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Tonsillitis – Causes, Symptoms, And Home Remedies

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Tonsillitis – Causes, Symptoms, And Home Remedies December 6, 2017

Can you recall the picture of a kid with swollen tonsils from your old science textbooks? What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of it? As kids, most of us must have associated tonsillitis with a swollen lump that protruded from our throats. But well, tonsillitis is nothing like we imagined it back then. Do you want to get a better idea about this contagious infection? Go ahead and read on to know how you can treat this condition with home remedies.

Table Of Contents

What Is Tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis is a condition where your lymph nodes (called tonsils) that are present at the back of your throat are sore and swollen. Although it is a common infection and can occur at any age, tonsillitis is more common among children.

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What Causes Tonsillitis?

Your tonsils defend your body against various disease-causing microbes. They produce white blood cells to prevent the entry of these infectious microorganisms into your body via your mouth. But, in certain situations, your tonsils may become vulnerable to them, and this leads to inflammation and swelling and causes tonsillitis.

Tonsillitis can be caused by a common cold or even strep throat.  About 30% cases of tonsillitis in children are due to a strep throat. Being a contagious condition, tonsillitis is easily spread from one person to another, especially among children.

Let us now look at the symptoms that accompany tonsillitis.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Tonsillitis

The most common symptoms of tonsillitis include:

  • Inflamed and swollen tonsils
  • White or yellow spots on tonsils
  • Severe sore throat
  • Difficulty while swallowing
  • A scratchy voice
  • Bad breath
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Headache and stomach ache
  • A stiff neck
  • Tender jaw and neck
  • Poor appetite and increased irritability in young children

These symptoms often surface with the onset of tonsillitis and can be diagnosed easily. There are also some other ways to diagnose tonsillitis, and they are discussed below.

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How Is Tonsillitis Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of tonsillitis usually follows a physical examination of your throat. Laboratory testing of the swab from your throat is another way.

Tonsillitis can be easily diagnosed and easily treated. Although this condition is not of much concern, if left untreated, it can turn chronic and cause problems.

Hence, like in the case of any other disease, it is better to treat tonsillitis at the earliest. And what could be better than to treat it naturally and right at your home? Given below is a list of home remedies that have proven to be effective in the treatment of tonsillitis.

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How To Cure Tonsillitis Naturally

  1. Salt Water Gargle
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar
  3. Chamomile Tea
  4. Bee Propolis
  5. Onion
  6. Ginger
  7. Fenugreek Seeds
  8. Milk
  9. Carrot, Cucumber, and Beetroot
  10. Fresh Figs
  11. Alum
  12. Mint Tea
  13. Mustard Powder
  14. Soups and Broths
  15. Wood Violets
  16. Lemon Juice
  17. Epsom Salts
  18. Oregano
  19. Barley
  20. Water Hyacinth
  21. Coconut oil
  22. Pineapple juice
  23. Yogurt

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Home Remedies To Cure Tonsillitis

1. Salt Water Gargle

1. Salt Water Gargle

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You Will Need
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of warm water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add half a teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water.
  2. Mix well and use this solution to gargle.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this multiple times daily.

Why This Works

Gargling with salt water can help get rid of the phlegm that is stuck between the tonsils and gaps inside your mouth and throat. This phlegm usually contains the microbes responsible for tonsillitis. Also, salt has antiseptic properties that can help treat the infection. The warm water used for gargling breaks down the mucus and makes breathing easier (1).

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2. Apple Cider Vinegar

You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 glass of warm water
  • Honey (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water.
  2. Mix well and add honey for flavor.
  3. Gargle or consume this solution.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) possesses antibacterial and antiviral properties that can help kill the bacteria that cause tonsillitis (2). It is also anti-inflammatory and can help to reduce the swelling and inflammation of your tonsils (3).

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3. Chamomile Tea

3. Chamomile Tea

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You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of dried chamomile
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • Honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a teaspoon of dried chamomile to a cup of hot water.
  2. Allow it to steep for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Strain and add honey to this concoction.
  4. Drink the chamomile tea before it turns cold.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this 2 to 3 times daily.

Why This Works

Chamomile is a medicinal herb with a wide range of benefits. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the swelling, inflammation, and pain associated with tonsillitis (4). It also increases the potential of antibiotics, making it a sure-shot way to combat tonsillitis.

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4. Bee Propolis

You Will Need

Bee propolis throat spray

What You Have To Do

Spray the bee propolis directly into your throat.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 1 to 2 times a day.

Why This Works

Bee propolis, also known as bee glue, is a sticky substance that bees use to seal small cracks or gaps in their hive. And surprisingly, this substance is beneficial to humans. Bee propolis has some wonderful antibiotic, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties, which make it effective in treating ailments like cough, cold, and tonsillitis (5).

Caution

Some individuals may be allergic to bee propolis. Hence, care should be taken before using it.

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5. Onion

5. Onion

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You Will Need
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Blend an onion with half a cup of water.
  2. Add honey to this and mix well.
  3. Consume this mixture in small quantities throughout the day.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this once daily.

Why This Works

Onions exhibit natural antibacterial properties that can help in combating the bacteria that cause tonsillitis (6). Additionally, onions are also anti-inflammatory and can help relieve swelling and inflammation of your tonsils (7).

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6. Ginger

You Will Need
  • 1 inch of ginger
  • 1 cup of water
  • Honey (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Boil the ginger in a cup of water in a saucepan.
  2. Simmer for 5 minutes and strain the solution.
  3. Allow the tea to cool down a bit.
  4. Add honey and consume this tea daily.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 3 or 4 times daily.

Why This Works

Ginger contains a compound called gingerol that has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties (8), (9). Fresh ginger is also proven to exhibit antiviral activities, which makes it all the more suitable for curing tonsillitis (10).

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7. Fenugreek Seeds

7. Fenugreek Seeds

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You Will Need
  • 3 tablespoons of fenugreek seeds
  • 1 L of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add the fenugreek seeds to water in a pan and bring it to a boil.
  2. Simmer for 5 minutes and then allow it to cool a little.
  3. Use this fenugreek solution to gargle throughout the day.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this several times a day until you run out of the solution.

Why This Works

Fenugreek is an excellent natural remedy for tonsillitis, given its anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties (12), (13). The antiviral and antibacterial properties of fenugreek can help fight infections while its anti-inflammatory properties can provide relief from swollen and inflamed tonsils. Fenugreek seeds also act as a natural expectorant and help break down the phlegm in your throat.

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8. Milk

You Will Need
  • 1 cup of hot milk
  • A dash of pepper and turmeric powder
What You Have To Do
  1. Add some pepper and turmeric powder to a cup of hot milk.
  2. Mix well and drink it before your bedtime.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this before bedtime for three nights consecutively.

Why This Works

Milk is a proven remedy against many infections, including tonsillitis. Daily consumption of milk can help soothe your inflamed tonsils and relieve pain. The combination of milk with turmeric and pepper is even more effective against tonsillitis. This is because turmeric (Curcuma longa) and pepper (Piper nigrum) also have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and analgesic properties, which not only help treat tonsillitis but also provide relief from its symptoms (14), (15), (16), (17).

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9. Carrot, Cucumber, And Beetroot Juice

9. Carrot, Cucumber, And Beetroot Juice

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You Will Need
  • 150 mL of carrot juice
  • 50 mL of cucumber juice
  • 50 mL of beetroot juice
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the three juices in the specified quantities.
  2. Drink this mixture.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this once daily.

Why This Works

Vegetables are a rich source of many nutrients that help your body combat infections naturally (18). The vegetable juice mixture of carrots, cucumber, and beetroots is a commonly used remedy for tonsillitis. The vitamins A and C in these vegetables not only help fight inflammation but also enhance the action of antibiotics against tonsillitis (19).

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10. Fresh Figs

You Will Need
  • 2-3 fresh figs
  • Water
What You Have To Do
  1. Boil a few fresh figs in water.
  2. Make a paste out of the boiled figs and apply it externally to your throat.
  3. Leave this on for 10 to 15 minutes and wash it off with water.
  4. You can also eat some figs on a daily basis.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

Figs are a rich source of phenolic compounds that exhibit anti-inflammatory properties (20). They can help relieve the inflammation and pain associated with tonsillitis, both internally and externally.  Figs are also naturally antibacterial and can help relieve infections that cause tonsillitis (21).

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11. Alum

11. Alum

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You Will Need
  • 1/4 teaspoon of alum powder
  • 1 glass of hot water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add alum powder to a glass of hot water.
  2. Mix well and use this solution to gargle.
  3. Alternatively, you can also apply a paste made of alum and water externally to your throat.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this at least 2 to 3 times daily.

Why This Works

Alum, also known as aluminum potassium sulfate, possesses some exceptional anti-inflammatory and bactericidal properties that can help soothe the pain and infection accompanying tonsillitis (22), (23).

Caution

Alum should not be ingested and must only be used for gargling or topical application.

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12. Mint Tea

You Will Need
  • A handful of peppermint leaves
  • A cup of hot water
  • Honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Crush the peppermint leaves and boil them in water in a saucepan.
  2. Simmer for 5 minutes and strain.
  3. Allow it to cool a little and add some honey to it.
  4. Drink this tea on a daily basis.
How Often You Should Do This

You can drink this tea 3 to 4 times daily.

Why This Works

Peppermint tea is one of the best treatments for upper respiratory tract infections like cold and flu (24). Peppermint has antibacterial, antiviral, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties, which can prove quite beneficial in the treatment of tonsillitis and its symptoms (25).

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13. Mustard Powder

13. Mustard Powder

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You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard powder
  • 1 cup of hot water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a teaspoon of mustard powder to a glass of hot water and mix well.
  2. Gargle with this mixture.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this at least thrice daily for effective relief from tonsillitis.

Why This Works

Mustard seeds are a rich source of minerals like magnesium and selenium that exhibit powerful anti-inflammatory properties (26). They also contain curcumin, a compound found in turmeric. The presence of this compound imparts antimicrobial and analgesic properties to mustard seeds and proves to be quite helpful in dealing with tonsils and its symptoms (27), (28).

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14. Soups And Broths

Tonsillitis can also be a side effect of a sore throat or cold. Consuming hot soups and broths made from veggies and chicken can be quite helpful in soothing and healing a sore throat. The various nutrients in them help you recover faster and also improve your immunity (29). Hot soups can also provide immediate relief from swollen and inflamed tonsils by reducing the pain and swelling associated with the condition. You can also add herbs like garlic and ginger to your broth for added benefits.

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15. Wood Violets

15. Wood Violets

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You Will Need
  • Wood violet flowers
  • 1 glass of milk
  • Honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Add some wood violet flowers to a glass of milk.
  2. Bring this to a boil in a saucepan.
  3. Allow it to cool a bit and add honey.
  4. Mix well and consume the milk before it turns cold.
  5. Alternatively, you can also apply a mixture of wood violets, milk, and margarine directly to the inflamed tonsils.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this once daily.

Why This Works

Wood violet is a violet flower that exhibits some phenomenal anti-inflammatory properties (30). The anti-inflammatory and soothing nature of this flower can help relieve the swelling and pain that usually accompany tonsillitis.

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16. Lemons

You Will Need
  • 1/2 lemon
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of pepper
What You Have To Do
  1. Take a lemon and cut it in half.
  2. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on one half and
  3. heat it a little using tongs.
  4. Suck out all the juice of the lemon.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

Lemon is a rich source of vitamin C and various phytochemicals that make it a potent herbal medicine. The mucilage from lemon is proved to have anti-inflammatory properties and can help relieve pain and inflammation (31). Lemons also exhibit bactericidal effects that can be especially helpful against bacterial tonsillitis (32).

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17. Epsom Salt

17. Epsom Salt

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You Will Need
  • 1 cup of Epsom salt
  • Water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a cup of Epsom salt to your bathwater.
  2. Soak and relax in it for 15 to 20 minutes.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this at least thrice a week.

Why This Works

Epsom salt, also known as magnesium sulfate, is widely used for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties (33). The high magnesium content of this salt can help relieve the pain and inflammation of tonsils (34).

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18. Oregano

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 cup of water
  • Honey (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a teaspoon of dried oregano to a cup of water and bring this to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Simmer for 5 minutes and strain.
  3. Allow the oregano tea to cool down a little. Add some honey if required.
  4. Drink this tea on a daily basis.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this thrice daily.

Why This Works

Oregano is a medicinal herb that is proven to exhibit powerful antibacterial properties against a number of bacterial strains (35). It also possesses antiviral properties, owing to the presence of a compound called carvacrol in it (36). These properties make oregano an effective herbal medicine for treating both viral and bacterial tonsillitis. Oregano is also anti-inflammatory and can help relieve the symptoms of tonsillitis such as a sore throat and swollen tonsils (37).

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19. Barley

19. Barley

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You Will Need
  • 1-2 cups of barley
  • 1-2 L of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a cup of barley to a liter of water.
  2. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes in a saucepan.
  3. Allow it to cool.
  4. Drink this water at regular intervals.
  5. You can also apply the paste made of barley and water externally to your throat.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

Barley is a rich source of vitamins and minerals and is also one of the best natural antioxidants. It is often used to relieve inflammation and can soothe the inflamed tonsils (38). Barley grains are also antimicrobial and can be used to treat infections that cause tonsillitis (39).

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20. Water Hyacinth

You Will Need
  • 1-2 twigs of water hyacinth
  • 2-3 teaspoons of mustard oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Burn the water hyacinth twigs to ashes.
  2. Mix the ashes with some mustard oil to form a fine paste.
  3. Apply this paste topically to your throat.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

Water hyacinth is an aquatic plant that exhibits amazing anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties (40). When applied topically, the ashes of this plant can significantly reduce the swelling and pain of your tonsils (41).

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21. Coconut Oil

21. Coconut Oil

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You Will Need

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

What You Have To Do
  1. Gargle a tablespoon of coconut oil for a minute and spit it out. Do not swallow.
  2. Alternatively, you can also do oil pulling with coconut oil to get relief from tonsillitis.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this twice daily.

Why This Works

Coconut oil is a rich source of lauric acid. This compound exhibits antibacterial properties that fight the bacteria causing tonsillitis (42). Coconut oil is also anti-inflammatory and can help in reducing the swelling and inflammation of the tonsils (43). It is also a natural decongestant and can help clear phlegm that may have developed as a result of prior infection.

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22. Pineapple Juice

You Will Need
  • 1/4 pineapple
  • 1 cup of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Blend the pineapple with a cup of water.
  2. Drink the juice.
How Often You Should Do This

Drink pineapple juice once daily.

Why This Works

Pineapples are a rich source of vitamin C and an enzyme called bromelain. While vitamin C enhances the efficiency of antibiotics, bromelain exhibits powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which relieves the symptoms of tonsillitis and speeds up recovery (44), (45). Also, pineapples are antibacterial and can combat infections that have the potential to worsen the condition (46).

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23. Yogurt

23. Yogurt

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You Will Need

1 cup of plain yogurt

What You Have To Do

Have a cup of plain yogurt.

How Often You Should Do This

You can do this once daily.

Why This Works

Yogurt is a natural probiotic that can help treat tonsillitis. It not only has a soothing and anti-inflammatory effect on your swollen and inflamed tonsils but also boosts your immunity (47), (48). It can also treat and prevent infections (like the common cold) that have the potential to cause tonsillitis (49).

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Along with the remedies mentioned above, you must also follow a few tips to prevent the recurrence of tonsillitis. They are as listed below.

Preventive Tips

  • Increase your intake of soups and broths.
  • Consume more of probiotic-rich foods like yogurt.
  • Use a humidifier in your room to keep the air moist. Moist air prevents your throat from drying further.
  • Maintain a distance from those suffering from tonsillitis or a sore throat.
  • Wash your hands at regular intervals.
  • Keep a hand sanitizer handy.
  • Always cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Practise yoga poses like Rabbit Pose, Lion Pose, and Corpse Pose to get relief from the symptoms of tonsillitis.

If tonsillitis is a recurring problem for you, you can consider getting your tonsils removed surgically. The procedure is known as tonsillectomy. Tonsillectomy may also be performed on individuals who snore a lot. However, there are a few side effects that may surface with the removal of your tonsils, and they are discussed below.

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Side Effects Of Tonsillectomy

The side effects of tonsillectomy vary in their severity and may also cause life-threatening complications in some cases. The most common side effects include:

  • Throat pain
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Bad breath
  • Earaches
  • Fatigue
  • Slight fever
  • Nose bleeding

If any of these side effects continue to prevail after many days of getting your tonsils removed, you need immediate medical attention. Now that you know the consequences, think twice before deciding to get them removed. You can use the remedies and preventive tips mentioned above to treat tonsillitis at the earliest and prevent further complication. If you or your loved ones have been suffering from tonsillitis, feel free to share this article with them to help them in their battle against this contagious condition. Also, do let us know if any of these remedies were helpful by commenting in the box below.

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Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

What to do for white spots on tonsils?

The white spots on the tonsils are a result of a bacterial, viral, or fungal infections. Gargling with salt water, drinking warm soups, and using a room humidifier are some of the options that can help you get rid of them.

How common is tonsillitis in babies?

Tonsillitis is a common infection among kids and infants alike. In fact, most kids have bouts of tonsillitis throughout their childhood. Bacterial tonsillitis often affects children aged 5 to 15 years, while viral tonsillitis is more common in the younger lot.

How long does tonsillitis last?

Tonsillitis usually lasts from 4 to 7 days. However, in some cases, it may recur every now and then. This type of tonsillitis is termed as chronic tonsillitis.

Which is worse – tonsillitis or strep throat?

Tonsillitis and strep throat have similar effects on the affected individual and are equally disturbing. In some cases, tonsillitis may also develop from a strep throat.

Can you get strep throat without tonsils?

Yes, you can get a strep throat even after the removal of your tonsils. In certain cases, individuals who got their tonsils removed contracted a sore throat later. Hence, it is quite evident that tonsils have nothing to do with a strep throat infection.

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