easy breathing, this past summer’s extreme weather did me in.
My symptoms this time around were:
  • Intense pressure above and below my eyes – felt like polar bears were lodged in the sinuses behind my cheeks, pressing down on my upper teeth
  • A chronically dripping nose
  • Frequent, violent sneezing spells
  • A raw throat from the post nasal drip
  • Inability to breathe through my nose
  • Lack of energy
  • Molasses brain
  • Momentary temperature spikes
  • Feeling like Spanish moss was wrapped around my vocal cords
  • Occasional laryngitis
  • Coughing and need to clear my throat
  • Blocked up ears
  • Chronically dry mouth
  • Decreased sense of smell and taste
  • Gasping for air while eating
  • Interrupted sleep since lying down made everything much worse
  • Bad breath (not that I could smell it myself)
  • Generally feeling exhausted and disgusting
I was miserable but at least I didn’t develop a sinus infection or start growing nasal polyps again before figuring out what to do.


Here’s a 3-D Animation describing how the sinuses work, what can go wrong, and a medical procedure for blockage that I’d never want to have:




First I turned to my old standbys for sinusitis and various promising-sounding things other people suggested, each of which provided a modicum of relief for short times – 10 minutes to a few hours:
  • Washing my sinuses out with a mixture of sea salt and filtered water
  • Sinusin (a homeopathic nasal spray)
  • Aller-Max (a gluten free, non-drowsy supplement containing quercetin, bromelain, and Vitamin C)
  • XClear (a nasal spray containing xylitol)
  • Sinusalia (a homeopathic supplement)
  • Firmly pressing on acupressure points on my face and chest that impact the sinuses
  • Two homeopathic remedies, Drainage Tone and Aller Chord II
  • Coating the inside of my nostrils with castor oil
  • Dots of eucalyptus and tea tree oil below my nostrils
  • Using an electric steamer/inhaler to make my sinuses drain
  • A ThermalOn Dry Eye Compress (to put moist heat directly over my sinuses)
  • Avoiding dairy
  • Eating more fermented foods
  • Belly laughing to stimulate my vagus nerves
  • Himalayan Chandra Neti Wash Plus
Clearly this persistent sinus congestion was different from anything I’d experienced before. I felt frustrated and exhausted – pretty much like this but nowhere near as cute:


Source: www.sendscraps.com
Source: www.sendscraps.com

So I did some more research and learned about the formation of biofilms in the sinuses.





“Biofilms are highly structured communities of microorganisms that attach to one another and to surfaces. The microorganisms group together and form a slimy, polysaccharide cover. This layer is highly protective for the organisms within it, and when new bacteria are produced they stay within the slimy layer. With the introduction of antibiotic-produced glycogen, the biofilms have an almost endless food source that can be used once antibiotic exposure has ended.” (Oak Crest Institute of Science, 2013)
Many types of bacteria clump together inside protective biofilms, making the bacteria inaccessible to pharmaceuticals and natural substances that would weaken or kill them – producing chronic misery when this happens inside our noses and sinuses.

Bacterial biofilm in a person with chronic sinusitis

Credit: Thiago Freire Pinto Bezerra et al, Braz. j. otorhinolaryngol. (Impr.) vol.75 no.6 São Paulo Nov./Dec. 2009
Credit: Thiago Freire Pinto Bezerra et al, Braz. j. otorhinolaryngol. (Impr.) vol.75 no.6 São Paulo Nov./Dec. 2009

And to make the sinus congestion situation worse, fungi (molds are types of fungi) have also been shown to form biofilms on the mucosal linings of the sinuses and nostrils. (Healy et al, 2008).
“You might be wondering why antibiotics and antifungal drugs are ineffective for chronic sinus infections.  It’s because of the Bio-Film formation.  Biofilms are colonies of microbes that form a mass which is resistant to drug therapy.
Chronic Sinusitis, nasal polyposis, asthma and eosinophilia are quite common and may co-exist as a syndrome.    Chronic bacterial or fungal sinus infection with Bio-Film formation has been implicated in this syndrome.  Many of these patients have been on multiple courses of antibiotics and/or antifungal drugs which are completely ineffective because of bio-film formation.    Many of these patients have undergone repeated nasal sinus surgeries, and are commonly steroid dependent from chronic use of prednisone.” (Dach, 2014)





Here’s more evidence for how antibiotics can be harmful: ‘Scientist Finds Link between Antibiotics and Bacterial Biofilm Formation Cause of Chronic Ear, Sinus, and Lung Infections’.
From the article:

“Researchers from the University of Southern California and the Oak Crest Institute of Science have discovered the link between antibiotics and bacterial biofilm formation leading to chronic lung, sinus and ear infections. The study results, published in the current issue of PLOS ONE, illustrate how bacterial biofilms can actually thrive, rather than decrease, when given low doses of antibiotics.

“’This research addresses the long standing issues surrounding chronic ear infections and why some children experience repeated ear infections even after antibiotic treatment,’ said Paul Webster, Ph.D., lead author, senior staff scientist at USC and senior faculty at the Oak Crest Institute of Science. ‘Once the biofilm forms, it becomes stronger with each treatment of antibiotics.’” (Oak Crest Institute of Science, 2013)


And from an article called ‘Antibiotic Use Increases Risk of Developing Chronic Sinusitis’:

“Yes, of course this makes sense!…. Many rounds of antibiotics have an effect not just in one area of the body, but kill off both good and bad bacteria in many areas of the human body. The researchers in this study found that taking antibiotics for a reason OTHER THAN SINUSITIS was associated with an increased risk of developing chronic sinusitis (as compared to those people not receiving antibiotics). Use of antibiotics more than doubles the odds of developing chronic sinusitis without nasal polyps. And this effect lasted for at least 2 years. Other research has already associated antibiotic use with “decreased microbial diversity” in our microbiome  and with “opportunistic infections” such as Candida albicans and Clostridium difficile. Diseases such as Crohn’s disease and diabetes are also linked to antibiotic use. In other words, when there is a disturbance in the microbiome (e.g.from antibiotics) and the community of microbes becomes “out of whack”, then pathogenic bacteria are “enriched” (increase) and can dominate.” (Silgailis, 2016)

Source: www.slideshare.net
Source: www.slideshare.net



This was helpful information. Now I knew I was probably dealing with biofilms that had started growing in my sinuses and nostrils to protect colonies of bacteria and molds. This certainly explained why nothing I’d tried was slowing down my ever increasing sinus congestion.
I remembered that a garlic supplement called Allicidin had been effective in breaking down the biofilm-covered spores  containing a nasty bacterium called Clostridium difficile  that had taken over my colon in 2010. I’d read that some people with sinus infections had found relief from washing their sinuses with probiotics so I decided to try the same with Allicidin. I emptied the contents of an Allicidin capsule into my neti pot, added filtered water, and irrigated my sinuses with the mixture.
This worked immediately! It was messy, involved a fairly intense burning sensation, and left a mild smell of garlic in my nose for a while afterwards – but I was able to breathe through my nose again for the first time in many weeks. If you’re going to try it, I suggest doing it in the shower.




This information about Allicidin is from Dr Johnson’s Premier Nutrition.

The Broad-Spectrum Anti-Infective Properties of Allicidin™

  • ANTIBACTERIAL – Various researchers have shown that garlic extracts exhibit a wide spectrum of antibacterial activity against gram-negative and gram-positve bacteria including species of Escherichia, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Klebsiella, Bacilus, Helicobacter pylori, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
  • ANTIFUNGAL – Garlic extracts have a strong antifungal effect and inhibit the formation of mycotoxins like the aflatoxin of Aspergillus parasiticus. Pure allicin was also found to have a high anti-candidal activity and was effective against various species of Candida, Cryptococcous, Trichophyton, Epidermphyton and Microsporum.
  • ANTIPARASITIC – Garlic extract has been used for centuries to treat people suffering from dysentery, intestinal worms and intestinal protozoan parasites such as Giardia, Leishmania major, Leptomonas colosama and Crithidia fasciculate.
  • ANTIVIRAL – Research shows that garlic extracts are effective against numerous viruses that cause colds and flu. Evidence points towards allicin and ajone as the main components responsible for the antiviral activitiy.
  • BIOFILM DEGREDATION – Biofilms are sticky slime that surround large clumps of bacteria. These biofilms protect pathogenic bacteria and helps them spread throughout the body. Stabilized allicin has been shown to have a powerful capacity for biofilm destruction, therefore rendering bacteria helpless.


Ideal for Supporting the Following Conditions:

  • Fungal (mold/candida) and Bacterial Infection
  • Acne support
  • Biofilm Overgrowth
  • Blood Pressure, Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Health
  • Bladder Infection and Frequent Nightly Urination
  • Sinus Infection and Congestion
  • Animals: Heartworm



Allicin Organosulfur Complex™…………………………………………………………………………….350mg
Garlic (bulb) Extract (Allium Sativum), Bear Garlic (leaf) (Allium ursinum)

Botani-Pro Blend™ ……………………………………………………………….115mg
Organic Hyssop (leaf, stem) (Hussopus officinalis), Parsley (leaf)(Petroselinum crispum), Asparagus (Stalk) (Asparagus officinalis)

Allicin………………………………………………………………………………..1,890 mcg
(from Allicin OrganoSulfu Complex™)

Other Ingredients:

Vegetable Cellulose Capsules
100% solvent-free, excipient-free vegetable capsules.                                                                             No magnesium stearate (a toxic excipient), corn, milk, soy, salt, sugar, wheat, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, binders, glues or other toxic tagalongs as found in tablets and gelatin capsules.



Now that the biofilms growing in my sinuses had been disrupted, exposing the molds and bacterial colonies proliferating in there, I set about finding a combination of probiotics to zap those bacteria and molds.
As a starting point, I turned to Chris Kresser’s excellent article Chronic Sinus Problems: Another Role for Probiotics? and also looked through the many readers’ comments to see what other sinus sufferers had found helpful.  I recommend this article to you.  (Kresser, 8/18/2015)
Based on a convincing recommendation by one of Kresser’s readers, I first emptied the contents of two capsules of Bio-Kult Advanced Probiotic Multi-Strain Formula into my neti pot, added filtered water, and did a nasal irrigation with the mixture. This helped a lot – but only for a few hours.



Bio-Kult contains these live bacteria cultures:

Bacillus subtilis PXN 21
Bifidobacterium bifidum PXN 23
Bifidobacterium breve PXN 25
Bifidobacterium infantis PXN 27
Bifidobacterium longum PXN 30
Lactobacillus acidophilus PXN 35
Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus PXN 39
Lactobacillus casei PXN 37
Lactobacillus plantarum PXN 47
Lactobacillus rhamnosus PXN 54
Lactobacillus helveticus PXN 45
Lactobacillus salivarius PXN 57
Lactococcus lactis ssp. lactis PXN 63
Streptococcus thermophilus PXN 66


So I went back to Kresser’s article to search more deeply and followed  some links to two articles by Silgailis, where, in her readers’ comments, I found information about the effectiveness of two probiotic bacteria,  lactobacillus reuteri and lactobacillus rhamnosus, for sinusitis. (Silgailis, 2015) & (Silgailis, 2016)
Bio-Kult contains some l. rhamnosus (but not a lot) and no l. reuteri. So I did another Google search for a supplement containing only these two particular strains of probiotic bacteria and found a product called RepHresh Pro-B Probiotic Feminine Supplement that contains large amounts of l. rhamnosus GR-1 and l. reuteri RC-14. L. The box says, “Balances Yeast & Bacteria to Maintain Feminine Health”.
Yeasts, like molds, are fungi. So this probiotic combination looked promising for treating  my sinusitis. L. rhamnosus in particular is known to be effective against both fungi and pathological bacteria. (Kiefer, 2008)




The Product Description on Amazon:
  • RepHresh Pro-B is a probiotic feminine supplement taken orally once daily to balance yeast and bacteria.
  • Lactobacillus, yeast, and other bacteria are all naturally present in your body and optimum feminine health occurs when there is a healthy balance of these elements to support feminine health.
  • RepHresh Pro-B feminine supplement contains patented and clinically tested strains of probiotic lactobacillus that have been shown to work with your body to balance yeast and bacteria.
  • RepHresh Pro-B supplement lets you take control of your feminine health every day by helping to maintain flora in a normal range.*
  • RepHresh Pro-B is a natural supplement and comes in an easy-to-swallow capsule.
  • RepHresh Pro-B is the #1 feminine probiotic supplement in the US in the latest 52 weeks ending 16 March 2016 according to The Nielsen Company data.


L. rhamnosus GR-1, L. reuteri RC-14, Dextrose Anhydrate, Gelatin, Potato Starch, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Magnesium Stearate, Titanium Dioxide

So, when this probiotic supplement containing large amounts of lactobacillus reuteri and lactobacillus rhamnosus arrived from Amazon, I emptied the contents of two capsules into my neti pot, added filtered water, and did a thorough nasal irrigation with the mixture. As with the Allicidin mixture, this burned a bit but was very much worth it!

Source: allergycorpgroup.com
Source: allergycorpgroup.com

Since it’s a good idea to switch up your probiotics periodically,  I’m now taking the Bio-Kult probiotics supplement by mouth and RepHresh Pro-B on alternating days to maximize the variety of helpful probiotics supporting my gut microbiome.


Source: www.probiotics-for-health.com
Source: www.probiotics-for-health.com



A Note on Vaginal Infections:
Vaginal infections are most often caused by an overrun of a yeast called Candida albicans. If your gut microbiome is out of balance or you use feminine hygiene products that destroy the balance in your vaginal microbiome, you’re likely to get at least one  – if not many more – vaginal  infections in your lifetime. See ‘Warding Off Chronic Yeast and Bacterial Infections’ to learn how to use probiotics to prevent both chronic bacterial and yeast infections.  (Kiefer, 2008)


Source: ufhealth.org
Source: ufhealth.org




This video shows how to use a neti pot for sinus irrigation:


In the morning, I use my neti pot in the shower where it doesn’t matter how messy the process becomes. I’ve also installed a small, chlorine-removing water filter (available on Amazon, easy to install) so fill the pot directly with warm, filtered water from the shower head. The filter is a Rainshow’r CQ-1000-NH Dechlorinating Shower Filter. And, when I’m not using any of the supplements described above,  I put some inexpensive La Baleine Fine Sea Salt in my neti pot in lieu of the salt packets the woman in the video uses. 


In the evenings before bedtime, I use the neti pot over the bathroom sink.




Over the years, I’ve found it helpful to add this neti pot wash made by Himalayan Chandra occasionally when I use my neti pot in the shower. And now that those nasty sinus biofilms have been degraded, this wash has become effective again.



The wash is available on Amazon.

“Neti Wash Plus contains zinc and herbal extracts that add anti-microbial and anti-viral support to your nasal wash. Zinc helps to tone and astringe the nasal passages reducing excess mucus and promoting clear, healthy sinuses. Studies show that Zinc reduces the duration and symptoms of the common cold, slowing the replication of rhinoviruses which typically cause colds. Neti Wash Plus contains Zinc Acetate –a form of Zinc shown to be more effective in shortening the duration of the common cold. Neti Wash Plus also contains extracts of Grapefruit Seed and Goldenseal Root, found by scientists to inhibit the growth of hundreds of strains of pathogens. Grapefruit Seed Extract has been used by the natural foods industry for over 20 years as an antibiotic, disinfectant, and antiseptic. Perfect for use with the Himalayan Institute Neti Pot.*

“Ingredients:   Zinc acetate, Goldenseal root (Hydrastis canadensis), Phellodendron bark (Phellodendron amurense), Coptis root (Coptis chinensis), Barberry root bark (Berberis vulgaris), Grapefruit seed extract, vegetable glycerin and distilled, purified water.”




Before Allicidin succeeded in disrupting the biofilms, I’d started taking two homeopathic remedies my chiropractor had recommended for this summer sinus misery but then stopped when the congestion just kept getting worse. Now that the molds and bacteria living inside those biofilms have been exposed and destroyed, I’ve started taking these remedies again and am finding them helpful.
ALLER-CHORD F – a homeopathic remedy for food allergens


DRAINAGE-TONE – a homeopathic remedy for swollen glands, sinus congestion, and skin eruptions


Both are made by energetix.




While researching this post, I came across this interesting idea for breaking down biofilms in the nose and sinus cavities:
“New sinus therapeutics, including baby shampoo sinus irrigation and probiotic sinus rinses, can lessen symptoms and ward off sinus infections, according to doctors at Baylor College of Medicine.
“These new therapies are targeting the bacteria in ways that haven’t been utilized in the past,” said Dr. Mas Takashima, director of the Sinus Center at Baylor. “These techniques are helping those with chronic and acute sinusitis. Whenever I tell my patients about the new therapeutic protocols they’re very surprised, but they get the results they want and need.
“He said the concept behind baby shampoo irrigation is cleansing the naval cavity with a surfactant. By doing this, the biofilms, or oily layers that bad bacteria create to protect itself from irrigation, are broken down.” (Parsons, 2015)



I haven’t tried the Johnson’s Baby Shampoo technique myself (and don’t think I will because of the product’s toxic ingredients*), but here’s a report from someone who did and found it tremendously helpful. (Mertes, 12/4/2013)
 * Ingredients in Johnson’s Baby Shampoo:
Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, PEG-150 Distearate, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Chloride, Glycerin, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Polyquaternium-10, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Acrylates Copolymer, Yellow 6, Yellow 10, Parfum.
At least it doesn’t contain carcinogenic parabens.
Perhaps there’s a  baby shampoo that’s free of toxic ingredients and still acts as a surfactant to break down biofilms. Please let me know if you come across one.


Source: www.forbes.com
Source: www.forbes.com


Another suggestion from my chiropractor, Denice Hilty Siedzik:
“You may want to consider emptying a probiotic capsule in a little water and swishing it in your mouth and swallowing just before bed. Be sure to not drink anything after. This may also help healthy bacteria migrate to your sinuses.” (Siedzik, 2016)





Source: www.climate-change-guide.com
Source: www.climate-change-guide.com

Unless you’re in steadfast denial, it’s obvious that climate change is real and that here in the Northeast US we’re likely in for warmer winters with fewer or no hard freezes plus longer, hotter, and wetter summers – ideal conditions for molds to proliferate. I know that Lower Manhattan, where I live, receives waves of pollens (which I’ve never been allergic to) blowing in from the west in the spring and fall so it eventually occurred to me that greatly increased numbers of mold spores were probably also blowing in now.  I’ve been reactive to molds for as long as I can remember.
And if this wet, warming trend continues, it will be increasingly difficult to cope with molds in future years. So I was highly motivated to figure out how to improve my ability to deal with these minuscule airborne fungi and keep my airways open.


Source: iomfoe.org
Source: iomfoe.org





After breaking down the biofilms in my sinuses and nose with Allicidin and then zapping the molds and bacteria with the probiotics in RepHresh, the things and techniques listed in the WHAT I TRIED section above now help again to reduce sinus inflammation and keep me breathing through my nose.
Now that it’s October, the hot, humid weather has mercifully stopped, but I know my sinuses are still being exposed to an increased level of molds in the air. Since the initial irrigations with Allicidin and RepHresh in September, I needed to repeat the two-step treatment once last week when we had a return of some warm, humid days and the mold levels were high again.
Having these tools in my ongoing battle with nasal allergies, I now feel better equipped to deal with the hot, rainy summers in our future.


Source: www.silentjourney.com
Source: www.silentjourney.com

This is my earlier post on Probiotics for Sinusitis and Sinus Infection. (Hardin, 9/16/2014) in case you want to read more about sinuses and the gut microbiome.
And here’s a link to my 2011 article Successful holistic treatment of Clostridium difficile gut infection: case study in case you’re interested in how I vanquished C. diff without resorting to any antibiotics – which had degraded by gut microbiome over the years and set the stage for my colon’s being colonized by that nasty bacterium in the first place.



Source: www.pinterest.com
Source: www.pinterest.com





Dach, J. (12/30/2014). BioFilms in Chronic Rhino Sinusitis. See: http://jeffreydachmd.com/2014/12/biofilms-chronic-rhino-sinusitis/

Dr Johnson’s Premier Nutrition.  (2016). Allicidin. See: http://www.drjsupplements.com/allicidin/

Hardin, J.R. (2011). Successful holistic treatment of Clostridium difficile gut infection: case study. Oriental Medicine Journal, 19:4, 24-37. See http://issuu.com/davidmiller4/docs/c._difficile_omj_article_lo_res

Hardin, J.R. (9.14.2014). Probiotics for Sinusitis and Sinus Infection. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/09/18/probiotics-sinusitis-sinus-infection/

Healy, D.Y. et al. (2008). Biofilms with fungi in chronic rhinosinusitis. Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, 138:5, 641-647. See: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0194599808001058

Kiefer, D. (2008). Warding Off Chronic Yeast and Bacterial Infections. Life Extension Magazine. See: http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2008/3/warding-off-chronic-yeast-and-bacterial-infections/page-01

Kresser, C. (8/18/2015). Chronic Sinus Problems: Another Role for Probiotics? See: https://chriskresser.com/chronic-sinus-problems-another-role-for-probiotics/

Mertes, M. (12/4/2013). How I beat my sinusitis by snorting baby shampoo. See: http://www.omaha.com/livewellnebraska/how-i-beat-my-sinusitis-by-snorting-baby-shampoo/article_f5086ea0-b9a6-5a9c-9fc3-f96090a4ac1e.html

Oak Crest Institute of Science. (2013). Scientist Finds Link between Antibiotics and Bacterial Biofilm Formation Cause of Chronic Ear, Sinus, and Lung Infections. See: http://www.oak-crest.org/oakcrest-news/scientist-finds-link-between-antibiotics-and-bacterial-biofilm-formation-cause-of-chronic-ear-sinus-and-lung-infections/

Parsons, J. (4/6/2015). New ways to flush out sinus infections. See: https://www.bcm.edu/news/head-and-neck/new-ways-to-flush-sinus-infection

Siedzik, D.H. (2016). Personal communication.

Silgailis, M. (2015). The One Probiotic That Treats Sinusitis. See: http://lactobacto.com/2015/01/12/the-one-probiotic-that-cures-sinusitis/

Silgailis, M. (2016). Antibiotic Use Increases Risk of Developing Chronic Sinusitis. See: http://lactobacto.com/2016/08/30/any-antibiotic-use-increases-risk-of-developing-chronic-sinusitis/


© Copyright 2016. & 2018 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Probiotics for Sinusitis and Sinus Infection



The Misery of Sinusitis (Source: healthxwellness.com)
The Misery of Sinusitis (Source: healthxwellness.com)


If you’ve ever suffered through sinus congestion or, even worse, a sinus infection, you’ve probably wondered why these cavities are there in our heads.


Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis. (Source: www.asthmacenter.com)
Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis. (Source: www.asthmacenter.com)

It turns out our sinuses are necessary:
  • They warm and moisturize the air on its way to our lungs.
  • They allow us to balance our big-brained heads on our relatively meager necks so we can walk upright on two feet. These empty spaces in our skulls lighten the weight of our heavy heads so we’re not like the rhinoceros, whose head is so weighty the animal often keeps it resting on the ground.




There are four sets of sinuses behind our faces. Here’s where they’re located:


Locations of sinuses. (Source: ookfordiagnosis.com)
Locations of sinuses. (Source: ookfordiagnosis.com)



And here’s a diagram of what they look like when they become inflamed with mucus building up inside them:


Front view of face with sinuses visible. Sinus lining is red and inflamed, and mucus is building up inside. (Source: www.uofmmedicalcenter.org)
Front view of face with sinuses visible. Sinus lining is red and inflamed, and mucus is building up inside. (Source: www.uofmmedicalcenter.org)



Having had chronic sinus inflammation, congestion and infections for many, many years, I can attest to their often making me feel like that rhino – feeling like my head was too heavy to hold up. Other symptoms were – having to breathe through my mouth all the time making it hard to eat and sleep well, having a constantly scratchy throat and uneasy stomach from post nasal drip, suffering from sour breath, feeling slightly dizzy from being unable to get enough air, feeling physically depressed from being exhausted all the time. When I finally figured out how to correct my unbalanced gut bacteria and fix my allergies, that all mercifully stopped.



Not me - but how I feel now that my sinuses aren't inflamed. (Source: www.happyhealthyhomepage.com)
Not me – but how I feel now that I don’t have allergies and my sinuses aren’t inflamed. (Source: www.happyhealthyhomepage.com)


That’s the background.
The purpose of this post is to share a nifty suggestion for resolving sinusitis or a sinus infection – naturally, without the antibiotics doctors usually prescribe. Each time you take an antibiotic, you’re killing off many of the good, probiotic bacteria in your gut – bacteria which the body requires to stay healthy. And these antibiotics often don’t even  address the sinus infection.



Since most sinus infections are caused by viruses, not bacteria, taking antibiotics to treat them is unwise. (Source: www.buzzle.com)
Since most sinus infections are caused by viruses, not bacteria, taking antibiotics to treat them is unwise. (Source: www.buzzle.com)




THE NATURAL AND EFFECTIVE SINUS REMEDY (Pope, 2010) (Saunders, no date)


  1. Empty the contents of a probiotic capsule into a ceramic neti pot or nasal spray bottle.
  2. Add warm filtered water.
  3. Add a bit of sea salt (about 1/8 teaspoon) and baking soda (if desired).
  4. Mix ingredients together carefully with a spoon or shake nasal spray bottle after screwing on the lid.
  5. Neti Pot Method: While standing over a sink or in the shower, insert the nozzle of the neti pot into one nostril, and make sure there is a good seal between the nozzle and your nostril. Lean forward, close the back of your throat and breathe through your mouth. Then allow the contents of the neti pot to enter one nasal opening and rinse through to exit out the other nasal opening. This may take up to two or three minutes if your nasal passages are congested. Repeat on the other side. Try to avoid swallowing the water that goes into the nostrils and blow your nose when finished.
  6. Spray Bottle Method: Insert the nozzle of the spray bottle into one nostril while covering the other nostril. While compressing the pump on the nasal spray bottle, inhale deeply. Repeat several times on both sides. Be prepared to spit out anything left after inhaling the mist.
  7. When finished, wash out the neti pot or spray bottle with warm water and soap and allow to dry before using again.
  8. Probiotics can be used not just as a natural sinus remedy.  They can also be used to prevent sinus infections in the first place.  Click here for an article which describes this method. (Pope, 2013)



Using a Nasal Spray Bottle. (Source: www.telegraph.co.uk)
Using a Nasal Spray Bottle. (Source: www.telegraph.co.uk)



Using a Neti Pot
Using a Neti Pot. (Source: www.occhealthnews.net)










This is Raine Saunders’ report of her experience using probiotics to vanquish a raging, seemingly intractable sinus infection:

Now here’s the most amazing part – at bedtime, I emptied the contents of a probiotics capsule into the neti-pot and proceeded to pour the warm water, salt, baking soda and probiotic mixture into my nasal passages. Immediately I felt a terrible burning sensation that went on for a good ten minutes. It was quite painful, but as it subsided, I was filled with a peaceful calm, and then retired to bed and had a good night sleep. The next morning, I awoke and was surprised to find that even as time went on, my head remained pain-free throughout the day. The horrible “ice pick” sinus pressure which was normally in full-swing by 10 a.m. was completely gone. Whenever I felt like I was getting a slight ache, I performed the facial massage to my temples and sinuses I had done the day before. I also used the probiotics in my neti pot a few more times over the next five days, along with my Whole Body Defense from Gaia Herbs, and some grapefruit seed extract (about 5 drops in 6 ounces of water twice a day). I was cured! I really believe those probiotics did some magical trick – although I’m sure some of the other things I did helped as well – because the first time I did it, after the burning came and went, the pain was completely gone and has not returned since. (Saunders, no date)


So be prepared for a “terrible burning sensation in your sinuses and nose” if you try this. I can only say that, if I get another sinus infection (which is unlikely given how strong my gut microbiome is now), I would prefer choose 10 minutes of discomfort over the damage done by antibiotics – especially knowing the probiotics treatment is likely to work!)






(Source: drkateklemer.com)
(Source: drkateklemer.com)






Keeping your immune system balanced and strong so you don’t develop sinusitis or an acute sinus infection is clearly the way to go. Getting enough and the right variety of prebiotics and probiotics – from your diet and from high quality supplements – is important to achieve that goal.
As is true everywhere in the body, the nasal passages are colonized by micro-organisms. When the balance of beneficial flora to harmful flora is out of balance, problems can develop. A study showed that drinking kefir, a fermented milk drink loaded with healthy probiotics, decreased the levels of pathogenic bacteria in the nasal passages. Other research indicates probiotics are helpful for reducing congestion and the other symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. Chris Kresser points out that this is “especially interesting because in Chinese medicine, they believe sinus issues are almost always related to the gut.” (Kresser, no date)
For more information on prebiotics, probiotics,and kefir, see:







(Source: whattoprepare.com)
(Source: whattoprepare.com)




The most important part of your immune system lives inside your gut – your gut microbiome, consisting of billions of micro-organisms.  If your gut microbiome is balanced and healthy, then you probably are too.












Probiotics recommended by Chris Kresser, a practitioner of functional and integrative medicine and a licensed acupuncturist. His informative website is http://chriskresser.com/
This information is from his post 5 Uncommon Uses for Probiotics. (Kresser, no date)
Sarah Pope, whose website is called The Healthy Home Economist,  recommends this high quality, therapeutic strength, multi-strain probiotic:

Bio-Kult – Probiotic Multi-Strain Formula

Her entire list of recommendations for Supplements & Superfoods, and many other products, can be found here.



(Source: www.healthierpost.com)
(Source: www.healthierpost.com)



See SINUSES for more information.








Hardin, J.R. (1/1/2014). Super Immunity. AllergiesAndYourGut.com.  See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/

Hardin, J.R. (1/11/2014). Sinuses. AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/symbiosis-versus-dysbiosis/sinuses/

Hardin, J.R. (1/17/2914).  Kefir. AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/kefir/

Hardin, J.R. (2/5/2014). Prebiotics and Probiotics.  AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/prebiotics-and-probiotics/

Kresser, C. (no date). 5 Uncommon Uses for Probiotics. See:  http://chriskresser.com/5-uncommon-uses-for-probiotics

Pope, S. (2010). Natural and Effective Sinus Infection Remedy. The HealthyHomeEconomist.com.  See: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/heal-sinus-infections-with-no-antibiotics-really/

Pope, S. (2012). Shopping List. HealthyHomeEconomist.com. See: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/resources/#supplements

Pope, S. (2013). Stop Sinus Problems Fast with This Easy Tip. The HealthyHomeEconomist.com. See: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/discourage-holiday-sinus-problems-with-this-easy-tip/

Saunders, R. (no date). How I Cured A Raging Sinus Infection Naturally, With No Drugs. Agricultural Society. See:  http://agriculturesociety.com/alternative-medicine-and-treatment/how-i-cured-a-raging-sinus-infection-naturally-with-no-drugs/



© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.


DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.