Is garlic effective for sinus infection? For thousands of years, many people all over the world have used garlic for different ailments, like cold, flu or sinus infection, because of its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. This article will discuss the different ways you can use garlic for sinus infection.
- 1 How does garlic treat sinus infection?
- 2 Here are some of the ways you can use garlic for sinus infection
- 2.1 Eat fresh garlic regularly
- 2.2 Recipe #1: Lemon salad dressing with garlic
- 2.3 Recipe #2: Basic garlic guacamole dip
- 2.4 Recipe #3: Turmeric milk with garlic
- 2.5 Recipe #4: Pineapple cucumber with garlic smoothie
- 2.6 Recipe #5: Tuna pasta with olive oil and garlic
- 2.7 Take garlic supplements
- 2.8 Use garlic essential oil for steam inhalation
- 2.9 Conclusion
How does garlic treat sinus infection?
Sinus infection, also called sinusitis, refers to the inflammation of the soft tissues lining your sinuses, the four pairs of hollow, air-filled cavities in your skull and face. Generally, a sinus infection develops due to the common cold, which is viral in nature.  Its other possible causes include:
- Inhalation of irritants (cigarette smoke and cocaine)
- Tissue growths in the sinuses
- Crooked nasal septum
- Other medical conditions
There’s a lack of quality clinical studies on garlic and its role in treating a sinus infection. However, there are a few studies that suggest that garlic may help in the prevention of the common cold, which could develop into a sinus infection.
In a study published in the Advances in Therapy, 146 relatively healthy individuals took either a placebo or a garlic supplement for 3 months during cold season (between November and February). Researchers discovered that the garlic supplement group had 63% lower risk of catching a cold than those who took placebo. What’s more, the duration of their colds was shorter. 
Garlic is also an anti-inflammatory agent. As mentioned, sinus infections cause swelling or inflammation of the sinuses. This causes airway congestion and prevents the proper flow of nasal mucus. It creates a favorable environment for infection-causing bacteria.
Garlic’s ability to treat different ailments is believed to be due to its organosulfur compounds, one of which is allicin. When you chew, crush, or chop garlic, allicin breaks down and reacts with the allinase enzyme. This process results to the formation of allicin, garlic’s main active ingredient.
Although it’s generally safe, garlic can still cause undesirable effects. Some of its side effects are bad breath, heartburn, nausea, burning sensations in the stomach or mouth, vomiting, gas, body odor, diarrhea, increased risk of bleeding, or drug interactions. These undesirable effects could be worse with fresh garlic.
Before using alternative treatments, it’s important to see your doctor first at the start of a sinus infection. It could complicate if you leave it untreated. In general, however, treating sinusitis can be simple, inexpensive, and doesn’t require intensive medical treatment. There are many remedies you can use at home to make yourself feel better.
Here are some of the ways you can use garlic for sinus infection
Eat fresh garlic regularly
The best way to reap all the health benefits of garlic is to eat it raw at the onset of a cold or sinus infection. Never cook it. The process of cooking will only destroy its different organosulfur compounds. Just chop or crush it then add it to your favorite dish, or you can simply chew it. 
Once inside your body, allicin is digested and produces a compound called sulfenic acid.  This compound scavenges and destroys peroxyl free radicals, which may cause inflammatory and neurodegenerative (Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s) diseases.
So, how many garlic bulbs or cloves should you eat to treat your sinus infection?
There’s no definite answer to that question. Health experts have yet to determine the most effective dosage of garlic. According to Dr. Mercola, majority of people can tolerate one or two medium-sized garlic cloves. Some studies used 600 milligrams to 1,200 milligrams of garlic every day, typically divided into several doses. According to the American Family Physician, adults should eat at least one to two garlic cloves (4 grams) of raw garlic every day. 
Let’s face it. Raw garlic doesn’t taste good. Plus, it causes bad breath. Fortunately, there are simple and tasty ways to enjoy garlic and its health benefits.
Here are a few garlic recipes you could prepare and tweak to suit your taste and unique needs:
Recipe #1: Lemon salad dressing with garlic
- 3 medium garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- ½ cup of plain mayonnaise
- 1 cup of sour cream
- ¾ teaspoon of virgin olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon of lemon juice
- 1 ½ tablespoons of brown sugar
- A pinch of ground black pepper
- Combine all the ingredients. Whisk until everything’s mixed well.
- Let it cool by putting it into the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Consume within one hour.
Recipe #2: Basic garlic guacamole dip
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- 1 ripe small avocado
- ½ onion (finely chopped)
- 1 medium-sized jalapeño (finely chopped)
- ½ teaspoon of sea salt
- Cut the avocado into half, and then use a spoon to scoop out the avocado pulp.
- Sprinkle the chopped garlic with ½ teaspoon of sea salt or other coarse salt.
- Crush the salt into the chopped garlic to form a paste.
- Add the jalapeño, chopped onions, and garlic paste to the avocado mixture. With a fork or whisk, mash and mix the ingredients until you get your desired consistency.
- Serve with blue or yellow tortilla chips.
Recipe #3: Turmeric milk with garlic
- 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- A pinch of turmeric powder – Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which is a potent anti-inflammatory.
- 5 ounces (around 1 glass) of fresh milk
- Add the turmeric powder to the fresh milk. Stir well until the turmeric powder dissolves completely.
- Crush the garlic cloves then finely chop it. Mix well and leave it alone for 10 to 15 minutes then drink.
Caveat: Do not use more than a pinch of turmeric powder because it might cause different health issues in the long term. Milk enhances the absorption of curcumin. If you take too much milk with turmeric, your body may accumulate unhealthy levels of curcumin.
Recipe #4: Pineapple cucumber with garlic smoothie
- ½ cup of sliced cucumber
- 2 medium-sized garlic cloves
- 2 cups (16 ounces) of water
- Raw honey (if you need your smoothie sweeter)
- Put all the ingredients in a large blender. Run it on “pulse” for 1 to 2 minutes, 2 to 3 times or until smooth and creamy.
- Pour a small amount of raw honey for extra sweetness, if you want. Refrigerate for a few minutes then serve.
Recipe #5: Tuna pasta with olive oil and garlic
- 1 pound of pasta
- 4 tablespoons of virgin olive oil
- ½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- 8 medium-sized garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- 3 tablespoons of chopped parsley
- 2 cans of tuna flakes in vegetable oil, drained
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 128 ounces of water
- Boil the water then add the salt and pasta. Stir regularly until the pasta is cooked just enough that it’s still firm to the bite and not too soft.
- When draining the pasta, make sure to set aside around one-third cup of cooking water.
- Next, heat the olive oil on medium-low heat. Add the tuna flakes (without the vegetable oil) and two-thirds of garlic and sauté it until the garlic becomes slightly brown. Make sure not to let the garlic burn.
- Turn off heat. Pour the cooked tuna flakes with garlic on the pasta. Mix well.
- Top the pasta with grated Parmesan cheese (8 tablespoons). Serve.
These are just a few garlic recipes that you can try. Feel free to modify them to suit your taste buds. The goal is to add garlic to your daily diet to prevent or treat a sinus infection. But, there are other ways to enjoy garlic’s medicinal properties other than eating it raw.
Take garlic supplements
Garlic supplements are not only convenient, but they also contain a standardized amount of stabilized allicin. These are available in different preparations: freeze-dried garlic, garlic oil, aged garlic extract, and whole fresh garlic.
When purchasing garlic supplements, it’s important to read the product label carefully. On average, they should contain a minimum of 180mg of allicin powder. Allicin powder extract (Brand names: Allimax, Allitru, Allisure, Alli-C, and Alliforce) is better than fresh garlic and dried garlic powder because the allicin in it is readily available for the body. 
Be wary of products labelled as “allicin potential” or “allicin yield.” These products may be able to produce allicin, but only if the alliinase enzyme, which triggers the transformation of sulfenic acids into the active compound allicin, doesn’t get destroyed by stomach acid.
Here are some of the top pharmacist-recommended garlic supplements that you could try :
- Nature Made (#1 pick)
- Nature’s Way
- Garlinase Fresh
Before taking garlic supplements, talk to your doctor or pharmacist first. Garlic supplements are contraindicated to:
- Women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant
- Women who are breastfeeding
- People who are suffering from any health problems, such as diabetes, blood disease, or digestive problems.
- People who are allergic to certain foods, medicines, or ingredients in garlic supplements
Use garlic essential oil for steam inhalation
Inhaling steam two to four times per day, together with regular consumption of fresh garlic or intake of garlic supplements, may help in relieving symptoms of the common cold, flu, or sinus infection. It helps get rid of a stuffy nose and thin the sinus mucus to make it easier for the body to remove it. It costs almost nothing and is typically safe.
To make steam inhalation more effective, you can add a few drops of garlic essential oil. The essential oil is supposedly an effective decongestant, antiseptic, and immune system booster. It’s usually used for treating or preventing certain respiratory infections, such as the common cold, sinusitis, cough, and acute bronchitis (inflammation of the air passage between the mouth and lungs). It’s also an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antifungal, and antispasmodic. 
Garlic essential oil has a strong and unpleasant smell. It’s important to mix it with a carrier oil to avoid allergic reactions. Sweet almond oil is a good carrier oil to use. Also, when using the essential oil, make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area to disperse the smell.
Contraindications and side effects of garlic essential oil include:
- Like other essential oils, pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid using garlic essential oil without a doctor’s approval.
- People who are taking anticoagulants (medicines that prevent blood from clotting) or suffering from illnesses that cause uncontrollable bleeding, such as hemophilia, should avoid the essential oil.
- Don’t apply on damaged or hypersensitive skin.
- It shouldn’t be used on children who are below two years old.
Here’s how to do steam inhalation using garlic essential oil:
Things you’ll need:
- Distilled or tap water
- Garlic essential oil
- Carrier oil – Garlic essential oil blends well with sweet almond oil.
- Boil water then pour in a bowl. Make sure the water is warm enough that it won’t scald your skin. You can dip your elbow to test the temperature of the water.
- Cover your head with a towel. Close your eyes, and then bend your head towards the bowl. Your face should be at least ten to twelve inches away from the bowl to avoid burning your eyes and skin.
- Inhale deeply and slowly.
If these above mentioned remedies didn’t work for you, check out other home treatments you can use to cure your sinus infection.
Is garlic effective in preventing or treating sinus infections? There’s a lack of high-quality clinical trials to prove its health benefits. However, there are a few studies suggesting that sulfur compounds may help the body fight inflammation, a common symptom of a sinus infection.
If you suspect you have a sinus infection, see your doctor as soon as possible to receive proper evaluation and treatment. Avoid using these remedies without your doctor’s approval.
What do you think? What are your most effective home remedies for sinus infection? I’d love to hear them!