Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Our Pages

- Herbal Medicine
- The Clinic
- Richard Whelan

- Alphabetically

- By Group
- Alphabetical

- Clinic Hours
Clinic Location

- Ancient wisdom in the modern world


Finding a good herbalist

Much of what's written in this article is entirely suitable for a person to work through themselves but, especially if things are quite bad, or you just know that you need further help, then there may be a great deal of benefit to you to go to whatever lengths necessary to find a good herbalist or truly holistic practitioner to guide you on to a safe and strong treatment program. There's a short write-up to suggest how you might go about finding such a person here

Get checked!

Bad breath is very fixable but the first challenge is to know is if it's a problem in the first place because we are not good at telling how our own breath smells!

So, if you have any reason to suspect it might be a problem, and it clearly wasn't a one-off event from a big night out or other unusual food intake, then the first thing to do is to get checked!

Start with someone you can trust. Ask them to smell your breath while you count to 10 and tell them they have to give you honest feedback. If they tell you that it's not the best, then the next step is to go to a dentist to see if you have any tooth or gum decay that is causing the problem.

If you do have any dental issues then you simply must get them fixed. We all know how expensive it can be but, however much it costs, it will only become a bigger problem and cost more if you leave it longer.

The following are the next steps to take if some dental hygiene work does not fully fix the problem.


Get rid of bad bugs

Studies have shown that a major cause for bad breath are undesirable bacteria that take up permanent residence in the mouth and throat. There are many commercial products for bad breath that work by disinfecting these bacteria but they all carry the major side-effect of killing off the good bugs too!

if someone wants to go a lot further than those short-lived solutions then the following formula of herbs, whilst more challenging to take, will have a much deeper and lasting effect.  

Herbal Mouth Wash

20mls Echinacea root tincture                       
15mls Myrrh resin tincture                
15mls Licorice root extract  
to make 50mls of extract or tinctures

In terms of bad breath, the mouth wash is not something you would do for fun but it is very fast acting so your breath will generally start improving from the first day you start the treatment.

Take approximately 2-3 mls (about 40-60 drops) of the herbal mouth wash and dilute with about a tsp of water. The medicine needs to briefly coat the mouth and the back of the throat, so swish, swill and either spit or swallow.

Spit if you are otherwise well and would just rather rinse them out. Swallow the mixture if you have any kind of immune system trouble or weakness because the Echinacea, Myrrh and Licorice have potent internal effects if you ingest them.

Many people have been successfully treated with this formula. Many had visibly infected gums and other dental problems. So long as the treatment was used regularly and for long enough e.g. at least once a day for at least a month, it has been seen to improve the health of the whole mouth, including cases where tooth extractions were no longer required!

Commiphora myrrha (Myrrh Gum)


Mouth Probiotics

Once the bad bugs are evicted, a healthy natural bacterial flora will eventually re-establish itself however, this process can be greatly sped up by using a special mouth probiotic.

It was a New Zealand scientist that pioneered using probiotic bacteria for bad breath and oral health, you can learn more about this by entering the name Blis lozenges into your search engine, their products are readily available around the world.



How good vs. bad bugs can affect our health in all kinds of ways has been the subject of an enormous amount of research in recent years. If bad bacteria have been causing you to have bad breath, then you should consider the possibility that you may have problems in this area further down your digestive tract too, more here


Make sure the stomach is doing its job well

The other main cause of bad breath besides dental issues and bad bugs in the mouth is the poor digestion, then subsequent fermentation, of food in the stomach. If you often get symptoms of indigestion, such as bloating, belching or reflux, then this could well be the main issue.

There are four common reasons for poor digestion

Food Combining

Proteins, such as meat, fish, chicken, eggs, nuts and seeds, get digested in the stomach whereas starches, such as bread, flour, pasta, potatoes rice etc. get digested in the small intestine. Having a significant amount of protein in a meal makes other foods, including starches, stay in the stomach a lot longer and
for some people this can cause fermentation, indigestion, and bad breath.

In practical terms, if this is something you need to pay attention to, you should aim to have proteins with a salad rather than with starchy carbs and then when you do have a meal of rice, pasta, bread etc. to have vegetables with it rather than any significant amount of protein. You will know right away if this was the problem.

Zinc deficiency

If you or someone you know has bad breath and, at the same time it is apparent that they cannot taste or smell their food well, then consider the possibility that there is a deficiency in zinc.

In such cases a course of at least 15 mgs of elemental zinc per day, preferably combined with a little magnesium and vitamin B6 which is quite usual to see in a Zinc product, and taken for at least 2 months will fix the problem.

Excess digestive 'fire'

In the case of excess digestive 'fire' the person will be getting what is typically described as 'acid-reflux' in one form or another - bad breath is literally rising up from their gut.

This common problem responds extremely quickly and well to the treatment described in detail here.

Deficient digestive 'fire'

At least as common as too much 'fire' is too little, especially as we age. The tell-tale symptom of this is the food sitting heavy in the stomach. Rather than a rising up of acidity there is a 'dragging-down' indigestion.

If this is the root-cause of indigestion and bad-breath, then the great digestive tonic Gentian will improve matters. It is well combined with Ginger extract and detailed instructions on how to use it are found here.

Gentiana lutea (Gentian)

Constitutional Health Note:

Finally, you might benefit from learning about your constitution to know what kind of foods, herbs, exercises etc. will work especially well for your health in general.

Constitutional health is an old and fascinating way of understanding our differences. There's a brief introduction here and a more detailed section on working out which constitution you are here

Please understand that I cannot personally advise you without seeing you in my clinic.
This living 'book' is my labour of love so, wherever you are, I wish you peace & good health!



© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd