A sinus headache is the result of sinus inflammation, which can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, environmental irritants or allergies. Sinus headaches can manifest as a dull throbbing between the eyes, and the pain may become worse when bending over. Post-nasal drip and a sore throat may also accompany a sinus headache. The Mayo Clinic states that the best way to get rid of a sinus headache is to treat the inflammation.
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If the sinus inflammation is bacterial in nature, a doctor should prescribe a course of antibiotics. For viral infections, a doctor may prescribe steroid-based nasal sprays to reduce swelling in the sinuses. The University of Maryland also recommends over-the-counter decongestants such as pseudoephedrine, pain killers such as acetaminophen, or a sinus-target remedy that combines the two. Lozenges or over-the-counter throat sprays can help soothe a sore throat.
Licorice root and marshmallow can both be found in root or leaf form in health food stores. You can also buy liquid drops, called a tincture, in health food stores. Marshmallow is a plant and is not related to the candy marshmallows. According to Linda B. White, author of “The Herbal Drug Store,” these herbs have been used for throat-soothing qualities, as well as plantain, a banana-type fruit found in grocery stores and mullein, an herb that is found in health food and herbal stores. You can fry and eat the plantain or make a tea out of the mullein, though there is not enough scientific evidence to support this. In addition, nursing and pregnant women should avoid licorice root, as should those with diseases of the heart and kidney as well as the liver and thyroid. White also lists peppermint, horseradish and garlic for their sinus-clearing properties. Valerie Anne Worwood, author of “The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy” describes a chest rub with peppermint, rosemary and camphor essential oils for sinus congestion, and inhaling a steam with chamomile, lavender and thyme for a sore throat. You also can make a drink with lavender and lemon oils mixed with honey and rosewater. You should consult with your doctor before trying any herbal remedy for your sinuses.
The Mayo Clinic suggests warm steam or a humidifier to clear the sinuses and moisten the throat. Additionally, apply a warm compress or heat pack to the forehead and over the cheeks, to relieve headache pain and swelling. To relieve the sore throat, gargle with warm salt water or drink hot tea, broth or a mixture of hot lemon and honey.
- "The Herbal Drug Store"; Linda B. White, MD and Steven Foster; 2000
- "The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy"; Valerie Ann Worwood; 1991
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Sinus Headache
- Mayo Clinic: Sore Throat