External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

Horseradish Sinus Compress

Kind of substance

Horseradish root

Guiding principle for the application

The intense sharpness of the horseradish causes the local tissue to be supplied with blood to such an extent that the swelling immediately diminishes, as the fixed mucus liquefies, so that the patient notices relief in external respiration and the pain subsides immediately.

Guiding Principle for the substance


  • Pansinusitis
  • Sinusitis, acute and chronic (see example case)



  • Risk of burns (max. 1–2 minutes)
  • Protect (cover) eyes!

  • 1 folded paper handkerchief, cut through in the middle
  • ½ teaspoon horseradish from a jar (not sulphurated, without cream) or freshly grated horseradish

Applying the compress:
Cut a paper handkerchief or similarly sized cotton cloth in half and make two packets filled with half a teaspoon horseradish each. Place the packs so that the side with only one layer of paper lies on the skin. Place the compresses on the cheek bones to the left and right of the bridge of the nose. After a short time (approx. max. 2 minutes) the burning is so intense that the compresses have to be removed, otherwise damage to the nerve corpuscles in the skin can occur. Be sure to keep your eyes closed and do not rub them with horseradish-contaminated fingers.
The frontal sinuses can be treated in the same way at the same time.

Cover the treated areas with a small cotton cloth for 10 minutes to keep them warm. Discard the compresses.

Successful with a large number of patients
1–2 times a day, the treatment depends on the redness of the skin
Onset of effect
Length of therapy
Until improvement comes
Other recommended therapies
  • Horseradish ointment
  • Neck compresses with mustard powder
  • Mustard powder foot baths immediately when the symptoms start

Improper use (too long use) may result in severe local burns. In patients with skin diseases this application is contraindicated.

Instructions to download

Case example

A young man with an exhausting job had sinusitis with severe pain several times a year for years. Through immediate treatment with horseradish compresses and a nasal shower (physiological saltwater solution), he was able to free himself from the worst pain and continue his daily work. His remaining complaints ceased entirely when he was able to change his way of working (after years of intensive work).