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Angina (acute tonsillitis) - symptoms, causes and herbal remedies for angina




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Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils that occurs with a variety of symptoms and usually affects children. Signs and symptoms of tonsillitis include swollen tonsils, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and painful lymph nodes on the side of the neck. Most cases of tonsillitis are caused by a virus infection, but bacterial infections can also cause tonsillitis. Treatment for angina is different depending on what the causative agent is.

What exactly is angina (acute tonsillitis)?

Tonsillitis or inflammation of the tonsils is a viral or bacterial infection that leads to inflammation of the tonsils (Latin: tonsillae) and throat. Tonsillitis tonsils lose their ability to fight infection and can even become a source of infection on their own. 

There are many potential viral and bacterial causes, but the most common source of tonsillitis is a dangerous bacterium called streptococcus pyogenes. 1

Symptoms of angina (acute tonsillitis)

The incubation period of tonsillitis from the moment when we are exposed to the infectious causative agent to the onset of the disease - about 2-4 days. In some cases, it may be even faster.


Symptoms of tonsillitis are:

Some other symptoms may include nausea and vomiting, stuffy nose, enlarged and painful lymph nodes, and swollen nodes in the front of the neck. The throat and tonsils are usually reddish or white pus spots may even appear on the tonsils – visible as a white film or white spots. Fever sometimes does not appear at all or appears earlier than sore throat and difficulty swallowing.

Tonsillitis, especially if left untreated, can lead to complications. Large purulent inflammation of the tonsils can even lead to a risk of suffocation associated with the penetration of purulent inflammation deeper into the tissues of the throat under the tonsils, where the so-called tonsils is formed. abscess (purulent deposit). An abscess is a cavity filled with pus, and this complication is accompanied by severe pain and swelling usually on one side of the throat and area under the jaw. From here it can spread practically anywhere. 

Causes of angina

Angina is an acute inflammation caused most often by viruses (90-95%, also infectious mononucleosis caused by Epstein-Barr virus) and by bacteria (Streptococcus pyogenes is responsible for most cases of streptococcal pharyngitis and tonsillitis). 

Acute pharyngitis or tonsillitis? How do we recognize it?

Streptococcal pharyngitis and tonsillitis are characterized by a sudden onset - severe sore throat, temperature, brightly reddened and enlarged tonsils with purulent deposits, enlarged cervical lymph nodes. Most often sick children aged 5-15 years. On the other hand, with viral inflammation - a cold, there is a sore throat, a slight temperature or normal body temperature, cough, runny nose, reddened throat and tonsils. In mononucleosis, we can also observe generalized lymphadenopathy, abdominal pain and tonsil plaques.

How is acute tonsillitis treated?

Whether tonsillitis is caused by a viral or bacterial infection, home care strategies can aid recovery.

If a virus is the cause of tonsillitis, these strategies are the only treatment. Then antibiotics will not be prescribed. Here's what  can be done in the meantime:

  • More time for rest and sleep.
  • Optimal hydration through sufficient fluids.
  • Warm liquids - broth, decaffeinated tea or warm water with honey can soothe a sore throat. You can also try gargling with salt water.
  • Humidify the air through a device to remove dry air, which can further irritate the sore throat.
  • Lozenges. Children over 4 years of age can suck lozenges to relieve sore throat.

If tonsillitis is caused by a bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe a course of antibiotics. Penicillin, taken orally for 10 days, is the most common antibiotic treatment prescribed for tonsillitis caused by group A streptococci. In case of penicillin allergy, your doctor will prescribe an alternative antibiotic, with other options being Clindamycin and Cephalosporin.

If a child is ill, then it is important to take the full course of antibiotics as prescribed, even if the symptoms disappear completely. Not taking the whole medication as prescribed may cause the infection to worsen or spread to other parts of the body. 

Failure to complete a full course of antibiotics can, in particular, increase the risk of rheumatic fever and serious kidney inflammation. In this case, you may want to ask your pediatrician about probiotics to support the immune system, as well as other remedies such as vitamins and minerals.

Herbal remedies for angina (acute tonsillitis)

There are a number of home remedies that can effectively reduce the symptoms of acute tonsillitis.

Gargle with salt water in angina

Gargling and rinsing with warm salt water can help soothe sore throat and pain caused by tonsillitis. It can also reduce inflammation and may even help treat infections.

Stir about 1/2 teaspoon of salt in about 150 ml. hot water. Stir until the salt dissolves. Gargle and rinse your mouth for a few seconds and then spit out. You can rinse with plain water.

Warm tea with raw honey for angina

Hot drinks such as tea can help reduce the discomfort that can occur as a result of tonsillitis. Raw honey, often added to tea, has strong antibacterial properties and can help treat tonsillitis-causing infections.  [ref. 1] 

Drink the tea warm instead of hot and mix the honey until dissolved. Some teas may enhance the benefits of this home remedy. Ginger tea, for example, is a strong anti-inflammatory, as is fennel tea, which can help reduce inflammation and discomfort.

Onions for angina

Onions are capable of much more than adding a distinctive taste and aroma to food. Onions are useful in tonsillitis as it serves to improve the body's ability to fight infections.

Add a few tablespoons of onion juice to one glass of warm water and gargle the mixture several times each day. Onions can cause bad breath, but at least it will relieve painful tonsils. 

Apple cider vinegar for angina

Apple cider vinegar is a natural product with properties that can help in the treatment of infections. A small amount of apple cider vinegar daily supports the immune system. This remedy can even prevent the recurrence of tonsillitis, but to cure yourself, gargling is more effective.

Add half a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a little warm water. Gargle with the resulting mixture and then spit out. Repeat the same procedure several times each day.

Ginger for angina

Ginger has a spicy aroma with a refreshing taste. At the same time, it also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that have been proven in numerous studies. 3

Mix a tablespoon of ginger root juice with a tablespoon of honey and a few tablespoons of warm water to make a gargle liquid. Gargle with the mixture several times a day to relieve tonsillitis.

Fenugreek seeds for angina

Fenugreek seeds are useful for relieving tonsillitis, pneumonia and several other infections. These seeds should be mixed in warm water to prepare for gargling.

Boil about a tablespoon of fenugreek seeds in water, let cool to room temperature, and then use them to gargle. Repeat for a few days and let the antibacterial forces of the seeds take effect.

Tulsi (Holy Basil)

You can calm the sore throat with the help of tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum). Holy basil is used to treat sore throats, coughs and colds. Boiled water with tulsi leaves gives a calming effect to patients with sore throat. Also, tulsi acts as an adaptogen, a substance that helps counteract the effects of stress in the body. 4

  1. What exactly is angina (acute tonsillitis)?

    • Symptoms of angina (acute tonsillitis)
      • Causes of angina
      • Acute pharyngitis or tonsillitis? How do we recognize it?
      • How is acute tonsillitis treated?

    • Herbal remedies for angina (acute tonsillitis)
      • Gargle with salt water in angina
      • Warm tea with raw honey for angina
      • Onions for angina
      • Apple cider vinegar for angina
      • Ginger for angina
      • Fenugreek seeds for angina
      • Tulsi (Holy Basil)


    Symptoms of acute tonsillitis include sore throat and pain when swallowing, fever, cough, swollen lymph nodes in the neck and headache. The condition is usually not serious, but it can be painful and unpleasant for sufferers and in severe cases can prevent people from eating or even breathing properly. If left untreated, it can lead to complications.

    Antibiotics are prescribed only if bacterial infection is the cause of the disease. In case it is a viral causative agent, it is approached with more rest, sleep, hydration and strengthening immunity with the help of herbal remedies.


    1. Effectiveness of honey for symptomatic relief in upper respiratory tract infections: a systematic review and meta-analysis

    The author

    Bettina Tzvetkova has a Bachelor's degree in Marketing and a Master's degree in Entrepreneurship, a fan of healthy eating, power sports and cycling. Author of over 1500 scientifically based articles, product texts and advertising materials on health topics for Bulgarian and foreign websites. 


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