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Polyps (nasal)

General characteristics

General characteristics

A polyp is a small non-cancerous growth that arises from a mucous membrane and is attached to it by a stalk like projection. They are found in the inner mucous membrane linings of the nose.

They are an overgrowth of the cells of the nasal lining and are more common in those who suffer from asthma or frequent sinus infections but this is not the cause. The actual trigger for the growths may well be some kind of allergen or sensitivity such as pollen, dustmites or environmental/household chemical irritation. Sensitivity to aspirin and other things containing salicylates are now being discovered in some who suffer from nasal polyps. Hormones such as oestrogen seem to be implicated in the formation of cervical or uterine polyps.

Nasal polyps vary is size from insignificant to large enough to dampen the sense of smell and inhibit proper breathing. Other possible side effects include developing a nasal twang to the voice, increased likelihood of nasal or sinus infections, sleep apnoea (waking up with breath held) and snoring or mouth breathing.

Conventional treatment relies on steroids or other anti-inflammatories or some form of physical surgery to cut out the growths. They usually grow back after surgery as the cause has not been addressed. Long term use of steroids has some damaging side effects and should be avoided wherever possible.


Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Try eliminating all sugars and refined or 'quick burn' carbohydrates and starches (pastas, bread, cakes, pies, biscuits, pastries, white rice, potatoes, dried packet sauces, etc) from the diet and eat only whole grains such as rye, barley, brown rice, quinoa, amaranth and the like for a month. At the same time cut out all processed and packaged foods and drinks and eat plenty of organic salads, vegetable juices, homemade soups, bakes and roasted veg etc. Many sufferers have reported excellent results just by following the no sugar and extra whole food regime, many find relief in less than a week.

Use plenty of fresh garlic, ginger, turmeric, basil, thyme in your cooking as these all have anti-inflammatory actions and have helped reduce polyps .


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Blood root is a herb that can be used to erode the excess tissue of the polyp. It needs to be used with extreme care however as it is very corrosive.

The astringent herbs and mucous membrane tonics such as thuja, bayberry bark, myrrh, black walnut husk, oak bark or goldenseal could be used as a snuff (when in their powdered form) to shrink the polyps.

Snorting a pinch of chilli powder up each affected nostril can help to shrink polyps.

Herbs such as mint, eyebright, plantain, elderflower and yarrow could be taken daily as a tea (equal parts of herbs, 2-3 cups daily) for their anti-catarrhal and decongestant actions and their positive effects on the tone and condition of the nasal mucous membranes.


Natural healing

Natural healing

Practise 5 minutes of pranayama breathing every day to help increase the strength of air flow through the nasal passages, reduce sensitivity to allergens and increase the overall health of the nasal membranes and respiratory passages.

A dab of tea tree essential oil on a cotton bud morning and evening may help to gradually shrink the polyps. You may need to dilute the tea tree oil a little in a carrier such as sunflower oil.

Castor oil (organic cold pressed) applied to the polyps directly using a cotton bud (or Q tip) has helped to dissolve the polyps of many sufferers.

A new type of treatment called helminthic therapy has been developed to treat many kinds of immune type disorders and some people have reported positive results for nasal polyps. Nasal polyps have been found to contain an abundance of chitinase, an enzyme that destroys chitin. Chitin is present in the bodies of parasites such as hookworm and also dust-mites and the like. Apparently by introducing hookworms to the body, the destructive enzyme in the nasal polyps work on the hookworms and stop over-reacting to the chitin in the form of dust-mites etc, causing the polyps to disappear..


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