Easing Seasonal Discomfort Naturally

Do you want to know what used to annoy me? And I do mean ANNOY me.

Spring Bouquet & ButterfliesYou know those commercials of the gorgeous woman leisurely strolling to a sunny spring window with a bouquet of fresh flowers and throwing open the windows in pure joy because she is FINALLY able to breathe in the fresh, spring air? C’mon, you can picture it right? The birds are chirping, and as she flings open the windows butterflies and sparkles come swirling into her home, wrapping her in a warm, sparkly, spring hug.

Now, I fully admit that this wonderful depiction of springtime joy shouldn’t annoy me. However, when you suffer from seasonal allergies, you don’t see butterflies bearing sparkles; you see well-camouflaged little demons spreading misery-inducing pollen.

Your joy at spring warmth is put on hold while you engage in a weeks-long battle to avoid sinus infections, antibiotics, and steroids. Go for a walk with your kids? NO. That would mean suffering through the next two days not being able to see able to see or think straight.

Ok, yes, this is a bit dramatic. I was going for a bit of comic relief. However, seasonal discomforts can become severe and can ruin spring for many people…or at least put a damper on the festivities. And in many cases, the over the counter medications available don’t provide enough relief.

BUT, did you notice that I used the past tense in my opening sentence? I USED to be annoyed by those commercials?!

By taking action to naturally support my body and regain balance in my digestive system, I have been able to beat my seasonal discomforts down to an occasional runny nose, scratchy throat and mild sinus pressure. And the best part is that now I am able to use wellness products that even kick those discomforts to the curb!

Thank goodness, because I LOVE butterflies. It was quite disturbing when my mind transformed them into evil pollen-carrying demons.

It is highly likely you can enjoy the same results by considering three steps.

1) Balance your Gut: Between 65-80% of your immune system resides in your gut. In order for your immune system to function properly, it needs to be supported by multiple strains of bacteria that play different roles in digestion and other bodily functions. When we choose mostly processed and sugary foods, those bacteria colonies become unbalanced. Bacteria such as candida and H. Pylori can live in that toxic environment and can take over. They excrete additional toxic waste products in your system and can eventually cause a multitude of symptoms such as skin eruptions, digestive issues, inflammation, and eventually autoimmune issues. The best approach is to starve those bacteria and cleansing your system of toxins. The best type of cleanse is a whole-foods-based elimination diet.

Please do not choose any of the longer-period juice cleanses. Juicing removes fiber, and your body needs fiber to remove toxins. So, when you juice for long periods, you do force the release of many toxins, but then your filtering organs are flooded with no way to get rid of them.

2) Restore healthy bacteria in your gut: During any cleanse, you should at the very least take a high-potency probiotic. Based on the research and classes I’ve taken, look for a minimum of 8 strains and 50 billion CFU during your recolonization stage (usually 1-3 months). Make sure the capsules are allergen-free, manufactured recently and stored properly: preferably refrigerated to help keep as many organisms alive as possible. If you choose not to cleanse, taking probiotics is still a great way to support your immune system. After 1-3 months at the 50 billion CFU level, you can drop down to 25 billion CFU for maintenance. I use this probiotic with my clients.

3) Choose natural wellness products as your first line of defense: Before reaching for the prescription or over the counter medications, try to go natural. You may be surprised at how well natural methods can work. I have listed these options in the order in which I would follow if my discomfort continued to escalate. My family and many of my clients have reported far better results with these protocols than with the traditional methods they followed previously.

  • To help ease seasonal sinus discomfort, equal parts of lemon, lavender, and peppermint essential oils mixed into a roller bottle blend is highly effective for most, and very easy to use. Apply behind the ears, behind the neck, base of the spine, and/or bottoms of the feet. Do not apply anywhere that will be in direct sunlight for 6 hours after application since lemon oil is photosensitive and will promote burning. This mix is safe to mix in warm water and drink as a tea.
  • To help ease occasional sinus pressure, apply an essential oil digestive blendto the bridge of your nose, above the eyebrows, and/or above the forehead along the brow line where you feel the pressure (we use one that mixes anise, ginger, fennel, peppermint, tarragon seed, caraway seed, and coriander seed oils). Diffuse an essential oil respiratory blend to help keep the airways open (we use one that includes laurel leaf, peppermint leaf, eucalyptus leaf, melaleuca, lemon peel, ravensara leaf, and cardamom seed essential oils ). If these steps don’t help, try applying a drop of frankincense over the bridge of your nose or place a drop under your tongue.
  • To flush out congestion and make your sinuses a less welcoming place for bacteria to grow, use a Netti Pot or sinus rinse (we use Neil –Med).
  • To help support clear sinus passages, especially when trying to support your body in avoiding a sinus infection, heat some water in the microwave or on the stove. Let the water cool some, but ensure that it is still steaming. Add one drop each of peppermint, melaleuca, oregano, and lavender; then breathe the steam in. Place a towel over your head for more effect. I warn you though, wait about 30 seconds before starting to breathe the oils, and start a head length away from the cup. Move closer as you are able to tolerate it. The oils are potent and can cause a burning sensation to already inflamed sinus tissue if you get too close too fast. Breathe for 30 seconds at least 3-4 times each time.
  • To support your immune system in its efforts to fight off any threatening infections, dilute oregano and melaleuca essential oils and apply to the bottoms of your feet morning and night.

For many of my clients, the gift of enjoying spring with their families again was well worth making the lifestyle changes that enabled that outcome. Please don’t let your fear of the unknown hold you in an uncomfortable pattern. You can help your body find relief. I will help you if you want and/or need me to.

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To learn more about the cleanse options, supplements, or essential oils I recommend, contact me using the form below or at alicia@healthytangents.com to request information or to schedule a wellness consultation.

Disclaimer: I am not a Physician. I am a wife, a mom, a certified health coach, and someone who loves learning about natural wellness tools and sharing with others the incredible things I learn through my classes, research, personal experiences, and the experiences of friends and family. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. Rather, they are intended to support your body in its efforts to restore balance and maintain health.

5 Steps to Calm Your Sinuses Naturally

All six of my family members would end up at the doctor or ER at least once every fall or spring (or both). Every single one of us. Every. Single. Year.

I used to joke that I needed frequent flyer miles because the chronic sinus issues and subsequent asthma or bronchitis attacks were only one of the reasons we frequented the ER. It is always bad when the intake people recognize you by name as you walk in.

BUT, in the last two years, the only one who ended up being seen by a doctor for a sinus-related-issue was me…and it was really my own fault. I was so busy making sure my sick kids were following the protocol I am about to share, that I didn’t make time to do it myself. I ended up with severe bronchitis and spent almost a week in bed.

Lesson Learned.

iStock_000041361116LargeAt this time of year, my inbox is filled with questions about how to help the body so it can fight off and keep away sinus infections. So, I will share what we do in our home. First, I will share the steps, then I will share the logic behind why each step is helpful along with some reference links.

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) Tea: Create a “tea” with 8 oz of water at your preferred temperature, 2 tablespoons of local raw honey, and 1 tablespoon of organic ACV (Braggs or Eden Organics are two great brands).  Or, add the ACV and honey to your favorite tea. Stir, and then drink. You can add two drops of lemon essential oil to help thin the mucous and a drop of a protective blend to further support your immune system.
  2. Netti Pot: About 1/2 hour after you finish drinking your tea, prepare your netti pot. If your sinuses are really bad and you are feeling pressure, dip a toothpick into a single drop of pure Lavender essential oil, and then swirl the toothpick into to the mixture. Use the netti pot at least 2x per nostril, or until you no longer see visible mucous exiting. Neil Med is the brand of netti pot we use and trust; you can find it at most pharmacies. You can also opt for a sinus rinse instead of the pot style. Just be sure to follow the directions and use the packets. They help to match the natural environment in your sinus passages. Regular water will burn and cause further irritation. You can also research how to make your own salt mixture, but I didn’t have much success making my own. The kids could tell the difference.
  3. Oregano Steam: To create the oregano steam, either (1) add 3-4 springs of fresh oregano from your garden, turn down the heat and let the oregano’s natural oils seep in the water until the water turns greenish brown, and then bring the water back to a boil before continuing; OR (2) turn off the heat, add 1 drop of pure oregano oil, stir and give it a minute to diffuse. Oregano essential oil is very potent and if you don’t pause a bit after adding it to the water, it can create a burning sensation inside already inflamed nasal passages. If you choose to use the oil, it is also helpful to add a drop of lavender, lemon, melaleuca, and peppermint.
  4. Apply pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils: For congestion due to virus or bacteria, we apply three essential oil blends: 2 drops of respiratory blend on the chest, 1 drop of digestive blend across the bridge of the nose, and 1 drop of protective blend behind each ear. For congestion due to seasonal or environmental discomforts, we still apply three essential oil blends: 2 drops of respiratory blend on the chest, 1 drop of digestive blend across the bridge of the nose, and 1 drop each of lemon, lavender, and peppermint essential oils behind each ear (you can mix your own oil blend by placing equal drop amounts in a roller bottle, diluted as needed). For young children and for those with sensitive skin, be sure to dilute the oils with a pure 100% carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, olive oil or grape seed oil (dilution chart).
  5. If viral or bacterial, take Olive Leaf Capsules: Just like with some of the essential oils, olive leaf has natural chemical properties that help the body better ward off environmental threats. It is also completely natural with no side effects. My kids don’t love the taste, but they love getting better. For our child who is not yet able to swallow the capsules, we open the capsule and mix the powder into a tablespoon of honey. She then swallows quickly and chases it with water. We choose East Park d’Lenolate Olive Leaf capsules for our family.

This protocol works like a charm for us. In a pinch or at the initial onset, we just gently blow our noses to get as much out as we can, and then follow with the oregano steam/oils. We repeat the steps both am and pm in our home, and then just reapply the oils in the middle of the day.

So why do these steps work?


Apple Cider Vinegar is very powerful at thinning the mucous which will make it easier for you to get the mucous out. Mucous sitting in your sinus passages is a perfect environment for additional bacteria to set up shop. Mixing the ACV with honey not only makes it taste better, but also helps soothe sore throats from the inflammation caused by post nasal drip. You can mix just the honey with ACV and swallow, but the water helps with hydration and thinning the mucous, so at least drink the water as a chaser if you choose this option.


The Netti Pot is the most natural and effective way to flush the extra mucous and the bacteria that may be trying to call your sinuses home. It takes a bit of practice to use it without any discomfort, but once you get the hang of it, most find it actually soothing and can feel it helping. The most important tips for success are to:

  1. Keep the tip of your head DOWN and tilted to the side that needs to drain out. If your head is too level, it may burn some.
  2. Breathe through your mouth as you are pouring the fluid into your nostril. It will not work if your mouth is closed and you are holding your breath.
  3. Remember that if my kids at the age of 2 could do it AND ask for it because they knew it helped; then you can surely figure it out. 🙂

If you absolutely cannot bring yourself to do this, then just gently try and blow as much of the thinned mucous out of your passages before continuing with the rest of the steps.


Oregano supports your body in fighting off environmental threats. It goes into your nostrils with the steam and helps make it a less optimal environment for bacteria to take hold. By clearing as much mucous as you can with the netti pot prior to breathing the steam, you are increasing the chances of the oil reaching any threats that are trying to take hold.


The essential oils we use in our home are extremely powerful at helping the body fight the causes of congestion. Lavender helps calm and sooth inflamed nasal passages, respiratory blend helps keep airways open, digestive blend helps reduce mucous production, and protective blend helps support the immune system so it can fight off the virus/bacteria that may be trying to set up camp. The essential oil blend of peppermint, lemon, and lavender has helped many of my clients ease seasonal and environmental discomforts that were previously uncontrolled. Because natural wellness products are not chemically altered medicines that slow release, you do need to reapply more often. My family is supported with 2-3 applications per day.

Just make sure your brand is pure, therapeutic grade (tested to ensure 100% purity and potency). You will not get the same results with food- or fragrance-grade essential oils. I personally did alot of research before choosing the brand I use, and learned that in our country, an oil labeled 100% pure may only contain 5% of the oil labeled. I trust the brand we chose, please be sure to choose one you trust as well.


Olive Leaf is very effective at helping your body kick infections and viruses quicker, and at fighting them off if taken at the first sign of symptoms. We used this even before we found essential oils, and we continue to use it when the cause is viral or bacterial because we feel it is an effective extra support and there are no side effects. Not all Olive Leaf is created equal though. We trust the East Park brand I linked to above.


There are many other helpful herbs and oils for congestion such as onion and grapefruit seed extract. We have just found this protocol and it works very well for us and for far less cost than conventional options, so we are sticking with it. I hope you have as much success in your home!

What protocols do you follow in your home to fight congestion? Please share in the comments below.

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To learn more about the cleanse options, supplements, or essential oils I recommend, contact me using the form below or at alicia@healthytangents.com to request information or to schedule a wellness consultation.

Disclaimer: I am not a Physician. I am a wife, a mom, a certified health coach, and someone who loves learning about natural wellness tools and sharing with others the incredible things I learn through my classes, research, personal experiences, and the experiences of friends and family. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. Rather, they are intended to support your body in its efforts to restore balance and maintain health.