Benjamin F. Asher, MD, an otolaryngologist with an integrative medicine practice in New York City, said he uses nasal irrigation in selected patients with chronic sinusitis but only as an adjunct to several other interventions that target the underlying causes of sinus disease. Here are a few of Dr. Asher’s go-to CAM therapies for patients with chronic sinusitis:
- Bi Yin (Yan) Pian. This ancient Chinese herbal remedy is effective for reducing nasal inflammation and post-nasal drip, Dr. Asher noted. “It also helps people who tend to develop sinus congestion,” he said. (Natural Standard, an online, evidence-based resource on integrative medicine, states that “clinical evidence in support of Bi Yan Pian for any indication is lacking, and further research is required.”)
- Ginseng. During cold season, Dr. Asher recommends Cold-FX, an over-the-counter product that contains a proprietary extract of North American ginseng (CVT-E002) that helps prevent upper respiratory infections, he said. A Canadian randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study (CMAJ. 2005;173(9):1043-1048) of the herbal supplement found that the herbal product was associated with fewer colds per person over a four-month period (0.93 colds/person taking placebo vs. 0.68 colds/person taking CVT-E002; difference=0.25, 95 percent confidence interval, 0.04-0.45).
- Activated hexose correlated compound (AHCC). This enzyme-fermented extract of the Basidiomycetes mushroom is available as a dietary supplement, which Dr. Asher said he gives patients to boost their immune function. In one recent abstract (lb327), investigators found that AHCC strengthened immune cell activity in healthy patients who were given a seasonal influenza vaccine (FASEB J. 2010;24:Meeting Abstract Supplement).
These are just a few of the CAM therapies that Dr. Asher uses in patients with chronic sinusitis. “Reducing inflammation is a huge part of what I do for these patients, and there are many other dietary interventions and neutraceuticals that are part of my armamentarium,” he noted. “I also do a lot of myofascial work and trigger-point therapy.”—DB
For more information on CAM therapy for chronic sinusitis, see “Alternative Remedies for Chronic Rhinosinusitis,” which published in the April 2010 issue of ENT Today.