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Immune System

6 Incredible Herbs for Sinus Congestion

6 Incredible Herbs for Sinus Congestion

We all dread that moment: waking up with a plugged nose, pressure behind our eyes sockets and muffled hearing. When sinus congestion strikes, it’s a nuisance during the day, as you reach for tissue after tissue, and even worse at night.

Nobody likes waking up wondering “why do my sinuses hurt?” Whether your clogged nasal passage is a result of allergies or a cold,  all-natural support so that you can breathe easier as you go about your day is a few herbs away.  

There are several wonderful herbs for sinus congestion. 

In this short guide, we’ll go over our six favorite herbs for sinus relief and the best ways to incorporate them into your lifestyle. Read on to learn how to get rid of sinus congestion with the power of plants.

#1 Kudzu Root

Many consider kudzu as a weed. This invasive vine can be found growing over trees and forests throughout the U.S. Surprisingly, kudzu is actually a member of the bean family. It's also a traditional remedy for nasal congestion relief.

Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for over 2,000 years, kudzu, also known as Japanese arrowroot, is considered one of 50 most important TCM herbs.  

Kudzu root is used to treat:

  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Sinus congestion
  • Headaches
  • Physical discomfort
  • Fatigue
  • Stress

Since sinus congestion is often accompanied by a headache and fatigue, kudzu may do double-duty by helping out with your other symptoms.

Contemporary science explains some of the reasons why kudzu has been used for good for so long:

  • Kudzu has strong antioxidant properties which can help to reduce inflammation that contributes to sinus pressure.
  • Studies show that kudzu root is also analgesic and may help to reduce physical discomfort, including headaches.
  • Kudzu is antipyretic, meaning that it reduces sensations of overheating. If your sinus congestion comes with night sweats, kudzu could help.

Resist the urge to grab the kudzu that’s climbing the tree in your backyard. Instead, take  kudzu in a pre-measured capsule form.

#2 Xanthium Fruit

While kudzu may thrive in your neighborhood, Xanthium is most likely a less familiar plant. Xanthium fruit comes from the Xanthium, or cocklebur, bush. These bright-yellow, spiny fruits have long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Relieving sinus congestion
  • Supporting the lungs and lung meridian
  • Dispelling dampness and cold
  • Diminishing allergy symptoms

Xanthium is also used in traditional North American and European medicine.

A 2010 review of the plant’s active properties in the International Journal of Green Pharmacy explains why Xanthium may help people suffering from colds and congestion:

  • Xanthium fruit is rich in immune-supportive Vitamin C.
  • It contains the compound, xanthol, which provides strong antibacterial effects.
  • Extracts from this plant may be as effective at fighting coughs as some over-the-counter medicines.
  • The plant contains several powerful anti-inflammatory compounds.

Xanthium is a helpful aid for ameliorating inflamed, congested sinuses, supporting the immune system and relieving the post-nasal drip cough and sinus headaches.

If you have a cocklebur bush in your yard, be careful! While Xanthium is supportive in small doses, it can be toxic in large quantities. For best results, find a supplement with a safe, pre-measured dose of Xanthium fruit extract.

#3 Angelica Root

The angelica plant, also known as wild celery, is part of numerous folkloric medicine traditions. Its name suggests angelic properties, and in Europe, it was once known as “The Root of the Holy Ghost.” 

Angelica has long been used to:

  • Relieve colds and coughs through expectorant properties
  • Treat headaches, especially occipital headaches
  • Reduce swelling in the nasal cavity
  • Aid digestion

In TCM, it is thought to relieve coldness and dampness, both conditions that we associate with colds and congestion.

A recent chemical analysis of angelica root helps explain its potential benefits:

  • It contains the anti-inflammatory compound ferulic acid, which may help clear congestion in your sinus cavity. In addition, ferulic acid can stimulate the immune system to promote a natural remedy for building your cold-fighting cells. 
  • Angelica root also contains phthalides, including Z-ligustilide. These substances can help to relax muscles, which may help to relieve tension and a sinus headache stemming from congestion.
  • Various antioxidant compounds can enhance these effects and help fight damage caused by oxidative stress.

Thanks to these unique properties, Angelica root teas, tinctures, and capsules may help boost your immune system to help you to combat a sinus infection and relieve your symptoms.

#4 Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum is incredibly popular as decorative flowers. Beyond that, they have a long history being used for herbal medicine.

In TCM, chrysanthemum is used to treat colds in their early stages. Also called ju hua, the flowers are also used to:

  • Release toxins
  • Reduce symptoms of heat (i.e. fever or night sweats)
  • Improve sore throat
  • Support the body through colds and flus

How does chrysanthemum achieve these potential effects? You won’t be surprised to see that it possesses the same properties as some other listed herbs.

  • Chrysanthemum shows significant antioxidant properties. If oxidative stress from smoke, environmental irritants, or pathogens is contributing to your sinus congestion, chrysanthemum could help. 
  • This pretty flower also contains novel anti-inflammatory compounds that might help clear chest and sinus congestion.

Don't suffer through a sore throat or intense nasal congestion when you don't have to. Try out a chrysanthemum flower. While many of the herbs thus listed have a bitter taste or should be used sparingly, sweet chrysanthemum makes a pleasant tea. If you’re looking to up your liquid intake to help clear your congestion, this flower could be a soothing option. 

Alternatively, you can find it in higher concentrations in capsules.

#5 Nettle

Nettle, also known as stinging nettle, doesn’t exactly have a welcoming name. Yet this herbaceous plant has long been used to treat sore muscles and rashes.

Why is it called stinging nettle? The plant’s leaves have small hairs that can produce itchiness and redness upon contact. In fact, legend has it that Roman soldiers intentionally stung themselves with nettle to keep warm on long winter nights.

However, the same qualities that make the plant sting on contact can give its tea and extracts promising anti-inflammatory properties. One study on people with chronic nasal issues found that regular use of nettle root extract significantly improved patients’ symptoms. This natural remedy can provide sinus relief and can help reduce typical cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose or cough. Nasal congestion relief just became that much easier with our favorite herbs such as nettle.

#6 Capsicum

Of all the herbs on this list, you’re most likely to find this one in your kitchen cabinet. Capsicum is better known as cayenne pepper.

If you’ve researched all-natural ways to beat congestion, you likely know that eating spicy food can help open up the nasal passage and clear congestion.

Science backs up this home remedy. One study showed that a capsicum nasal spray could help to relieve symptoms of allergies that are not allergy-related.

Don’t like the idea of spraying spicy peppers in your nose? Be sure to place plenty of cayenne pepper in your soup to experience their delicious taste and beneficial effects.

How to Use Herbs for Sinus Infection

Now that we’ve reviewed what herb is good for sinus congestion, you’re probably excited to start using these botanical allies to treat your clogged sinus passages. 

There are a few considerations to keep in mind:

  • It’s best to use organic herbs since a plant’s properties can be greatly influenced by the soil it grows in. In addition, pesticides and herbicides could actually irritate your symptoms. 
  • Be careful of dosage. While it may be perfectly safe to have a bag of chrysanthemum tea every hour, others are best used in small quantities. 

Plant People Sinus Support

Want to take the guesswork out of finding the right balance of herbs to support your health and relieve pressure in your sinus passages?

Plant People’s Sinus Support is expertly formulated to deliver the best of healing botanicals, including:

  • Kudzu root
  • Chrysanthemum flower
  • Xanthium fruit
  • Angelica root

Formulated with organic ingredients, this proprietary blend also contains immune-supportive herbs like licorice root and phragmites. Each ingredient is dispensed in a safe, effective dose. From CBD oil tinctures to our hemp capsules, Plant People has all you need to power through those sore muscles or sinus congestion. 

Take these vegan capsules on a daily basis to provide your immune system and sinuses with the support they need through the cold and flu season.

Breathe Easier With Plant People

Are you a Plant Person? From Traditional Chinese Medicine to modern green pharmacology, there’s a long history of using plants and fungi as all-natural allies for supporting the immune system, reducing inflamed sinuses and feeling better each day. 

At Plant People, we draw on the best of ancient and modern knowledge to create proprietary blends that support your health goals. Whether you’re looking for a CBD supplement to help soothe sore muscles, an adaptogenic mushroom product to boost your immune system, or an herbal formula to support you through cold and flu season, we’ve got your back.

Our products are formulated with organic ingredients grown sustainably in the U.S., so you never have to worry about quality. Order your first blend and breathe easier with the knowledge you’re supported by nature.


College of Therapy Yoga. Kudzu as Medicine.

Acupuncture Today. Xanthium Fruit.

Biological and Pharmacological Bulletin. Tectorigenin, an Isoflavone of Pueraria thunbergiana BENTH., Induces Differentiation and Apoptosis in Human Promyelocytic Leukemia HL-60 C

International Journal of Green Pharmacy. Phytopharmacological review of Xanthium strumarium L. (Cocklebur).

Botanical: A Modern Herbal. Angelica.

Chinese Medicine. Bioactivities of major constituents isolated from Angelica sinensis (Danggui).

Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters. Anti-inflammatory components of Chrysanthemum indicum flowers.

Healthline. 6 Evidence-Based Benefits of Stinging Nettle.

Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research Efficacy of Supportive Therapy of Allergic Rhinitis by Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) root extract: a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo- Controlled, Clinical Trial.

Science Daily. Heat in chili peppers can ease sinus problems, research shows.

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