Sinuses are hollow cavities found in the skull that are connected to each other. They are lined by mucosa – a soft, pink tissue – and contain a thin layer of mucus. Sinuses are found in the cheekbones, forehead, nasal bridge between the eyes and behind the nasal cavity. While the actual role of sinuses is not clear, they could help improve our voices or moisten the air which we breathe.
There are different types of infections that can affect the sinus. Acute sinusitis is caused by bacteria or virus and cause inflammation of the sinus leading to nasal congestion, headache and discomfort around the sinus areas. Chronic sinusitis is a persistent inflammation of the sinus. Allergic rhinitis is reaction to allergens. Other conditions are deviated septum, nasal polyps and turbinate hypertophy. Decongestants, nasal sprays, antibiotics, antihistamines and herbal remedies are some ways to treat sinus conditions.
Cinnamon for Sinus
Cinnamon tree gives us the dried cinnamon bark, which can be used as sticks, powder, liquid or supplements. There are around 100 varieties of cinnamon with the most common ones being Ceylon and Cassia cinnamon. Their flavorings vary subtly. Both are used for cooking and for medicinal purposes. Cinnamon has been used as a warming remedy in traditional Chinese medicine. Combine cinnamon with fresh ginger to make a tea and this is supposed to provide quick relief from cold and flu. This could also provide relief for the sinus which gets congested due to colds.
Cinnamon has antibacterial, antiseptic and antiviral properties. Hence, this is a common spice that has been used as a home remedy to treat various respiratory problems including sore throat, flu, nasal congestion and sore throat. The antibacterial properties are found in chemicals like eugenol and cinnamaldehyde found in the bark and leaves. Germs and harmful bacteria get destroyed due to this antibacterial activity. Bacteria attack our upper respiratory tract causing nasal obstruction, inflamed membranes and sinus congestion.
Cinnamon used in food does not cause side effects and it can be enjoyed in many different ways – teas, smoothies, coffee, oatmeal etc. What is more, cinnamon combines well with other healthy, antioxidant rich spices like turmeric, ginger, cloves and even fresh green vegetables.
Cinnamon also has anti-inflammatory properties. An inflamed sinus will narrow our air passages, making breathing difficult. Drinking cinnamon tea or breathing in cinnamon scent can soothe the membranes lining our sinuses and rid it of mucus.
Usually when we have a cold, the sinus congestion causes headaches. Cinnamon is effective in treating a headache especially when it is ingested as tea. According to the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) rating, cinnamon has a high ranking as a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants protect our immune system from attack by free radicals that damage tissues and cells and cause various infections. Hence, consuming food amounts of cinnamon could help deal with respiratory infections like sinus congestion too.
A mixture of ¼ tsp cinnamon powder and 1 tablespoon honey can be taken for three days. This is said to provide relief for chronic coughs and colds and can clear a blocked sinus as well.
Here is a good home diffuser that can help clear a blocked sinus and ease nasal congestion. Boil a pan of water and in this add 3-5 drops of cinnamon, thyme and clove essential oils. Turn the heat low, drape a towel over your head and inhale the steam for a few minutes. This can be repeated 3-5 times a day for at least a week. This home remedy can help heal bronchitis and sinus infections. It also clears ear aches and headaches – part of a sinus infection. These essential oils have antibiotic properties.
There is no proven cinnamon dose for sinus infections. 2-4g (½ to 1tsp) of powder a day is recommended for therapeutic purposes.
As a food, cinnamon does not cause side effects. Cinnamon oil could cause mouth sores, nausea, dizziness, indigestion, etc. Excess quantities – especially cassia cinnamon – could cause liver toxicity and affect those with diabetes, those requiring surgery or pregnant women. Inform your doctor before using cinnamon for any medical condition.