|Me and my best friend, Wheatie.|
This is how I spent my week. Lying in bed with a wheat pack on my neck thanks to a lovely bout of tonsillitis.
It struck about midnight Sunday.
I thought it was the beginning of a cold, since most colds start with a sore throat. I also thought it was going to be a monster of a cold, since it was a monster of a sore throat. Not to be dramatic or anything, but it felt like a thousand daggers piercing my throat every time I swallowed.
When the sore throat didn't change to a cough or a runny nose, and the glands in my neck puffed up, I realised I was dealing with tonsillitis. I've only had it once before, as a teenager, but it's not something you ever forget.
If you're here, reading this post because, like me, you Googled how to treat tonsillitis naturally, welcome, and my condolences. I feel your pain.
Since I did Google how to treat tonsillitis naturally, I tried a bunch of different natural remedies this week. In this post I want to share with you what I found to work. Also, I want to give you hope.
These things did help.
I'm much better now and I didn't even end up going to the doctor. I did intend to see one, but I was too nauseas and exhausted the first couple of days to make the trip, and then the day I started to see improvement, my husband went back to work and took the car, so I couldn't drive to the doctor anyway.
After that, I was feeling better enough that I figured I'd just keep doing what I was doing and let things heal naturally.
So the tonsillitis struck midnight Sunday. It's now late Friday and the pain has been gone since last night, although I'm still a bit puffy. So what's that? Four days? Gosh, it felt longer while I was enduring it. But it was really only four days of the crazy pain.
What follows are my tips for getting through tonsillitis naturally. These are all things I tried, and I'm giving you my notes on how I found them to work.
Please note that I am not a medical professional of any sort, so take that into account when reading this post and seek medical attention if you are at all concerned about how your tonsillitis is tracking.
1. Take pain medication, specifically ibuprofen
OK, so it's a bit ridiculous that the first point on my How to treat tonsillitis naturally post is to take ibuprofen, but I highly recommend this.
If you don't take pain relief, you're going to avoid swallowing at all costs (because of the pain of a thousand daggers thing). This means you are not going to drink enough, you will get dehydrated and your body won't be able to flush out toxins as fast as you need it to. It also means you won't be able to do many of the natural steps I've listed below.
So I think it's worth it to take the drugs. Not paracetamol because there are some dangers associated with it and tonsillitis. Also, paracetamol reduces temperatures, and I wanted my temperature nice and hot to kill those bugs faster.
I took ibuprofen because that's what I had in the house and it said it helped reduce inflammation. I know that the ibuprofen helped dull the pain, because I could always feel when it wore off. Bang! Like a shotgun.
Just rest. You might not sleep much, but that's OK. Rest anyway, if you can. Your body needs you to rest so it can fight.
I watched a lot of gardening videos on YouTube this week, while lying in bed. That was restful.
3. Lay a hot wheat pack on your neck while you're resting
Heat helps with the pain immensely. It also helps kills the bugs in your throat faster, so this is a win/win scenario.
The sooner you can start expelling crud from your throat, the better. And the best way I found to stimulate that process was to gargle.
Now I'm not going to lie, it's going to hurt a little when you start to gargle, because, well, you have to tilt your neck back. Since your neck is the centre of all the pain in the universe right now, it's going to hurt. But not as much as you think it will. And as soon as you start to gargle, your neck will loosen up a bit and then it will hurt even less. I loved it.
Warm salt water is a good thing to gargle because it helps kill the bugs. But I recommend you only gargle it once or twice a day or you might do what I did and sandpaper your throat raw. Not a good thing to add to the mix of pain centred in that region. I think I gargled warm salt water four times in one day, and that was too many times. Didn't help that I followed the last of those gargles with a clove of raw garlic, but I'll save that for a later point.
I think you mix 1 teaspoon of salt in half a cup of warm water. Let me quickly check that.
It's meant to be 1 teaspoon of salt mixed in 1 cup of warm water. Maybe that's where I went wrong. Too much salt in my water.
An excellent thing to gargle, I discovered, was extra virgin coconut oil. It is soothing, antimicrobial and it draws out infection. To gargle it you need to chew about a tablespoon of the coconut oil in your mouth to soften it, then swirl it around in your mouth to warm it up before you tilt back for the gargle. You can alternate gargling and swirling for a few minutes. The longer you can handle it in there, the better, because it's going to keep drawing impurities out of your mouth and throat.
After gargling, you're going to want to spit. That's good. Go with that urge. And if you feel the urge to hack and cough and clear gunk from your throat, even better. Ever bit of gunk you clear is going to ease some of the pain and pressure in your throat, so celebrate each bit as the victory it is. I know I did.
If you've got nothing else to gargle, just use water. The action of gargling helps clear the throat gunk.
5. Drink hot drinks
After gargling, the back of your throat will feel dry. This is a good time to drink a hot cup of herbal tea or even just hot water. Again, heat is going to kill those bugs faster, so I think it's a better choice than cold drinks while you're fighting tonsillitis.
6. Eat/drink nourishing foods
This is a tricky tip to recommend because, when you're in the midst of tonsillitis, you're physically incapable of standing in the kitchen and making a meal. This step either depends on the love and care of another person, or a stockpile of good food in your freezer.
Real chicken soup is a good thing to eat because it's soft and easy to swallow. What am I saying? Nothing is easy to swallow. It's easier than say, dry crackers. Plus it's hot, so that helps kill the bugs. Broth made from chicken bones is a wonderful healer and health reviver, so it's going to get you up and about faster. The sooner that happens, the sooner you can make more nourishing food to eat - this is compounding interest my friend.
On the first day I didn't eat much at all because I was too sore and nauseas.
On day two I was lucky to remember a container of leftover chicken soup in the freezer, so I got my husband to heat that up for me. If we didn't have that, I would have just got him to heat up some of the homemade chicken stock we always have in the freezer.
I also drank smoothies. In the first couple of days, when my husband was making them for me, they were just a simple mixture of yoghurt and blueberries - AKA probiotics and antioxidants. Once I was up and about more, I added extra things to my smoothies like this Matakana Supershake mixture, which is packed full of vitamins and minerals. The smoothies were somewhat soothing on my throat.
The rest of the time I just ate whatever everyone else was eating.
7. Take vitamin C
Vitamin C is so important when you're fighting an infection. Your body calls on it in high doses, so it's very difficult to get enough of it while you're sick.
Acidic foods didn't feel great on my throat this week, so, although I did eat a few mandarins and kiwifruit for their vitamin C content, I couldn't eat a lot. Especially after the sandpaper throat incident.
To boost my vitamin C intake without aggravating my throat, I whizzed up several chewable vitamin C tablets into my smoothies.
8. Drink a cup of warm milk with a teaspoon of turmeric
Turmeric is a well known anti-inflammatory food, so it's perfect to consume when your throat is inflamed. The warm milk helps it go down smoother.
I only drank this mixture once, not because I didn't like it, but because I was concerned about drinking too much milk, since it can stimulate mucus production. It might have been better to mix the turmeric into my smoothie concoctions.
This did feel really good on my throat though, and the turmeric didn't taste that bad.
9. Eat raw garlic
Eating raw garlic stops bugs in their tracks, so, even though it's not the most pleasant thing to do, it should help you get rid of your tonsillitis faster.
I chopped a clove of garlic up small and mixed it with some fresh basil pesto, to disguise the taste. (There's no disguising that taste.) I ate it all on a cracker with some cream cheese to help soften the experience.
My timing for this experiment was bad, because I ate it in the evening after doing four salt-water gargles, so my throat was raw. The garlic burned. If my throat had been in a normal state, I don't think that would have happened. As it was, my raw throat is what lead me to discover the soothing effect of gargling coconut oil later that night, so there is a happy outcome.
Also, I noticed a significant improvement in my energy the day after eating the garlic, and really started to feel like I was kicking my tonsillitis to the curb. You might just want to eat the basil pesto though, since it contains a bit of raw garlic anyway, and tastes really nice.
10. Keep drinking
Even when swallowing is the last thing you want to do, just keep drinking. Have a water bottle beside your bed and keep sipping away at it. You want to flush out those toxins, and you need to stay hydrated.
I put liquid magnesium into my water towards the end of the week, to help boost my immune system. I felt like it gave me a purpose to drinking my water, so that helped me do it more than I might have otherwise.
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So those are my tips for treating tonsillitis naturally. I really hope you find something in there to help you, and that those daggers stop stabbing you soon.