Tonsillitis is a common infection of the tonsils. It can be caused by a variety of things, including viral infections, bacteria, and fungus. If you’re experiencing tonsilitis, then here are some ayurvedic treatments that may help. Ayurveda is a traditional Indian medicine that focuses on treating the entire body as a whole. This means that Tonsillitis Treatment in Ayurveda include medicines, therapies, and dietary changes. So if you’re looking for an effective Tonsillitis treatment, then read on!

The word ‘ tonsil’ is derived from the Latin word ‘Tonsa’ which means ‘oar’ (a pole with a flat blade that is used for rowing a boat) and also from the Greek word ‘Amygdala’ which means ‘almond’, both of which describe the anatomical features of the tonsils. Versalius, in 1543 was the first one to describe the Tonsils in detail including their blood irrigation.1

What are tonsils?

Tonsils are lymphoid organs strategically placed at the entrance of the digestive and respiratory systems. In young children, these glands help to fight against germs. As a child’s immune system develops and gets stronger the tonsils become less important and usually shrink and that is why the body will be able to fight against infections even without the help of tonsils.1,2

What is tonsillitis?

The inflammation or swelling of the tonsils is called tonsillitis. It is also called tonsillopharyngitis. Tonsillitis is most common in children between the ages of four and five and rarely occurs before the age of three. A viral infection most commonly causes it and about 5% to 40% of cases are caused by bacterial infections which occur at a later age.

Tonsillitis is described in the ancient Greek ‘Hippocratic Corpus’. Complications of tonsillitis include peritonsillar abscess, middle ear infection, obstructive sleep apnea(OSA), and tonsillar cellulitis. Antibiotics, lozenges, throat sprays, and antiseptic solutions are the treatment suggested. Tonsillectomy is the surgical removal of infected tonsils which is explained as long as three thousand years ago as per Hindu literature.1,2,3

Symptoms of tonsillitis4

  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Earache
  • Headache
  • Difficulty or pain while swallowing
  • Jaw and neck tenderness
  • Stiff neck
  • White or yellow coating on the tonsils
  • Red tonsils
  • Bad breath
  • Painful blisters or ulcers on the throat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Scratchy sounding voice

Tonsillitis symptoms are specifically seen in children5

  • stomach upset
  • vomiting
  • drooling

What causes tonsillitis?

As described above tonsillitis is caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Common viruses include the Influenza virus, Coronavirus, Measles virus, etc. Bacteria causing tonsillitis include Group A Streptococcus bacteria. This is commonly affecting bacteria. Other less commonly affecting bacteria include Bordetella pertussis, Corynebacterium diphtheria, Treponema pallidum, Streptococcus pneumonia, etc.3

Types of tonsillitis

There are three types of tonsillitis

  • Acute tonsillitis
  • Recurrent tonsillitis
  • Chronic tonsillitis

Acute tonsillitis – In this type of tonsillitis, the symptoms usually last for 3 or 4 days or even up to 2 weeks.5

Recurrent tonsillitis – when the tonsil infection occurs several times in a year.5

Chronic tonsillitis – when there is long-term tonsil infection.5

Tests advised for tonsillitis

Physical examination

A doctor will look for signs of redness, and yellow or white spots on the tonsils. Other symptoms like fever, cough, running nose, or rashes are also examined. Ear and nose are examined for infection.4,5

Lab tests 4,5,6

  • Complete blood count
  • Bacterial culture test

Tonsillitis – An ayurvedic View

Ayurveda mentions tonsillitis as ‘Tundikeri’.

Acharya Sushrutha mentions it under the category called Talugata roga which can be referred to as a disease affecting the palate in the oral cavity.

According to Vagbhata, the disease Tundikeri affects the Hanu pradesha (jaw region) which spreads to the Talu (Palate) and Kantha (Throat). So it comes under the disease affecting both Talu (Palate) and Kantha (Throat).

Causes of tonsillitis (Tundikeri) as mentioned in Ayurvedic classics as follows: unhealthy dietary habits which cause tonsillitis are excessive intake of fish, buffalo meat, pork, black gram, curds, sugarcane juice, and milk. Intake of excessive seafood can also cause Tundikeri.

Lifestyle practices that cause tonsillitis are avak shayya (excessive sleeping in a prone position), dwishato danta dhavana (improper dental hygiene), and improper gargling procedures.

Signs and Symptoms of tonsillitis mentioned in Ayurvedic classics

  • Toda (Pricking Pain)
  • Daha (Burning Sensation)
  • Shopha (Inflammation)
  • Paka (Suppuration)

Tonsillitis Treatment in Ayurveda

Different pioneers of Ayurveda have mentioned different protocols for the treatment of tonsillitis.

According to Sushrutha, the treatment procedures mentioned are Dhoomapana (Medicated smoking), Gandusha (Gargling of medicated liquids like taila (oils), kashaya (decoctions).

Vagbhata mentions Nasya (Errhine therapy), Rakta Mokshana (Blood letting therapy), and Gandusha (Gargling) as the line of treatment for Tundikeri (Tonsillitis)

Charaka mentions Dhoomapana, Pradhamana Nasya (powdered errhine therapy), Virechana (Purgation therapy), Vamana (Medicated emesis), and Langhana (Fasting therapy).7

Ayurvedic medicines for tonsillitis7

Choorna (powders)

  • Pippalyadi choorna
  • Tejovatyadi choorna
  • Mrudveekadi choorna

Vati (tablets)

  • Shiva gutika
  • Kanchanara guggulu
  • Khadiradi vati

Kashaya (decoctions)

Rasa (herbo mineral preparations)

  • Kumarabharana rasa
  • Amlapittantaka rasa
  • Mahalakshmi vilasa rasa
  • Pravala panchamruta rasa

Bhasma preparations

  • Tankana bhasma
  • Sphatika bhasma

Single drug therapies for tonsillitis

Daruharidra (Berberis aristata), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Nimba (Azadirachta indica), Mustaka (Cyperus rotundus), Ativisha (Aconitum heterophyllum), Patha (Cissampelos pareira), Katuki (Picrorhiza kurroa), Kanchanara (Bauhinia variegata), Vacha (Acorus calamus) and Shunti (Zingiber officinale).

Diet and Lifestyle that is beneficial for tonsillitis

Yogarathnakara has described the following regimen:8

  • Trina Dhanya (Millets)
  • Mudga – Green gram
  • Kulattha – Horse gram
  • Karavellaka – Bitter Gourd
  • Patola – Snake gourd
  • Karpoora jala – water processed with Camphor is used for gargling and drinking
  • Ushna jala – Hot water
  • Tamboola – Betel leaves
  • Ghrita sevana – Intake of Ghee (melted)
  • Katu tikta dravyas – ingredients that have a pungent and bitter taste as mentioned above

Lifestyle changes include those mentioned in the treatment protocols mentioned

Home remedies for tonsillitis

  • Salt water gargling – Mix one teaspoon of table salt in a cup of warm water and gargle with it.9
  • Holy basil drink – Add 10-12 basil leaves to one or one and a half cups of water and boil it for ten minutes. To this decoction add one teaspoon of honey for sweetening and a pinch of black pepper powder to spice it up. This drink can be taken two to three times a day for up to 3- 7 days.9
  • Cinnamon drink – To a glass of hot water add one teaspoon of Cinnamon powder. Add 2 teaspoons of honey after it becomes warm. This can be taken two to three times a day for a week.9
  • Turmeric – Add one teaspoon of turmeric powder, and a pinch of black pepper powder to a glass of warm milk. This is to be taken at night for two to three days.9
  • Fenugreek seeds preparation for gargling– two tablespoons of Fenugreek seeds are added to two to three cups of boiling water. This is filtered and allowed to cool. This preparation is used for gargling twice a day till the symptoms are relieved.9
  • Henna leaves decoction– gargling with this decoction two times a day is helpful in relieving the sore throat.10
  • Cardamom powder is mixed with hot water. This is filtered and then used for gargling.10
  • Lemon juice should be added with one teaspoon of honey. This should be taken to relieve the pain associated with a sore throat.10
  • Red Hibiscus tea– Dry petals of Red Hibiscus are boiled in water for 10-15 minutes. This helps in relieving sore throat.10

When to see a doctor 4

  • When the tonsils are affected with white pus-filled spots.
  • A sore throat is associated with an inability to eat or drink
  • High-grade fever
  • Muscle weakness
  • Neck stiffness


Tonsillitis can be treated with errhine therapy, medicated smoking, gargling procedure in Ayurveda and at an early stage proper diet and lifestyle, oral hygiene is helpful to recover from the symptoms. Tonsillectomy is recommended if the infection is frequent and is associated with complications.

References and citations

  1. http://arquivosderol.org.br/conteudo/acervo_eng.asp?id=395
  2. https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/ears-nose-and-throat/tonsillitis
  3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonsillitis
  4. https://www.healthline.com/health/tonsillitis
  5. https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/tonsillitis-symptoms-causes-and-treatments
  6. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21146-tonsillitis
  7. https://www.wjpmr.com/download/article/87082021/1630749578.pdf
  8. http://ijapc.com/upload/MNAPC-13-l3-6-P-17-21.pdf
  9. https://food.ndtv.com/health/5-effective-home-remedies-for-tonsils-1631116/amp/1
  10. https://www.artofliving.org/in-en/ayurveda/ayurvedic-remedies/remedies-for-sore-throat

“This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on this website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call or visit your doctor.”
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