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Catarrh

General characteristics

General characteristics

Catarrh is defined as an inflammation of the mucous secreting membranes.
The mucous membranes line the passages of the body that open to the air (such as the nose, mouth, eyes, urinary tract, genitals and anus) and also many of the internal passages, cavities and organs (such as the digestive tract, sinuses, lungs, womb and bladder). Their purpose is to secrete mucous to provide protection against pathogens and damage, to lubricate the passages and organs and to absorb various elements such as water and, nutrients and oxygen.
Catarrh arises when the mucous membrane in a particular part of the body becomes inflamed and produces an excess of either thick, sticky or watery mucous and white blood cells that clog and irritate the system. It often occurs in response to infection, allergy, chronic stress, poor circulation, inhaled irritants, poor diet (excessive mucous forming foods and processed carbohydrates) persistent lack of exercise, in response to a chronic state of body toxicity, smoking, poor digestion and chronic constipation.
Most people associate catarrh with the nose and breathing passages but it can form in any of the mucous membrane lined organs and cavities. If left untreated it can become deep seated and lead to many chronic diseases such as asthma.
Herbal and natural treatments aim to eliminate the causes of the catarrh and render the catarrh more fluid to make it easier for the body to remove.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Get plenty of regular exercise in fresh air and sunshine.

Avoid those foods that predispose to the over-production of mucous in the body. These include dairy foods, refined carbohydrates such as white flour products, starchy foods like potatoes and white rice, junk foods, wine and beer, processed and packet foods, fizzy drinks, sugary snacks and sugar itself.

Increase your intake of fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables, especially raw and lightly cooked foods and include a large bowl of mixed leafy green salad in the daily diet.

Have a small glass of freshly squeezed citrus juice at breakfast time including limes, lemons, oranges or grapefruits.

Eat plenty of garlic, leeks, onions, chives etc as these thin mucous and are also beneficial to circulation and for the immune system.

Use the warming spices and condiments like fresh black pepper, chilli, ginger, mustards, horseradish, turmeric. Add them daily to your cooking or add a pinch of any to herbal teas for their anti-inflammatory, decongestant, circulation boosting, antibacterial and antiviral properties.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

The following herbs will stimulate digestive secretions and processes, encourage the dissolving of mucous and improve elimination from the bowels. Angelica root, yarrow, vervain, sage and fenugreek seeds. Make a mix using equal amounts of the dried herbs and put 3 heaped teaspoons of the mix in a pan with 1 1/2 pints of water. Bring to the boil then turn off the heat and cover, leaving to stand overnight. Strain off and drink a small cupful before meals.
Make a tea of the following decongestant and anti-catarrhal herbs. Plantain leaves, hyssop, marshmallow leaves, liqourice, thyme, peppermint and elderflowers. Use equal parts of each and use 1 heaped teaspoon per cup. Take 3 cups daily. Add a touch of boneset too for immune enhancement and decongestant actions.
Add eyebright dried herb to teas if the mucous is watery and for its tonic action on the mucous membranes.
Dandelion root can help with chronic catarrh when used regularly as a tea.
For catarrh in the chest and lungs add herbs such as elecampagne root, white horehound, balm of gilead buds, ground ivy, wild cherry bark and aniseed to your herbal formulas to bring up the mucous.
Buchu is decongestant in the genito-urinary area and also in the lungs.
A few drops of oak bark tincture added to water can help to dry up excessive mucous secretions and tone the mucous membranes.
A few drops of blue flag tincture in water can be taken 3 times daily to help to cleanse and clear the lymphatic system of wastes and catarrhal blockages.
 
Chew 5 juniper berries daily for a week or so to help clear excess mucous.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Mix a teaspoon of cider vinegar in warm water with a little honey and take half an hour before meals (3 times daily).This will greatly improve digestion, elimination and reduce mucous production. Start with one dose daily if you find it unpalatable.
Do steam inhalations over a bowl of very hot water and add a few drops each of thyme, eucalyptus, pine and tea tree essential oils.
Olbas oil is good to dab on the chest overnight or drop some on the underside of your pillow.

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