Many of us associate cancer treatment with some truly debilitating side effects, and it can be overwhelming and frightening to look down the long road of treatment. While we don’t want to downplay the enormous impact that chemotherapy, radiation, and other treatments can have on daily life, there have truly been some big leaps forward in mitigating and reducing their side effects.
Our new Holistic Cancer Care Course provides numerous herbal strategies and recipes to add a layer of support and help ease your journey.
A simple preparation to make a tissue-soothing mouth rinse.
1 oz dried chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) flower
1 oz dried calendula (Calendula officinalis) flower
½ oz dried licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) root
- Combine all herbs and mix well; store in a sealed glass jar.
- Before you go to bed at night, prepare an infusion using 1 tbsp of dried herb per 1 cup (8 fl oz) boiling water; cover and allow to steep overnight.
- In the morning, strain the infusion and discard or compost the herbs. Use the tea as a mouthwash several times throughout the day, before and after meals and other times as desired, swishing thoroughly in your mouth before spitting out.
- Tea can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator; at the end of the day, discard unused tea and prepare a fresh batch.
Why this recipe?
The mucosal tissue that lines the mouth and the entire gastrointestinal tract is particularly susceptible to damage and inflammation as a side effect of radiation and many forms of chemotherapy. Oral mucositis can lead to sores in the mouth and throat, pain and difficulty with swallowing and talking, and excess secretion of mucus and saliva; it can also create a predisposition for infection. More severe mucositis can make it very painful to eat, so weight loss and malnutrition are secondary concerns.
Intestinal mucositis is a common cause of treatment-induced diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
It’s true that poor oral health can worsen mucositis. You may need to avoid flossing, but gentle brushing and use of a non-irritating mouthwash should be part of a daily routine. Most commercial mouthwash contains alcohol and other irritating ingredients, so opt for a simple saltwater rinse or this mouthwash recipe shared above several times a day, including after meals.