Medical News Today: Is popcorn a healthy snack?

Popcorn can either be good or bad for a person’s health, depending on what goes into making it. On its own, without any added sugar or salt, popcorn makes a nutritious, healthful snack.

Popcorn is a type of corn kernel that, when people heat it, it pops to become light and fluffy. Popcorn contains plenty of nutrients and vitamins when people make it in the right way.

In this article, we look at how popcorn can be a healthful snack, its nutritional values and benefits, and which types are the most healthful. We also look at how people can make their own healthful, air-popped popcorn at home.

Is popcorn healthful?

bowl of healthy popcorn
Popcorn contains vitamins and minerals and is high in fiber.

Popcorn can be healthful when manufacturers or individuals prepare it the best way.

Popcorn is a whole grain, which is a group of foods that help boost heart health. It has the following nutritional benefits:

  • high in fiber
  • contains protein
  • contains vitamins and minerals
  • low in fat and sugar
  • contains no cholesterol

Air-popped popcorn with no oil provides the best health benefits. People can air-pop popcorn by heating popcorn kernels in a popcorn maker or on a stovetop.

Many people will be more used to eating popcorn at the cinema with toppings or flavorings. These added extras tend to have little nutritional value. Microwave popcorn may also contain additives, and the bags can have contaminants.

Premade popcorn often contains a high level of salt, or sodium. Eating too much sodium can cause high blood pressure and lead to other health complications. Some brands also include a lot of sugar.

These added ingredients mean that, while popcorn does have lots of health attributes, people should choose specific types and include it as part of a healthful diet. However, eating sweetened or salted popcorn as a treat, from time to time, will usually not do any harm.

Below, we discuss the beneficial nutrition qualities that popcorn can provide.

Whole-grain benefits

Popcorn is a whole grain, which refers to a group of seeds that come from crops that include barley, millet, oats, rice, and wheat.

Unlike refined grains that manufacturers have processed to remove the bran and germ, whole grains include the entire grain seed, also called the kernel. This means that whole grains contain dietary fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and beneficial fats.

Other examples of food made of whole grains include brown rice, wholemeal bread, and oatmeal.

Fiber source

As a whole grain, popcorn is high in fiber, which is good for digestive health and promoting regular bowel movements.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a typical 3-cup or 24-gram (g) serving of air-popped popcorn contains 3.5 g of fiber. The recommended daily intake for the average person in the U.S. is more than 25 g a day, and most people do not reach these levels.

Learn more about daily fiber recommendations here.

Protein source

Popcorn also contains protein, with a typical serving containing just over 3 g of the 50 g daily value.

The body needs protein for many processes, from blood clotting and fluid balance to immune response and vision. Every cell in the body contains protein, and it has an important role in building and repairing cells and body tissues.

Vitamins and minerals

Unsalted, air-popped popcorn contains many vitamins and minerals, including calcium, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin K.


According to the USDA, the nutritional values of air-popped, unsalted popcorn, in grams (g), milligrams (mg), and micrograms (mcg), are as follows:

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Can people use popcorn for weight loss?

woman cooking vegetables
A person can lose weight by adopting healthful eating habits.

Air-popped, unflavored popcorn is low in calories, fat, and sugar, and high in fiber. This means that when someone eats it as part of a balanced diet, popcorn can help them lose weight.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way for most people to lose weight is by making healthful lifestyle changes.

These include healthful eating habits, regular physical activity, and balancing the number of calories consumed with those that the body burns.

Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, including popcorn, are an essential part of a healthful diet. Foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fats, cholesterol, and added sugars, again, including popcorn, are also good choices.

The CDC recommend that people limit their salt intake, however. Popcorn can be high in salt, and so checking the nutrition labels on the packaging to find out how much salt or sodium each item has is sensible.

Healthful eating should be about balancing, rather than restricting which foods people eat. This means that a reasonable portion of salted or sweetened popcorn as an occasional treat will not do any harm.

What are the most healthful types?

The healthful properties of popcorn vary, depending on the type:

Air-popped, unsalted, and unsweetened is the most healthful type of popcorn and, per serving, it contains:

  • 0.21 g of sugar
  • 1.09 g of fat

A serving of oil-popped, unsalted, and unsweetened home-made popcorn contains:

  • 0.13 g of sugar
  • 6.74 g of fat

A serving of caramel-coated peanut popcorn contains:

  • 10.89 g of sugar
  • 1.87 g of fat

Fat and sugar in caramel popcorn can vary significantly, depending on the brand. Microwave popcorns vary by type and brand too. People can check the product label for the nutritional information they need to make a healthful choice.

How to make air-popped popcorn at home

Air-popping means heating the hard popcorn seeds, or kernels, in hot air until they burst and become popcorn.

People can add oil or butter for flavoring, but the popcorn does not need any oil to pop. If someone wants to add oil, they can use a version that contains healthful polyunsaturated fats, such as avocado oil.

To make fresh, air-popped popcorn at home, a person will need:

  • a pan with a tight lid
  • 3.5 tablespoons, or 58 g, of popcorn kernels
  • 0.25 to 0.5 teaspoon of salt

Use the following recipe to air-pop the popcorn kernels:

  • preheat the pan on a medium-high heat
  • add a few drops of water to the hot pan
  • add the popcorn kernels and replace the lid
  • shake the pot gently every 2 seconds
  • listen out for the kernels popping, which should take 1 or 2 minutes
  • keep going until there are at least 3 seconds between pops
  • remove from the heat, sprinkle with salt, and serve

Find the recipe here.

People can buy unpopped popcorn kernels from supermarkets or online stores.

If someone prefers not to use the stovetop method, they can choose between a range of popcorn makers online.

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Is popcorn healthful for people with diabetes?

close up of hand in bowl of popcorn
When they eat it in moderation, popcorn can be healthful for people with diabetes.

Air-popped, unsweetened, unsalted popcorn contains around 78 percent carbohydrates. This means that it is healthful for people with diabetes only if they eat it in moderation.

People with diabetes have trouble making enough or being sensitive enough to insulin, a hormone which controls the levels of sugar in the blood.

Because carbohydrates break down into sugars once they are in the body, people with diabetes monitor how much carbohydrate they eat to avoid complications. Daily and per meal carbohydrate goals vary, according to many factors. It is best for those with diabetes to work with their healthcare team to determine the right amount for them.

The American Dietetic Association define 1 serving as around 15 g of carbohydrate, which is equal to 3 cups of air-popped popcorn. Once a person knows their specific carbohydrate goal per meal and per day, this definition can help them work out whether popcorn can fit within a meal or their day.


Depending on its preparation, popcorn can be a healthful snack. When air-popped, unsweetened, and unsalted popcorn contains plenty of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that the body needs.

Checking the labels of foods before buying them and preparing ingredients at home can help people make more healthful dietary choices.

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Medical News Today: How does tumor acidity help cancer spread?

By probing what happens to cells in acid regions of tumors, scientists have uncovered new information about cancer’s invasiveness and spread. The discovery could lead to better treatments for aggressive tumors.
illustration of tumor spreading
A new study explores how an acidic environment drives tumor spread.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge found that acidic, or low-pH, tumor regions alter gene expression in cancer cells in ways that make them more aggressive.

In a paper that appears in the journal Cancer Research, they describe how, by reducing tumor acidity, they were able to reverse the process in mice.

“Tumor acidosis,” says first study author Nazanin Rohani Ph.D., who was a postdoctoral researcher in the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT when she completed the work, “gives rise to the expression of molecules involved in cell invasion and migration.

“This reprogramming, which is an intracellular response to a drop in extracellular pH, gives the cancer cells the ability to survive under low-pH conditions and proliferate.”

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Metastasis and tumor environment

Metastasis is the complex process through which cancer cells become mobile, detach themselves from primary tumors, invade nearby tissue, migrate, and then set up secondary tumors in other parts of the body.

Around 9 in 10 of all deaths to cancer “are related to metastasis.” Without metastasis, cancer would be a much more manageable and less severe disease.

There was a time when scientists believed that the potential for tumors to metastasize depended only on alterations to cancerous cells.

Since then, however, researchers have learned that the “malignant progression of cancer” also depends on cancerous cells participating in an “intricate network of interactions” with other parts of the tissue that surrounds them, or the tumor microenvironment.

There is now a good understanding among scientists that tumors are not simply collections of multiplying cancerous cells, but “living entities,” comprising many different types of cell. In fact, the complexity of tumor tissue “may even exceed” the complexity of healthy tissues.

The study that Dr. Rohani and her colleagues undertook adds to the growing body of knowledge about tumor microenvironments and their contribution to metastasis.

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Mapping tumor acidity

Previous research had already established that acidity in the tumor microenvironment had a powerful effect on cancer invasiveness. However, what was not clear was how acidity varied in a tumor, and how it might alter genes to make tumor cells more invasive.

Before the recent study, the prevailing view was that high acidity in tumors occurred mainly in oxygen-starved areas with a poor blood supply.

For their investigation, the MIT researchers used a “pH-probe” to map acidity in breast cancer tumors in mice.

When the pH-probe detects a cell in an acidic environment, it inserts a small protein molecule into the cell’s membrane. In this way, the researchers can tag and identify cells in acidic regions of the tumors.

To its surprise, the team found that acid regions were not only present in hypoxic, or oxygen-starved, pockets inside tumors. The surfaces of tumors — where they connect to the stroma, or “structural tissue” that surrounds them — also contained acidic regions.

This discovery suggested that oxygen-starvation was not the main reason for acidity in tumors. On closer investigation, the scientists found a different cause of microenvironment acidity at the tumor surface.

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Reducing tumor acidity

It appeared that the metabolism of many of the cells on the surface of the breast tumors had changed to aerobic glycolysis. This type of metabolism produces lactic acid, which made the tumor microenvironment more acidic.

In these acidic tumor surface regions, the cells had altered their genes to switch on processes that favor invasion and metastasis.

The activated genes included one that is involved in embryo development and produces a protein that aids cell migration via the bloodstream. Another was one that makes tumor cells more able to penetrate their surrounding tissue.

In another set of experiments, the team found that reducing the acidity of the tumor microenvironment returned the gene expressions almost back to normal.

The researchers reduced tumor acidity in the mice by adding sodium bicarbonate to their drinking water. Other studies have also found that this reduces metastasis in mice.

Senior study author Frank B. Gertler, who is a professor of biology at MIT, says that humans do not tolerate sodium bicarbonate, and so it would not be a suitable potential treatment for them.

Other methods that would more focally target acidification could be of great value.”

Prof. Frank B. Gertler

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Medical News Today: Why your gut may hold the key to cardiovascular health

New research, which appears in The Journal of Physiology, examines the role that gut bacteria might play in preserving the health of our arteries.
illustration of a heart
Your gut may control the health of your arteries and heart, suggests new research.

An increasing number of studies suggest that the bacteria in our guts hold the key to healthy aging.

For instance, a recent conference that Medical News Today reported on featured research in the worm Caenorhabditis elegans. The results suggested that colonizing the gut with specific strains of bacteria, for example, can delay aging and prevent a host of age-related chronic diseases.

Now, research in mice strengthens the idea that gut bacteria mediate the aging process. Specifically, scientists have examined the link between the composition of the gut microbiota in mice and vascular aging.

Vienna Brunt, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, is the study’s lead author. Doug Seals, a professor and the director of the university’s Integrative Physiology of Aging Laboratory, is the senior author.

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Studying gut bacteria and vascular health

Brunt and colleagues administered a “cocktail of broad‐spectrum, poorly absorbed antibiotics” to a group of young mice and a group of old mice. They added the antibiotics to the drinking water of the rodents for a period of 3–4 weeks to suppress their gut microbiota.

Next, the researchers examined the health of the rodents’ vascular systems by measuring their arterial stiffness and the health of the endothelium — that is, the layer of cells that line the inside of the arteries.

Brunt and her team also examined the rodents’ blood samples for markers of inflammation and oxidative stress, such as harmful free radicals.

Oxidative stress occurs when the body produces too many free radicals and does not have enough antioxidants to degrade them. Studies indicate that this phenomenon contributes to hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and aging in general.

The researchers also measured levels of nitric oxide, a compound that expands the blood vessels. Finally, they examined the “age-related changes” in each rodent’s gut microbiota.

At the end of the study period, the scientists found that the old mice benefited greatly from the antibiotic treatment, while the intervention had no effect on young mice.

Specifically, “When you suppressed the microbiome of the old mice, their vascular health was restored to that of young mice,” reports Prof. Seals.

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How old age influences gut health

Next, the scientists set out to identify certain age-related changes in the microbiota of rodents. Their aim was to understand how suppressing the microbiota may preserve vascular health.

To do so, they genetically sequenced the fecal samples of another group of old mice and compared them with those of young mice.

“In general, in the old mice, we saw an increased prevalence of microbes that are pro-inflammatory and have been previously associated with diseases,” says lead author Brunt.

These included taxa of microbes that previous studies had linked with gut dysbiosis — an imbalance between the “friendly” bacteria in our guts and other pathogens.

For example, the study found that the old mice had a higher concentration of proteobacteria — a major class that includes well-known pathogens such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter bacteria.

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The scientists also analyzed blood plasma levels of a compound called trimethylamine N‐oxide, or TMAO. This is a “gut-derived metabolite,” which means that it is a compound produced when microorganisms in the gut break down nutrients from food.

Although the role of TMAO in chronic disease remains uncertain, some previous studies found high levels of TMAO in people with “cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and cancer.”

Specifically, recent studies have suggested that TMAO interacts with platelets and raises the risk of stroke and heart attack.

In the current study, the old mice had three times as much TMAO in their blood as the young mice, and the researchers found that antibiotic treatment suppressed TMAO levels.

Brunt and her team conclude:

The results of the present study provide the first evidence for the gut microbiome being an important mediator of age-related arterial dysfunction and oxidative stress.”

Fountain of youth may lie in the gut

The findings, continue the authors, also indicate “that therapeutic strategies targeting gut microbiome health may hold promise for preserving arterial function and reducing cardiovascular risk with aging in humans.”

The researchers suggest that eating foods rich in probiotics, such as kefir, yogurt, or kimchi, may help preserve cardiovascular health well into old age.

Prof. Seals comments on the results, saying, “We have long known that oxidative stress and inflammation are involved in making arteries unhealthy over time, but we didn’t know why arteries begin to get inflamed and stressed. Something is triggering this.”

“We now suspect that, with age, the gut microbiota begins producing toxic molecules, including TMAO, which get into the bloodstream, cause inflammation and oxidative stress, and damage tissue,” he continues.

In other words, say the authors, “The fountain of youth may actually lie in the gut.”

This is the first study to show that changes in the gut microbiome with aging have an adverse impact on vascular health. […] It opens up a whole new avenue of potential interventions to prevent cardiovascular disease.”

Vienna Brunt, Ph.D.

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Medical News Today: How to remove henna: 7 easy methods

Henna is a paste that people can use to create a decorative, temporary tattoo. A henna tattoo will usually fade in a few weeks to months, but several effective methods can remove henna faster.

Henna dyes the outermost skin layer, much like self-tanner. Many different exfoliating and cleansing methods may remove henna from the skin.

Quick and easy ways to remove henna include:

1. Soap and warm water

Henna on the hand being removed with soap and water
Soap and warm water can help remove henna.

Wiping a henna tattoo with gentle soap and warm water can help lift away some of the tattoo’s pigments.

A person can apply soap to the affected area and scrub it with their hand or a soft sponge before rinsing the skin with warm water.

Repeating this method several times a day can help remove the tattoo. A person may wish to apply a moisturizing lotion afterward to protect the skin from dryness.

2. Baby oil

Baby oil can help dissolve henna pigments and remove the tattoo.

One method is to add about three capfuls of baby oil to a warm bath. After soaking in the bath for 20 minutes, a person can rinse the baby oil away.

People can also use a cotton ball or cloth to apply baby oil directly to the tattoo and rinse it away after 10 to 20 minutes.

Baby oil is available for purchase in drug stores and online.

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3. Lemon juice

Lemons contain natural skin-lightening and stain-removing properties that can help remove a henna tattoo.

To use lemon juice to remove a henna tattoo, follow these steps:

  • Cut a lemon in half or quarters.
  • Rub the lemon on the skin gently for about 2–3 minutes.
  • Rinse the lemon juice from the skin with warm water.
  • Pat the skin dry and apply moisturizer to prevent skin dryness.

People with sensitive skin should take care when using this method because the acidic properties of the lemon juice may cause it to irritate their skin.

4. Exfoliating scrubs

Henna only dyes the top layers of the skin, so using exfoliating scrubs may help remove it faster.

Soak the tattooed part of the body in warm water first, then use a loofah to gently rub the affected area, peeling away any dead skin.

People can also purchase an exfoliating body scrub at most drugstores and online.

5. Shaving

If the tattoo is on one of the arms or legs, shaving the area of skin is another way to remove the henna. Removing the hair in this area can help exfoliate the skin and lighten the tattoo.

Using shaving cream and a clean razor, gently shave the skin to lighten the henna.

Applying a moisturizer after shaving can help minimize razor burn and skin irritation.

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6. Baking soda

baking soda
People can use baking soda as an exfoliator.

Baking soda can be an excellent exfoliator, and it also removes stains. A person can mix lemon juice and baking soda into a paste that can lighten henna.

To use this method, squeeze the juice from a whole lemon and mix it with enough baking soda to form a thick paste.

Apply the paste to the henna and leave it on for about 10 minutes before rinsing it away with warm water.

A person can reapply this paste once a day, but it is important to moisturize afterward to prevent skin dryness and irritation.

7. Micellar water

Micellar water is cleansing water that contains special particles called micelles. Micelles gently cleanse the skin and break down oil, makeup, and other pigments.

Many drugstores sell micellar water, and it is also available for purchase online.

To use this method, apply the micellar water to the henna with a cloth and gently rub it over the area.


Henna can cause allergic reactions in some individuals who are sensitive to potential additives.

These additives can include vinegar, olive oil, coal, clove, and small amounts of heavy metals, such as nickel. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the reported side effects of henna tattoos include:

  • blisters
  • sensitivity to the sun
  • pigmentation loss
  • redness
  • fluid coming from lesions on the skin, called weeping

Some people have also reported permanent scarring from henna tattoos. This irritation may occur immediately or up to 3 weeks after application.

Patch tests, which involve a person dabbing a small amount of henna on the skin and waiting 24 hours before applying a full design, may not always indicate the possibility of a delayed reaction.

It is also important to note that some places use “black henna,” which contains a compound of coal-tar hair dye called p-phenylenediamine (PPD). Doctors have recognized that this additive may contribute to skin reactions in some individuals.

Although the FDA do not permit manufacturers to add PPD to henna for skin tattoo applications, some shops and practitioners continue to use it. Therefore, consumers should be wary of black henna temporary tattoo applications.

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Although nothing can get rid of henna instantly, many cleansing and exfoliating methods can help remove the henna tattoo faster.

People who need to conceal the tattoo quickly can apply full-coverage makeup or self-tanner.

If a person experiences a skin reaction from henna, they should clean the area with soap and water and keep it clean and dry. It is best to seek medical attention if the area becomes inflamed and painful.

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Medical News Today: 10 natural remedies for dandruff

Dandruff is a skin condition that affects the scalp, causing itchy, flaking skin and greasy patches.

Causes of dandruff include:

  • seborrheic dermatitis
  • dry skin
  • allergic reactions to hair and skin products
  • other skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis
  • diet
  • overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia

There are many over-the-counter (OTC) topical medications and special shampoos that treat dandruff. However, people can also help eliminate dandruff at home using the natural remedies below.

1. Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil for treating dandruff naturally
A person should dilute tea tree oil before use.

Tea tree oil is an essential oil that comes from the Melaleuca alternifolia plant. Historically, people have used tea tree oil to treat a variety of conditions, such as acne, athlete’s foot, and dermatitis.

Tea tree oil contains a compound called terpinen-4-ol, which possesses powerful antimicrobial properties. Tea tree oils containing high concentrations of terpinen-4-ol may help reduce dandruff by suppressing the growth of fungi and bacteria on the scalp.

The authors of a 2018 study examined the bacterial composition of 140 Indian women’s scalps and discovered that women with dandruff tended to have more Staphylococcus epidermidis (S. epidermidis) bacteria than those without dandruff.

A review from 2017 examined the antimicrobial effects of various essential oils. The authors suggested that the compounds in tea tree oil may effectively control S. epidermidis bacteria.

Applying tea tree oil directly on the scalp can cause inflammation or rashes, so people interested in using tea tree oil to treat dandruff can start by adding a few drops to their regular shampoo.

Alternatively, shampoos containing tea tree oil are available in some drug stores and online.

2. Lemongrass oil

Traditionally, people have used lemongrass and lemongrass oil to treat digestive issues, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress.

Lemongrass oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce dandruff symptoms.

According to the findings of a small study published in 2015, hair tonics containing 10 percent lemongrass oil reduced dandruff by 81 percent after two weeks.

Like tea tree oil, lemongrass oil may cause irritation or allergic reactions if a person applies it directly to the skin. People can dilute lemongrass oil with water or mix a few drops into their regular shampoo or conditioner.

People can purchase lemongrass oil at health food stores and online.

3. Aloe vera gel

Aloe vera is a succulent plant known for its healing properties. The gel in its leaves contains several bioactive compounds, such as amino acids and antioxidants, that may reduce dandruff.

Authors of a 2019 review examined 23 clinical trials involving Aloe vera. The findings of these studies suggest that aloe vera gel may improve moisture retention in the skin and promote wound healing. Aloe vera may also reduce inflammation, which can help people with dandruff symptoms, such as itchiness.

Research from 2015 suggests that the antifungal and antibacterial properties of Aloe vera may prevent dandruff.

The authors of a small study involving 25 people concluded that a new topical gel containing Aloe vera was effective in treating a form of dandruff called seborrheic dermatitis.

People can use aloe vera gel directly from the plant, or purchase the gel online.

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4. Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 supplements can help improve skin and hair health.
Omega-3 supplements can help improve skin and hair health.

Omega-3 fatty acids may lower blood pressure, increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels, and support heart and brain health. A deficiency in this fatty acid can result in adverse symptoms, such as dandruff, brittle nails, and dry skin.

Omega-3s provide several skin benefits, such as

  • managing oil production
  • regulating inflammation
  • improving hydration
  • reducing signs of aging

Foods containing large quantities of omega-3s include salmon, mackerel, and walnuts. People can also take omega-3 supplements.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommend that most adults consume 1.1 to 1.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day.

Omega-3 fatty acids are available in pharmacies, health food stores, and online.

5. Aspirin

Aspirin is an OTC pain reliever that could potentially reduce dandruff symptoms. Aspirin contains salicylic acid, an active ingredient commonly used in dandruff shampoos.

Salicylic acid can help exfoliate excess dandruff flakes, prevent oil buildup, and reduce inflammation on the scalp.

To use salicylic acid on dandruff, try crushing one or two uncoated aspirin tablets into a fine powder and mixing the power with a dollop of regular shampoo.

In the shower, apply the mixture to the hair and leave it there for a few minutes before rinsing it out.

People can buy aspirin in pharmacies and online.

6. Baking soda

Sodium bicarbonate, which many people know as baking soda, may help reduce dandruff. Baking soda is an exfoliant that can remove excess skin cells and oil on the scalp.

Baking soda also possesses antifungal properties that may help fight the fungus responsible for dandruff.

Baking soda has a very high pH level, which can damage the scalp if a person uses it too frequently. Using too much baking soda can strip the hair of its natural oils, which can cause dryness or irritation, so people should use it in moderation.

Baking soda is available in most grocery stores, health food stores, and online.

7. Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that supports the body’s immune system and promotes cell growth. People can get zinc from animal proteins, nuts, and whole grains.

According to the NIH, severe zinc deficiencies have been associated with hair loss, diarrhea, impotence, and skin lesions.

A comprehensive review from 2016 lists zinc deficiency as a potential contributing factor for seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff.

Many dandruff shampoos contain zinc pyrithione because it prevents fungal growth and removes excess skin cells from the scalp.

People can purchase zinc supplements in drug stores and online.

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8. Coconut oil

Coconut oil can help hydrate a dry scalp.
Coconut oil can help hydrate a dry scalp.

Coconut oil may help improve hydration, reduce irritation, and prevent fungal growth on the scalp.

Findings from a test tube study found that cultured coconut extract lowered inflammatory markers in human skin samples. Another study observed similar anti-inflammatory properties after applying virgin coconut oil to artificial skin samples.

According to the findings of one clinical trial, applying virgin coconut oil to the skin led to a 68.23 percent decrease in atopic dermatitis symptoms in a group of 117 children aged 1 to 13 years old.

These preliminary studies show promising results, but researchers need to carry out more investigations to evaluate the role of coconut oil in treating dandruff.

People can try applying coconut oil directly to the scalp before washing it out or find a shampoo that contains coconut oil.

Coconut oil is available for purchase in grocery stores, health food, and online.

9. Dietary changes

Food can have dramatic effects on the body. Food may not be the root cause of dandruff, but it may make symptoms worse.

There is currently little research on how food affects dandruff. However, a growing body of research suggests an association between diet and inflammatory skin disorders, such as seborrheic dermatitis.

Fruits and vegetables contain many essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation.

The results of a recent observational study involving 4,379 people showed that individuals who reported eating more fruits were less likely to have seborrheic dermatitis.

The results also suggest that typical Western diets may increase the risk of seborrheic dermatitis in females.

A 2018 review showed that a biotin deficiency could lead to several skin disorders, including seborrheic dermatitis. Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, plays a role in supporting healthy hair, nails, and skin. Biotin-rich foods include:

  • liver
  • egg yolks
  • nuts
  • salmon
  • nutritional yeast

10. Reduce stress

Stress plays a significant role in a person’s overall health. Prolonged stress can cause increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and inflammation.

Although stress may not directly cause skin disorders, it can worsen or trigger existing ones.

A Japanese study published in 2014 examined the relationship between anxiety-induced stress and atopic dermatitis. The participants with atopic dermatitis reported higher levels of anxiety than those without the condition.


Dandruff is a skin condition that causes itchy, flaky skin on the scalp. This condition can impact a person’s self-esteem and overall quality of life.

While few research studies have specifically examined the effects of natural remedies for dandruff, many of these remedies have positive anecdotal evidence.

Not all home remedies will work for everyone. Anyone with an underlying skin condition, such as eczema or psoriasis, may wish to speak to a doctor before trying a new natural remedy.

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Medical News Today: What to know about psoriatic arthritis mutilans

Arthritis mutilans is a rare and severe form of arthritis that affects the hands and feet. It is most common in people with psoriatic arthritis but can also develop in those with rheumatoid arthritis.

Psoriatic arthritis mutilans is very rare. Approximately 5 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) develop this condition. Arthritis mutilans can cause bone loss, also called osteolysis, which leads to changes in the shape of the fingers or toes and can impair a person’s movement. It can also cause neck or lower back pain.

PsA mutilans can result in permanent damage to the fingers, toes, hands, and feet. However, research has provided evidence that early diagnosis and treatment of PsA can prevent the progression of joint damage to arthritis mutilans.

In this article, we look at the symptoms, causes, and treatment of PsA mutilans.


xray of hands with rheumatoid arthritis Image credit: Jojo, 2005
PsA mutilans can cause the joints in hands to become difficult to move.
Image credit: Jojo, 2005

PsA mutilans occurs when PsA becomes severe, and the resulting inflammation attacks bone tissue and causes it to break down. The body then reabsorbs the bone.

When a person develops PsA mutilans, they may experience the following symptoms:

  • fingers or toes that shorten and bunch together, which is called telescoping
  • loose skin that bunches up over shortened fingers or toes
  • joints in the hands and feet that are difficult or impossible to move
  • bones that fuse, which doctors refer to as ankylosis
  • other abnormalities of the anatomy of the fingers and toes

The distinctive appearance of telescoping fingers and bunched skin is sometimes called opera glass hand. This term describes how telescoping fingers may lengthen like opera glasses when a physician pulls them open during a physical examination.

People with PsA mutilans will also have other symptoms of PsA and possibly psoriasis too, which can include:

  • joint pain or throbbing
  • stiffness and swelling in joints
  • fatigue
  • nails that separate from the nail bed or look pitted
  • red patches of skin with silvery scales
  • tenderness, pain, and swelling of the tendons, which connect muscle to bone
  • uveitis, which can cause painful red eyes and blurry vision


PsA mutilans happens when PsA becomes severe and interferes with normal bone growth and regeneration. The acute inflammation attacks bones and joints, and the body absorbs bone tissue, resulting in loss of bone and deformities in the hands or feet.

PsA and psoriasis are autoimmune diseases in which the immune system attacks healthy cells in the body.

  • With PsA, the immune system attacks healthy joints, causing inflammation, pain, swelling, and other symptoms.
  • In psoriasis, the immune system causes skin cells to renew too quickly, leading to red rashes with a covering of silvery scales that flake off.

The exact cause of the excessive immune response is not clear, but it may have a genetic component. Researchers have identified several genes that can increase the risk of getting psoriasis and PsA. About 40 percent of people with PsA have a family member with psoriasis or arthritis.

However, genetics is not the only cause. Experts believe that some environmental factors, such as injuries or infections, may also affect a person’s risk of developing psoriatic disorders.

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Risk factors

packs of medicine on pharmacy shelves
A person with PsA has a low risk of developing PsA mutilans if they are taking medication to control inflammation.

Having PsA or psoriasis is a risk factor for PsA mutilans. However, most people with these conditions will not get PsA mutilans.

The authors of a case report state that with today’s effective treatments for PsA, PsA mutilans has become extremely rare. Many of the reported cases in medical literature show that PsA mutilans often develops when a person with PsA has not received treatment for many years.

It is possible to conclude from this that even if a person gets PsA, their risk of PsA mutilans is low if they take effective medications to control inflammation.

Experts do not know why some people get PsA and others do not. One study found that having both obesity and severe psoriasis skin symptoms increases a person’s risk of getting PsA. However, research has not linked these factors to a person’s risk of getting PsA mutilans.


A doctor may be able to identify arthritis mutilans from a physical examination because it causes distinctive changes in a person’s fingers and toes.

However, they may need to run tests to determine whether PsA or rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is causing arthritis mutilans. Some of the tests may include:


An X-ray can show whether there is damage to or reabsorption of the bones and joints. Doctors may see a pencil-in-cup formation of joints. One side of the joint or end of the bone may resemble the pointed end of a pencil with the adjacent bone having a flatter, cup-like appearance.

Blood tests

While doctors cannot use a blood test to diagnose PsA, it can help them diagnose or rule out RA. People who have RA usually have a specific antibody in their blood, which people without the condition do not have. In addition, people with PsA may have higher levels of inflammation in their blood.

MRI scans

An MRI scan can provide a doctor with a more detailed look at the joints.

Skin exam

The presence of signs of psoriasis can be a clue as to whether a person has PsA. A doctor may check for the distinctive red rash with silvery scales.

Treatments and home remedies

There is no specific treatment for PsA mutilans itself, but effective treatments for PsA can help slow or stop joint damage and bone loss. Treatment options include:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin, can help relieve pain, but they are not effective as a standalone treatment for PsA mutilans.

A doctor may recommend them to provide some symptom relief, but they are not strong enough to stop the progression of severe PsA or PsA mutilans.

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)

DMARDs help control PsA by decreasing the body’s overactive immune response. DMARDs are also effective in controlling the inflammation that PsA causes and stopping it from getting worse.


Biologics stop certain proteins and cells from activating an immune response. Doctors give these as an injection (shot) or intravenous (IV) infusion.

New oral treatments

Newer pills target small molecules in the immune cells to stop inflammation from PsA that can lead to PsA mutilans.

Physical therapy

Aggressive physical therapy can help some people with PsA mutilans keep their joints mobile. It may also help prevent PsA mutilans from getting worse. Moving the joints can help relieve some of the inflammation resulting from PsA mutilans.


Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory abilities and could help prevent or minimize PsA flares.

There is not enough evidence to suggest that turmeric alone can treat PsA or PsA mutilans. However, the authors of a systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that it could provide a complement to medications and other clinical management.

It is important to talk with a doctor before taking supplements and other remedies as they can interfere with some medications and potentially have adverse side effects.


Physical activity provides several benefits for people with PsA. It can help keep joints flexible, boost mood, and improve overall mental well-being.

Exercise can also aid weight loss, which can relieve stress on the joints and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, which is more likely to affect people with psoriasis.

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How to manage PsA mutilans

senior woman being helped down the stairs by carer
A person with PsA mutilans may find it beneficial to have a private duty nurse.

As PsA mutilans can cause a loss of function in the affected joints, it may interfere with a person’s quality of life. People who have digit abnormalities from PsA mutilans can find it difficult to carry out daily tasks.

Some of the following measures can help a person with PsA mutilans cope with their symptoms:

  • Seeing a clinician regularly to ensure that treatment is working. Doing this can help prevent the disease from getting worse.
  • Talking with a doctor about all aspects of health. Physical pain is one symptom of PsA, but some research suggests that the disease may also cause depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Tell a doctor if PsA mutilans is affecting any aspect of well-being.
  • Joining a support group. Talking about PsA and arthritis mutilans with others who understand can help with emotional well-being. Online, local, and national support groups exist for people with PsA.
  • Getting help. If possible, a person should ask friends, neighbors, or family members for help with difficult tasks. People with PsA mutilans may benefit from having a private duty nurse or health care aide if they are unable to take care of their personal tasks and home responsibilities.


Experts have not identified a definitive way to prevent PsA mutilans, but taking medications for PsA and keeping the inflammation under control may help prevent it or slow its progression.

Many people can achieve remission from PsA with today’s medications. Remission means that the condition is not active in the body and is not getting worse, which may help reduce the risk of the individual getting PsA mutilans or joint damage from PsA.

Even after achieving remission, however, a person will need to continue taking their PsA medications to keep the disease from coming back.


Early and aggressive treatment of PsA can help preserve a person’s quality of life and the function of affected joints.

Although there is no cure for PsA, and it is not possible to restore lost bone, today’s advanced treatments are an effective way to slow the progression of the disease and help prevent the onset of PsA mutilans.

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Medical News Today: Study links severe gum disease to raised dementia risk

Could taking good care of gums and teeth also help to protect the brain? A recent study has added to growing evidence of a link between severe gum disease, or periodontitis, and a raised risk of dementia.
senior woman flossing
New research suggests that keeping your gums healthy may prevent dementia.

Using data from an extensive national health insurance screening program, investigators from Seoul National University in South Korea examined the relationship between chronic periodontitis and dementia.

In a paper that now features in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the researchers describe how they found a modest link between severe gum disease and dementia, which is consistent with some previous studies.

The researchers also point out that their “retrospective cohort study” is likely the first to establish that lifestyle factors, such as alcohol consumption, smoking, and exercise, did not appear to have any effect on the connection.

The term dementia describes a decline in mental capacity – such as increasing difficulty with memory and reasoning – that becomes so severe that it disrupts daily living. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia.

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Need to reduce dementia risk factors

A joint 2012 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Alzheimer’s Disease International stated that dementia is a global “public health priority.”

The report stated that there were 35.6 million people worldwide living with dementia in 2012. It also estimated that the global prevalence of dementia would increase threefold by 2050.

In their study paper, the researchers discuss the potential impact that reducing dementia risk factors could make to this projected massive burden.

The researchers cite a 2014 study that suggested that decreasing dementia risk factors by 20 percent could reduce the anticipated 2050 prevalence of dementia by more than 15 percent. “One such risk factor,” they suggest, “is chronic periodontitis.”

Periodontitis is a common human disease in which the gums and the structures that support the teeth become inflamed due to bacterial infection. It usually starts as gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums.

Although the human mouth is home to a wide range of bacteria, when conditions are right, the bacteria populations can increase dramatically to cause inflammation. This usually happens when bits of food and bacteria deposit on tooth surfaces to form plaque.

The bacterial colonies in the plaque grow and produce toxins that trigger inflammation responses in the gums. If untreated, the inflammation becomes persistent and destroys bone, causing tooth loss.

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Higher risk of developing dementia

Several animal and human studies have suggested links between chronic periodontitis and dementia. The authors of the new study refer to a retrospective investigation that found participants with chronic periodontitis had a “significantly higher risk” of developing Alzheimer’s disease than those without it.

However, they also note that these previous studies have been limited by small sample sizes, and by the fact that they did not consider forms of dementia outside of Alzheimer’s disease.

For the new investigation, the team analyzed 2005–2015 health data on 262,349 people aged 50 and older from South Korea’s National Health Insurance Service-Health Screening Cohort.

The analysis revealed that people who had received a diagnosis of chronic periodontitis had a 6 percent higher risk of developing dementia than those who had not. The risk was particularly significant for those who developed Alzheimer’s disease.

Due to the study’s design limitations, the findings cannot prove that periodontitis causes dementia; they can only suggest a link.

This leaves open the possibility of reverse causality. For example, could it be that pre-diagnosed early stages of dementia cause lapses in oral hygiene that lead to gum disease?

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3 potential biological explanations

If, however, the causal direction should be that periodontitis leads to dementia, the authors propose three biological ways in which it could come about.

The first mechanism through which periodontitis could cause dementia would involve bacteria from the infected gums entering the bloodstream and then crossing the blood-brain barrier into the brain. These could then trigger brain tissue inflammation and even spur production of the toxic proteins that are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.

Medical News Today recently reported research that makes a convincing case for such a causal link. In that study, researchers revealed that Porphyromonas gingivalis, a bacterium that drives gum disease, can also be present in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

The second mechanism would be a similar process in that the gum infection could set up a “systemic inflammatory state” that releases agents that promote inflammation. These agents could also cross the blood-brain barrier to trigger inflammation in brain tissue, which, if prolonged, can also contribute to toxic protein buildup.

The researchers suggest that the third mechanism would occur through damage to the lining of blood vessels. They note that evidence from previous research showed that such damage has ties to an increase in toxic proteins in the brain.

The authors write:

“In conclusion, [chronic periodontitis] appeared to be associated with increased risk for dementia even after taking into consideration lifestyle behaviors including smoking, alcohol intake, and physical activity.”

They call for further research to look into whether the prevention and treatment of chronic periodontitis could reduce the risk of developing dementia.

In a short editor’s note, Drs. Joseph G. Ouslander and Mary Ganguli comment that these findings, “in combination with the recently published report on P. gingivalis, should make us all think more seriously about optimizing our own and our patients’ oral hygiene practices and dental care, with the added potential of perhaps protecting our brain health as well.”

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Medical News Today: Could cannabis use contribute to psychosis?

Amid growing moves for the wider decriminalization of cannabis, researchers are asking what its risks are and who may be most vulnerable to them. One study now draws a strong link between cannabis potency, frequency of use, and the risk of psychosis.
person smoking marijuana pipe
A new study finds that people who frequently use potent forms of cannabis are more at risk of experiencing psychosis.

In recent years, many countries across the globe have decriminalized or even legalized cannabis use.

Thus, in the United States, 33 states allow the medical use of cannabis, while 10 states have approved its use both for medical and recreational purposes.

Several countries across Europe and South America have also decriminalized cannabis, meaning that while its use is still illegal in those regions, the penalties that users can incur have lessened.

However, as laws against cannabis become less stringent, and its use for medical purposes gains in popularity, researchers are beginning to ask more questions about the potential risks of cannabis use, and which users are most likely to experience negative health outcomes.

Some specialists are particularly worried about how cannabis might affect the brain. One study, for instance, found that potent cannabis, or “skunk-like cannabis,” can cause damage to the brain’s white matter, which is made up predominantly of axons — the links that allow brain cells to “communicate.”

Moreover, researchers are concerned about a potential link between cannabis use and instances of psychosis, a condition which causes a person to become unable to distinguish between real and imaginary events.

In a new study, a team of investigators from King’s College London in the United Kingdom — in collaboration with colleagues from other institutions — have been looking to confirm the presence of this link. The researchers have also sought to understand which cannabis users are most likely to experience an episode of psychosis.

Their findings — which feature in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry — indicate that there is a strong association between drug potency and frequency of use and the risk of psychosis.

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The study premise

In the current study, the researchers looked at the data of participants from 11 different places around Europe and South America, namely London and Cambridge in the U.K., Amsterdam and Gouda and Voorhout in the Netherlands, Paris and Puy de Dôme in France, Madrid and Barcelona in Spain, Bologna and Palermo in Italy, and Ribeirão Preto in Brazil.

The team explains they chose to focus on cohorts from these cities because these are places where highly potent cannabis is available for sale. Amsterdam, for instance, is famous for its “coffeeshops,” where people can buy and use marijuana.

London is also becoming a global player in the cannabis industry, and there are some media reports about the emergence of “coffeeshops” similar to the ones in Amsterdam.

The researchers who conducted the present study note that, in such cities, many people describe psychotic experiences in conjunction with potent cannabis use.

To estimate the prevalence of psychosis in the locations that they focused on, the investigators first identified all the first cases of psychotic episodes that local mental health services reported in the 2010–2015 period.

Then, for more accurate results, the team compared the situation of 901 individuals who had experienced first-time psychosis with that of 1,237 healthy controls.

To start, the investigators gathered relevant information, regarding the participants’ history of cannabis use. Then, they assessed the levels of potency for the types of cannabis that different participants preferred.

To do this, they looked at available data on levels of delta-6-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a main active ingredient of cannabis. They considered types of cannabis with more than 10 percent THC as “highly potent,” and those with less than 10 percent THC as of “low potency.”

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Frequency and potency tied to risk

The researchers found that participants who had reported a first-time psychotic episode were much more likely than the controls to use cannabis daily.

Specifically, 29.5 percent of participants who had experienced psychosis (or 266 out of 901 individuals) used cannabis daily, while only 6.8 percent (or 84 out of 1,237) of controls did so.

Moreover, those who experienced psychosis were also more likely to prefer high-potency cannabis than their healthy counterparts. All in all, 37.1 percent of the participants (or 334 out of 901 individuals) confirmed using potent cannabis, while 19.4 percent (or 240 out of 1,237) of controls reported the same preference.

After adjusting for potentially confounding factors, the researchers noted that across the 11 study locations, daily cannabis users were three times as likely as never-users to have a first-time episode of psychosis.

Those who used highly potent cannabis on a daily basis were five times more likely to experience psychosis.

In fact, the researchers linked an estimate one in five (or 20.4) new cases of psychosis to daily cannabis use, and one in 10 (12.2 percent) to daily use of highly potent cannabis.

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Understanding risk is of ‘vital importance’

In Amsterdam and London, specifically, there was a strong tie between the use of high-potency cannabis and the presence of psychosis. The researchers linked four in 10 (43.8 percent) new cases of psychosis in Amsterdam to daily cannabis consumption and five out of 10 (50.3 percent) of new cases with the use of highly potent versions of the drug.

In London, the researchers believe they could link 21.0 percent of new cases to daily use and 30.3 percent to a preference for highly potent cannabis.

“Our findings are consistent with previous studies showing that the use of cannabis with a high concentration of THC has more harmful effects on mental health than the use of weaker forms,” notes lead study author Dr. Marta Di Forti.

“They also indicate for the first time how cannabis use affects the incidence of psychotic disorder at a population level,” she adds.

As the legal status of cannabis changes in many countries and states, and as we consider the medicinal properties of some types of cannabis, it is of vital public health importance that we also consider the potential adverse effects that are associated with daily cannabis use, especially high potency varieties.”

Dr. Marta Di Forti

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Medical News Today: How to treat a sinus infection

The sinuses are air-filled cavities that surround the nose. They are present in the forehead, the cheeks, and near the eyes. When the sinuses are clear, mucus drains easily from the nose, clearing out dirt and bacteria.

A sinus infection occurs when mucus is trapped in the sinuses, allowing viruses, bacteria, or fungi to grow more easily in the moist and stagnant environment.

Sinus infections can cause painful and irritating symptoms.

In this article, learn how to get rid of a sinus infection at home or using medical remedies.

Home remedies

People may be able to treat a sinus infection at home by relieving painful symptoms and taking steps to allow the immune system to fight off the infection.

Home remedies for a sinus infection include:

Over-the-counter medications

how to get rid of sinus infection
Taking OTC drugs may help relieve painful symptoms.

People can take over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, such as:

  • acetaminophen
  • ibuprofen
  • naproxen
  • aspirin

These may help relieve symptoms including localized pain, fever, and headaches.

Nasal sprays

People can use OTC nasal sprays to reduce swelling and congestion in the nasal passages.

However, people should take care when using nasal sprays, particularly certain types of decongestant nasal spray. Misusing nasal sprays may cause side effects.

Using a decongestant nasal spray such as oxymetazoline (Afrin) for too long could make congestion levels worse, so people should not use them for longer than the recommended duration outlined on the packaging.

There are also corticosteroid nasal sprays, such as triamcinolone (Nasacort), available over the counter. These sprays help reduce sinus inflammation and swelling and are safe when a person uses them as a doctor directs.

It is important to follow product advice carefully to avoid nosebleeds or other adverse side effects. If a person has an existing medical condition or they are pregnant, it is best to speak to a doctor before using nasal sprays.


People can use a humidifier to add moisture to the air. Extra moisture can help soften dried mucus, allowing it to flow more easily and reduce congestion.

Nasal irrigation

Nasal irrigation may help get rid of a sinus infection. A 2016 study found that people who used nasal irrigation had fewer headaches and were less likely to need OTC medicines than those who did not.

People can use a neti pot, which is a small container with a spout, for nasal irrigation.

It is important not to use water straight from the tap in a neti pot. Tap water is safe to drink because the stomach acid kills off the bacteria or parasites present. The nose environment cannot kill these types of germs, so using a neti pot with tap water may cause or aggravate an infection.

People should make sure to boil the water for a few minutes and let it cool, or they can buy distilled water for use in a neti pot.

It is simple to make an irrigation solution for use with a neti pot or syringe. To irrigate the nose:

  • mix half a teaspoon of noniodized salt with half a teaspoon of baking soda
  • stir the mixture into 2 cups of sterile water
  • use a small syringe or neti pot to apply the solution
  • repeat for both nostrils
  • clean the neti pot or syringe after use with sterile water and dry thoroughly

People can also buy a nasal irrigation solution from a pharmacy or online.

Steam inhalation

Although there is not enough evidence to show that steam inhalation is an effective treatment for a sinus infection, many people may find that it helps relieve their symptoms.

To use steam inhalation to relieve sinus infection symptoms, people can lean over a bowl of hot water, place a towel over their head to keep the steam in, and breathe deeply.

People may want to add one or two drops of essential oil, such as eucalyptus oil, to the water. Eucalyptus oil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that may help fight the infection.

People can purchase eucalyptus essential oil in health food stores and online.


People should try to get as much rest as they can while they have a sinus infection. This will help the body recover and allow it to spend its energy fighting the infection.

Staying at home and resting can also help prevent spreading the infection to other people.


Drinking plenty of clear fluids will help people stay hydrated and can also help loosen mucus and clear congestion.

Good choices for fluids to drink when a person has a sinus infection include:

  • plain water
  • hot water with lemon, honey, or ginger
  • herbal teas
  • vegetable broth

Warm compresses

Applying a warm compress to the face can help ease pain and relieve pressure from the blocked sinuses.

To make a warm compress, soak a facecloth in hot water, wring it out, and place it on the affected areas of the face.

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how to get rid of sinus infection nasal spray
Using a prescription nasal spray can reduce swelling in the nasal passages.

Treatment for a sinus infection works to unblock and drain the sinuses.

If a person has had a sinus infection for over 7–10 days, a doctor may prescribe antibiotic therapy, but only if the infection is bacterial. Viral sinus infections often improve without treatment.

Another option is to use a prescription nasal spray to reduce swelling in the nasal passages. This allows mucus to drain more easily from the sinuses. A doctor may also prescribe a saline solution for flushing excess mucus out of the nose.

If a person has a fungal infection in their sinuses, a doctor will prescribe antifungal medicine. If antifungal medicines do not work, or if a sinus infection is very severe, a doctor may prescribe oral steroids. These are strong medicines and people should discuss any possible side effects with their doctor first.

In very severe cases, such as when the sinus infection does not respond to medication or has spread to other parts of the face, a person may need a surgical procedure to clear the blockages.


Symptoms of a sinus infection include:

  • a stuffy nose
  • extra mucus in throat
  • headaches
  • a feeling of pressure in the face
  • coughing
  • a sore throat
  • a fever
  • bad breath
  • tiredness
  • an aching jaw or teeth

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When to see a doctor

how to get rid of sinus infection temperature
A person should see a doctor if they have a temperature above 100.4°F (38°C).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people should see their doctor if a sinus infection lasts for over 10 days, or if symptoms continue for longer than 10 days after treatment.

A person may have chronic sinusitis if the infection lasts for longer than 8 weeks or if they have more than four sinus infections in a year. A doctor can help reduce the symptoms of chronic sinusitis.

Both children and adults should also see a doctor if they have:

  • a sinus infection for more than 10 days
  • worsening symptoms
  • several sinus infections in a year
  • no improvement after taking OTC medications
  • a temperature above 100.4°F (38°C)

A doctor will ask about a person’s symptoms and examine their nose and throat. They may also take a swab of the inside of the nose for culture testing.

If a sinus infection is not responding to antibiotics, a doctor may examine the sinuses in more depth using a nasal endoscope. This is a flexible tube with a light and camera attached to the end.

They may also carry out a CT scan to examine the sinuses further.


It is often possible to treat a sinus infection using home remedies, such as taking OTC medications, trying nasal irrigation, and applying warm compresses.

Getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated are also essential as the body heals.

If people have symptoms of a sinus infection for longer than 7–10 days, they should see their doctor for treatment.

Antibiotics or nasal sprays and irrigation may help fight a sinus infection. In chronic cases, people may need oral steroids or more complex medical interventions.

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Medical News Today: CBD for cancer: Everything you need to know

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of many cannabinoids in the cannabis plant gaining popularity in the world of natural medicine because it appears to offer the body many benefits. While there is some debate around the topic, some people suggest using CBD in the treatment of cancer.

Although it is too early to make any claims about CBD for cancer treatment, this compound may help manage symptoms that occur due to this disease or its treatment.

It is important to note that CBD is not the same as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is an active cannabinoid in cannabis that causes a “high” when a person smokes or ingests it. Researchers are also looking at the possibility of using CBD for treating anxiety and chronic pain.

While the initial results from small studies on cancer cells and CBD are promising, they are not conclusive.

In this article, learn about the effects of CBD on cancer and how it may help ease the side effects of cancer treatments.

CBD as a complementary therapy

The majority of the evidence available suggests that CBD and cannabis therapies may complement cancer treatment. CBD may help people with cancer by:

Stimulating appetite

CBD oil which may help with cancer
CBD oil may help relieve pain and stimulate appetite.

Many people who are going through cancer treatment experience nausea and loss of appetite.

These symptoms can make it difficult for them to maintain a healthy weight.

Ingested cannabis that delivers THC and other cannabinoids to the bloodstream may help stimulate the appetite, but there is no evidence that CBD alone can have this effect.

Pain relief

Both cancer and its treatment can lead to pain. Cancer often causes pain due to inflammation, pressure on internal organs, or nerve injury. When the pain is severe, it can even become resistant to opioids, which are powerful pain relievers.

CBD indirectly acts on the CB2 receptors, which may help with widespread pain relief by reducing inflammation.

THC acts on the CB1 receptors, which may be helpful for pain resulting from nerve damage.


Cannabis and cannabinoids such as CBD may also be helpful for people with cancer who experience regular nausea and vomiting, especially when this is due to chemotherapy.

However, the antinausea effect appears to come from THC in cannabis, rather than from CBD. People looking to try cannabis to reduce nausea should prepare themselves for the potential psychoactive effects of THC in prescribed cannabis products and discuss them with a doctor.

Many people find relief from low doses of THC. Prescription versions of synthetic THC that have fewer side effects are available.

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CBD for cancer prevention

Some people wonder about using cannabis or CBD to prevent cancer. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) reviewed numerous studies regarding the link between cannabis and cancer and found that the research has mixed results.

An older study of 64,855 men from the United States found that cannabis use did not increase the risk of tobacco-related cancers. However, this same study also found that male cannabis users who never smoked tobacco had an increased risk of prostate cancer.

On the other hand, the authors of a 2015 study found a promising relationship between cannabis and bladder cancer. After adjusting for several factors, they found that that cannabis users had a 45-percent lower risk of developing bladder cancer.

While research has shown that cannabis smoke still produces carcinogens, the link between inhaled marijuana and cancer remains inconclusive.

However, ingesting CBD extract does not expose the body to the same carcinogens as smoking marijuana. More long-term studies in humans are necessary to determine what role, if any, CBD has to play in the prevention of cancer.

Can CBD treat cancer?

There are currently no large clinical trials that are investigating the use of cannabis or cannabinoids as a cancer treatment. Small pilot studies exist, but the research is still in its early stages.

In 2016, researchers noted that the use of cannabinoids shows promise in the fight against cancer. The authors found that cannabinoids seem to inhibit the growth of many different types of tumor cell in both test tubes and animal models.

However, they also noted that some dosages or types of cannabinoid might suppress the immune system, allowing tumors to grow unchecked.

Much more research is necessary to discover the possible therapeutic uses of cannabinoids in cancer treatment.

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Side effects of CBD

woman laying awake because of insomnia during early pregnancy
If a person stops taking CBD, they may experience insomnia.

The cannabinoid receptors in the brain do not act the same way as many other drug receptors, so there may be a lower risk of side effects.

Unlike traditional medications for pain management, there are no apparent lethal doses of CBD as the drug does not affect the central nervous system in the way that opiates do.

However, the cannabinoid receptors are widespread in the body, so CBD affects not only the brain but also many other organs and tissues. People who are particularly sensitive to CBD may experience some adverse side effects.

Side effects of CBD may include:

Although there is little risk of addiction to CBD, people can develop a tolerance to cannabinoids. Some people may also experience side effects of withdrawal if they stop taking CBD.

Withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • irritability
  • hot flashes
  • insomnia
  • restlessness or sleep disturbances
  • nausea

As the NCI note, CBD inhibits specific enzymes that may be important for cancer therapies. Cancer treatments that rely on these enzymes could be less effective if a person takes CBD.


While CBD does indeed appear to be a beneficial compound for many cancer symptoms, no scientific research suggests that CBD can be an effective cancer treatment.

Cannabinoids and cannabis itself may have their place as a complementary treatment in some cases, for example, for people who need help managing chronic pain and nausea.

People should always talk to a doctor before using CBD or any other compound during cancer treatment to ensure that it will not react with any of the medications that they are taking.

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