Conditions & Ailments

Fighting bad breath with herbal remedies



Bad breath or halitosis is a condition that affects millions of people but the good news is that there are herbal remedies that can effectively treat this problem.  Sometimes the cause of bad breath is very simple, such as smoking, drinking alcohol or eating foods that have strong odors such as onions, garlic or fish.  Other times, halitosis can have a more serious, underlying cause such as bacteria and plaque build-up in the mouth.  Halitosis is usually a result of odor-causing bacteria that multiplies in your mouth.

When there is a decrease of saliva production in the mouth due to dehydration or a strict diet, bad breath can be a side-effect.

There might also be a problem in your mouth that causes bad breath such as an oral infection or gum disease (gingivitis).  Conditions that affect other areas of your body can also lead to halitosis, the most common of these being nasal or sinus problems, liver disease, digestive problems and diabetes.


Symptoms of bad breath or halitosis:

  • A permanent bad taste in your mouth. 
  • Bleeding gums - this can be gingivitis, a leading cause of bad breath.
  • People with bad breath can be unaware of the problem, so check for signs from other people - they might step back when you are talking. 

How can herbal supplements help bad breath or halitosis?


In many ancient Asian societies people were required to chew cloves to freshen their breath before they were allowed to have an audience with the king.

Today, there are several herbal medicines and supplements available to treat and prevent bad breath.  

  • Peppermint - place 1 or 2 drops of peppermint oil directly on your tongue. Peppermint oil not only has a highly pleasant aroma but is also an effective anti-bacterial agent. Drinking peppermint tea will also be beneficial.  Do not exceed the recommended dosages as large amounts can cause digestive upsets.  
  • Chewing fennel seeds, anise seeds or cloves can also help to freshen your breath.    Chew a pinch of fennel seeds after every meal.
  • Parsley has been used for centuries to freshen breath and this is due to it containing chlorophyll that is a powerful breath freshener.   Chew on a fresh parsley sprig after every meal.
  • Spirulina supplements are a good source of chlorophyll and can be taken daily as a nutritional supplement.  Use a spirulina supplement as recommended.
  • Take a zinc supplement daily to assist in healing mouth sores and ulcers.  The recommended dosage is 30 mg a day.
  • Take a vitamin C supplement to prevent bleeding gums.  The recommended dosage is 60 mg a day.
Further recommendations:

  • Brush your teeth after every meal if possible, otherwise rinse your mouth with water.  Floss at least once a day.
  • Use your toothbrush or a tongue scraper to gently clean your tongue as bacteria can build up on the back of your tongue.
  • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol use.
  • If you suffer from chronic sinus infections or a postnasal drip, use a saltwater solution that you spray directly into the nostrils.  This helps to clean the sinus passages and remove any bacteria.
  • Go for a dental check-up every 6 months.
  • Sterilize your toothbrush by placing it in a cup of boiling water with a teaspoon of salt for a few seconds.  Rinse the toothbrush well.  Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months.
Please consult your medical practitioner prior to using any herbal medications should you be under their care.

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