Earache is usually a problem in the ear, eye pain a problem in the eye, nose and mouth pain a problem in each of those organs, and so on. Ears, nose, and throat are an interconnected system, and an inflammation in one area will often affect one or both of the others, but pain will still tend to be confined to the head area. This makes treatment of the sensory organs relatively easy, and a wide range of self-help approaches is effective for most symptoms.
Cold and flu
Colds and flu are the most common and still one of the most elusive viral illnesses of the human race, producing a variety of uncomfortable and often “achy” symptoms. In colds, symptoms are mainly in the head, especially in the ears, nose and throat, while flu can be felt throughout the body, particularly in the joints, chest and lungs.
Most colds are not serious enough to be a real bother, and go away of their own accord after about a week. Flu is more serious, and requires bed rest in its early stages. Natural therapists insist that the symptoms of neither should be suppressed, however, particularly if a raised temperature is involved; the fever should be encouraged to come out through sweating. The following approaches can help accelerate recovery.
Echinacea, garlic, ginger, and lemon are all effective at combating infection. A hot tea of equal parts of elderflower, peppermint, and yarrow is also beneficial drunk at least three times a day.
Rest, keep warm, and drink plenty of fluids (6-8 glasses a day), especially if there is a fever and sweating. Mix honey and lemon (or cider vinegar) in hot water and drink regularly. Regular inhaling with mixtures such as Olbas oil (containing eucalyptus, juniper berry, menthol, clove, wintergreen, cajuput, and mint oils), either sprinkled on a handkerchief or tissue, or added to steam and breathed in, helps clear nasal passages and ease breathing.
Nutritional and dietary therapy
Take vitamin C with bioflavonoids (6-10 g a day) zinc (15-20 mg a day), vitamin B complex (best as a multivitamin, with iron), and cod liver oil. If hungry (loss of appetite is normal and aids recovery), concentrate on fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, grains, and vegetables.
The first resort whenever eye symptoms arise should be to consult an eye doctor. However, there are suitable home remedies for less serious eye problems such as eyestrain.
A few simple exercises can help relieve eyestrain. First, blink rapidly, then follow by “palming” the eyes. To “palm,” sit comfortably, rub your hands together vigorously to generate heat, and place them over the eyes. Hold them there for several minutes.
Grate a raw potato and place enough on the closed eyelid to cover the entire eye. Cover with gauze and leave in position for 1-2 hours. Alternatively, bathe the eye with euphrasia, either using an eye-cup (eye bath) or soaking some roll cotton (cotton wool) in the liquid and applying it to your eye for around 20 minutes every hour while the pain lasts.
Conjunctivitis, or “pink eye,”is inflammation of the membrane inside the eye tissue (conjunctiva), causing redness, pain, and often a sticky discharge. Infection is usually the reason, but an allergic reaction, smoke and chemical sprays can also be to blame.
Wash the eye several times a day with a mixture of one tablespoon of golden seal root powder, one tea-spoon of salt, and 250 mg vitamin C, added to 2 pints (1 liter) of clean water. Let the mixture settle before using.
Problems such as earache are particularly common in children and hey may be linked to infections in other areas, for example tonsillitis.
Pain in the ears can be caused simply by loud noise and exposure to old, windy conditions, or more seriously by infection. A heating pad or wrapped hot-water bottle held over the ear will ease the pain.
Caution : Infection of the inner ear (otitis media) is a serious condition and medical help should be sought if it is suspected. Antibiotics may be advisable, particularly in children with a high fever. Untreated, it can lead to meningitis.
Nutritional and dietary therapy
If pain is recurrent, reduce intake of dairy products, drink 6-8 glasses of water every day, and cover ears in windy conditions. Regular supplementation with vitamin C, zinc and garlic can also help.
Put 2-3 drops of warmed almond or castor oil into the ears and seal with a small swab of cotton. Other effective drops are oils of garlic, hypericum, or mullein. A couple of drops of tinctures of pennywort, chamomile, yarrow, hyssop, or lobelia can also help. An alternative is a hot onion or mustard poultice placed behind the ear and left until the ache eases. If infection is the cause of the ache, take echinacea tincture every two hours 30 drops (half a teaspoon) for an adult; half that dose for a child.
A constant background noise in the ear, usually described as “ringing in the ears,” that you can hear but nobody else can. There is no single known cause, but some likely sources are depression, stress, anxiety, infection, high blood pressure, drugs, and congestion (with wax).
“Ear candles” are said to be particularly beneficial, though you will need someone to help. The “candles” are thin, hollow tubes, containing traces of herbs, that are placed in each ear in turn and burned slowly down to the ear. It takes about 10 minutes to do one ear. Wax and other impurities are drawn into the tube, and the smoke from the herbs is said to have a healing effect on the ear cavities.
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