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The Tonsils: Key to Health

Woman magnifying mouth and tonsils

There is often a history of early removal of adenoids or tonsils in people suffering with chronic fatigue syndrome, M.E., and fibromyalgia and it is not known whether this removal may contribute to the onset or whether the tonsils acted as an early alarm signal for an agent which subsequently also caused the fatiguing syndrome.


What are the tonsils?

The tonsils are lymphoid tissue and, like other organs of the lymphatic system, they act as part of the immune system to help protect against infection. In particular, they are believed to be involved in helping fight off pharyngeal and upper respiratory tract infections.

They act not only as lymph nodes, but also as organs of excretion and samples from healthy tonsils have shown microbes, fatty acids, cholesterol and lymphocytes being excreted. There is actually a ring of five sets of tonsils known as Waldeyer’s ring around the throat. 

This ring acts as the gatekeeper for all foods swallowed, all air inhaled and all lymph and blood that passes to and from the head and brain. In this manner, the health of the tonsils may be vital to the health of all other structures of the head and neck. The five tonsils are the nasopharyngeal, tubal, laryngeal, palatine and lingual tonsils as outlined below.


1. The nasopharyngeal tonsils

The nasopharyngeal or pharyngeal tonsils are commonly referred to as the ‘adenoids’ and are found at the back of the throat above the palate. They are different in origin to the other tonsils and also have a different structure, lacking crypts. Developmentally they are derived from the same tissue as the pituitary gland (which governs all hormonal regulation of the body) and it is possible that factors that adversely affect the adenoids can also affect the pituitary or that there is some reciprocal connection between these two different tissues. The nasopharyngeal tonsils (adenoids) lie on the kidney meridian.


2. The palatine tonsils

The palatine tonsils are commonly referred to as ‘the tonsils’ and these are found either side of the throat at the back of the mouth and may be visible if swollen either side of the vertical pillars. The palatine tonsils lie just in front of the atlas bone and the network of nerves known as the superior cervical ganglia. They are served by nerves from 3 different sources and are related to the liver meridian and related structures.


3. The tubal tonsils

The tubal tonsils guard the eustachian tubes which drain the middle ear into the back of the throat.


4. The laryngeal tonsils

The laryngeal tonsils lie close to the vocal cords in the larynx.


5. The lingual tonsil

The lingual tonsils lie at the root of the tongue in the throat.



The tonsils and adenoids tend to be quite large relatively in young children, and to reach their maximum size at puberty after which they shrink and atrophy. Tonsils can frequently become enlarged (tonsillitis) especially in the young and historically the solution has been surgical removal by tonsillectomy. The accepted allopathic medical view is that the tonsils largely serve no important function after 3 years of age and so, if problematic, should be removed. Tonsillectomy may be indicated if there is significant obstruction of the airway, interference with swallowing or development of a very nasal voice.

Some surgeons are now more cautious about performing tonsillectomies, because the tissue - once removed - cannot be replaced and this may have long term implications for the immune system. A tonsillectomy, whilst appearing to solve a pressing problem, may be like removing one or two of the guards defending the most important organ of all - the brain.

It is thought that as tonsils lose their ability to excrete they can become a focus for toxins and infectious agents, whereas paradoxically, when healthy they may still respond with inflammation. It is at this point that the tonsils can become the unseen and unrecognised cause of other bodily problems and conservative treatment is typically unrewarded. The work of the late Dr Josef Issels showed that careful tonsillectomy could help restore an aberrant heart rate and blood pressure, aid digestive problems, arthritis, chronic pain and even cancer.


The link between teeth and tonsils

There seems to be an intimate connection between the health of the teeth and the tonsils, with ink injected into the nerve inside the tooth appearing in the tonsils within a matter of minutes. The true cause of such trouble can be hard to determine as it is difficult to diagnose a tooth that has died, or where one root of many has died until they become symptomatic. Also evidence of a local reaction around a tooth may indicate a healthy response and a lack of reaction an inadequate response that then gets passed to the tonsils.


Foci of infection

Different ways that the tonsils can act as a foci of infection include:

  • Toxins released from a root-treated or dead tooth such as thio-ethers are negative ions react readily with positive ions such as metals to produce toxic compounds which are fat soluble and so can pass though the membranes of the body (blood/brain barrier). These compounds also disrupt the enzyme systems of the body and are resistant to the body’s attempts to combat such agents using oxygen.
  • Any swelling in the ring of tonsillar tissue may cause back-up of toxins within the brain.
  • Fragments of the infectious agents (bacteria, fungi, viruses) may break off and pass to other part of the body in the circulation or lymph.
  • Proteins released from dead or dying teeth can sensitise the nervous system and may cause cross-reactivity either with food and/or chemicals leading to the development of multiple chemical sensitivity and mutliple food intolerances.
  • By affecting the automatic (autonomic) nervous supply.


Further resources


For more information please refer to the works of Dr Josef Issels MD and Dr Dietrich Klinghardt MD PhD available at The Klinghardt Academy.

You might also be interested in the following: 

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Book Review of Whole Body Dentistry


The Brain: The First Trimester

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The Lymphatic System

Hearing and Balance Problems: Iatrogenic Causes

Hay Fever Season Again! 

For a comprehensive approach to detoxifying and restoring the body after chronic illness, please refer to The Natural Recovery Plan book.

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Part 1 of Dietrich Klinghardt's Fundamental Teachings with remaining parts listed under Natural Recovery in the Video Hub 


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Tonsils: Article summary

This article looks at the critical role of the five different sets of paired tonsils to health. There is a direct link between the status of the teeth and the tonsils and the tonsils are thought to act as foci of infection that can profoundly affect health in a number of ways.


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The Natural Recovery Plan Ezine April 2010 Issue 4. Copyright Alison Adams 2010. All rights reserved
Dr Alison Adams Dentist, Naturopath, Author and Online Health Coach

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