I was eight years-old when I was told by my doctor that I had swollen tonsils and I could either get them operated or take medicines to subside the swelling. Keeping my age in mind, everyone thought it was best that I stick to medicines. Although it seemed the better choice, it came with a handful of dos and don’ts. Ever since that day, I have to think twice before eating anything extremely cold (yes, ice creams included, and also iced teas, chilled water, popsicles et al). I dread the times when I catch a cold and cough as it is painful, with the constant coughing that hurts the throat.
What Are Tonsils and How Do They Get Infected?
Swollen tonsils are one of the most common problems in India.
According to Dr. Amal Ghosh, Tutor (Rtd), N.R.S. Hospital, Kolkata, “The tonsils are part of your body’s system to fight infections. The tonsils play an important role as part of your body’s immune system, helping to fight off viral and bacterial infections before they reach the respiratory tract and other parts of the body. The tonsils contain certain cells that trap any infection entering your body. At times, however, the tonsils themselves may get infected by the very same germs that they work to resist. When this happens, the tonsils get swollen and inflamed, causing pain and discomfort. In some cases, the tonsils may show white spots covering the surface, indicating an infection.”
Some of the common symptoms are swollen tonsils, difficulty while swallowing, fever, headaches, bad breath, change in voice, nasal congestion and a runny nose.
Home Remedies for Tonsils
Here are some of the home remedies that you can try out:
1. Salt Water
According to Dr. Ghosh, the best and most well-known home remedy for tonsillitis is to do gargling with warm salt water. “The warm water will have a soothing effect and the salt will help kill the infection or bacteria. Plus, salt helps reduce inflammation, giving you instant relief.”
Here’s how you do it:
- Mix one teaspoon of table salt in a cup of warm water.
- Gargle with the solution. Do not swallow it. Spit the water out after gargling.
- Repeat this as often as possible for speedy recovery.
Tulsi or Holy Basil is another exceptionally viable home remedy for tonsillitis because of its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to that, its healing and soothing qualities will help reduce swelling and pain as well as speed up the healing process. According to Dr. Simran Saini from New Delhi, “Consuming a drink made by boiling tulsi leaves and adding about 2 grams of black pepper to it can help in bringing relief. This drink helps in building your immunity, acts as an antibacterial element.”
Follow these steps:
- Add 10 to 12 basil leaves to one and one-half cups of water.
- Boil for 10 minutes.
- Strain and add the juice from one lemon to the solution. Optionally, add one teaspoon of honey to sweeten it or 2 grams of black pepper to spice it up.
- Drink this three times a day for two to three days.
According to Dr. Ashutosh Gautam, Clinical Operations and Coordination Manager at Baidyanath, cinnamon can be used for treating tonsillitis. “Being rich in antimicrobial properties, cinnamon represses the growth of bacteria and other micro-organisms in the tonsils and helps reduce swelling, pain and inflammation.”
Here’s how to use it:
- Add one teaspoon of cinnamon powder to a glass of hot water.
- Mix in two teaspoons of honey.
- Sip on it slowly while it is still warm.
- Drink this two or three times a day for one week.
Turmeric due to its strong anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities, can also fight off tonsillitis infection and relieve irritation symptoms. According to author Deepak Chopra of The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies, “Ayurveda recommends using 1 cup of hot water (not so hot that it might burn your throat) with 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon salt mixed in. Gargle with this mixture morning and evening.” It is particularly helpful before going to bed. It will help get rid of the inflammation and soreness.
Alternatively, you can add one teaspoon of turmeric powder and a pinch of ground black pepper to a glass of warm milk. Drink it at night for two to three days to speed up the healing process.
The Health Education Library for People suggests that fenugreek, also known as methi, has antibacterial properties that makes it an excellent remedy for tonsillitis as it can fight against the bacteria responsible for tonsillitis. Plus, the anti-inflammatory properties present in fenugreek will give you instant relief from pain and inflammation.
Here’s how to use it:
- Add two tablespoons of fenugreek seeds to two to three cups of water.
- Allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
- Strain and let it cool.
- Gargle with this water for at least 30 seconds, and then spit it out.
- Repeat twice daily until you get comfort.