Well, the Beltane sun has been shining radiantly today and I've managed to soak up a little of it in my quest to recover from a horrible sinus infection. As I didn't feel up for dancing around maypoles, going for long walks gathering blossoms or making love in the morning dew, I've decided to write this blog post as my way of celebration!
Beltane is about celebration of life, fertility and abundance, of the Earth and all who live from her, the definite Spring and the promise ahead of Summer returning...
Having this illness has propelled me into deep gratitude for the abundance of the Earth, in the healing foods and herbs which are getting me well again. In particular with treating a sinus infection, I've been really stoking the Beltane fires with the heat of garlic, onion, horseradish, cayenne...
And the process of getting well has a lot of fertility going on within it. The synthesis of nutrients and phytochemicals and my own biochemical responses is a real love story creating a healthy living being (me) which can then go forth and multiply my abundant desires and birth all the things in the world I want to! Well, that's the plan J
Warning: Talking of 'abundance', this post will contain the word MUCUS quite a lot of times and possibly even descriptions.
I'm writing a post about this partly because it took a lot of commitment and perseverance and if I ever get sinusitis again, I can come right back here to save myself the work of figuring out what I need! I'm not writing it as a guide for anyone else but if it does help anyone who is looking for a way of avoiding antibiotics for ridding themselves of a severe sinus infection, then that's great!
Of course anyone with a serious health problem should seek the advice of a professional medical practitioner (there are lots of good herbalists around, or even a GP). Sometimes infections can develop a serious complication which needs urgent immediate attention, so it's always worth checking it out with someone if you have any concerns. And as always, do your own research!
Pharmaceutical antibiotics certainly have their place and there's no doubt they can save lives when the time is right and necessary. But their overuse is seriously damaging peoples' health and increasing the resistance of harmful bacteria to the medicine. We can choose to take back more control of our health and find alternatives which can do a much a more effective and healthy job of supporting our recovery, with none of the damaging side-effects.
So far the food and herbs are proving effective but I'm also happy to have that prescription on the wall if I need it too. This is, after all, a blog post written from within the process.
Background All my family went down with a really nasty flu-type illness while we were on holiday. It manifested differently for all of us but we all agreed it was horrible and powerful and not your usual run-of-the-mill bug. I managed to get through the holiday drinking licorice tea, Echinacea tincture, elderberry syrup and nettle soup but also did a fair amount of wandering round windy high hills and old cold houses and after my return it seemed to hang on as a sore throat and general tired feeling. The sore throat made it painful to swallow, and there was the feeling of pressure in my head and the sensation of mucus going down the back of my throat a lot of the time. I realised I had blocked sinuses although I could still breathe normally.
YIKES! Mucus oodling out of eye! I was watching Doctor Who on Sunday night with sudden difficulty as my left eye started hurting as if it had eyelashes or something in it, but there were none. Then my vision went quite cloudy and I looked in the mirror to see creamy mucus across the iris and oodling out of the corner of the eye. That was when I realised that my blocked sinuses had got a bit more serious and infected. I wiped it, took some golden seal tincture and went to bed. I didn't have a great night as my head, eye and throat were aching a lot.
Prescription for antibiotics In the morning I woke to find my eye sealed closed and very swollen, as if I'd been punched very hard and it had all puffed up. I got it open by soaking the mucus seal off with a wet tissue, but couldn't open it fully as it was so uncomfortable. I presumed that the eyelid was puffed out as it had so much mucus pooled beneath it but felt a bit unsure about how safe it would be to try and massage it out. I decided to go along to see what the GP would say about it, so that I could make more of an informed decision. The GP said it was a nasty infection and gave me a prescription for antibiotics. (Meanwhile, my mum had spoken to her GP about her constant cough and flu symptoms and had been advised to take paracetamol every four hours and drink lucozade.)
Choices So, antibiotics or was there another option? I pinned the prescription up on the noticeboard in case at some point I felt it was time to go down that route, and decided to go all out for the natural healing approach. This meant taking time to pay attention to myself and prepare my own treatment. I've got some training and knowledge of natural healing and the use of herbs and nutrition so I needed to pull out from this everything that would help this infection in my head from getting more serious.
Information The following foods and herbs etc. are what I used to bring down the inflammation, reduce the infection and boost my immune system so that within two days I felt I was well on the road to recovery without the need to use antibiotics. This information is not meant in any way as a prescription for anyone else. I'm sharing it because it's what helped me and it may be helpful to others who are searching for ways to avoid antibiotics. Most of the foods and herbs I included are specifically helpful for fighting sinus infections and infections in general.
Fresh fruit I had a bowl of fruit and natural live soya yoghurt for breakfast (mango, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, grated ginger, grapes, soaked goji berries, cinnamon)...
Salads I had a big plate of salad for lunch (grated beetroot, green leaves such as rocket, lettuce, dandelion, spinach, chopped up pineapple, tomato, cucumber, celery...) Horseradish & onion concentrate and apple cider vinegar dribbled over the top.
Raw Garlic I had a few raw cloves a day chopped finely into my salad or soup. Update: I also put a garlic poultice on the soles of my feet for a couple of hours at night which helped. I found instructions for this here:
Juices / Smoothies I had a few different juices and smoothies throughout the day. Here are some that I used.
1) Carrot, apple, lemon and ginger juice with superfood (a mix with spirulina) - Daily breakfast juice.
2) Wheatgrass, celery, spinach, kale, apple, ginger juice - lunchtime juice, before salad.
3) Beetroot, ginger, sage, cucumber, kale, dandelion leaf, spinach, parsley, orange, apple juice - mid-afternoon
4) Orange, lemon, cucumber, carrot, apple juice, fresh ginger (snack time)
5) Turmeric Smoothie (about 1 tsp turmeric), lemon juice (1 lemon), ginger, banana (half a banana), then add water until tastes right - late morning or afternoon. (Update: I made this later using pineapple (about 1-2 inch slice) and I really preferred the taste as well as getting the anti-inflammatory properties of the pineapple)
Nettle & sinus superfood soup - I had this for dinner a couple of times - onion, leek, garlic, cabbage, kale, potato, nettles, parsley, sage, celery.
Herbal tinctures My primary tincture is Goldenseal, a powerful herb which works on bacteria and viruses (1tsp 5x daily) - This is a much higher dose than you would find on the bottle but I checked with a herbalist that I could increase to this amount, eyebright (1tsp 3x daily and 3x daily as eyewash), echinacea & thyme, mullein & eucalyptus.
Herbal teas chamomile, immune blend (see Herbs Hands Healing link below), sage, licorice, fenugreek seed decoction (simmer 1 tsp fenugreek seeds in a cup of water until half the water has evaporated).
Steam inhalations - I did this about three times a day with essential oils chosen from tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender and thyme.
Sinus flush I'd read all about the neti pot for pouring salted water up one nostril, around the sinuses and out of the other nostril, to help flush out the nastiness. The neti pot looked like a little teapot and as we couldn't find one in the shops I tried something I found in the garden...
But I had concerns about the effectiveness of this, so I got this which seemed to do the job.
I boiled and cooled the water, added the saline solution and also added a teaspoon of colloidal silver for it's anti-microbial properties.
Throat spray My throat was sore most of the time, so I used sprays of elderberry and also colloidal silver.
Probiotics I had this in live soya yoghurt and also took acidophilus capsules 3 x daily. I'm going to try emptying a capsule and adding it to the sinus flush water too.
Vit C & Zinc Lozenge I got my Vit C mostly from my fruit juices (especially the orange, lemon, grapefruit & ginger one) but it may help to take an additional Vit C supplement. My throat remained sore and painful to swallow for a long time and sucking a zinc lozenge at night(when it was worse) helped along with the herbal tictures.
Drinking water I tried drinking 2 litres of pure water daily but probably managed somewhere between 1 and 1 1/2.
Hot/cold compresses on sinus area I didn't get round to doing this much, but it helps with circulation in the sinus area.
Rest This is the hard bit - stopping all the busyness and stresses, sleeping in bed, sitting in the garden in the sun, looking at the blossom (noticing Stu could do with new socks! - It's good to have things which keep us grounded!).
I get my Superfood and herbal tinctures mostly from a company called Herbs Hands Healing. I'm happy to give them a plug here because I trust their integrity and the quality of their products. They're also very helpful when you ring them up to ask advice. Here's a link to their website:
And for all those people who are disappointed that I didn't include lots of MUCUS photo's - I know a certain 8 year old who might be... here's a picture for you...