Even though there are many anecdotal accounts on the Internet from people who claim that coconut oil helped them with their sinus problems, scientists are still at work trying to confirm the effectiveness of coconut oil as a sinus treatment. Conventional medical sites do not list coconut oil among the possible sinus treatments, but research is under way to determine why coconut oil may help.
Coconut oil is a white, semi-solid fat or nearly colorless fatty oil extracted from copra, or dried coconut. It is widely used in foods and can also be found in the manufacture of cosmetics, soaps and candles. One drawback to using coconut oil is that it is high in saturated fats, which are considered less healthy than unsaturated fats. Saturated fats can increase your risk of heart disease by increasing your total cholesterol and your level of LDL, or so-called "bad cholesterol."
Sinusitis is a common nasal problem. When you suffer from sinusitis, the cavities around your sinuses, or nasal passages, become swollen and inflamed. The condition may be acute and short-lived. Some people, however, suffer from chronic sinusitis, which lasts 12 weeks or longer, or keeps coming back, despite treatment. If you suffer from sinusitis, you might find it difficult to breathe through your nose, feel throbbing facial pain or suffer from headaches.
Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, and Dr. Joseph Mercola writes that lauric acid is known for being anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. He says that's why it may be effective against sinus problems, because he claims most chronic sinusitis is actually an immune disorder caused by a fungus. He contends that most people have fungi in the mucus lining of their sinuses, but only people who are prone to chronic sinusitis will react to the fungus spores.
A health care professional may recommend several different ways to treat sinus problems. For acute conditions, antibiotics may be prescribed to fight a bacterial infection. A doctor may also recommend pain relievers and decongestants to reduce pain and congestion. For chronic conditions, oral steroids or nasal steroid sprays may be prescribed, as well as longer courses of antibiotics or saline nasal washes. In extreme cases, surgery may be recommended.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases supports research to test the theory that fungus may play a role in chronic sinus problems. Efforts are under way to try to determine whether some of these chronic conditions may result from an exaggerated immune response to fungal material. It maintains that at least two-thirds of acute sinusitis cases are brought on by two different bacteria.