I had a sinus infection a couple weeks ago that actually helped me feel more confident about my health. I have a lot of personal experiences with sinus infections but this time I was able to overcome it without the need for antibiotics and that feels good even just to think about. So here’s my story:
The kids had been coughing on me for a while due to illnesses being passed around at school (and our ear infection episode), and finally I felt my throat getting sore and my sinuses began to hurt. One morning I woke up early with extreme sinus pain and couldn’t get back to sleep. I decided to mix up some of my natural nasal decongestant, and that felt like it burned up the infection in my sinuses – it was great, there was much less pain! But I was busy at work that week, and the next day I stayed up until midnight finishing a project.
That intensity brought the infection back, much stronger, and the ginger mix didn’t help as much (though it did some, I took it twice the next day). The pain was so bad the next night that I couldn’t even go to sleep, so I stayed up watching Jackie Chan movies to try and distract myself. In between movies I would sit still and try to meditate for a little while until the pain became my focus again. I also drank some water and ate some corn tortilla chips (I hadn’t eaten much that day except for some soup, and corn is drying so I hoped it would help reduce the mucus drainage). I also ate a few ginger chews that night (a candy made of basically sugar and ginger, with the consistency of taffy). Candice bought those ginger chews for me a few months before but they were too strong for me then, that night they went down easy. 🙂
So after a few movies the sun came up and so did everyone else. Candice suggested I try using a hot/cold compress to help with the pain, so I did and I felt so much better that I was able to sleep (sitting up) for 4 hours! Here is how that works (we learned this from a Naturopath in Oregon a few years ago):
Take 2 washcloths and get them both wet. Put one in the freezer and one in the microwave for 30 seconds to one minute (or if you don’t have one – like us – you can put it in a pan with some water on the stove and heat it up). You want to get it hot enough so you can barely touch it but not so hot that it burns your skin. Then put the hot wet washcloth on your face where it hurts (sinus area or forehead if you have a headache). Hold it there for about 2 minutes (if it doesn’t stay warm you may need to heat it up again during that time), then put it back in the hot water or in the microwave while you grab the cold one from the freezer and put that on your face (I usually stand up straight and press on the painful areas through the washcloth to focus the heat/cold on them). After about 30 seconds, put the cold washcloth back in the freezer, make sure the other one is heated up, and repeat the process one or two more times.
So after I had a good nap, I felt much better and was able to eat some more that day and get to sleep that night (after using another hot/cold compress before bed). I was feeling even better the next day and life got back to normal a bit, but I still had some drainage in my throat and I was still coughing up some mucus in the mornings. The mucus had become clear and my sinuses felt much better (though they were still a bit tender) so I thought the infection was over.
However, when Candice took a look at my tongue a couple days later she said there was still an external pathogen in my system (which made sense because the mucus became colorful again the next day). She told me to take some triphala, so I took about half a teaspoon mixed with some water twice a day for 2 days. On the third day I had a loose stool, so that’s when I knew I needed to back off with the triphala (it has a laxative effect). Candice suggested I cut back on the triphala and add a pinch of trikatu, only once a day. So I did that for a couple days and then stopped. By then I had no sinus pain (not even tenderness), my bowels returned to normal (after being loose for a couple days), and the mucus drainage had stopped altogether. Life is good 🙂
Here is a before and after picture of Nickalus eating some of my home-made nasal decongestant – he actually seemed to like it, he had four bites before spitting any out!