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HALITOSIS and Chinese Medicine

Halitosis is generally known under its much more mundane description: bad breath. It falls under the category of symptoms that nobody really likes to talk about (or be commented on). Headache, backpain, these we can chat about for hours, but the dreaded bad breath ..?! Do I have it, or alternatively, do I tell my colleague/ partner that they have it?! It’s a very tricky minefield without clear answers.

So what to do?

First, eliminate potential non-pathological causes: a change in dental hygiene may bring a big improvement and of course, if you do like to eat garlic or onions, there will be an odour; alternatively, you might get bad breath when you are dehydrated or a bit anxious/ stressed, so make sure that you drink plenty of fluids;

Second, bad breath can be a side effect of an underlying illness, such as diabetes or renal issues -these metabolic disorders must be addressed.

If you have excluded any of the above, then in Chinese medicine, halitosis is usually a sign of Heat in the Stomach or Lung system. The more Heat there is, the worse the halitosis. This Heat can come from overeating, eating the wrong foods (spicy, hot, oily, coffee, alcohol etc) and usually involves a weak digestive system.

Treatment of Lung or Stomach Heat is best done with the appropriate herbs and acupuncture points, but usually also requires a change in diet.

By the way, mint, everybody’s immediate go-to solution is considered cooling and a digestive aid in Chinese herbal medicine😊

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