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Fix Your Sinus Problems Naturally in 4 Easy Steps

Man with Sinus Pain

A client visited me a complaining of persistent sinus problems (headaches and a constantly stuffy nose). His issues were not only keeping him up at night, but his disrupted breathing made it difficult for his wife to sleep as well. The technical name for this condition is rhinosinusitis, and the symptoms include sinus headache, sore throat, stuffy nose, fever, and – if there's a bacterial infection present – a pus-like nasal discharge and facial pain.

He had tried everything his doctor recommended, none of which led to any improvement. He tried using a neti pot with a saltwater solution, and while the saline did clean and dry out his nasal passages, he found the stuffy nose and other symptoms returned. To treat tough cases like this, I've found great success with a four-step approach.

Step 1 - Xylitol

Xylitol, a natural sugar found in many fruits and vegetables, can be very effective for treating chronic rhinosinusitis when combined with a saline solution. A double-blind placebo-controlled study at Stanford University found that treatment with xylitol resulted in a “greater improvement of symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis as compared to saline irrigation.”

Xylitol Powder

Xylitol soothes mucous membranes by drawing moisture to the skin's surface. As xylitol is non-fermentable, bacteria can't use it to grow and produce harmful acids. This prevents bacteria from proliferating in the nasal passages and the mucous membranes lining the inside of the mouth. The result is a dramatic reduction of sinus problems without the side effects of drugs. Studies have also found that xylitol in mints or gum results in a lower incidence of ear infections.

Xylitol tastes sweet and has been used as a sugar substitute for diabetics. It doesn't affect blood glucose or insulin levels, and has 40% fewer calories than sugar. Discovered around 1890 by European researchers, it was used during World War II during a sugar shortage in Scandinavian countries. After the war, dental professionals noticed that patients who had been using xylitol instead of sugar had fewer cavities and better oral health.

Since then there have been thousands of studies proving the many benefits of xylitol, not just for sinus problems, but also for preventing tooth decay. Xylitol is found in many toothpastes and tooth powders as it decreases the oral bacteria that causes dental plaque and reduces the incidence of dental cavities. I prefer tooth powders, and use a small amount of Good Gums and TheraNeem mixed together in the palm of my hand, which easily adheres to a wet toothbrush. Good Gums has a variety of ingredients that support oral and gingival health, and TheraNeem Tooth & Gum Powder combines the Ayurvedic healing herb neem with xylitol and a probiotic strain known as BLIS K12 to help prevent cavities. Brushing your teeth twice a day with these tooth powders complements the benefits of xylitol nasal irrigation, and also increases your levels of healthy oral probiotics.

Step 2 - BLIS K12

Developed by John Tagg, Ph.D., a professor who has dedicated his life's work to microbiology research, BLIS K12 is a probiotic designed to be taken as a lozenge or chewing gum. Regular use of BLIS K12 colonizes the oral cavity with friendly bacteria (Streptococcus salivarius), and crowds out pathogenic bacteria that can lead to tonsillitis, ear, nasal, and throat infections (including strep). Safe for infants and adults, BLIS K12 is the perfect complement to xylitol.

Step 3 - Control Your Environment


Heating our homes makes the dry, seasonal air even worse for our eyes, nose, and mucous membranes, increasing our susceptibility to airborne pathogens. During the winter months, I recommend regular use of a portable steam or ultrasonic humidifier. Proper humidification can help boost immunity and speed up recovery from colds and flu. In addition, our windpipe's natural cleansing function is adversely affected by dry air, potentially contributing to infection and respiratory tract complaints. Managing humidity levels helps to alleviate dry air passages and nasal membranes, allowing for better rest, which aids in recovery.

Air Quality

Exposure to airborne pathogens like viruses and bacteria increases the risk of infection, but dust mites, pollen, and mold spores can all be hazardous to our health. HEPA air purifiers have traditionally been the most popular solution, as HEPA filters effectively trap viruses (including coronaviruses) and many common allergy triggers.


The seeds from the remarkable Nigella sativa plant (and the oil derived from them) have been used to treat a wide variety of health issues dating back to 1550 BC. Known to help improve kidney, liver, and heart function, black seed oil is a natural antihistamine that can reduce sinus and lung inflammation and ease the symptoms associated with sinus infection including neck pain, headache, earache, toothache, and respiratory congestion. In one study, participants put black seed oil drops in their noses to treat mild, moderate, or severe cases of allergic rhinitis (also known as hay fever). After six weeks, over 90% of those with symptoms including sneezing, itchy eyes, and stuffy nose, were either cured or showed a significant improvement. Only 30% of those in the placebo group found a benefit. One of the most powerful natural healing products, studies have shown black seed oil to be effective for a range of other health concerns including weight loss, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, and asthma. I recommend two teaspoons per day.

For the client with chronic sinus issues, we reduced his exposure to pathogens with a suitable air purifier and humidifier. I recommended a pair of products from Xlear, suggested he take a BLIS K12 lozenge three times a day, brush his teeth twice daily with Good Gums and TheraNeem, and take two teaspoons of black seed oil each morning. Xlear Sinus Care nasal spray combines xylitol, salt, and grapefruit seed extract. Xlear Sinus Care Solution is a combined salt and xylitol formula in individual packets for use with a nasal irrigator or neti pot.

About a week later the client called and said that his sinus symptoms had vanished in a few days and that he couldn't believe the difference. He's sleeping much better, and so is his wife. If the symptoms return, he uses the nasal spray for fast relief. He continues to brush his teeth with the two tooth powders, uses the Sinus Care Solution each morning and evening, takes black seed oil, and maintains good oral health by having a BLIS K12 lozenge twice a day.

I've found that combining xylitol treatments with BLIS K12, black seed oil, and managing your indoor environment provides effective, long-lasting relief from bacterial infections and helps to ease sinus problems.

Health Disclaimer. Copyright ©2018-2021. First Published February 2018, latest major revision in April 2021. Nathan Zassman is a trained nutrition practitioner and the owner of Aviva Natural Health Solutions.