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How to treat Chronic Sinus Infections Naturally and Safely: A Guide for Those on Blood Thinning Medication

Treating Chronic Sinusitis without Herbal Medicine

I am writing this article because I often come across the dilemma of having patients or clients who are taking blood thinning medication, like Coumadin, Plavix or Eliquis.  In these people, herbal medication is a big no-no.  There are also many vitamins and supplements that are contraindicated due to their blood thinning action, like Vitamin E, Vitamin C, selenium and excessive omega 3’s. Vitamin K is causes blood to clot, so is also contraindicated as it acts against the desired effect of the blood thinner.  Coming up with a treatment plan for people on these medications can be difficult, but it is doable.  That is why I wrote this article, specifically for this group of people and clinicians treating them.  Unfortunately, some of our sickest clients, who so desperately need the immune boosting magnificence that herbal/nutraceutical medicine has to offer, are on medication that contraindicate the use of most alternative supplements.  

Chronic sinus infections are a sure sign that the immune system is struggling.  Patients are all too often on a merry-go-round of chronic antibiotic use, that only leads to rebound infections or secondary infections and issues.  Even fungal infections are possible in the sinuses with overuse of antibiotics (similar to yeast infections that so many of us ladies are familiar with when we go on antibiotics).

One of the goals is to get off this merry-go-round and boost the immune system, while also providing SOME anti-microbial local treatment.  Since herbal medicine is off the table, local and topical treatments are paramount.

Neti Pot or other saline rinse

Rinsing the sinuses provides direct access to the area of infection and is wonderful delivery system for treatment.   Salt rinses through the area of your sinuses is antimicrobial and lubricating.  This is also an important way to deliver other anti-microbial and beneficial substances directly to the area.  If you are unable to ingest antibiotic herbs, this local, direct-to-the-site method of treating the sinuses is crucial.

Making your saline rinse

  1. Heat 1 cup of filtered water for about 30-40 sec in the microwave until it is comfortable to pour on your inner wrist (warm but not hot)
  2. Add Xlear Neti Pot with Xylitol packet (this contains xylitol which is beneficial for sinuses and in breaking down the protective layer formed by bacteria so that we can get rid of them)

Alternatively, you can simply use the following, however I recommend the Xlear in severe cases:

  1. Add ¼ tsp of sea salt
  2. Add ¼ tsp of aluminum-free baking soda (this will help with any “burn” or discomfort from the salt ) 

For more on Neti Pot Details, go to My Toolkit and Download the CheatSheet on Neti Potting.

Anti-microbial essential oil : Melaleuca

     3) Add 1 drop of Melalueca essential oil to the neti pot water (no more!)


Steam Inhalation with Essential oils

This method of delivery of anti-microbials to the sinuses is effective (source) and relieves symptoms of pressure and pain.  When heated, the essential oil is carried with steam and the anti-microbial droplets get into the sinuses where they act on the infection and mucus membranes.

Making your steam inhalation

  1. Bring 1 cup of filtered water to a light boil in the microwave or on stove (use extreme caution!) then pour into a cooler mug or bowl
  2. Put 2 drops each into the water;
    1. Lemon essential oil
    2. Peppermint essential oil
    3. Oregano essential oil
    4. Melaleuca (tea tree) essential oil
  3. Sit at a table with head over the mug and cover your head with a towel, creating a tent
  4. Inhale the steam for 10-15 mins, taking extreme caution with the temperature of the steam- it must not burn to breath in!

Additional Essential oil uses

Other essential oils for sinus infections are: Eucalyptus and Breathe*.  These can be difused in a an essential oil diffuser or dripped in the shower.  Breathe can be applied directly on the chest or in cloth so that you continuously breathe it in. It is powerful at opening up the sinuses, relieving pain and pressure and acting as an anti-microbial.


Supplements need to be used with extreme caution.  As mentioned above, Vitamin C, K, E, selenium and omega 3’s are all to used with caution and under the supervision of your physician. Unfortunately, many of these are top line supplements for immune boosting.  However Vitamin D3, which is essential for immune functions, is not contraindicated.  Blood levels need to be between 45-65 ng/ml if you are fighting chronic illness.   The dose obviously depends on your labs, but until you know your levels, taking 5000iu daily with food for 2-3 months is safe. ( I recommend labs on Vit D 25(OH)D once every 6 months if you are immune compromised or struggling with chronic infections.)

Suggested Vitamin D3 brands:

  1. Life Extension Vit D3 5000iu
  2. Best: Thorne Vit D3 5000iu

Throat and Gargles

Very often, those suffering from chronic sinusitis have sore, irritated throats, most likely due to post nasal drip.  If all infections have been ruled out like Strep and you have been told your hoarse and painful throat is due to non-infectious causes, you can gargle for soothing relief and healing.


  1. Pang Da Hai- this is a Chinese herb that is used for raw, sore and overused voice with hoarseness.  I found the whole herb here, but for granules or tincture you will need to ask an herbalist, acupuncturist to order for you.
    1. If you get the dried fruit, soak in boiling water for 20-30 mins until fruit is soft and gargle 2-3 times daily. If using powder or tincture, simply make into a drink and gargle.
      1. (granule dose: 1 scoop in ½ warm water,2-3 times daily, gargle only)  
      2. As long as not too much is swallowed, I am not concerned about blood thinning synergy activity
  2. Melaleuca essential oil, if this is not further irritating to your throat
    1. 2 drops in ½ cup warm water and gargle
  3. Gargle Away Throat Care is a pre-made, herbal gargle that can help soothe as well as fight infection. I have NOT tried this preparation, but I have used all the individual ingredients with great success.  Give it a try!  Do not swallow.
  4. Honey and lemon tea: purchase a local, raw honey or Manuka honey and mix with fresh lemon for sore throat soothing.  If you feel it helps, adding a tiny amount of cayenne pepper can act as pain killing, but may irritate further, so use caution.

I hope this helps!  Chronic sinusitis and allergy over-lap as well, so be sure to cover your basis and deal with any allergies you may have. Adding fermented foods is a great way to eliminate allergies and boost immune health, so listen to my Podcast on Fermented foods!  In the meantime, head on over to My Toolkit Page and get the Immune Boosting worksheet and any others that you find useful to you and your family’s health!  Contact me any time for a free consult or questions!


In Health!




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