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I got my tonsils out in my early 20’s They were nasty; so I was happy to take the medical doctor’s advice and have them removed. I hoped it would help me to have fewer incidents of sore throats. Alas, no. Sore throats are my body’s first go-to. Whenever I get run down, first symptom: sore throat.
To this day, it is rare for me to lie down for the night without first spritzing my throat. Frankly, it keeps me well. I rarely get a cold. (I have a few other strategies, as well.) But throat spray is my first line of defense, being the most important and effective one.
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SORE THROATS AND INFECTED TONSILS
When any part of the human body swells or is inflamed, it is the body’s way of communicating that there’s a disturbance. The tissues do not need to be removed or suppressed. Rather, inflammation is the solution the body is providing to activate healing. Any discharge, as in the case of swollen tonsils, is the body’s way of eliminating the disturbance. There are effective remedies and approaches if we want to assist our body in this process.
Even MD Health says,
In years past, if the tonsils frequently became inflamed or infected they would be removed. While this is still a course of treatment in some cases, doctors now understand that the tonsils have a much larger impact on the digestive process than was originally anticipated. The tonsils also help to fight off infections, which is why they can become covered in white spots. These spots are usually pus that has developed as white blood cells kill off bacteria or viruses infecting the tissue.
Botanicals, homeopathy, acupuncture and other natural approaches seek to treat the illness by stimulating self-healing, which is what our bodies want to do (much as a wound will scab over and heal with time). Botanicals that help the body to fend off the cold virus either strengthen the immune system or assist in the removal of toxins. This understanding of wellness and healing is called Nature Cure.
So while caution is required in conditions like appendicitis, where a swollen organ can be life-threatening, there are often natural methods that can assist a swollen organ in eliminating the infection.
(Rabbit Trail~ We avoided appendectomies twice, by the way, with the use of repeated enemas to clear out the swollen appendix. I don’t recommend this because of the danger involved. But in our situation we had peace and confidence that it was the right choice; and the method was effective. We were so thankful to bring quicker relief, to avoid surgery and to keep an organ that definitely has a role in gut wellness. To read more about our process, here’s the video that discusses this approach. It’s the video we used.)
The tonsils’ main function is to catch viral or bacterial particles and transfer them to the lymphatic symptom. The tonsils also secrete white blood cells. When tonsils are removed or suppressed they are no longer an aid to the body.
Because I no longer have my tonsils, throat sprays have become my new line of defense.
With or without these organs, herbal throat spray can come alongside your body for this noble purpose. If you don’t already use throat spray as a prophylactic remedy, consider adding it to your arsenal. Often I do not need internal immune boosters, simply because the throat spray is enough.
DIFFERENT BRANDS OF THROAT SPRAY
I have tried many brands of throat spray. I’ve experienced their prophylactic abilities. Here I share with you the best of these products, contrasting them, so you may know which is the very best, in my opinion, and why.
There are other categories for rating throat sprays, not just the ability to keep one well. Among these, I discuss the flavor of the sprays, which definitely affects their overall palatability, especially for children or sensitive adults.
Perhaps most importantly, application plays in: remember to use throat spray at the first sign of unwellness. Prevention is key, and these herbs reign at helping to kick out the bad guys before they set up camp. If you wait until you are really sick, these herbs will still bring relief and help your body to get well faster; BUT they are not instant wellness pills. So try to use the sprays when the sore throat comes on.
Always use them most effectively by spraying them on the throat right before lying down to rest. Don’t talk after spraying.
I use 2-3 sprays to get my whole throat: left-middle-right. For my kids, if we can get the right spots on the first try, lol, 1-2 sprays in enough.
- Elderberry-Red Root~ This spray wins the prize. Totally anticlimactic, but there you have it. Really: flavor-wise, it’s sweet and even a bit yummy. Effective, heck yes, wow. Great to spray on right before you go to sleep (don’t talk; lie down, let it run into your nasal and ear cavities). This is the powerhouse of prevention and comfort. A really sore throat won’t be completely gone after one application. But this tincture will bring relief and assist in healing. The brand, Eclectic Institute, has an excellent reputation. If you also happen to have an ear ache on one side, spray the throat on that same side; then lie down with the painful ear facing the pillow. The spray will run into that cavity and help to bring healing. (Also, of course, alternately use Garlic Mullein Oil with that same ear facing up for 1-2 minutes.) Why go on? Why read further? These other sprays deserve reviews, too:
- Menthol-Mint by NuNaturals (the stevia company)~ This one ties in the flavor and numbing categories with Elderberry-Red Root spray. The menthol in this spray will even loosen mucous in your nasal passages and may have you spitting or blowing your nose after 1-2 sprays. This one is sweetened, with honey (oddly, not stevia). It’s got a strong minty flavor and is recommended for kids and adults. I carry it in my purse. If I’m talking a lot (or reading books aloud to my kids) and get a dry throat it works wonders.
- Echinacea-Goldenseal by Gaia Herbs~ Some top herbalists do not recommend combining echinacea and goldenseal. I have found both herbs to be very effective for me, both prophylactically and after the onset of illness. So perhaps personal experience weighs into the discussion. However, this is my favorite spray to mention because of its flavor. I am amused to report that this spray tastes of horse stable and shoe store. It is terrible. It tastes so bad that is will make you laugh after you grimace. So, perhaps it goes without saying, this is my least favorite of the four spray options I’ve reviewed here. However, it is effective in numbing the throat, reducing pain, bringing relief and perhaps providing healing. It is worthy of being included because it is still in the top 4 as far as how well it works. There are many throat sprays on the market that are not even worth buying. If you can’t get your hands on the other three reviewed, theeeen I recommend this one.
- Echinacea-Propolis by Herb Pharm~ If you’ve purchased Herb Pharm tinctures before you’ll know what I mean when I mention their quality. This company provides excellent herbal mentrums (herbs soaked in alcohol). I have used many of their herbs for healing and continue to buy them for their effectiveness. That said, Herb Pharm’s throat spray was not designed with taste in mind. It has a strong alcohol flavor. The herbs are not delicious, (but you get used to them). This is a functional spray that works well but isn’t recommended for any but the most stalwart of children. Adults, be brave; it’s good for you.
What About Strep Throat?
Strep throat is indeed a serious bacterial infection, often displaying itself with symptoms such as fever, white spots on the tonsils and a very sore throat with swallowing. Greater complications to heart, kidneys and other illnesses are real risks. Antibiotics can be an effective and very tempting choice, strep being indeed bacterial in nature. However, I can tell you from first-hand experience that antibiotics are accepted and used too readily, to the detriment of gut flora diversity.
When antibiotics are used repeatedly one’s thriving gut colony is reduced to fewer kinds and quantities of good flora. Lacking a good probiotic army allows invasive pathogens to take over. Frankly, once destroyed, a diverse gut flora colony can never be completely restored. We should treasure and protect the guts we were born with and reserve antibiotics for literal emergencies.
Another reason to reconsider the use of antibiotics? It sets the body up for repeated infections. The fix is temporary. One intervention is just an arrow pointing to the next intervention, which eventually finds itself to where I found myself: a decimated gut, getting my tonsils out… and still! Sore throats are now a lifelong baggage I carry with me. (And my gut…well, that’s a long story of healing but never complete restoration.)
Lastly, even Web Md warns that most extreme sore throats are viral in nature and will not be affected by the use of antibiotics. Most cases of strep, they continue, will resolve on their own, without the use antibiotics: “Strep throat will go away in 3 to 7 days with or without treatment. Doctors usually treat strep throat with antibiotics even though they may not make you well faster.” Wow, wow, wow! We need to learn to ride out the pain. Our society is too influenced by fear when we experience discomfort.
What then? What to do when you’re in pain and need relief?
The solution is to assist the body, to support its process of elimination, with herbs, homeopathy or sometimes other techniques in which a naturopathic or functional medical doctor specializes. In the case of sore throats, herbs have been my first go-to. They are extremely effective. (But remember, sometimes there will be pain with an infection. We need to learn to practice caution, yes, while also toughening up and persevering.)
I have found elderberry to be the most effective herb for sore throats. In the form of spray, this herb provides topical relief and healing. The Eclectic Institute brand‘s additional active ingredients are echinacea and slippery elm, for immune boosting and pain relief.
In the case of strep throat or any infection, prevention is the first line of defense. Elderberry throat spray can be used upon the first onset of symptoms and/or perpetually until symptoms abate.
What about you? Please contribute below in the comments section any experiences you’ve had with sore throats, herbal sprays and getting through strep throat with or without antibiotics.