Deep in center of the facial bones which surround our eyes and nose are cavities called sinuses. These hidden cavities serve as resonance chambers for our voice; they also make our skull lighter. These cavities are surrounded by mucus membranes which help in part to protect these bony cavities, as well as to trap bacterial and viral infections and then reject these substances out through the lymphatic system. Unfortunately the sinuses can become irritated and even infected resulting in congestion and inflammation.
In Western society we refer to the body’s ability to fight off disease and infection as the immunity system. In Chinese medicine, the reference goes much deeper. The lungs and the colon are the organs corresponding to the element of metal, which is responsible for the functioning of the “we qui” or the defensive energy which protects the body from external invasion.
Having thus explained these systems in part let us follow through. The connection between the colon and the lungs is the lymphatic system, which under ordinary circumstances removes waste from the body tissues and drains it into the colon in the form of mucus. When the colon is congested, the result is a greater toxic burden in the body which in turns creates a less effective lymphatic drainage. As a result, more less waste is eliminated from the body via the mucus membranes of the respiratory tract, including the sinuses.
In the short term, this can result in sinus problems such as a runny nose, sneezing, post-nasal drip and coughs. As the problem becomes more chronic, the post-nasal drip can inflame the throat causing the common sore throats while the toxic laden lymphatic fluid can then irritate other tissues causing further inflammatory conditions like earaches, tonsillitis, bronchitis and even asthmatic symptoms.
Cleaning the colon through herbs, essential oils and homeopathies will create a long term cure but what about the shorter term “Band-Aid” relief for these symptoms?
Herbs with expectorant and decongestant actions can stimulate these tissues and help to break-up trapped mucus and expel it from the system more effectively. Fenugreek and Thyme are great herbs for the intense pressure that creates the sinus headaches. Steaming those sinuses with a strong infusion or tea will begin to relieve the pressure and cause the sinuses to begin to drain correctly but add a few drops of essential oil of birch to your mixture and you have an added fighter to the mix. If you don’t have the time for a good steam make yourself an inhaler with 2-3 drops of these herbs in essential oil form and breathe deeply.
Birch is the one oil that will penetrate through bone mass and because the sinus cavities are incased in bone this oil will penetrate into the bone, relaxing the surrounding membranes and thus helping the fenugreek and thyme to do their job more effectively.
Snuffing a very small amount of powdered bayberry into the sinuses will rapidly shrink nasal polyps and bring quick relief from constant sinus problems. If a bacterial or viral infection is present a very small amount of golden seal or Oregon grape root can be added to the snuff mixture.
Most people will turn to eucalyptus products to try and dry up excess mucus but many times the problem has been created because of dehydration so be careful in your evaluation of using eucalyptus because dehydration might be the catalyst already.
Remember that mucus is 90% water and so it is very important that the mucus membranes be properly hydrates so that they can produce a thin, watery secretion that is easily removed by the body. When we are in a state of even mild dehydration the body natural defense will try to retain every ounce of moisture possible and so the mucus secretions naturally get very thick. By encouraging the body with lots of healthy, clear fluids the secretions will again become thin and watery because the body realizes that there is no need for fluid retention.