Congestive catarrh is that thick clear,green or yellow mucous that comes out of our noses, down our throats and often clogs up our lungs. You might call it mucous, phlegm or kids would call it snot!
Where does it come from? Have a look at this great diagramme to see which parts of your skull are blocked by congestive catarrh.
But wherever it comes from and whatever the name - it can really be a nuisance. This page will be devoted to this gluey substance.It can drip down the throat and cause coughing episodes in children and adults.
There are many medical conditions where mucous is formed and an expectorant - a drug that thins mucous - is used so that it can be coughed up or digested.
However, apart from the orthodox drugs normally prescribed for these conditions there are several effective homeopathic remedies and some naturopathic tips that can be used in conjunction, to thin and decrease the amount of mucus produced. Congestive catarrh is a hindering factor in many diseases, such as bronchitis, emphysema and pneumonia.
POST NASAL DRIPS . Coughs in children caused by catarrh - when a drip of mucous flows down the throat when they are laying down, known as the post nasal drip, are one of the main reasons why children wake up at night coughing.This is not a 'coughs' page though so the remedies I am suggesting here are aimed at the mucous. Go to the coughs page if you need more info on types of coughs.
1. Kali Bich. How would I have managed a busy practice all those years without this remedy. The thick, stringy gluey discharge even sticks to the basin when you spit it out! The nose is blocked and has crusty plugs and you have lost your sense of smell altogether. Mucous membranes everywhere are affected. Buy Kali Bich in a 6th potency and take it two or three times a day. Keep on taking it as it can take a while for it to have an effect.. but it usually helps a lot.
2. Hydrastis. This remedy is wonderfully helpful for thick, yellowish, ropy mucous. The catarrh may be anywhere in the body, nose , throat or stomach. You will find that I talk more about it in the seniors section, as it is useful for older, easily-tired people. Buy Hydrastis in the 6th potency and have it twice a day.
3. Pulsatilla. We mustn't forget Pulsatilla as a great remedy for catarrh. When you see a child with greeny yellow candlesticks coming down from their nose, weepy and irritable.. this is the remedy for them. Puls can be used to great effect in the low potencies, for children, from a 3rd - 12th potency , and slightly higher in the 30th potency for adults.
4. Silica. If you have had a cold that just won't go away and the catarrh is still thick, yellow and lumpy, use this remedy. Its slow acting but has such a deep effect. Be sparing with doses of Silica. Just one or two doses of a 30th and then wait for a few days. It can be slower to act but will relaibly do so when well indicated.
5. Kali Mur. Thick white phlegm, in the nose, the throat, the chest.. even the ears making hearing difficult. This is one of the best remedies for glue ear in children!
6. Tissue Salt Combination J. This combo is for congestive catarrh, chestyness and colds. Tissue Salts are so wonderful because you can take them for general symptoms. Combo J contains Ferr Phos, Kali Mur, Nat Mur on a lactose base.
JUDES RELIABLES: I have to say that Kali Bich has never let me down. Just keep on with it for a while.
Generally speaking, people who are prone to congestive catarrh are often those whose body systems are not efficient at getting rid of waste and toxins from the liver, kidneys and bowel and perhaps do not get enough exercise to promote elimination through the skin and lungs.
So, going for a brisk walk can often result in loosening the phlegm so that it can be spat out easily, down the sink or toilet or into a paper handkerchief.
Pollution in the air is a major factor in the over production of mucous in many third world countries and often, in those countries, it is common and acceptable practice to spit out large quantities of the gluey substance. However, in places where this is not a social norm we try to deal with it in other ways, swallowing it for example.
If we can reduce the amount and thin the consistency of the congestive catarrh - then our bodies will thanks us with clearer airways, allowing more oxygen into the bloodstream and thereby improving our general health.
Can Diet Reduce Catarrh? Let's look at foods - as a change in diet can very often be the beginning of a dramatic change in the amount and consistence of congestive catarrh produced.
FOODS TO AVOID
Sugar and foods containing a high proportion of sugar such as jams, sweets, ice cream, cakes and biscuits.
Refined carbohydrates: white breads and white flour products.
Saturated fats, which are mainly animal fats, hard at room temperature, e.g.butter, lard, suet, and foods containing a high proportion of them such as pastry or cakes.
Cow's milk, cream, butter and cheese. Milk is not only mucous forming in many people but it encourages the proliferation of fermentation bacteria in the intestinal tract, which can cause digestive problems. Hard high fat cheese should be eaten in moderation, if at all, but cottage cheese and other low fat cheeses usually cause no problem.
A NOTE ON MILK ALLERGIES
Many people do not just find milk and milk products to be mucous forming, thus contributing to congestive catarrh, but are allergic to cow's milk. This means that if they avoid milk products for a week or two and then consume some milk they experience an allergic reaction. This reaction can take many forms: severe catarrh, streaming rhinitis, asthma, eczema, irritability, depression, migraine, premenstrual tension, heavy periods, pain and swelling in the joints, heartburn, constipation, diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, glandular problems etc. In these cases milk products should be avoided totally if possible. If the allergy is severe, homeopathic de-sensitisation can greatly diminish the reaction. Contact me for more details.
THE CALCIUM QUESTION
Calcium is essential for healthy bones and teeth and proper functioning of muscles and nerves. Many people assume that milk is their main source of calcium but this should not be so if they eat a balance mixed diet. Also, calcium can be taken as a supplement. We need to remember that we need sunshine, Vitamin D and extra doses of Vitamin C and that bitter herbal remedies can really help with any digestive problems caused by milk allergies.
Magnesium is just as important as Calcium as the two work in combination - the calcium assists muscle and nerve contraction and the magnesium with muscle and nerve relaxation.
Not only does milk contain very little magnesium but the calcium in the milk inhibits the absorption of the magnesium.
All great reasons for cutting back on cows milk and seeking other alternatives such as soy milk, rice milk and almond milk.
NB: where there is an extra need for calcium, as in growing children, pregnant or lactating women and women over 40 - dolomite supplements are recommended. Dolomite contains calcium and magnesium in the right proportions, and can be purchased as a supplement combined with vitamins A and D.
So - what are the most common problems caused by excessive congestive catarrh? Coughs, hawking or snarking ( where the catarrh is sucked noisily from the back of the nasal passages), difficulty breathing,
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