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Wake Up and Smell the Sesame

Irritated, painful, and dehydrated sinuses are fairly common in dry climates. If you suffer from dry sinuses, you know that symptoms are most pronounced in dry environments: on airplanes, in air-conditioned rooms, and during the winter months.

Saline solution nasal spray has traditionally been used to treat dry sinuses, yet pure sesame oil spray has been offered as an alternative form of treatment. So which is better?

To compare the effectiveness of saline spray to sesame oil spray in the treatment of dry nasal passages, the authors of a recent study in the Archives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery examined approximately 80 people who had suffered from the condition for an average of 13 years. The study was conducted in the winter in Sweden, during low outside relative humidity. The subjects were divided into two groups: One group used saline spray for two weeks, followed by sesame oil spray for two weeks, while the other group used the sprays in opposite order. Patients rated their symptoms (dryness, stuffiness, crusting) each evening.

Sesame oil won the contest. Eight of 10 using sesame oil reported improved symptoms after two weeks, while only three of 10 using saline reported improvement. Pure sesame oil spray was significantly more effective than saline for treating nasal dryness, and was somewhat better at relieving stuffiness and crusting. Although negative side effects occurred in both groups, including possible upper respiratory tract infection or nosebleeds, the authors write that these infections were consistent with infections that commonly occur in the population during winter in Sweden.

If you suffer from dry sinuses, consider using sesame oil spray as treatment. It offers a natural, drug-free option for eliminating this irritating condition. Check out for information on other herb and botanical remedies.


Johnsen J, Bratt BM, Michel-Barron O, et al. Pure sesame oil vs. isotonic sodium chloride solution as treatment for dry nasal mucosa. Archives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery 2001:127(11), pp. 1353-1356.

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