For as long as I can remember I have suffered from sore throats throughout the year. I now suffer from severe throat infections every four to six weeks, which leave me exhausted. Sometimes I also have horrible catarrh. My doctor will no longer give me antibiotics because she feels that I am becoming immune to them. I am on the waiting list for the homoeopathic hospital but it may be two years before someone can see me. I take garlic and cod-liver oil every day. Can you help?
Chronic sore throats are not uncommon. In my experience, most patients with this problem have excess mucus accumulation in the sinuses, which drips into the throat and kick-stare the problem. This ‘postnasal drip’, as it is known, is often very acidic and sometimes infected. The acidic medium affects the lining of the throat and makes it sore and painful. If the mucus is infected, the bacteria colonise the throat and tonsils, exacerbating the inflammation so that swallowing becomes difficult.
The mucus accumulation in the sinuses is caused by chronic sinusitis, due to infection and/or allergy (to dust mites or another common allergen). Very often, chronic constipation causes excess mucus discharge in the sinuses: if the toxins are not eliminated by the bowels, they are often reabsorbed and discharged into the sinuses. The majority of people with chronic constipation have mild to moderate sinus problems, also frontal headaches where the sinuses are.
The postnasal drip causes another distressing phenomenon. As the mucus drips into the throat, the person swallows automatically, so that the mucus doesn’t go into the windpipe and trigger a coughing fit The constant swallowing injures the muscles and ligaments in the floor of the mouth and throat. The ligaments most susceptible to being affected are those that suspend the voice box. As you swallow, the Adam’s apple (which houses the voice apparatus) goes up and down because of the swallowing reflex. So the ligaments and muscles suffer repetitive strain injury (RSl). This causes constant pain, which is interpreted as throat ache – this may sound strange, and some doctors may dispute iq but I have seen and treated enough cases to speak with confidence. A health professional needs only to feel the muscles and ligaments in the floor of the throat and note how sore they are to the touch. If they are massaged with a little peppermint balm for two to three minutes, the pain vanishes. Do this two or three times a day for a couple of days and the throat ache will be history. To get to the bottom of the sore throat one must treat the sinuses.
Here are my suggestions
* Make sure you are not constipated: drink plenty of water; eat figs, prunes, papaya, spinach and beetroot. For mild constipation, take Herbolax: two after the evening meal or at bedtime for one month. For moderate constipation, take Qurs Mulayyan: one at bedtime for one month.
* Help clear the sinuses by taking herbal supplements – either Khamira Nazli or Lauq Sepistan. Take half a teaspoonful a day with water or manuka honey for two weeks.
* Ease the throat with the Ayurvedic supplement Kuka. Suck one when your throat stings or hurts, especially if this is after eating or drinking (don’t suck it at the same time as eating or drinking).
* If you have allergies, see a qualified homoeopath (Dr David Curtin at the Integrated Medical Centre, see right, specializes in the homoeopathic treatment of allergies).
* Doing yogic breathing exercises, particularly the cleansing breath, and using a nasal douche are very useful for chronic sinusitis. These are detailed in Therapeutic Yoga, the book I co-wrote with Jiwan Brar.
* Boost the immune system by taking Bioprash or Chavanprash daily for two months.
* Avoid the following foodstuffs because they irritate the throat chilled drinks, ice cubes, ice cream, citrus fruit/juices, very hot or spicy foods such as chilli, fried foods and crisps, also cheese and dairy foods because they clog up the sinuses.
* Also, see my column on catarrh, which is available on my website.