Tonsillitis – An Ayurvedic Perspective
Ayurvedic Treatment for Tonsillitis
Today we are going to discuss a health problem called Tonsillitis.
In our body, on both sides of the throat there are two very small lymphoid organs which are known as tonsils. The tonsils are responsible for protecting our throat against many germs. Not only this, they also work as a parameter in our body. This means, they become swollen and acquire redness in response to an infection in some other location of the body, as well.
To give us a detailed information on Tonsillitis, today we have our Ayurvedic expert, Dr. Parmeshwar Arora in our studio. Welcome to our show Dr. Arora.
Q. Before I ask you anything about Tonsillitis, I would like to understand what exactly are tonsils?
Tonsils are basically a type of lymphoid tissues which are present in our throat. Regarding the function of tonsils, they prevent unwanted bacteria from entering our throat or body. Apart from this, they help in production of white blood cells which play a significant role in the defense mechanism of our body.
Q. Now that we have understood what are tonsils and what function they have in our body, please tell us when do tonsils get converted into tonsillitis?
Tonsillitis is a condition where these tonsils get inflamed. This means that due to any reason if there is inflammation and swelling in the tonsils then this condition is referred to as Tonsillitis. In the condition of Acute Tonsillitis, the patient suffers from severe pain in the throat. he gets fever, has difficulty in swallowing food. Sometimes it becomes so severe that it causes breathing difficulties too. So, to conclude, the condition of inflamed tonsils is termed as Tonsillitis.
Q. Talking in terms of Ayurveda, increase or decrease of which particular dosha (according to Ayurveda three doshas or bodily humors constitute a human body) is responsible for occurrence of Tonsillitis in our body?
According to the concepts of Ayurveda, all the painful conditions are primarily caused due to disturbance in vata dosha. For example the conditions of arthritis, headache, stomachache etc. are all somehow caused due to disturbance in vata. Similarly, for inflammation, the pitta dosha is said to be responsible. And, kapaha dosha is responsible for heaviness in the body e.g. the condition of obesity can directly be attributed to kapha dosha. So if we focus on the doshas then, as I think, pitta dosha could have a direct role in occurrence of Tonsillitis. But besides this, I would here mention, your defense mechanism i.e. immunity. If you have a weak immunity, then you can easily become a victim of any disease whether it is related to disturbance in vata, dosha or kapha. But if specifically consider the condition of inflammation then according to me, pitta dosha is the prime reason behind it.
Q. Particularly talking about kids, they often go through the problem where they have inflamed throat due to which they have difficulty in swallowing things and even speaking up. So, why does this problem mostly occurs in kids?
If you ask me to give one most important reason for getting Tonsillitis, then I would say it is immune-compromised condition. This is the condition where the defense mechanism of our body i.e. immunity gets compromised. This condition increases the risk of getting Tonsillitis, immensely. Kids naturally have a relatively weaker immunity. This answers your question that why do mostly kids become a victim to Tonsillitis. Since they have a weak immunity, whenever they eat anything cold or sour, or whenever they get exposed to cold or dust they get into this problem. Even a minor infection in their throat can inflame their tonsils and cause Tonsillitis.
Q. As I understand, kids are most affected with this condition due to their weak immunity and to some extent, due to their wrong eating habits. Now, often we see that even if there is minor throat problem people suspect it as Tonsillitis. Please tells us about some specific symptoms on the basis of which a normal person can identify Tonsillitis.
Coming to identification of Tonsillitis then I would say the first symptom comes as pain in the throat and as it progresses into swelling in the tonsils, the child may get fever as well. He has difficulty in swallowing food and as I said sometimes there could be difficulty in breathing too (it happens when the infection in tonsils involves throat too). These are all subjective or symptomatic indications which give us an idea that the child is suffering from Tonsillitis. Apart from this, tonsils are such organs which can clearly be seen using torch. So it can easily be seen whether the tonsils are enlarged or not. But here too there is a possibility that the tonsils are enlarged but not inflamed. So yet again there is a distinction that whether the patient is having a Chronic Tonsillitis or an Acute Tonsillitis. In case of Chronic Tonsillitis, we don’t see acute symptoms. While observing tonsils with torch, we find that though enlarged the tonsils don’t appear red or inflamed. In such cases of Chronic Tonsillitis, we try to get the tonsils back to their original size with the help of some medicines. The symptoms of Acute Tonsillitis are sufficient to disturb the routine life of the child but in case of Chronic Tonsillitis, though the tonsils are enlarged but the routine life doesn’t get affected.
Q. By the way, I also have a problem of Tonsillitis and I came to know about it when I got a checkup done. I want to know that after what time gap there are chances of recurrence of Tonsillitis?
There is a very simple logic for this. As long as you continue to consume or use those things which tend to trigger an inflamed Tonsillitis, you will remain prone to it. See, if a child gets the problem on intake of things like ice-cream, cold drinks and sour items then that means that the child is not able to tolerate them. So its imminent that the problem will recur every time he or she is given such things. The time gap does not matter. The use of antibiotics will cover the problem for that time or may be for next 10-15 days till the effect lasts but once that cover is over you would observe that the tonsils would again get inflamed. So you would need to be careful and completely abstain from things which trigger the problem.
Q. That means the patient needs to be very careful about his/her diet and lifestyle. He would need to completely give up on things which don’t suit him. But does that mean, a person needs to take these precautions for lifetime?
The immunity of our time keeps varying at various times. I would repeat myself here that if you ask me to give one single reason for frequent attacks of Tonsillitis then my answer would be a compromised immunity. Immunity refers to defense mechanism of our body. A compromised immunity leads to weak resistance against diseases and children have compromised immunity naturally. So as the children grow up there are good chances that this problem gets resolved automatically. So it is not like that one has to take these precautions for a lifetime. Definitely things would improve if you make an effort to strengthen your child’s immunity. For this, you can find help through Ayurveda. You will have to give your child such things which will boost his immunity and make them strong enough to tolerate cold or sour things. If you do not pay attention to boosting up child’s immunity and at the same time keep giving him/her cold and sour things then certainly the child will continue to get the problem.
Q. I think we have already resorted to Ayurveda through your medium. So, please let us know what kind of Ayurvedic treatment can be given to patients of Tonsillitis or to prevent the condition of Tonsillitis?
A very simple thing which I would like to mention here is that since in this case there is an involvement of inflammation, gargling has a very important role in its treatment. Adults or Children who are old enough to do gargles should gargle with salted warm water or warm water with turmeric powder. If you gargle with water in which mulberry or guava leaves and a little salt have been added then you will see that your condition would improve. These are very simple remedies yet very effective. You should boil 8-10 leaves of guava and mulberry leaves in about 4 cups of water till it is reduced to about one cup. After that strain the liquid and add a pinch of salt to it. Gargling with thus prepared liquid provides immense relief in Tonsillitis. If we talk about Ayurvedic medicines, if you want to increase immunity of the child then abramol which is a composition of shitopaladi churna, yaschi madhu churna, asphatica, tankan, godantibhasma etc. is very safe medicine and it can be given to a child of an year or even 6 months of age. For very small kids, abramol can be given as ¼ of a spoon and for bigger kids it can be given as ½ spoon. Adults with problem of Tonsillitis should take one spoon of this medicine twice a day (i.e. morning and evening). After use of this medicine you will yourself observe that your immunity specifically with respect to tonsils will become stronger. This will enable you to tolerate small changes which otherwise used to trigger the problem of Tonsillitis. A satwa prepared from mulberry leaves which we call as sat-shahtoot is also quite beneficial. Sat-shahtoot dissolved in little water can be given to children for sipping like tea. This too proves to be very effective in case of Tonsillitis. So, if you do these simple things like gargling with warm salted water or with warm turmeric water, routinely then you can avoid getting acute Tonsillitis. You will be saved from frequent use of antibiotics which you had to resort to get relief from acute conditions.
I would like to mention here that frequent use of antibiotics is not at all recommended for children. We obviously like antibiotics as they provide our children with instant relief from problem but we need to be aware that these antibiotics have bad impact on kidneys, stomach and liver. These impacts are not instantly felt but they are definitely observed in the long run. These are shortcuts and somewhere in life they make us realize their side-effects. So, what I suggest is though it requires effort but it is always wise to resort to the things which have no risk of side-effects. And there are such things available but somehow we don’t want to find out. There are various options available too e.g. to some patients we give abramol, to some others we give jeevani rasayan or rasayani kadha. The only thing is that the parents need to have that will. It’s not just Tonsillitis but somewhere it is indicative of an overall weak immunity. So, if we start working on improving immunity since childhood then it will certainly have positive influence on our child’s health. The use of antibiotics would also get minimized. Also, a weak immunity stuns growth. You would have observed that such children have constant nasal blockage, pain in throat, difficulty in eating and also frequent fever. All these affect child’s growth. So one should not ignore such things and get help from a physician. There are very simple remedies and they are quite effective. So why not follow them.