A QUICK SUMMARY OF SINUSITIS TREATMENT METHODS using kimchi, refrigerated, and frozen probiotics. These work especially well for chronic sinusitis or recurring sinus infections. **For info. on brands and products containing L. sakei, as well as what others have reported regarding these products, go to The Best Probiotic For Sinus Infections. The background story of the kimchi treatment is in the Sinusitis Treatment Story page.
The successful and easy do-it-yourself sinusitis treatment came about after I read about the sinusitis research done by N. Abreu et al (from Sept. 2012 in Sci.Transl.Med.). They discussed that not only is the sinus microbial community out-of-whack (dysbiosis), but also the probiotic (beneficial bacteria) Lactobacillus sakei is missing in chronic sinusitis sufferers and that L.sakei would work as a sinusitis treatment if put into the nostrils. I looked for a natural source of L.sakei and found it in kimchi. Since dabbing the kimchi juice (or other L. sakei product) in our nostrils as needed, all 4 of us are free of chronic sinusitis and off all antibiotics for 6 years. We now only treat with a Lactobacillus sakei product as needed, for example, when sliding toward sinusitis, or after we get sick with a virus and developing acute sinusitis. [People keep asking what I'm now using - it's the high quality product Lacto Sinus.]
All these treatments are self-experimentation - effects can vary, and be positive, negative, or no effect. Also, at this time, the FDA only allows probiotics to be sold as a "dietary supplement" in the US and not as a medical treatment.
KIMCHI TREATMENT - When treating sinusitis with kimchi, we use live (fermented and not pasteurized) vegan (no seafood added) kimchi. Choosing vegan kimchi is a personal preference. Our experience has been that Lactobacillus sakei is found in kimchi from about 2 weeks after being made (some brands earlier) to about 2 1/2 months after being made. If the kimchi is too young, we keep it in the refrigerator unopened until day 14 and then try using it. L. sakei can be found in many brands of kimchi, but not all brands.
TREATMENT METHOD USING KIMCHI: 1) Wash hands, and then use a clean teaspoon to put a little juice from the kimchi jar into a small clean bowl. 2) Dip finger in the kimchi juice and dab it or smear it along the insides of one nostril (about 1/2" into the nostril). 3) Dip finger in kimchi juice again and repeat in other nostril. 4) Do this several times. If I needed to blow my nose at this point I would, and afterwards I would put more kimchi juice up each nostril (again repeating the procedure) and then not blow my nose for at least a few minutes (I try for 1/2 hour). 5) Afterwards, any unused kimchi in the little bowl was thrown out and not replaced in the main kimchi jar. [Note: Put the main kimchi jar back in the refrigerator. Also, once opened, take kimchi juice from it for no more than 6 days because the L. sakei will die out within a week (due to oxygen getting in). We found that kimchi has L. sakei in it from about 2 weeks after being made (some brands earlier) to about 2 1/2 months after being made.]
My rationale was that I was inhaling the bacteria this way and that they would travel up the nasal passages on their own to my sinuses. And they do! I did this regimen once or twice a day initially until I started feeling better, then started doing it less frequently, and eventually only as needed.
REFRIGERATED PROBIOTIC TREATMENT METHOD - We use either option with a refrigerated Lactobacillus sakei product (e.g. we use Lacto Sinus) to treat chronic sinusitis, acute sinusitis, or if we're "sliding toward" sinusitis or sinuses feel "off". It comes as a powder, and should be stored in the refrigerator. Once opened, the L. sakei is most effective for 3 to 4 months. Lately we like Option 2 better - but perhaps this is because after several years we only need minimal treatments. Generally we've used it once a day as needed.
TREATMENT METHOD USING REFRIGERATED PROBIOTIC - OPTION 1: 1) Spoon a little of the powder (maybe 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon) into a small clean bowl, and add a little boiled or distilled water (1/8 to 1/4 cup) to make a mixture. 2) Stir, can let it sit for a minute or two. 3) Then dab or smear (going about 1/2" into each nostril) or spoon a little into each nostril. Can repeat once or twice. Try not to blow the nose for about 30 minutes. ... OR ... OPTION 2) Just swish about 1/4 teaspoon of the dry powder in the mouth, and then swallow it (after all, it is a dietary supplement). But then we don't eat or drink anything else for at least 1/2 hour (to give it a chance to travel to the sinuses and throughout the respiratory tract).
NOTE: We also use OPTION 2 if we ever use a multistrain probiotic (not containing L. sakei) when feeling a little imbalanced or off - perhaps a cough, or some other minor symptom. Or we've used some other product for a while and want to introduce other microbes into the mouth and sinuses.
FROZEN PROBIOTIC TREATMENT METHOD - We used this method for frozen products containing L. sakei (e.g. sausage starter culture Bactoferm F-RM-52, which contains Lactobacillus sakei and Staphylococcus Carnosus). These come as freeze-dried powders in a packet, and should be stored in the freezer. They treat both chronic sinusitis and acute sinusitis. Once opened, the L. sakei only stays alive at most a few months (it may feel weaker in as little as 8 times of use), even though the package is put back in the freezer. This is because L. sakei is anaerobic (dies off when exposed to oxygen).
TREATMENT METHOD USING FROZEN PROBIOTIC: 1) Take package out of freezer and put small amount (about 1/8 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon) of bacteria powder and mix with 1/4 cup non-chlorinated water (distilled or boiled water). (Note: Put remaining bacteria package back into freezer). 2) Mix and let the bacteria-water mixture sit for about 10 to 15 minutes to "wake it up". 3) Wash hands. Dip finger into bacteria mixture and smear it along the insides of one nostril (about 1/2" into the nostril) and repeat procedure in other nostril. OR...Can slosh a little of the mixture into the nostrils with a little spoon (because it is very watery) and inhale deeply. 4) Repeat a few times if dabbing/smearing, but maybe only one more time (for a total of 2 times maximum in each nostril) if sloshing a little with a spoon into the nostril. Try not to blow the nose for a few minutes. (Note: The mixing of the bacteria powder and water are based on the directions that came with starter culture bacteria.) Every time we do a treatment we make a new L. sakei and bottled water mixture to use.
NOTE: Use once a day when needed, perhaps for only 3 or 4 days in a row, then we wait a day or 2 or 3 to see if more is needed, because it has a lot of L. sakei in it (therefore strong). If too much is used at one time (many times in each nostril - such as 5 times in each nostril), then the throat and sinuses may feel very dry, perhaps even a feeling of light-headedness or a feeling of "too much probiotics" for a few hours up to a day. That is why it is better to use less, not more at once. As I've said many times, what we've done is self-experimentation with these sinusitis treatments.
COMBINATION OF TREATMENT METHODS IN 1 DAY: We rarely do this. First a kimchi (in the nose) or multistrain probiotic treatment (dry in the mouth), and then several hours later a L. sakei treatment. (Remember: this is self-experimentation and results can be positive or negative). The only reason we did it was to see if we could increase the variety of species of bacteria in our sinuses after only using one form of treatment for many months (not every day - just when needed). We would not do a combination treatment if we were just tryng out a L. sakei treatment for the first time - it is better to experiment with one method at a time to see if it works.
ANOTHER OPTION: To increase bacterial diversity after months of only one kind of treatment (which was used only when needed) or feeling we've overused a product, we may try one new thing: a multi-strain probiotic (dry powder in the mouth) or new brand or type of kimchi or new L. sakei product, and see if we feel more "balanced" or better. After all, there are whole communities of microbes in the sinuses, the nasal passages, the mouth, etc. - and when they are out-of-whack, there are symptoms. It's all self-experimentation!
FINAL NOTE: Some of the beneficial bacteria we looked for in a (refrigerated) multistrain probiotic was: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Lactobacillus casei. Other Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium bacteria may also be beneficial. We occasionally use this interspersed in-between other L. sakei treatments or even sometimes when the sinuses seem a little "off" (e.g., phlegmy, or perhaps the sense that have to keep clearing the throat).
FOR DETAILS ON WHERE WE AND OTHERS FOUND L.Sakei (BRANDS, PRODUCTS, etc.) AND SOME OTHER PROBIOTIC POSSIBILITIES: THE BEST PROBIOTIC FOR SINUS INFECTIONS . (Lots of valuable information.)
THE SINUSITIS TREATMENT STORY PAGE TELLS OUR BACKGROUND STORY IN DEPTH.
There are also a number of other sinusitis posts on this web-site - click on the category SINUSITIS. Some of the posts are about the latest sinusitis research - whether biofilms, the value of saline irrigation, the future of probiotics in treatment, phage therapy, etc).
DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical doctor and cannot give medical advice. I am only sharing my family's story and what others have reported to me.