Are you getting stoned without realising it?

The Good Life Letter 

6th April 2018

  • The troubling health problem that many have never heard of
  • Why this issue can be the cause of so much misery
  • How our top three favourite remedies hold the answer
Many of you will have heard of kidney stones, I hope none of you have suffered the excruciating pain of coping with them.

Likewise I am sure that gallstones are nothing new either, but once again the discomfort they can cause is not anything that I would wish upon anyone... (even those who run the NHS and think it is OK to cancel operations and leave patients lying on trolleys in corridors, but at times I have been tempted!).

Well today I came across another type of body stone that I hadn’t realised existed and had no idea about how embarrassing, painful and life damaging they could be. Tonsil stones came onto my radar this week and I thought I should share their story with you.

Especially as a large percentage of you will have them lodged at the back of your throat right now without even knowing it.

So, first off we need to be sure what the tonsils are, where to find them and what they do.

To achieve this I will call upon the power of a childhood flashback...

...As a child of the sixties I was very used to seeing friends being carted off into hospital to have their tonsils removed because they were constantly suffering sore throats, and hearing stories about the three days they spent recovering whilst being able to eat only ice cream.

There were times when this all sounded like a jolly good wheeze!

But what became apparent was that having had their tonsils removed the sore throats didn’t end and they were more likely to have a streaming cold than those of us who remained ‘entire’.

Still they had the blissful memories of ice cream laden days to get them through (you can tell I was convinced that I was missing out on something!).

Scientists began to question the wisdom of removing these two tiny glands that sit either side of the throat opening at the back of the mouth since the practice seemed to be having limited effect and it was costing them a fortune in frozen fondants.

Thus the role of the tonsil was found to be important in our immune system, and indeed they were a site where some of the most active white blood cells resided and were educated into their trade.

These T Cells were the scourge of bacteria and viruses who thought about setting up home in the pharynx and acted a bit like nightclub doormen at the entrance to the digestive and respiratory systems.

So with this sort of protection on board how come they get stoned?

Heavy man... totally heavy!

Earlier on I said that chances are many of you would be carrying a stone around in your tonsils right now without having any adverse symptoms of it.

Because the surface of these glands is naturally rough and pitted they make the ideal haven for bits of food to lodge in and breakdown, leaving mineral deposits which tend to be rich in sulphur in particular.

Along come a few enterprising bacteria and you have the recipe for a problem – and the body recognises this and activates the immune response which walls off the offending area and activates pus forming white blood cells and this leads to inflammation and pain.

But the latter stages don’t occur in every case and this is where small stones form and sit in the pockets in a perfectly stable way, although they do cause other problems.

Signs and symptoms of tonsil stones:

  • Visible white spots on the tonsil

  • Bad breath despite brushing teeth and flossing

  • Recurrent sore throats

  • Trouble swallowing or a feeling that there is something stuck in your throat (like a fish bone)

  • Ear pain and sometimes jaw pain due to shared neurological links with the throat

It is estimated that 50% of us who still have our tonsils will have a stone in them, and at least one published paper identifies that they are very similar to the dental plaque that causes tooth decay and gum disease.(1)

This means that none of us are safe from developing what the medics call tonsilloliths... it me or does that name make them sound even more scary!

Help is a vinegary, garlic, salty cough...

Now I hope you know me well enough to realise that I am not going to tell you that you have a health problem without offering some simple home remedies to allow you to deal with it...’ll be glad to hear that tonsil stones are no exception – here are a few handy tips:

  • Take a mug of war water and add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (ACV) to it and give it a good stir. Use this to gargle with up to three times a day (preferably before meals so that you are not risking damaging weakened tooth enamel after a meal).

  • Another good gargling mix is to add a half teaspoon of salt to a mug of warm water and use this as described for the ACV above. Salt is a really effective anti-viral and anti-bacterial agent which will prevent low grade infection around the stone.

  • A final gargle mix is a Good Life Letter favourite...honey. Dissolve a teaspoon of honey in a mug of warm water and use three times a day... the only down side of this is that you are advised to spit the gargle mixture out, and I am not sure I can do that with my precious Manuka honey!

  • If you are also worried about vampires you could chew on raw garlic (especially powerful if you crush it and let it stand for ten minutes before use) which again prevents bacteria taking advantage of tissue damage caused by the stone.

  • Those keen to get rid of any stones which may have formed can start to cough, either just wait to do so naturally or force one upon yourself. This will often dislodge a stone and if it does make sure to gargle with ACV or salt mixtures afterwards to clean the site the stone came from.

Amazing isn’t it but once again the trinity of natural health feature large in this list – Honey, Garlic & Vinegar... good for us in so many ways.

Yours, as always



(1) Stoodley, P., Debeer, D., Longwell, M., Nistico, L., Hall-Stoodley, L., Wenig, B., & Krespi, Y. P. (2009). Tonsillolith: not just a stone but a living biofilm. Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, 141(3), 316-321.



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