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When my daughter, Mollie, was a child she got strep throat a total of thirty-seven times in seven and a half years! Well, honestly, she probably only got it once and it just didn’t go away for the first thirty-six times. Twice, it turned to scarlet fever and once it developed into pneumonia. If only I knew then what know now, she would not have had to suffer with that uncomfortable pain so frequently and for so long.

For her first four and a half years of life, we went to a medical doctor who was classically trained in Europe in homeopathy. We used a variety of holistic therapies along with her constitutional homeopathic remedy with marginal results.

Her pattern of illness with strep throat ran something like this:

10 months old- 1 time, turned to scarlet fever
1 year old- 3 times, developed into pneumonia once
2 years old- 3 times
3 years old- 4 times
4 years old- 4 times, turned to scarlet fever once
5 years old- 6 times
6 years old- 7 times
7 years old- 9 times
8 years old- 1 time
9 years old- 1 time

As you can see, it continued to increase in frequency for several years. When Mollie was almost five, her Dad got a new HMO insurance plan, and she went to a ‘regular’ doctor for the first time. She was prescribed antibiotics to combat the strep. Although I felt strongly that I wanted to find a solution without drugs, her Dad felt that he had been patient, and things weren’t getting better. So I gave in.

The frequency of her bouts with strep throat began to increase. She was seeing her HMO doctor more often, and using far too many antibiotics, in my humble estimation. She started to experience increased digestive upset, and a weaker immune response.

During all this time, she had more than a dozen different types of rashes; some of them occurred several times. I knew enough about holistic health and Chinese medicine philosophy to understand that there was a strong connection here to her liver and gut health. I did my best to provide her with nutritional foods that would support liver and intestinal health, and she was quite cooperative, most of the time.

She ate a very good diet during her early years (and continues to do so) when she was at home, albeit limited to just a few choices; yogurt without sweeteners or fruit, hot and cold cereals usually with rice milk, lots of vegetables, especially kale, and miso soup every day. She did eat a lot of pasta, as most kids do. We had organic whole wheat, buckwheat and Jerusalem artichoke pasta for the most part, and she occasionally had bread, either sourdough or sprouted grain ‘flourless’ breads.

She rarely ate sugar, fruit or fruit juices. Instead of juices, we drank a lot of herbal teas, and my kids always loved them. Mollie particularly liked the Traditional Medicinals’ Herbatussin and anything with raspberry leaf in it.

Time flew by, as it does. When Mollie was almost eight, we visited the doctor yet again. After a brief look into Mollie’s raw, red throat, she gave us yet another prescription for an antibiotic. As we were leaving the medical building, Mollie’s Dad said to me, “Do you realize that this is the ninth time we’ve been here with her about her throat in the past twelve months? These antibiotics aren’t working for her. I appreciate you letting me bring her to try this route, but she’s just not responding. Why don’t you take over?”

“Really? That’s awesome! We can beat this, I know we can!” I was so excited. On the way home, we stopped by our local health food store, now Whole Foods Market, so that I could get some more probiotics and an herbal throat spray. My favorite one was on sale; the Propolis Echinacea Herbal Throat Spray produced by Herb Pharm, so I bought five of them!

Once we were out to the car, I opened one right away and Mollie sprayed her throat. Her face contorted into a squirmy frown, and then she smiled. “I kind of like it. It’s not so bad.” She sprayed again.

When we got home, we opened the others and I placed one on her nightstand, one on her desk by the computer (where she spent much of her time), one on the kitchen counter next to her water glass and one in her book bag to always have with her. The fifth one went to her Dad’s house.

I suggested to Mollie that she should spray her throat every fifteen minutes until it felt better. Liking to be very precise about everything, she went to the kitchen and got the timer and set it to fifteen minutes. When it dinged, I could hear her spraying from the other room. She repeated this ding and spray action until bedtime. I also encouraged her to drink a half glass of water each time just before spraying her throat, which she did without question.

After brushing her teeth, Mollie announced, “I think my throat’s all better!”

“That’s great, but I would appreciate it if you continue to spray it in the morning before school, too. That way, if there are any tough little bad guys still hanging around in your throat, you’ll be able to get them, too.” I replied. “If it still isn’t bothering you during the day and when you get home from school, then you can take a break. But from now on, I don’t want you to wait until your throat is raw and hurting you. As soon as you feel the tickle that you always get before it starts to hurt, I want you to get one of the throat sprays, and spray your throat every fifteen minutes again until that tickle is gone. And don’t forget to drink lots of water.”

“I like that idea,” she said. “That way, it won’t hurt me anymore.”

She continued to use the throat spray as she prepared for school the next day. When she got home later that afternoon, she was very happy to announce that the pain was gone and it hadn’t returned throughout the day.

Since that time, Mollie has only gotten a brief bout of strep throat twice; both times when we had run out of the throat spray. Of course, we immediately ran out to purchase a couple more, and her throat was bette in no time.

There are now several excellent herbal throat sprays on the market, but the one made by Herb Pharm continues to be my favorite for very severe or antibiotic resistant issues. It has a very special place in my heart!

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4 Responses to “Can Herbs Work Better for Strep Throat than Antibiotics?”

  1. on 13 Apr 2007 at 7:20 pm JoLynn Braley

    Hi Cindy,

    I also used to get strep throat regularly. In 1999 or 2000, I started going to an alternative doctor (kinesiology and chiropractic) and haven’t taken antibiotics since then. I think I’ve gotten them out of my system by now. As long as I eat healthy, whole foods, I rarely get sick anymore. If I do, I take supplements instead of antibiotics.

    Thanks for the suggestion for the herbal throat spray; I’ll keep that in mind in case I need it. :)

    All the best,

    JoLynn

  2. on 21 Feb 2009 at 12:14 pm tara

    thank you for your story my son has ahad the same siiuation but we had got his tonsils removed and again he has had another bout and is on antibiotics I will try the spray with my family because we all get it. Im really tired of the meds
    Tara

  3. on 29 Nov 2011 at 10:41 pm AMA

    As a child and well into adulthood frequently experienced what Molly went through. Antibiotics were not useful as the body will adapt when frequently used. As an adult I was told to try apple cider vinegar… ( if there is no fever) gargle and it has really helped. Also Belladonna for inflimation, and keeping cool visuals i.e. blue stones ice packs etc as the uncoomfortable part is the swelling …

  4. on 20 Jan 2012 at 4:12 pm Jessica

    Cindy,

    More than anything, I appreciate how thorough your story was! As a mother that strongly supports natural remedies, it means the world to have a good timeline with much detail so that I can continue my search with as much information as I can get. Thank you.

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