Managing Sinus Congestion with Ayurveda

Managing Sinus Congestion with Ayurveda

by Kottakkal Support February 15, 2024

Managing Sinus Congestion with Ayurveda

Chronic sinus congestion affects 31 million people in the United States, making it a highly prevalent condition. Acute sinusitis, occurring for less than 4 weeks, is even more common, affecting 50 million adults every year. The most common reasons include:

  • Allergic triggers: The US has high rates of allergies due to various factors like pollen, dust mites, and mold. These allergens readily trigger inflammation in the sinuses, leading to congestion.
  • Air quality: Smog, pollution, smoke and dust can irritate the sinuses and contribute to congestion.
  • Respiratory infections: The common cold and flu are widespread in the US, often causing sinus congestion as a secondary symptom.
  • Anatomical factors: Deviated septum, nasal polyps, and narrow sinuses can create blockages and increase the risk of congestion.

 In Ayurveda, Pratishyaya refers to a condition characterized by nasal congestion, discharge, and other related symptoms. It broadly translates to "flowing constantly," reflecting the ongoing movement of doshas (imbalances) that cause the disorder. It is a similar condition to colds or allergies.  

 Pratishyaya Symptoms

  • Nasal congestion: Difficulty breathing through the nose, feeling stuffy.
  • Rhinorrhea: Runny nose, discharge that can be clear, watery, thick, or colored.
  • Headache: Dull ache or pressure in the forehead and around the eyes.
  • Heaviness of head: Feeling of fullness or pressure in the head.
  • Fever: In some cases, Pratishyaya can be accompanied by mild fever.
  • Cough: Often productive, meaning with phlegm.
  • Sore throat: Irritation and discomfort in the throat.
  • Hoarseness of voice: Change in voice quality due to irritated vocal cords.
  • Loss of taste and smell: Can occur due to congestion affecting the olfactory nerves.

Causative Factors

  • Vata and Kapha imbalance: According to Ayurveda, Pratishyaya is caused by an imbalance of vata (air) and/or kapha (earth/water) doshas.
  • Aggravating factors: Factors like dust, pollen, smoke, cold damp weather, dry cold air, suppression of natural urges, and improper diet can further aggravate the doshas and trigger Pratishyaya.
  • Underlying conditions: Pratishyaya can also be a symptom of other underlying conditions like allergies, sinusitis, or structural abnormalities like deviated septum.

Ayurvedic Management

Ayurvedic management for Pratishyaya focuses on two protocols. The first protocol shodhana requires treatment in an Ayurvedic clinic or hospital and the second protocol shamana requires the guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner but can be managed at home.    

  • Shodhana: Cleansing therapies like Nasya (administration of medicated oils/drops through the nose), Vamana (therapeutic emesis), and Virechana (purgation) to remove aggravated doshas.
  • Shamana: Pacifying therapies like herbal medicines, steam inhalation, nasal cleansing, and dietary modifications to address the symptoms and balance the doshas.
  • Pratimarsha nasya (daily nasal errhine): Daily nasal administration (Pratimarsha nasya) of Anu taila, followed by yogic practices and proper diet as daily regimen are effective in prevention of frequent attacks of Pratishyaya.

Ayurvedic Dietary and Lifestyle Recommendations for Pratishyaya

  • Favor light, easily digestible foods: Include cooked vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and spices like ginger, turmeric, and black pepper.
  • Limit kapha-aggravating foods: Avoid heavy, oily, and sweet foods like dairy products, red meat, processed foods, and refined sugars.
  • Manage vata dosha: Minimize dry, cold, and astringent foods like raw vegetables, salads, and caffeine.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of warm water throughout the day to loosen mucus and soothe irritation.
  • Consider seasonal variations: Adjust your diet according to the season. In spring and summer, the focus should be on lighter kapha-pacifying foods. In fall and winter, the focus should be on prioritizing warm vata-balancing foods.
  • Follow proper sleep times: Go to sleep by 10pm and wake up one hour before sunrise. Do not sleep during the day unless you are a child, elderly or feeling ill.

Herbal Products for Pratishyaya

  • Varanadi Kwatham balances kapha dosha. The main herb is varuna which stimulates digestion and removes ama from the gut. Varanadi also helps support the urinary system.  
  • Dasamulakatutrayadi Kwatham supports both vata and kapha dosha. The main herb dasamula supports the respiratory system, eases and clears breathing, and helps reduce excess mucus.
  • Dasamula Arishtam balances both vata and kapha dosha, the main herb dasamula helps decrease congestion from the chest, eases breathing, supports cough and cold, and helps strengthen muscles, nerves, and joints.
  • Talisapatradi Vatakam or Talisule Granule supports both kapha and vata dosha. The main herb Talisapatra (Abies spectabilis) supports cough, allergies, difficulty breathing, hoarseness of voice and helps remove ama and promote stronger digestion.
  • Vyoshadi Vatakam supports both kapha and vata dosha. The main herb trikatu helps expel kapha mucus from the chest area, soothes sore throat, and supports breathing and respiratory health.
  • Vasakadya Arishtam balances both vata and kapha dosha, the main herb vasaka helps lower congestion in the chest, supports cough and cold symptoms, eases breathing and supports healthy lungs.
  • Vidaryadi Kwatham supports both vata and pitta dosha. The main herb vidari kanda helps strengthen the respiratory system and the body. It is especially useful for chronic respiratory weakness related to post illnesses.

External Products for Pratishyaya

  • Anu Oil (10 ml) balances all three doshas and is the primary oil used daily for nasya (nasal oil drops) as it supports and nourishes the nose and sinuses.
  • Karpuradi Oil supports kapha dosha congestion. The main herb karpuram supports all kapha related disorders of the chest, throat and nose. The oil is applied over the chest and neck area and offers a pleasant camphor armor.
  • Rasnadi Churnam balances both vata and kapha dosha. The main herb Rasnadi helps expel kapha mucus from the sinus area while calming congested head and sinus pain. The powder is mixed with water or milk to make a paste that is applied over the forehead and sinus area.

Ayurvedic Health Plan

Sinus congestion associated with cough is a kapha vyadhi (kapha dosha disorder) that presents with agnimandhya (slow digestion) and ama (toxins). For the first 2 – 3 weeks it is advised to take Varanadi Kwath tablets along with a kapha pacifying diet to improve digestive strength and eliminate ama from the stomach. For the next 7 – 9 weeks it is advised to take Dasamulakatutrayadi Kwath tablets and Dashamula Arishtam to relieve chronic congestion from the chest and nasal cavities. It is also advised to administer nasal drops with Anu Oil to help improve smell perception and clear the nasal passages. Karpuradi Oil and Rasnadi Churnam are applied externally to the head and face (avoid eyes).


Kottakkal is committed to offering the highest quality Ayurvedic Healthcare. We offer two ways to have an Ayurvedic consultation. 1. Free 15-minute Consultation with our Ayurvedic practitioner, Julie Wardwell, for when you need a product recommendation for a basic health problem. 2. In-depth Consultation with our Ayurvedic doctor, Vaidya Vishwanath Guddadar for when your condition is chronic with multiple symptoms.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Kottakkal Ayurveda products and information are not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. If you have serious, acute, or chronic health problems, please consult a trained health professional. If you are seeking the advice of a trained Ayurvedic professional, call (800) 215-9934 or email us at We will provide you with information to consult with Ayurvedic professionals. Always check with your doctor before taking herbs when pregnant or nursing.


Kottakkal Support
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