I can barely remember having any tonsils; they were removed when I was about 6 years old presumably because I was suffering from regular bouts of tonsillitis. For those of you that still have them, your tonsils are the pair of tissue masses, which hang down the rear of your throat.
They perform as filters, which trap germs that could cause infection if they entered into your airways. As well as rapping germs, they produce antibodies that help fight off infection but unfortunately, your tonsils themselves are prone to infection, especially during childhood. When infected, they become inflamed and swell up badly causing the condition we call tonsillitis.
Causes and Symptoms
Tonsillitis can be caused by both viral and bacterial infections with streptococcus being the most common cause. Other infections that can lead to tonsillitis include influenza, herpes simplex, Epstein-Barr virus and adenoviruses.
As well as inflammation of the tonsils themselves, tonsillitis can cause a variety of symptoms which include the following:
• throat pain
• swollen glands
• nasal congestion with a runny nose
• redness in the tonsils
• painful blistering in the throat
• difficulty speaking and swallowing
• a yellow or white coating on the tonsils
• bad breath
• nausea and vomiting especially in children
Medical treatment usually depends on the cause of your illness with oral or injected antibiotics usually being prescribed when it is caused by bacteria. Unfortunately, we have seen a growing resistance to antibiotic medications and it is often better to avoid taking antibiotics if you can treat your condition more naturally.
Where I live in in Thailand, we are seeing even more of his effect and doctors are far too happy to dish out antibiotics for just about any illness from the common cold to a sprained wrist (I’m not kidding).
There are many effective home remedies that you can try to ease your child’s or your own symptoms. Certain of these remedies are an excellent way of calming down your sore throat, making it easier to swallow and getting rid of your stuffy nose.
1. Salt water
This is one of the most tried and tested methods of easing the symptoms of tonsillitis. It is also incredibly easy and convenient for everybody. All you need to do is add a teaspoon of salt to a glass of clean distilled warm water, mix the solution well and gargle with it twice each day. This should help alleviate your symptoms in no time at all.
2. Peppermint essential oil
Peppermint is one of the most diverse essential oils because of its very powerful anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It is an excellent remedy for the throat soreness caused by tonsillitis and can also help clear away congestion and as an added bonus, it will help your breath smell great.
You can add a few drops of peppermint oil to a glass of water and gargle with the mixture twice daily but be careful not to swallow any of the solution.
To clear up any respiratory problems and congestion caused by your tonsillitis, the most effective remedy is to add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to a sink or a bowl full of hot water, lean over the water, cover your upper body with a towel and inhale the soothing vapors.
3. Warm or cold liquids
Medical experts recommend that you drink plenty of fluids whether warm or cool depending on your preferences and what feels best. Pretty much any liquids will help ease your sore throat including healthy juices, nutritious soups and rehydration fluids. Herbal teas are another excellent choice.
- Chamomile tea
Drinking some healthy, soothing chamomile tea throughout the day will help cool down the irritation and soothe the soreness in your throat.
- Marshmallow root
Marshmallow root has a mucus type of substance which coats the throat and has a soothing effect. Make a tea by adding some dried marshmallow root to a cup of boiling water. Drink at least 3 cups a day to soothe your symptoms.
- Chicken soup
Chicken soup is an excellent and delicious remedy for the sore throat caused by tonsillitis. Make sure that you allow it to cool sufficiently as very hot liquid might irritate your throat further.
4. Licorice root
If you or your child are suffering with tonsillitis or a sore throat then licorice root is an excellent remedy. This herb has been traditionally used to ease throat pain for many years and recent research supports its benefits when added to water and gargled. The research which was published in 2009 found that it reduced coughing and soreness following surgery.(1)
5. Slippery elm
Like marshmallow root, slippery elm contains a mucus type of substance which helps provide relief by coating and soothing the throat. Native Americans have traditionally used it to deal with coughing and throat soreness with great effect.
If you can find the powdered extract, it makes an excellent home remedy for your illness. Simply add boiling water to the powdered bark and stir it well before drinking it down.
Honey has excellent natural antimicrobial properties and is a very well-known remedy for throat issues which has been successfully used for centuries around the world. A study published in 2007 evaluated the effects of honey on 139 children with respiratory infections and found it to be more effective than certain cough medications. (2)
You can take honey on its own or add a spoonful to your tea or milk to treat your tonsillitis symptoms.
7. Sage and echinacea
A study published in 2009 found that a combination of sage and echinacea worked very effectively to ease the throat soreness that you get with tonsillitis. The researchers treated 154 children suffering sore throats with either a medicinal spray or a spray made with sage and echinacea and found it to be just as effective as the medicinal spray. (3)
Extract the juice from a decent sized ginger root and add it to a glass of warm water and a teaspoon of honey. Use the mixture to gargle twice a day and you should be on the fast road to recovery.
9. Ice pops
I am sure that the children will enjoy this remedy. One of my earliest memories is being allowed to suck on popsicles and eat as much jelly as I wanted when I was suffering tonsillitis. When you are finding it so difficult to swallow, cold ice pops really relieve the pain in the throat in an instant.
10. Pepper and lemon
A drink made with warm water, fresh lemon juice and a pinch of black pepper is a wonderful remedy for tonsillitis symptoms. Drink this mixture several times a day for instant relief and you may enjoy it so much that you keep drinking it even after you have recovered.
Another excellent drink you can make when you are suffering tonsillitis is milk and basil. Add a few fresh basil leaves to a glass of warm milk and drink up twice a day. You can achieve even greater relief by adding a teaspoon of honey to the mix.
12. Fenugreek seeds
Add some fenugreek seeds to a pot of hot water and allow them to sit for a while before straining out the seeds. Use the remaining liquid mixture as a gargle twice a day for throat relief.
13. Turmeric milk
Turmeric has excellent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial qualities that can help treat your infection and soothe he pain. Just add a teaspoon of healthy turmeric powder to a glass of warm milk and drink it up a few times a day. You can add a teaspoon of honey to the mix if you like.
As you can see, there is plenty that you can do in the comfort of your own home to deal with the problems caused by tonsillitis. If you or your child is suffering, then why not give one or more of these remedies a chance.
They are all safe and natural and other than peppermint oil are suitable for young children. However, if you suffer from very severe symptoms or frequent, recurrent bouts of tonsillitis, it is important to see a doctor as surgery may be required.
Good luck and let us know how it goes.