Clearing the Air: Manuka Honey for Sinus Infections

EDUCATION

10 minutes

Essential Takeaways

When our sinuses get infected they fill up with fluid, causing uncomfortable symptoms. The milder and more common cases usually disappear on their own.

Antibiotics may be used in more serious cases, but these can have nasty side-effects. With antibiotic resistance on the rise, professionals and patients alike have been looking for natural alternatives.

Manuka honey alleviates the symptoms of sinus infections and with its potent anti-inflammatory properties, also helps to fight the infection, too. Win-win!

Nasal pressure, a blocked nose, and mucus you just can’t seem to swallow; we all know the symptoms well.

Sinus infections can prevent us from sleeping soundly, enjoying our food, and even breathing properly.

They can be brought on by a number of different causes, and they can be treated in a range of different ways.

If you’re looking for a natural remedy to your sinus infection, or a way to relieve symptoms that doesn’t involve medication, you’re in the right place.

Using manuka honey for sinus infections is a great way to alleviate discomfort and heal your inflamed cavities. In this article, we’ll explain why.

In this guide to using manuka honey for sinus infections:

  • What are sinus infections?

  • Using manuka honey for inflammation

  • How manuka honey can help sinus infections

  • How to use manuka honey for sinusitis

  • Create your own manuka honey sinus wash

  • Other natural remedies for sinus infections

  • When to get medical help

  • Selecting the right manuka honey

What Are Sinus Infections?

Sinus infection, or sinustitis, is an inflammation of your sinus tissue; the area around your forehead, cheeks and nose¹.

There are four paired cavities that make up the sinuses, all connected by narrow tubes. The sinuses produce mucus to keep out bacteria, pathogens, and allergens from these passages.

Unfortunately, infections can get in. When these irritate the sinuses, the narrow passages fill with fluid and cause a build up of pressure.

Sinus infection symptoms include²:

  • Facial pain or pressure

  • Runny or stuffy nose

  • Headaches

  • Post-nasal drip (mucus in the throat)

  • Sore throat and cough

  • Bad breath (halitosis)

The classic cause of sinus infection is a common cold.

But there are other types of infection and irritation that are more serious or require different kinds of care.

How to distinguish a common cold from an allergy or COVID-19

A sinus infection can be caused by common colds, allergies, COVID-19 and other nastier conditions (though these are less likely).

So it’s important to know which you’re experiencing in order to take the best care of yourself and others around you.

Here’s a rough overview of the signs to look out for to tell whether you have sinusitis from a cold, COVID, an allergy, or something else¹.

Common cold

There is a slow build, a peak, and then it tapers off. It may last for around a week.

Allergies

You might experience lots of sneezing, itching in your nose and eyes, congestion, and mucus in your throat. You probably won’t get the facial pressure and pain that comes with sinusitis.

COVID-19

The above symptoms along with fever and shortness of breath are typical symptoms of COVID-19.

Do you think something else might be going on?

It’s always best to seek medical advice from a trained professional that knows your history.

Traditional treatments for sinus infections

For the more chronic sinus infections, the most common treatment prescribed is antibiotics.

Whilst these can be effective quickly, they can also cause harmful side effects³.

And with antibiotic resistance on the rise, the cons may soon outweigh the pros:

“Antimicrobial resistance is increasing in chronic bacterial sinusitis. The emergence of MRSA and ESBL bacteria causing chronic sinusitis is increasing.”

This body of research has prompted doctors (and vets) to look for more natural alternatives to infections in general, not just of the sinus and not just in people.

Read more: Medical grade manuka honey.

Healing a sinus infection naturally

Most sinus infections go away naturally and don’t need medical intervention².

Instead, there are ways that you can make yourself comfortable while your immune system kicks into action, and ways that you can give it an all-natural helping hand.

Here’s how.

Enter: Manuka honey.

Using Manuka Honey for Inflammation

“Manuka honey offers several advantages over traditional topical antibiotics, making it an intriguing topical therapy for [sinustitis]:

(a) natural, non-toxic product with decreased likelihood of side effects and allergic reactions and favourably associated with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects;

(b) availability over-the-counter;

(c) antibacterial effect against a wide range of bacteria; and

(d) decreased propensity for the development of resistant bacteria.”

The antibiotic resistance crisis has forced medical professionals to seek alternative ways of protecting and healing chronic wounds and inflammation.

Honey has a wellness reputation that goes back thousands of years, and this is now backed by science and proven through countless case studies.

Whilst regular honey is great, Manuka honey brings extra health benefits to the table. It has been found to contain uniquely high levels of a chemical compound called methylglyoxal (MGO), making manuka the best honey for sinus infections (and infections in general).

It’s also the most regulated honey, so you can be sure you’re getting an authentic product when you buy from a trusted brand like New Zealand Honey Co. (This is important considering that honey is one of the most faked foods in the world).

The methylglyoxal found in manuka honey is associated with antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that rival even the best medicines on the market⁴.

Bees produce MGO naturally during the digestive process, and this along with other beneficial properties in manuka honey like phenols, flavonoids, and defensins, make it a powerful natural alternative to antibiotics⁵.

How manuka honey for inflammation works

When applied topically, manuka honey creates a barrier over the infected area, keeping in moisture and keeping out harmful bacteria.

It stimulates cytokine production⁶ which regulates the immune response, promoting the formation of new tissue with minimal scarring.

As an all-natural product without the nasty side effects that often come with prescription-based medicine, manuka honey is a great alternative to traditional medicines for treating inflammations like sinusitis.

NB: Always check with your medical professional before using anything as a topical treatment, even a natural option like honey. Individuals may react differently.

Why Eating Manuka Honey for Sinus Infections Is Effective

Although research specifically looking into manuka honey for sinus infections is somewhat limited, there’s plenty of evidence to show how manuka honey might help based on other studies.

Here’s why you should be using manuka honey for your sinuses.

It alleviates sinusitis symptoms

Manuka honey can help to clear airways⁷, reduce mucus⁸, and regulate the body’s immune responses⁹.

All these things help to make us more comfortable while riding out the infection naturally.

Read more: Manuka honey for allergies.

It helps the immune system to heal the area

Manuka honey has been shown to help clean, clear and protect wounded tissue, stimulate the healing process, and inhibit the further growth of bacteria¹⁰.

Read more: Manuka honey for wound care.

So whilst manuka honey helps us to feel better, it’s also working hard behind the scenes to clear up the inflamed area, too.

Pretty impressive, right?

How much manuka honey should I take?

It depends on your preferences, but a spoonful of high-grade manuka honey daily should ease your symptoms and inflammation.

We recommend UMF™ grades 24+, 26+ and higher for the most potent antibacterial properties and best results.

Confused by UMF™?

Find out everything you need to know about it with our dedicated guide.

How to Use Manuka Honey for Sinus Infections

There are a number of ways that you can use manuka honey for sinus infections to harness its beneficial properties.

Eating manuka honey

This is probably the most popular way to use manuka honey for health and wellness in general.

Take a spoonful of high-grade manuka honey directly, or try mixing it with warm water (not hot!), herbal tea, or lemon juice for a restorative drink.

Manuka honey sinus wash

A manuka honey sinus rinse is a great way to flush out the blocked passages and get the beneficial properties of manuka honey straight into action.

You can mix manuka honey with saline, warm distilled water and a pinch of salt to help calm and open up the nasal cavity.

Manuka honey-infused nasal spray

If you’re not so keen on washing out your nasal cavity but still want to get the honey as close to the inflammation as possible, you could try a nasal spray. To do this, add your high grade manuka honey to a sterile saline solution and transfer it to a spray bottle.

Given that manuka honey is thick and viscous, it’ll need to be diluted to spray, so you may need to test different concentrations to get the right blend for your needs. Remember to shake thoroughly before use.

What not to do: steam inhalation

You might see a lot of recommendations for using manuka honey in hot water and enjoying the soothing steam pass through your sinus cavities.

There’s just one major problem with this.

Water hot enough to release steam will destroy the beneficial properties in manuka honey. It’s why we recommend waiting for your coffee to cool before adding honey.

The steam might smell nice, but it’s unlikely to have any meaningful effects.

Create Your Own Manuka Honey Sinus Cleanser

It’s easy to make your own saline and manuka honey sinus wash at home.

Ingredients¹¹:

  • Salt (free from iodide, anti-caking agents and preservatives)

  • Baking soda

  • Warm water

  • UMF™24+ manuka honey or higher

Steps:

  1. In a sanitised, airtight container, mix 3 teaspoons of salt with 1 teaspoon of baking soda.

  2. Add around 8 ounces of warm distilled water.

  3. Mix in a teaspoon of manuka honey.

  4. Stir the mixture to dissolve and combine the ingredients.

To apply, use a soft ear bulb syringe or a nasal rinse bottle. Lean your head over a sink, turn it to the left, and release half the solution gently through your right nostril, breathing through your mouth.

You should feel the rinse leak through your left nostril.

Gently blow your nose to ensure the solution doesn’t get into your ear. If it does, don’t panic, it should relieve itself naturally.

Repeat the same process for your other nostril.

It’s best not to use your manuka honey sinus irrigation wash more than once or twice a day, as you have plenty of good immune cells in your mucus that need to stay there to fight off the infection¹².

If you feel stinging or burning, use less salt and baking soda.

Happy rinsing!

Other Natural Remedies for Sinus Infections

There are plenty of additional natural remedies that you can use on top of your manuka honey that will help ease your sinus infection.

Fluids

Keep hydrated and keep your air humidified where possible. All these fluids help to thin your mucus and clear your sinuses.

Hot drinks are a great way to ease sore throats and deliver some beneficial steam to the nasal passage.

Steam inhalation

Speaking of steam - this is another great way to loosen mucus.

Add menthol, manuka or eucalyptus oil to a bowl of hot water, and lean over it with a towel covering the back of your head to create a little steamy bubble around your face.

Breathe slowly until the steam disappears.

Soups

Eating steamy foods may also help.

Chicken soup has been linked specifically to colds and sinus infections¹³, so why not try resting up with a delicious bowl after your sinus wash.

When to Get Medical Help

It’s always best to get professional medical advice if you’re not sure what you might be suffering from or how best to take care of yourself.

If you’re experiencing symptoms that feel unusual for you, or that are more serious than a common sinus infection, don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Here are some examples²:

  • Severe headaches or facial pain.

  • Symptoms that improve and then get worse again.

  • Symptoms that last beyond 7-10 days without easing off.

  • A fever than lasts up to a week or more.

Selecting the Best Manuka Honey for Your Sinus Infection

Thanks to Manuka honey’s special reputation for health and wellness, there are lots of fake Manuka honey products for sale.

And from years of scientific research, we know that monofloral manuka honey from New Zealand consistently ranks the best for medical uses.  

It’s used in hospitals around the world, and there’s an official grading system that protects the integrity of Manuka honey.

It’s called UMF™. If you want to ensure that you’re getting the real deal, look out for this seal of authenticity.

Read more: The UMF™ grading system.

Buy genuine manuka honey from New Zealand Honey Co.

All our manuka honeys are raw, monofloral, and independently tested by the UMFHA in order to gain a UMF™ grade. We only deal in real.

Are you ready to get the best manuka honey for your sinus infection?

Click the links below to get started.

See our accreditations.

Shop manuka honey.

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Your wellness journey starts with a spoonful a day.

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