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Garlic and Sinus Infections

April 14, 2011 · 46 comments

in Health & Fitness

Just as a disclaimer, I am not a doctor and I am not suggesting anyone avoid obtaining medical care for any illnesses…

Since my son came down with Cdiff a couple months ago, I have been investigating ways to avoid antibiotics.  (FYI, people on antibiotics are more likely to contract Cdiff since antibiotics kill the good bacteria in your gut.)

One of the reasons my son has frequently been on antibiotics is because of recurrent sinus infections.  He would take a 10 day course of Keflex or whatever, be fine for a week or so, and then the sinus infection would come raging back.  We would then return to the doctor, who would prescribe yet another antibiotic.  What I have since learned is that quite often, sinus infections do not even require antibiotics.

So, since I have begun my quest to avoid antibiotics, my son has had 2 sinus infections.  At least I suspect they were sinus infections since he has had high fevers and all the typical symptoms of a sinus infection.   Anyway, I did not take him to the doctor when he was sick for these infections.  (Side note:  had his symptoms gotten worse, we would have definitely sought medical care.)  Instead, I did some research on the internet and tried to find a holistic treatment.  (Gosh do I wish I would have done this sooner!!!)

One suggestion that is often made to relieve a sinus infection is to flush the sinuses using a Neti Pot.  Well, my son is very resistant to that treatment, so I thought I would try other methods first.  One idea I came across that seemed interesting was to use garlic to fight a sinus infection/nasal congestion.

What I do is this:  I put some water in a pot and heat it to boiling.  While the water is heating, I mince fresh garlic (about 3 garlic ‘segments’ ) and put it in the water.  Once steam is created, I have my son inhale the garlic steam (with his eyes closed).  After a couple minutes, the mucous is loosened up and he blows his nose.  He does that a few times until everything is ‘gone’, and we repeat it again later when he is ‘full’ again.  On average, he would use the garlic steam a few times a day.  Both times we have tried this method, he was able to beat the infection without antibiotics.

However, I suppose it is possible that he would have beaten the sinus infections on his own without breathing in garlic vapors. Regardless, the garlic treatment did clear out his sinuses for a while each time, and he was more comfortable. When we were on vacation and his most recent infection struck, we didn’t have access to boiling water.  So, I improvised by buying pre-minced garlic in a jar and running the shower in the bathroom.  He would go into the steamy bathroom (we called it the ‘hotbox’), remove the lid from the garlic, and just breathe in the aroma of the minced garlic while surrounded by steam.  This also helped relieve his congestion.

Some people also swear by eating garlic or taking garlic capsules when they are ill.  I have not tried ingesting garlic, and therefore cannot say whether it is effective or not.  I will say the garlic steam does seem to help my son’s sinuses though.  However, do not try this treatment if you are allergic to garlic!  Also, garlic can interfere with certain medications like anti-coagulants, so please speak with a doctor before using garlic for any kind of treatment (or if you are nursing).

What holistic methods do you use to fight infections?

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