Make Your Own Sinus Clearing Spray Like “Sinus Buster”

by Brad Isaac on April 16, 2008

A year or so ago I read about Sinus Buster allergy and headache relief. It’s a nasal spray made with hot peppers. I’ve never tried it, but the idea was interesting. I like growing hot peppers and have a few spice jars full of Cayenne in the kitchen.

Allergies were getting the best of me recently, so I thought about ordering some. I get impatient waiting on deliveries, so I started experimenting with creating my own recipe so you don’t have to go through the agony yourselves.

I am happy to report, I think I’ve stumbled on just the right mix that gives the benefit of the hot pepper without blasting my “dang fool head off.” ;)

Disclaimer: Although my research shows no ill effects from using this method, if you try it, do so at your own risk. I think it’s about as dangerous as eating hot salsa and getting some up your nose. But still, since I’m not a doctor, if you use or misuse this and wind up losing an arm or something, don’t call me – I am not recommending you do this. I’ve heard of asthmatics having attacks or dying from being sprayed with pepper spray – this purportedly could be homemade pepper spray if you add too much pepper.

First, those of you who have read my article about nuking your sinuses with a neti pot, I am using the exact same method but with a twist of cayenne.

I first started experimenting with mixing ground red pepper into the water. I heard about others trying this. But I didn’t have a measurement. I ended up trying 1/4 a teaspoon and it was way too much. Don’t do this. It burned alot and I was coughing and sniffling through most of the morning. I think it didn’t work because the little pepper bits were stuck in my nose. ouch!

But once I got the right recipe, I found it to be the opposite of agony. It was actually quite soothing. I’d describe the feeling as a hot-pad applied directly to my headache as well as the swelling in my eyes. It felt as though the heat attacked the pain at the source.

There was not nearly the amount of drainage and sniffling as occurred with the ground pepper. In 15 or 20 minutes, my headache was gone and I did not feel the pressure behind my eyes.

Added benefit – Surprisingly, the day after this good pepper experience, my breathing was perfectly clear!

But what I found works much better is to make a pepper tea with some handy household items. I swiped my wife’s tea infuser and got to work.

What you need:

  • Tea infuser
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (cayenne)
  • normal neti mix (2 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt)

Take your 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper and put it in the dry tea infuser. Then shake the infuser over a sink or garbage can. You want to get any flakes that might go through the infuser to go out into the sink, not into your sinus mix.

Then, prepare your neti mix as normal. I microwave 2 cups of water in a Pyrex container for 1 minute to get it warm (not hot). Then I add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of salt. After that, I cover the container and shake vigorously.

To add some cayenne to the mix, just take the tea infuser and dip it into the neti mix for 15 seconds. Note: I have a high pain threshold so you might want to start with 5 seconds or 10 if you want to work up.

Then I shake the container vigorously again. I know it’s right when the water has a slight pink tint to it.

Once you’ve got your mix, just neti as normal. I found there wasn’t much sting to it as compared to getting too much salt. Instead it was that “hot-pad” feeling. And overall, compared to my headache, very welcome relief.

I’d say this isn’t for every day use, but instead to use now and again for bad allergy flare ups.

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Ria Kennedy April 16, 2008 at 12:07 pm

Wow, brilliant. I had heard cayenne spray was really good, but never bothered to order any. Now I’ll try this! Thanks, Brad! :)

Brad Isaac April 16, 2008 at 1:47 pm

Ria, let me know how it goes.

Andrew Seltz April 17, 2008 at 12:12 pm


I’m going to give this a try. I love the neti pot and experimented with some essential oils mixed into my basic sea salt mixture (this was a bit harsh, so I saved it for bad congestion days only!) This sounds like a better option.

I’ve discovered a few other uses for red pepper over the years. Pepper sauce, like Tobasco, does a great job cutting through grease. Next time you work on a car and get all gunked-up, put a little hot sauce on your hands and watch the grime melt away.

The other use I recently discovered is making a cockroach repellent using pepper sauce. Mix 2 tablespoons of Tobasco with 1 quart of water. Put it into a pump bottle and spray onto surfaces where you want to deter roaches. Works like a charm (but wear a mask when you spray!!!)

Thanks for the great tip!

Andrew Seltz
The Go-To Guy!

Ria Kennedy April 18, 2008 at 3:51 pm

Hi Brad, I made a variation on yours (16 oz. Hz0, 1 tb. Kosher salt, 1/2 t. baking soda)


I heated 20 shakes of cayenne in 1/2 the water in the microwave. It got nice and pink. Naturally there was floaty stuff, but I strained this through a paper towel into the bottle I use and it came out clear of pepper dust. Then I made the rest of the mix as usual.

I was very excited to use this because I was also recovering from a head cold, and felt miserable. I put some in my hand and snorted — it felt hot, but there was instant relief and my head started to drain. Last night my head started to plug up again and I tried the cayenne rinse again and within the hour my head was clear.

This stuff is like dynamite on plugged up sinuses. And better still, you can make it yourself! Thanks Brad. I wouldn’t have had the nerve to try it myself. :)

charlie September 16, 2008 at 2:16 pm

great notion. i’ve been using drops of tabasco sauce myself. good ingredient mix, already liquid form. haven’t seen anything on the web about this notion anywhere.

JoJo November 18, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Thanks so much. I was in the midst of leading up to a second excruciating cluster headache and this did the trick. Got rid of it in about an hour. I made it extra strong though – soaking the tea infuser for a whole minute. Deadly but effective.

Brad Isaac November 18, 2009 at 8:08 pm

A whole minute does sound intense. Glad it stopped your headache though!

Alice Martin February 14, 2010 at 9:24 pm

How is 1/2 tsp less than 1/4 tsp? You said you tried 1/4 tsp. and it was way too much, but your recipe calls for 1/2 tsp. I don’t understand.

Brad Isaac February 15, 2010 at 5:59 pm

I think I meant to say 1/8th web formatting might have messed it up

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