Tonsillitis is inflammation of the tonsils; it can be caused by a virus, such as common flu, or by a bacterial infection such as strep throat. This condition is common in children, teenagers, and young adults. This article provides you with some of the best home remedies for tonsillitis in both children and adults.
Tonsillitis can be classified as any of the following;
- Acute tonsillitis- this refers to inflammation of tonsils caused by bacteria or viruses, its symptoms include a sore throat associated with fever
- Chronic tonsillitis- this is the recurrent infection of the tonsils
- Peritonsillar abscess- this is accumulation of pus behind tonsils
- Enlargement or swelling of tonsils- this may cause obstruction in breathing, leading to disturbances in sleep
Swollen tonsils in adults
There are three types of tonsils in the body, these include the pharyngeal tonsils (the adenoids), the lingual tonsils (behind the tongue), and the palatine tonsils which are located at the back of the throat.
The tonsils are part of the lymphatic system and work with the immune system. In adults, when the tonsils become infected or overwhelmed by the microbes that they help to fight, they can become swollen. This condition is called tonsillitis.
Swollen tonsils are often accompanied by symptoms like:
- Sore throat
- Pain when swallowing
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Bad breath
- Difficulties in breathing
The most common causes of swollen tonsils include;
Virus– common cold viruses Adenovirus, Coronavirus or Rhinovirus are found to be one of the most common causes of swollen tonsils
Bacteria- Infection by bacteria like streptococcus pneumonia, Chlamydia pneumonia, and Staphylococcus Aureus can lead to swollen tonsils.
Spicy foods– spicy or pungent foods can cause infection and inflammation of the tonsils, leading to swelling.
Low immunity- adults and children suffering from low immunity are likely to be infected with bacteria or virus causing inflammation of tonsils.
Swollen tonsils in kids
Tonsils are a component of the immune system responsible for stopping viruses and bacteria from entering through the mouth. The tonsils help in countering lung and throat infections by producing antibodies which kill all the germs.
Swollen tonsils in children, also known as kissing tonsils could be normal. This condition could also be as a result of viruses, bacteria, irritants, allergies or gastroesophageal reflux as well. This condition may cause problems with breathing and swallowing. In some cases, some children will still have swollen tonsil even after the infection has been cured. Tonsils might also remain swollen for kids who keep on having infections on frequent basis. Cancer could also be the reason for swollen tonsils although it is very rare.
Swollen tonsils are accompanied by swelling of adenoids. Adenoids are a patch of tissue that sits on the back of the nasal cavity. Enlargement of adenoids make it difficult for the kid to breathe properly and even difficulties in sleeping. Some other symptoms associated with swelling of tonsils include;
- Snoring while sleeping
- An incessant runny nose
- Difficulties in sleeping or breathing
- Preferring mouth breathing over nose breathing
How to remove tonsil stones
For you to remove tonsil stones completely, you need to first know what they are, their symptoms, and what causes them.
Tonsils are made of tissue that contains lymphocytes- cells in your body that prevent and fight infections. It is believed that the tonsils play a role in the immune system and are meant to function like nets, trapping incoming bacteria and virus particles that pass through the throat. When these tonsils are filled with hooks and crannies where bacteria and other materials become trapped, it leads to yellow or white formations that in the pockets. When the trapped debris hardens, it forms tonsil stones.
The potential causes of tonsil stones include;
- Bad dental hygiene
- Chronic sinus issue
- Having large tonsils
Common symptoms of this condition include;
- Bad breath- this is one of the main indicators of tonsil stones. Research shows that 75% of people with high concentrations of sulfur compounds have tonsil stones.
- Sore throat- the presence of a tonsil stone may cause pain and discomfort in the area where it is lodged
- White or yellow debris- some tonsil stones are visible in the back of the throat as a lump of solid white or yellow material.
- Difficulty swallowing- you may experience difficulties or pain while swallowing depending on the location or size of the tonsil stone.
- Tonsil swelling- when tonsil stones form, inflammation from infection and the tonsil stone itself may cause swelling of the tonsils.
- Ear pain- if the tonsil stones share nerve pathways, you may feel pain in the ear.
The following are the methods you should consider for removal of tonsil stone;
Gargling vigorously with salt water can ease throat discomfort and this may help dislodge tonsil stones. You simply mix ½ teaspoon salt in warm water and gargle.
2. Manual removal
You can poke stones gently with your cotton swab until you dislodge it. You should be very gentle since bleeding may occur. Rinse with water and repeat the procedure until the stones clear.
3. Invest in an oxygenating mouthwash
Oxygenated mouthwashes contain chlorine dioxide and natural zinc compounds. Even oxygen hinders bacterial growth, making oxygenating mouthwashes helpful for treating tonsil stones.
- Oxygenating mouthwashes are very strong and therefore should be used once or twice per week to avoid overuse.
4. Use oral irrigator
Oral irrigators such as water picks can be used to push tonsil stones out of their cavities.
- Test it before you buy- they should not spray too strong or hurt.
Energetic coughing can help loosen tonsil stones. You may discover them when you cough one up.
Antibiotics- Various antibiotics can be used to treat tonsil stones. They can be used to eliminate the bacteria that play a crucial role in the tonsil stones development and growth.
6. Laser tonsil crypto lysis
In this procedure, a laser is used to eliminate the crypts where tonsil stones lodge. It is often performed under local anesthesia. Discomfort and recovery time are usually minimal.
How to prevent tonsil stone
Tonsil stones commonly occur on a regular basis. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent them. These include;
- Avoid smoking
- Practice good oral hygiene- this can be done by washing off the bacteria from the back of your tongue when you brush your teeth.
- Gargle salt water, which can prevent tonsil stone formation and eliminate the foul smell they cause
- Drink plenty of water in order to stay hydrated
Best home remedies for tonsillitis pain
If you develop tonsillitis pain and are finding ways that can help you get rid of it, the following are some home remedies which are completely natural with no side effects;
Onions are one simplest home remedies you can use to get rid of tonsillitis. The following is how you use onions to get rid of tonsillitis;
- Take a few pieces of onions and extract the juice
- Add the juice in lukewarm water and gargle in such a way that the solution reaches the throat
2. Use vegetable juice
Juice prepared from vegetables such as carrots, cucumber and beets are also one of the best home remedies for tonsillitis. All you need to do is drink juice made from these vegetables at least once a day.
Basil is a very effective home remedy due to its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has healing properties and soothing qualities that help in reducing swelling and relieving pain. The following is how you apply basil to speed up healing of tonsillitis;
- Crush some basil leaves and add some water
- Boil for 10 minutes
- Strain and add some honey to the solution to sweeten it
- Drink this solution two or three times a day depending on the severity of your condition
Lemon contains antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can get rid of infections as well as the inflammation. It also contains vitamin C which helps the body resist infections. The following is how you apply lemon:
- Add lemon juice, a pinch of salt and one teaspoon of honey to a glass of lukewarm water
- Drink that solution two times a day for a few days
- Sprinkle little salt and pepper on a slice of lemon
- Suck on the lemon slice- this helps force phlegm out of your throat
- Repeat this 2 or 3 times a day for several days
Fenugreek contains antibacterial properties that make it an excellent cure for tonsillitis since it can kill bacteria causing the infections. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that offer relief pain and inflammation instantly. The following is how you can apply fenugreek on your throat;
- Add 2 tablespoons of fenugreek to 2 or 3 cups of water
- Allow it to simmer for 30 minutes
- Strain and let it cool
- Gargle with this solution for at least 30 seconds, then spit it out
- Repeat this twice daily until the condition clears
6. Mustard powder
Mustard powder is an effective home remedy that helps flush out germs located on the surface of your tonsils and hasten the healing process. The following is how you use this powder:
- Grind some mustard seeds into powder
- Add the powder into a glass of hot water
- Use the solution to gargle and cleanse your throat
- Repeat this procedure every day until the germs clear up
7. Fresh figs
Fresh figs are one of the best home remedies for tonsillitis since it helps alleviate the pain and ease the redness and soreness. The following is how you use fresh figs:
- Boil fresh figs or add some figs in boiled water, you will come up with a paste
- Apply this paste directly on your inflamed tonsils
- You can repeat this whenever you experience pain or soreness
Home remedies for tonsillitis pain
At home, you can use the following remedies to relieve the pain caused by swollen tonsils. if the pain or swelling persist for more than 48 hours, you will need to consult your health care provider as soon as possible.
1. Salt water gargle
Gargling with warm salt water can help you soothe pain in your throat and break down secretions. This remedy is also known to kill the bacteria causing this condition. The following is the procedure on how to gargle in order to ease tonsillitis pain;
- Prepare a saltwater solution with a half-teaspoon of salt in a full glass of warm water
- Gargle it to help reduce swelling and keep the throat clean
- Repeat this after an interval of 3 hours
2. Chamomile tea
Chamomile contains anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and astringent properties. These properties make it a naturally soothing remedy for sore throat. The following is how you use chamomile tea to heal tonsillitis;
- Some research suggests that inhaling chamomile steam can help relieve symptoms of sore throat.
- You can also drink chamomile tea- this stimulates the immune system and helps your body fight the infection causing the pain in the tonsils.
3. Baking soda gargle
Baking soda contains anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antiviral properties. This remedy can be used along with salt water to relieve a sore throat. Gargling this solution can help kill bacteria and prevent growth of yeast and fungi in the tonsils. The following is how you use this remedy:
- Gargle and gently swish a combination of 1 cup warm water, ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/8 of salt
- Use this solution every 3 hours
Peppermint has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties that accelerate healing. Dilute peppermint sprays may also relieve sore throats and refresh breath. This remedy also contains menthol which helps thin mucus and calm sore throats and coughs. The following is how you use peppermint to relieve tonsil pain;
- You should always consider mixing essential oils with carrier oil such as olive oil, sweet almond oil or coconut oil
- For peppermint oil, mix five drops of the essential oil with 1 ounce of the carrier oil of your choice
Honey is a natural home remedy that contains so many medicinal properties. You can mix it in tea or take it on its own to remedy sore throat. Research shows that it is effective for taming nighttime coughs and may be used to speed up healing of sore throat.
Garlic also has natural antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. It contains allicin, a compound known for its ability to fight off infections. Taking garlic supplement can help prevent common cold virus. You simply need to suck a clove of garlic to soothe sore throat.
7. Cayenne pepper or hot sauce
Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, a natural compound known for blocking pain receptors. Although this product is not very familiar to many people, ingesting cayenne mixed with warm water and honey can help relief sore throat.
Note: Cayenne should not be taken if you have open sores in your mouth. Start with just a few drops of hot sauce or a light sprinkle of cayenne, as both can be very hot.
8. Slippery elm
Slippery elm has mucus-like substance in it. When mixed with water, it forms a slick gel that coats and soothes the tonsillitis pain. The following is how to use it;
- Pour boiling water over powdered bark, stir, and drink
9. Licorice root
Licorice root is effective when mixed with water to form a solution for gargling. It has been used for long to relieve tonsillitis.
Note: pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid this remedy
Home remedies for swollen tonsillitis
Inflamed tonsils can be due to bacterial and viral infections like cold, strep throat, herpes simplex virus among others. Some home remedies contain antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory among others that make them effective for healing inflamed tonsils.
Garlic contains antibacterial and antiviral properties that help kill the germs. It also has antiseptic properties that make it a great remedy used to combat tonsil infection. The following is the procedure you should follow:
- Mix 1 tablespoon honey with 4 cloves of finely crushed garlic
- Dilute it with lukewarm water
- Consume this solution 3 or 4 times every day for four days
- Sip half a glass of water first and then drink the mixture
Turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities. These properties help fight tonsillitis infection and relieve the symptoms accompanying them like swelling. The following is the procedures on how to use turmeric heal swollen tonsillitis:
- Add one teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of hot water or saline water
- Gargle with this mixture several times a day- this will help get rid of the inflammation and soreness
- Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and a pinch of ground black pepper to a glass of warm milk
- Drink it at night for two or three days to speed up the healing process
Cinnamon is rich in antimicrobial properties; it inhibits the growth of bacteria and other micro-organisms in the tonsils and helps reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation. The following is the procedure on how to apply cinnamon;
- Add one teaspoon of cinnamon powder to a glass of hot water
- Mix in two teaspoons of honey
- Sip it while it is still warm
- Drink this 2 or three times a day for a week- by this time swelling heals
Raw honey contains natural antibacterial and antiviral properties that speed up healing of sore throat problems. Raw honey can be mixed with cinnamon or ginger and water, or stirred into soothing herbal tea. Research shows that honey has natural inhibitory effects on around 60 different species of bacteria, some species of fungi and also viruses.
How to cure tonsillitis
For you to cure tonsillitis completely, you need to know the cause. To determine the cause, your doctor may need to perform a rapid strep test or throat swab culture. You may also undergo a lab test to detect bacterial infection. A viral infection will not show from the test but may be assumed if the test for bacteria is negative.
If tests reveal bacteria- you will need antibiotics to cure the infection. Antibiotics may be given as a single shot or taken 10 days by mouth. Even if the symptoms improve after two or three days, it is important that you clear the dose in order to make sure the bacteria is gone.
There are some things you can do regardless of the cause that may help you cure tonsillitis, these include;
Drink warm or very cold fluids to ease throat pain
Get enough rest you should take a break from school or work, depending on the severity of your infection. You should also speak softly and as little as possible since you are recovering.
Gargle with warm salt water– the following is the procedure you follow;
- Mix one teaspoon of salt into 8 ounces (236) glass of warm water
- Gargle the salt water and spit it out
- Repeat this severally until you completely relieve your sore throat
Drink liquids and eat soft foods– Eat smooth foods, such as flavored gelatins, or ice cream. You can also create a soothing mixture to relieve tonsillitis pain. Water also helps to prevent dryness and additional irritation of the tonsils.
Remove any environmental irritants: It is important that you minimize any irritants that worsen the state of your tonsillitis; these include dry air, cleaning products, or cigarette smoke. You can also try using cool-air humidifier that adds moisture to the room.
Suck on lozenges containing benzocaine or other anesthetics- these can help you diminish tonsillitis.
Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen- your doctor will recommend the proper dosage.
Ensure adequate fluid and calorie intake you should be able to consume adequate fluids and food daily. In extreme cases of tonsillitis, doctors can administer corticosteroid medication that diminishes the swelling.
- Tonsillitis, symptoms, causes and treatment: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/tonsillitis-symptoms-causes-and-treatments#1
- Symptoms of tonsillitis: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Tonsillitis/Pages/Symptoms.aspx
- Cause and how to prevent tonsil stone: http://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/tonsil-stones#causes3
- Home remedies for tonsillitis pain: http://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/sore-throat-natural-remedies#apple-cider-vinegar11
- How to cure tonsillitis permanently: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Tonsillitis/Pages/Introduction.aspx#Treatment