Natural health: Coughs, colds and cracked heels

I always seem to get coughs and colds, in particular a sore throat and swollen glands. Could this be strep throat or tonsillitis?

It is a good idea to have a health professional take a look in your mouth and at your general health to see if you are suffering from strep throat, recurrent tonsillitis, or both.

You will be able to see for yourself whether or not your tonsils are inflamed — they appear as two small mounds of tissue at the very back of the mouth on either side of your throat (not to be confused with the uvula, which is the ‘dangly bit’ at the back of the mouth). When you have tonsillitis, often there are white patches on your tonsils, and they will be quite red and inflamed. Long gone are the days when the tonsils are removed at the very idea of tonsillitis. Most cases of tonsillitis are viral in origin,which means antibiotics are often of little or no use.

Manuka honey will soothe and treat the area while you organise an appointment with your doctor. Simply take a teaspoon of raw manuka honey (preferably with a UMF of 10 or more) and hold it as far back as you can in your mouth before swallowing. Do this two to three times daily until the infection clears.

Zinc, in the form of zinc gluconate, is a particularly helpful mineral in supporting immune health and reducing the symptoms of tonsillitis. Look for zinc lozenges, and suck on these for as long as you can, taking one every couple of hours throughout the day to help target the affected area.

I have very cracked heels, which usually don’t cause any trouble other than looking awful, however they have become deeply split and painful. This is causing more of a problem when I walk anywhere as they seem to split even more. Nothing I have applied so far seems to be healing the cracks. What can I do?

I am a keen gardener and go barefoot for much of the year round and often need to use natural solutions to treat my cracked heels.

It does sound as if your heel problem is running quite deep, so you will need to dedicate some time every evening to treating your feet.

I’m not sure if you are already using foot soak as a method to help with your heels. If not, then you will need to find a plastic tub or footbath that you can use specifically for this purpose. Fill the tub with warm water so that it covers the affected area, and add a cup of organic, unpasteurised, apple cider vinegar.

Soak your feet for a good hour in this preparation every night and you will really notice a difference as the dried and hardened skin actually sheds away, leaving soft smooth heels. This will also help to prevent infection in the deep cracks.

To assist the healing process, it’s important to keep the feet soft overnight. Wear a pair of cotton socks over the freshly soaked and prepared feet and leave the balm on while you sleep. I like calendula or paw paw (papaya) balm best.These are both handy remedies for the first aid kit as they are useful in treating cuts, grazes, rashes, inflammation, burns, bites, and stings. Also, if you have dry or cracked lips, you can use this as a lip balm.

Whenever dry skin is an issue it is important to ensure that you are getting plenty of healthy fats in the diet and you are well hydrated.

One last thing to check is that you are not taking any medication which is contributing to this issue, and it is also a good idea to rule out any underlying conditions, such as a thyroid imbalance.


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