A sinus infection is inflammation in the sinus cavity resulting from irritants, allergens or an infection. Over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs and herbal remedies can be used to treat a sinus infection. Garlic contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can help promote sinus health, according to Drugs.com. Garlic also contains high levels of antioxidants that help to protect and repair damaged cells and prevent illness.
Causes of Sinus Infections
A sinus infection, or sinusitis, may arise from allergens, bacterial or viral infections, nasal deformities and environmental factors, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. A common symptom of an allergic reaction is nasal congestion. Chronic allergies can keep the sinuses inflamed and irritated, leading to the development of a sinus infection. Bacterial and viral infections may result from common cold viruses or the flu.
The effect of inflammation in the sinuses is swelling. Swollen sinus cavities block the body’s normal ability to drain mucus out of the nostrils. Trapped mucus is moist, stagnant and warm, creating the perfect environment for the growth of bacteria. Excessive pressure causes pain to develop throughout the head, commonly in the ears, behind the eyes and in the cheeks. You may also develop postnasal drip, a condition where mucus drains down the back of the throat.
Treatment for Sinusitis
Traditional treatments for sinus infections include antibiotics to treat bacterial infections, decongestants to alleviate nasal congestion and pain medications to reduce pain. Your doctor may wait to see if the infection clears up on its own before prescribing antibiotics, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Surgery may be a last resort for chronic sinusitis, in order to remove any obstructions and enlarge the nasal passages, although problems may recur.
Garlic is commonly used to season and flavor foods, but it also has medicinal uses, according to Drugs.com. It has been used to increase immune system effectiveness, prevent cancer, protect the liver, reduce cholesterol and kill harmful bacteria. The Natural Health Remedies for You website recommends taking 250 to 500 milligrams of garlic in supplement form to treat a sinus infection. Talk with your doctor before using a garlic supplement. Garlic may be the most effective against sinus infections caused by bacterial infections.
Potential Garlic Side Effects
In addition to the well-known effect of garlic breath, common side effects of using garlic include diarrhea; sweating; nausea; vomiting; burning in the mouth, stomach or throat; rashes and lightheadedness. Although uncommon, some people may be allergic to garlic. If you develop symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing, hives and nasal congestion, discontinue use and call 911.