Sore throats & Tonsillitis

Our bodies, from a bug's point of view, are the microbial equivalent of 'heaven on earth'. We are a constant source of warmth, food and shelter -- and they definitely want in!

Thankfully our immune systems take a dim view of alien invasions and work tirelessly to keep the bugs out. Each and every day our digestive systems, lungs, skin, and our throats, are arenas of combat between 'them', and 'us'. For many people the throat is the most vulnerable point of entry and knowing how to use Nature to nip an infection in the bud can be the key to staying well and stopping sickness from spreading deeper in...

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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

Sore throat formula

To effectively stop a throat infection from going further into the chest and to help it to rapidly resolve I have found the following formula and method to be extremely effective for a great many people.

25mls Echinacea root                       
10mls Golden Seal tincture*     
10mls Licorice root
5mls Myrrh resin extract 
50mls total (double this amount for more frequent use)

*Only use cultivated (not wild-crafted) Golden Seal or alternatively use the herb Barberry.

Dose: 4 mls (one tsp) as often as required, usually slightly diluted.
Gargle and swallow -- more info about that below.

Quality: This matters very much when it comes to herbal medicines. Ideally this medicine should be made from the best extracts available and in many parts of the world the way you can be sure of that is to get your herbs from a qualified and registered herbalist as mentioned at the beginning.


Echinacea angustifolia

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Technique

The right way to take this formula is so important that I have been known to demonstrate it in front of my patient and then get them to do it after me so I know that have it right! To rapidly cure your infection you have to get the herbs to coat the back of the throat as much as possible and if that that means gargling like a mad person then so be it!

Getting the right amount of liquid is important to start. Depending on how dry or moist your throat is you will need more or less dilution along with the tsp of herbal formula. Some people are best with no added water; most will do well with about another 2-4 mls of water. You will have to try and see to work out what is the best amount of dilution for you.

You need to give yourself a long gargle. Tilt your head back and let the herbs (and water) swish around the back of your throat by making that classic gargle sound. Ideally you want the medicine to be in contact with your throat for a good 20 to 30 seconds -- which is a lot longer than it sounds.

Most people will find it hard to gargle for that long without a pause so you may need to drop your head forward for a moment and if you have to swallow a little when you do this then that's okay too. When you are ready, tilt your head back again and continue on until you are confident you have made a good prolonged contact with all the parts of your throat the need it and the medicine itself.

You have to make some noise to do a good gargle and you will find that if you change your pitch up and down a little then the medicine will touch different parts of your throat. Yes it will sound weird but don't stop even if you have an audience and they don't appreciate your efforts as much as they should.


Hydrastis canadensis (Golden Seal)

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Swallow -- don't spit!

If at all possible you need to swallow the herbs after you have gargled them. This point can give people some pause for thought and if you have a lot of debris in your throat you may simply have to spit everything out when you've done the gargle...

If this is the case for you then don't worry about it but do take another dose of formula as soon as you can and either just swallow it straight or try again to swallow it after another gargle so you get used to it.

The reason for this is, as well as the immediate antibiotic action of the herbs from direct contact with your throat, there are many further significant internal benefits to your immune system from these herbs and you will get better much faster if you are taking them internally as well.

Frequency plus some Q & A

The gargle and internal dose can be repeated very frequently at first. Many people use it every hour or two. Listen to your body in this regard -- the medicine should make your throat feel a little better straight away -- so as soon as you begin to feel sorer again I suggest you repeat the dose.

How long does it take to work?
Most people feel some benefit from the first dose and the sooner you start the treatment the better. I advise my patients who tend towards sore throats to have some of the sore throat formula at home ready to use as soon as they need it. Started early you should be able to nip most infections in the bud before they even get a chance to get established. If you have been sick for a while then this formula will still be likely to help but you must be prepared to be patient with it and to take it diligently for a few days.

Is it safe for children?
Children are certainly safe to use the sore throat formula and small children can be given the medicine as a straight internal dose up until they are old enough to learn how to gargle. I would give a child below 5 about 1 or 2 mls per dose, 3 mls up to 8 or 9 and then adult doses from about 10 years old.

Further Steps
Of course there are other steps that may be necessary to take if someone is getting chronic infections in their throat. This article has been focused on this one formula as it has often been a successful starting point for my own patients -- for a more holistic view of the wider picture of immune health read 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!

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© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd