Ayurvedic treatment for Sore throat

Sore throat

Know More on Oral Care

  • Definition
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Management
  • FAQS
  • References

Definition

Sore throat Ayurvedic treatment

WHAT IS SORE THROAT?

Sore throat is a painful condition of the throat in which there is difficulty swallowing food and liquids due to swelling and the pain. Most sore throats are caused by a minor illness which resolves without medical treatment. Sore throat may occur in people of all age groups and is fairly common.1-2

Depending on the location of the pain, sore throat is named as:3

  • Pharyngitis – occurs in the pharynx
  • Epiglottitis – occurs in the epiglottis
  • Laryngitis – occurs in the larynx
  • Tonsillitis – affects tonsils

In Susrutha Samhitha (Ayurveda classic book), this condition is thought to be occurring with tonsillitis and is called Tundikeri. Acharya Vagbhatta identified these conditions as diseases of throat, while Acharya Susrutha identified them as diseases of the palate.4

Sore throat or tonsillitis is believed to be caused due to wrong dietary habits (taking too much spicy and cold foods) and staying in colder climates.4

Causes

Sore throat

SORE THROAT CAUSES

Some common causes of sore throat include:3

  • Viral infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Fungal infection
  • Smoking
  • Shouting
  • Allergies

Symptoms

Sore throat

SORE THROAT SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of a sore throat can vary depending on the cause. Signs and symptoms might include:5

  • A painful or a scratchy feeling in the throat, that worsens with swallowing or talking
  • Difficulty in swallowing food or liquids
  • Presence of swollen glands in the neck or jaw
  • Swelling and redness of the tonsils
  • Presence of white patches due to pus in the tonsils
  • Hoarseness of voice

Diagnosis

Sore throat

SORE THROAT DIAGNOSIS

The physician will make a diagnosis of sore throat by:5

  • Physical examination of the throat, ears and the nasal passages using lighted instrument
  • Check for the presence of swollen glands by gently palpating the neck
  • Using a stethoscope to hear the breathing sounds

Management

Sore throat

SORE THROAT AYURVEDIC TREATMENT

In Ayurveda, the cure for sore throat is such that it fights the condition from its roots and fortifies the body against further attacks. Management of diseases in Ayurveda involves a combination of a variety of herbal medicines (aushadhi), diet changes (ahar) and lifestyle changes (vihar).6-7

Oral cleansing techniques like kanwal and gandusha or holding swirling of medicated oils or decoctions in mouth for specific periods can also be beneficial in sore throat, and all kapha-related throat problems.6-7

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

  • Avoid dairy, sugar, grain and animal products for a week
  • Avoid spicy food as it may irritate your throat.
  • Avoid sour substances like curds, buttermilk, and fried foods
  • Consume plenty of warm fluids, such as hot water, soups and teas
  • Lemon and ginger juice with honey, cider vinegar, herbal teas, ginger juice, carrot juice, apple juice, elderberry juice, blackcurrant tea or juice are all effective during infection, and may help improve immunity and sore throat
  • Chewing on mulethi sticks may help soothe the throat
  • Insufflation of medicines through nasal route/snuffing (Nasya karma) may be beneficial
  • Daily supplements of teaspoon of cod liver oil, 100 mg vitamin C tablets every 2-3 hours or 2 garlic capsules every two hours can be taken until you feel well again

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

  • Give plenty of rest to your throat and try not to talk
  • Avoid day sleep since it may lead to Kapha build-up
  • Avoid exposure to cold breeze and water
  • Maintain a good oral hygiene
  • Gargle every few hours using a solution of quarter teaspoonful of common salt or yavakshaara dissolved in half a glass of warm water or concentrated liquor prepared from the bark of Acacia (Babul) tree
  • Avoid frequent head baths and rain showers
  • Avoid passive cigarette smoking and atmospheric pollution

FAQS

Sore throat
  1. How Can Toothaches Be Prevented?

Ayurveda suggests simple diet and lifestyle changes to prevent toothaches. They are as follows:

Diet

  • Sticky substance which may adhere to the teeth should be avoided
  • Food containing sugar and other sweets should be avoided
  • Fruits like guavas, oranges, pomegranates and other fruits of the citrus family are beneficial as they contain vitamin C which strengthens gums
  • Amla must form the part of the diet since it contains the largest amount of vitamin C and is easily available

Lifestyle

  • Maintain a good oral hygiene. Good oral hygiene practices consist of brushing regularly and frequent rinsing of the mouth
  • Make a habit of rinsing the mouth after every meal
  • Use natural oils and extracts from clove oil for toothache. Dab a cotton ball in clove oil on the affected tooth and gently bite down. The natural properties of clove oil can help relieve tooth pain and prevent future cavities and bad breath
  • Using saline water to rinse the mouth after meals helps in curing toothache and even other tooth-related problems
  • Mix equal amounts of pepper, salt and few drops of water to form a paste. Apply this paste on the affected area to relieve toothache
  1. What causes teeth to hurt?

Some of the common causes of toothache includes:

  • Dental decay
  • Dental cavities
  • Swelling of the pulp
  • Tooth infection
  • Broken tooth
  • Exposed tooth root
  • Crack in the tooth
  • Consumption of food rich in carbohydrates and sugar like colas, candies, cakes, etc
  • Consuming hot and cold food together
  • Gum disease
  1. What is plaque?

Plaque is the sticky film or mass of bacteria that grows on the surface of the teeth. It is most noticeable when teeth are not brushed and makes teeth feel rough/fuzzy to the tongue.

When food containing carbohydrates and sugars such as soft drinks, raisins, cakes, or candy are frequently left on the teeth, it leads to the development of plaque. Mouth is full of bacteria which thrive on these food particles producing acids. These acids destroy tooth enamel over a period of time resulting in tooth decay. The development of plaque on the tooth under gums may cause breakdown of the supporting bone present underneath.

In Ayurvedic literature, dental conditions are referred as Danta sharkara, since the appearance of plaque is similar to the sugar coating over the teeth with a granular shape. It is a disease characterized by, hardened accumulation of mala on tooth surface which destroys the teeth and its surrounding structures and is accompanied by bad odour. Vitiated vata takes the form of thick adherence like the thick sugar syrup causing the manifestation of Danta sharkara.

  1. How do I keep my teeth and gums healthy?

Following tips can help you keep your teeth and gums healthy

  • Avoid sugar rich food, hard food, non-vegetarian diet food which will cause the built up of tartar and worsen the problems of dental plaques.
  • Green tea, intake of easily digestible and foods with less fat and carbohydrate prevent the formation of tartar.
  • Consume plenty of raw vegetables
  • Regularly practicing flossing, proper tooth brushing, oral rinsing and regular oil pulling helps to get rid of the plaque efficiently and further prevents the formation of tartar
  • Herbs such as nutmeg (Jatiphala), Triphala (Hareetaki, Vibheetaki and Amalaki) and Saindhava lavana can be made into a fine powder and rubbed well to the teeth. This helps to clear the tartar
  • A mixture of ashes of ginger, long pepper, black pepper and salt can be used for brushing the teeth. Turmeric can be added to this mixture in case of bleeding gums
  1. Can side effects of medications cause dry mouth?

The causes of dry mouth can be attributed to the following:

  • Certain medications
  • Aging
  • A blocked nose
  • Stress
  • Cancer therapy
  • Nerve damage
  • Other health conditions such as immune disease (Sjogren's syndrome) or HIV/AIDS.
  • Tobacco use
  • Drug abuse
  1. What types of foods and beverages should I avoid if I have dry mouth?

Avoid spicy foods and avoid excess coffee, tea, sodas and alcoholic drinks

  1. What’s causing my sore throat?

Sore throat may be caused by the following:

  • Viral infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Fungal infection
  • Smoking
  • Shouting
  • Allergies
  1. What can I do to make my throat feel better?

Ayurveda recommends the following:

  • Drink plenty of warm fluids, such as teas, soup, and water
  • Hot lemon and honey, honey and cidar vinegar, herbal teas, ginger juice or carrot and apple juice, elderberry juice, blackcurrent tea or juice are all effective during infection which also improve immunity and helps relieving sore throat
  • Daily supplements of teaspoon of cod liver oil, 100 mg vitamin C tablets every 2-3 hours or 2 garlic capsules every two hours can be given until the patient is well again
  • Give plenty of rest to your throat and try not to talk
  • Avoid day sleep since it may lead to Kapha build-up, leading to worsening according to Ayurveda
  • Avoid exposure to cold breeze, water etc.
  • Maintain a good oral hygiene
  • Gargle every few hours using a solution of quarter teaspoonful of common salt or yavakshaara dissolved in half a glass of warm water or decoction prepared from the bark of Acacia (Babul) tree
  1. Is triphala churna an effective remedy for the treatment of mouth ulcers?

Yes, as mouth ulcers are most commonly associated with constipation.  In case of such a situation, use of a mild laxative such as Triphala choorna is advised which will give some relief.

  1. Are there other steps I can take to prevent tooth cavities?

Ayurveda recommends few tips as follows:

  • Decrease intake of sugary foods and drinks
  • Consume foods that are rich sources of calcium
  • Make a mixture of turmeric, salt and mustard oil to make a paste and rub it on teeth and gums
  • Consume plenty of raw vegetables
  • Maintain a good oral hygiene to keep your teeth and gums clean.
  • Avoid smoking and excessive drinking since they may cause dental problems
  • Chewing on fresh herbal sticks in the morning as well as after every meal to prevent diseases. These herb sticks should be either ‘kashaya’ (astringent), ‘katu (acrid), or ‘tikta’ (bitter) in taste. The method of using these sticks is to crush one of its end, chew it, and eat it slowly. The neem (margosa or the Azadiraxhta indica), liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), miswak (miswaak, siwak, sewak) etc. are some examples of herbal sticks
  • Use of an herbal tooth powder madeup from neem powder and salt

References

Sore throat
  1. Sore Throat. Available at: http://www.healthline.com/health/sore-throat#Overview1. Accessed on: 2 September 2016.
  2. Sore Throat and Other Throat Problems - Topic Overview. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/tc/sore-throat-topic-overview. Accessed on 2 September 2016.
  3. Home Remedies For Sore Throat. Available at: http://www.medindia.net/homeremedies/sorethroat.asp. Accessed on: 2 September 2016.
  4. Tonsillitis- Ayurvedic Treatment, Herbs, Home Remedies. Available at: http://easyayurveda.com/2015/02/23/tonsillitis-ayurvedic-treatment-home-remedies/. Accessed on: 29 August 2016.
  5. Sore Throat. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sore-throat/home/ovc-20201937. Accessed on: 2 September 2016.
  6. TONSILLITIS AND AYURVEDIC TREATMENT. Available at: http://www.muralimanohar.com/Articles,%20English/Diseases%20and%20Conditions/Tonsillitis.htm. Accessed on: 29 August 2016.
  7. Mishra LC. Scientific Basis for Ayurvedic Therapies. 2004: MA; CRC Press
  8. McIntyre A. Herbal treatment of children: Western and Ayurvedic perspectives. Elsevier Health Sciences; 2005.
  9. Abhinav Singhand Bharathi Purohit. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2011 Apr-Jun; 2(2): 64–68. Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health
  10. Sunita Amruthesh. Dentistry and Ayurveda - IV: Classification and management of common oral diseases Indian J Dent Res, 19(1), 2008.

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