Alternatively Speaking: Self-awareness brings confidence

Alternative medicine enthusiast Natalie Marx answers your questions: Are there any natural remedies for toothache? How can I deal with bad breath?

Dentist  (photo credit: MCT)
(photo credit: MCT)
I have witnessed many wonderful recoveries through the usage of natural medicine. These include some of the most intense and complex combinations of problems that people face — depression, anxiety, insomnia, OCD, every kind chronic pain and addiction, chronic fatigue, eating disorders, and the list goes on.
Each person who was healed embarked on a journey of self discovery learning new ideas and healthy practices. Ultimately, each of us is responsible for our own health. We create it or destroy it, both through our own actions and our actions as a society. While we cannot control everything that could make us ill, we can control enough to make a difference. Often a huge difference. Natural therapy aims to heal the whole person, not just to relieve an annoying symptom. New knowledge and self-awareness brings with it confidence and personal insight. In the end, your own self-care practice not only consolidates the healing, but also results in a life full of harmony.
Q. Dear Natalie, my youngest daughter is ten years old and has been suffering from terrible tooth ache. Do you have any natural remedies since she is terrified of visiting the dentist!
A. Toothache can be one of the most unbearable conditions experienced by a person. There can be throbbing, consistent pain that can be very hard to deal with on a day to day basis. The best solution is of course to visit a dentist and get a professional opinion. However, in cases where this might not be immediately possible, or in the case with your daughter's fear, it may be necessary to try a few herbal remedies for temporary relief.
Clove oil is a well known and favored home treatment for tooth ache. Dab a small amount of clove oil on a cotton swab and hold the oil directly to the painful tooth or gum area until the oil has had time to absorb into the affected area. Clove oil has an unpleasant flavor, so it's probably wise to keep the oil from touching your daughters tongue.
You can alternatively try dipping a cotton swab in vanilla essence and press it against the affected tooth. Do make sure you target the correct tooth, referral pain can sometimes make identification difficult. Try a little Turmeric powder mixed with mustard oil onto a cotton bud and press into the affected tooth. This can also provide relief without any ill effects.
A calendula based toothpaste such as Weleda brand is very preventive in nature. Calendula has a long history of being used for the gums and teeth.
Another easy to use remedy is to peel a clove of garlic and press it against the tooth for relief. The juice of the garlic is an effective natural anesthetic and will provide immediate relief. Make sure your daughter is getting a good amount of vitamin C and calcium in her diet as they help maintain strong teeth.
Q. Natalie, I have recently developed verrucas on the bottom of my left foot. My chiropodist said he can 'freeze' them off. I was wondering if there is anything I can take naturally to get rid of them?
A. Verrucas and warts can be hard to get rid of. Zinc and vitamin A are important. A British Journal of Dermatology in 2002 reported a study of patients with obstinate warts who took a daily dose of zinc – a "highly efficacious therapeutic option for recalcitrant viral warts" which "proved to be safe with few adverse effects."
Try rubbing a dandelion to get the milky fluid to the wart or verruca, and/or a use a slice of garlic and cover the wart with a plaster. Best to do this at night time.
Homeopathic remedies can be useful too, but it depends on the exact symptoms of your verruca to determine which remedy is best suited. The top three I usually prescribe are either Sulphur 30c for plantar warts, Thuja 30c as a general wart treatment or Dulcamara 30c for large flat warts. You can apply as a tincture four times daily until the verrucas dissapear. Peel a potato very thinly, and rub the inside onto the wart or verruca, ideally twice a day. In about one week the wart should turn black and fall off. There is a chemical in the potato near the skin which kills the wart. I have used this for warts both small and large on several people, and it never fails. It has the advantage of not smelling as strong as the garlic!
Q. I suffer from bad breath. The problem is that I often can not tell myself that it smells bad. My wife encouraged me to write to you! Any solutions?!
A. Bad breath otherwise known as halitosis can be an embarrassing problem. It can also be caused by a variety of things including diet, medication, poor oral hygiene, and diseases or conditions such as diabetes, gum disease, and many more. Therefore treatment for bad breath does depends on the cause.
There are several ways however to treat bad breath until you discover the root cause. An obvious first start would be to begin with drinking either black or green tea!
Research shows that the polyphenol compounds in both green and black tea may stop the growth of bacteria responsible for bad breath. Polyphenols also prevent existing bacteria from producing malodorous compounds such as hydrogen sulfide. Parsley is probably my favorite remedy for halitosis. Parsley is very high in chlorophyll. Chew a few parsley sprigs dipped in vinegar for immediate relief. If you swallow the leaves after chewing them they will be digested and continue to provide breath freshness for quite a while. These plants reduce the production of intestinal gas by promoting better digestion.
If the cause of the bad breath is from dental conditions, I recommend using the herb myrrh .The three main constituents of myrrh are the resin, the gum, and the volatile oil. Myrrh also has astringent properties and has a soothing effect on inflamed tissues in the mouth and throat. To make your own mouthwash simply add two sprigs of coarsely chopped parsley, three whole spice cloves, one teaspoon of powdered myrrh, and a quarter teaspoon of powdered goldenseal to one pint of boiling water. Steep and stir occasionally while cooling, then strain and use as a mouthwash.
Alfalfa is another plant that is great for combatting bad breath. It is also rich in chlorophyll. Drink alfalfa tea several times a day to keep your breath fresh. To make the tea, put two teaspoons of dried leaves in a cup of boiling water and steep for 10-20 minutes. You may also find alfalfa tablets at an herb or health food store. You can also try taking Zinc supplements as part of your diet, or indeed buy a mouthwash containing zinc ions. Zinc appears to directly neutralize malodorous sulfur compounds and improve breath. It's found in several health food store mouthwashes.
This column is brought to you as general information only and unless stated otherwise is not medical advice nor is it based on medical experiments. This column is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. For more information about specific problems, please contact a doctor.
Ask Natalie: If you have a health query and would like an alternative answer then email Natalie with your question at

Thought of the day: "The man with a toothache thinks everyone happy whose teeth are sound."
-George Bernard Shaw