Have you ever heard the expression “I need that like I need a hole in the head?” Well, it turns out that we really do need holes in our heads. Our “holes” are four pairs of hollow, air-filled sacs called sinuses. They are located over the eyes in the forehead, between the eyes, below the eyes behind the cheekbones, and near the center of the head.
In some ways, sinuses are a mystery. Scientists still haven’t unlocked the secrets of all they do. We know that the sinuses may help to insulate the skull, allow our voices to resonate, humidify and warm the air we breathe, and help to reduce the weight of the skull. Whatever their purpose is, they sometimes can be a pain – especially when you end up with a sinus infection or sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses and nasal passages).
Anatomy of the Sinuses: Healthy sinuses are lined with tiny, hair-like projections called cilia. The cilia wave back and forth, pushing mucous out of the sinus cavities into the throat where it is swallowed or into the nose where it can be blown out. If thick mucous plugs up the holes where the mucous drains, or bacteria or viruses harm the cilia so they don’t efficiently push the mucous out, the lining of the sinus cavity becomes inflamed, the sinuses fill up, pressure builds, and you will feel the pain of sinusitis. The warm, moist, mucous-filled sinus cavity is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, leading to a sinus infection.
Symptoms: Pain and pressure in the face is one of the most common symptoms of sinusitis. Which sinus cavity is involved determines where the pain is felt. Other common symptoms include headache, yellow or green mucous discharge from the nose, stuffy nose, bad breath, fever, cough that produces mucous, and a reduced sense of taste and smell.
Sinus Relief from Plant Oils: Studies show that ingesting concentrated, natural encapsulated plant oils can relieve inflammation, destroy harmful bacteria and aid in draining mucous from the sinuses and nasal passages. One of the most well-known plant oils for clearing the sinuses is from eucalyptus. This natural plant oil thins mucous so it can drain more easily, and also is a natural antibacterial and antiviral to treat sinus infections. Many studies on eucalyptus oil and its key compounds show that it not only reduces inflammation and destroys pathogens, it also helps to strengthen the immune system so that it can respond more quickly to infections.
Another concentrated plant oil that has been well studied and sold in Europe for more than 75 years is myrtle oil. Like eucalyptus, myrtle has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Eucalyptus and myrtle both contain a powerful plant compound called 1,8 cineole. The cineole stimulates tiny, fluttering projections in the sinus cavities called cilia to move mucous along more quickly, which results in further sinus clearing and comfort.
The Safety of Bio-Typed Oils: Concentrated plant oils are potent medicines. However, not all concentrated plant oils are safe for human consumption. Massage and aromatherapists use concentrated plant oils (sometimes called “essential” oils) outside the body, as infusers, or topically, on the skin. These are not the kinds of oils that you should be taking internally – in fact, some of them are toxic if swallowed!
When you use concentrated plant oils, you must make sure they are clinically studied and use advanced technology to take a “fingerprint” of the oil to confirm its identity, and to make sure the most important compounds are sufficiently present to make the product effective. For example, did you know there are over 900 kinds of Eucalyptus trees, and only one type has been studied for safety and effectiveness for sinus problems? And there are 2800 varieties of myrtle! You must make sure that the plant oil you select is confirmed to be the correct species and type. Additionally, concentrated, Bio-Typed plant oils are tested for purity as well.
Chronic Sinusitis: Acute sinusitis is a short-term event that resolves and goes away. However, some people experience sinusitis that lasts for weeks, or returns again and again. This is chronic sinusitis. It frequently occurs in people with asthma, and many people with chronic sinusitis have allergies. Experts believe there is a possibility that constant exposure to inhaled allergens that are present year round, such as house dust mites, pets, mold and cockroaches, can cause chronic inflammation of the nasal passages and sinuses.
While airborne allergens may have a significant role in causing sinusitis, food allergens can also act as triggers. I have personally witnessed a reduction of sinusitis with the elimination of certain foods, particularly wheat, all grains containing gluten, and dairy foods. Eliminating these foods may not necessarily eradicate sinusitis completely, but they can help increase recovery time significantly. Through trial and error, you may find that a food that is your favorite, and eaten frequently, turns out to be your downfall.
Try eliminating the offending food for several weeks and you may be quite surprised at the improvement in the health of your sinuses. I’m not aware of any studies that can support this. However, based on my own personal experience and from the people I have counseled over the years, a change in diet can lead to a significant improvement.
Chronic problems with sinus infection and congestion can get in the way of enjoying life to the fullest. They not only cause pain and discomfort, they interfere with your ability to savor your meals and smell the flowers. They can even interfere with your hearing. By using a formulation containing a combination of concentrated, Bio-Typed plant oils from eucalyptus and myrtle, you will experience relief from congestion in the upper respiratory tract and sinuses, breathe easier, reduce nasal congestion and head stuffiness, and have the ability to focus and concentrate more clearly. You can get back to enjoying a full life!
Terry recommends a formula with these ingredients. Look for it at your local health food store.
Proprietary Complex (Bio-Typed Plant Oils) Containing Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) containing 70-85% 1,8 cineole, Myrtle (Myrtus communis cineole) containing alpha pinene, 1,8 cineole, in a base of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)