Natural treatments for catarrh

Natural treatments for catarrh

Catarrh is an excessive build-up of mucus in one of the airways or cavities of the body. It is usually found inside the nose, but it can also occur in the throat, ears, and chest.
It is not regarded as a condition in itself, but a symptoms of a condition such as:
  • The common cold or another infection;
  • Hay fever or another type of allergic rhinitis;
  • Non-allergic rhinitis (sensitivity to environment triggers);
  • Nasal polyps (fleshy swellings inside the nose).

What causes catarrh?

Catarrh is caused by the body's natural defenses – the immune system – reacting to an infection or irritation.

When this occurs, it sends white blood cells to the source of the infection or irritation, which then releases molecules that cause the mucous membranes to swell and produce mucus.

The swelling also narrows the cavity, resulting in further congestion and this catarrh can be clear and runny or thick and coloured.

For reasons that are unknown, some people have abnormally sensitive blood vessels that react to environmental triggers, such as cigarette smoke and pollution.

This causes the affected blood vessels to swell in a similar way to an infection or allergic reaction and it is this swelling leads to congestion and catarrh – it is known as vasomotor rhinitis or non-allergic rhinitis.

Cigarette smoke and pollution are common triggers for this, with others including perfume, alcohol, spicy food, changes in the weather and stress.

Catarrh can lead to a:
  • constant need to clear your throat
  • feeling that your throat is blocked
  • blocked or stuffy nose that you can't clear
  • runny nose
  • feeling of mucus running down the back of your throat
  • persistent cough
  • headache or facial pain
  • reduced sense of smell and taste
  • crackling sensation in your ear and some temporary hearing loss
These problems can be frustrating to live with and may affect your sleep, making you feel tired.

Natural treatments

Strawberry (Fragaria vesca)

Eat the ripe fruit as a treatment for pulmonary catarrh.

Bael tree (Aegle marmelos)

Make a decoction of the leaves, using 10 to 15 grams for 1 liter of water.

There are things you can try at home to relieve your symptoms of catarrh, 
They include:
  • avoiding things that trigger your symptoms, such as allergens or smoky places
  • taking sips of cold water when you feel the need to clear your throat –constantly clearing your throat may make things worse
  • using a saline nasal rinse several times a day – these can be bought from a pharmacy or made at home with half a teaspoon of salt in a pint of boiled water that's been left to cool
  • avoiding warm, dry atmospheres, such as places with air conditioning and car heating systems – placing plants or bowls of water in a room may help to keep the air humid
  • staying well hydrated
  • talking to a pharmacist about suitable over-the-counter medications –including decongestants, antihistamines or steroid nasal sprays

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