Catarrh is caused by the excessive secretion of mucous by the mucous membranes. We normally produce about 500mls each day, but this increases if we have an allergic reaction of infection. If the infection is bacterial rather than viral, then anti-biotics can help to reduce it. It can be made worse by irritants such as cigarette smoke. Excessively dry atmospheres damage the mucous membrane and cause it to swell and produce more mucous.

There are many causes of catarrh including polyps, hayfever, allergies, sinusitis and the common cold. Central heating, air conditioning and hermetically sealed office buildings can also be a factor.

Nutritional Supplements that could help. (Refer to the individual supplement for cautions in use.)

Supplement/Herb What it does Dosage
Bromelain Anti-inflammatory and helps reduce swelling and irritation. As directed
NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) In addition to helping break up mucus, NAC may reduce the elevated bacterial counts that are often seen in the lungs of smokers with chronic bronchitis. 400-600mg daily
Garlic Useful as an anti-bacterial, anti-microbial agent, it also helps break down mucous and phlegm. 2000-3000mg daily
Ginger Anti-inflammatory and pain relieving. 500mg 3 times daily
Horseradish The root can be used to make a topical poultice for sinus congestion.
Vitamin C Combats infection and helps mucous membranes to heal. 1000mg 3 times daily
Acidophilus Counteracts the effects of anti-biotics, replenishes the good bacteria in the system and supports the immune system. as directed

Diet and Lifestyle Factors


  • mucous forming foods such as dairy foods, chocolate and eggs.
  • Refined carbohydrates including cakes, biscuits and white bread.
  • Sugar, as it compromises the immune system and your ability to fight infections.
  • Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily.
  • Drink 3 litres of fluid daily, including soups and herb teas.
  • Eat plenty of garlic and onions as they are strong decongestants.

The humidity in many work places can be lower than that in a desert. Dry air combined with ozone and carbon particulate pollution from computers, printers, fax machines etc. make mucous membranes hypersensitive, irritated and inflamed. You can compensate by using humidifiers and green leafy plants such as yucca, spider plant and ivy.

Suggested further reading:

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