Traditional Chinese Herbal Therapy for Tonsillitis
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The tonsils, which are located on each side at the back of the throat, are actually lymph nodes, which means their job is to filter out harmful microorganisms that could infect the body. Once in a while, however, they can become overwhelmed by bacterial or viral invaders. The result is infection and inflammation, accompanied by a host of flu-like symptoms. This is tonsillitis, which is particularly common among children.

To distinguish tonsillitis from similar-appearing illnesses, such as the flu and strep throat, your physician may take a throat culture. Treatment includes rest, an over-the-counter analgesic (such as aspirin or acetaminophen), and possibly a course of oral antibiotics. Even though you should start feeling better after a few days on antibiotics, continue taking the medication until all pills are gone to prevent reinfection.

When the glands become infected three or more times per year, or an infection is particularly severe, your physician may recommend a tonsillectomy-removing the tonsils. Though tonsillectomies were a fairly routine practice in the past, most experts now believe that the tonsils protect against infection, and therefore, this surgery is performed only when absolutely necessary. Having these glands removed does not guarantee a lifetime free from sore throats. The same bacteria that infect the tonsils also can infect the throat-though people who've had tonsillectomies generally have fewer throat infections.

Herbal Therapy
Infusions of cleavers, sage, and red sage can help combat inflammation and soreness. To use cleavers, steep 1 teaspoon dried leaves in 1 cup boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes; strain. Drink several times a day.

For sage and red sage infusions, steep 1 teaspoon dried or fresh leaves in 1 cup boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes; strain. Gargle with the warm tea up to 5 times a day. Caution: Do not swallow.

A blend of tinctures of cleavers and echinacea also can temper tonsillitis. Combine equal parts of each tincture and take 1 teaspoon, 3 times daily as needed.

Herbal products are available in health food stores and in some pharmacies and supermarkets. Follow package for specific directions.

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