Strep throat is a highly contagious bacterial infection caused by the group A Streptococcus bacteria, otherwise known as group A strep. It is spread by coming in contact with an infected person through coughing, sneezing, sharing a beverage, and physical contact near the eyes, nose or mouth. Symptoms, which may include difficulty swallowing, a sore throat, fever, headaches, and red or swollen tonsils or lymph nodes, may occur up to five days after being exposed to the bacteria. Here are some treatment options that can be done at home to avoid a walk-in clinic.
Because strep throat is a bacterial infection, it will likely need to be treated with a prescription antibiotic; however, eating foods that contain naturally anti-bacterial properties may also help. Elderberry has antiviral and antibacterial properties that have been shown to protect against respiratory symptoms during long flights. According to one study, long flights may increase the risk of developing an upper respiratory infection including strep throat from bacteria and virus germs found on planes. The study found that travelers who used elderberry when returning from their trips were less likely to develop symptoms.
Raw honey has potent antiviral and antibacterial properties to fight germs in the body. It also provides an excellent source of antioxidants. According to a study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, honey has healing properties because of its ability to maintain a moist wound condition, its thick consistency that creates a protective barrier, and its antibacterial properties. Research shows that medicinal grades of honey have antibacterial properties that are strong enough to fight antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria that may cause life-threatening infections.
Not only does bone broth help with hydration, but it also provides minerals needed to boost the immune system to fight strep throat. A warm bone broth is soothing on the throat and tonsils, which are often swollen and infected, making it hard to eat much of anything. It also contains an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, silicon, sulfur, and phosphorus, as well as two compounds known as chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine that have been shown to reduce swelling.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which is a powerful healing compound that has been shown to kill dangerous bacteria. Acetic acid is a natural antibiotic because it kills any bacteria it comes in contact with, making it the perfect household remedy for strep throat. Drink two tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar three times a day to help kill germs. Or add a few tablespoons to an eight-ounce glass of water. Be careful when adding to hot water or tea as heating the vinegar may kill off valuable nutrients.
Gargle With Pink Himalayan Salt
Gargling with salt water has been used for centuries to combat a sore throat; however, it is important to choose the right type of salt. Pink Himalayan salt is an antioxidant that has been shown to reduce swelling, soothe a sore throat, and kill bacteria in the mouth by temporarily alkalizing the pH levels, which makes it an unpleasant environment for bacteria to survive in. It also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that remove bacteria from the mouth while gargling.
Oil pulling is a technique characterized by swishing oil around in the mouth for twenty minutes and then spitting out, similar to mouthwash. Research shows that oil pulling reduces group A strep bacteria in the mouth. Cold pressed, unrefined coconut oil is one of the best oils to use as it contains antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. Coconut oil is also very soothing as it coats the throat and acts as a protective barrier. To use, switch oil around in the mouth for twenty minutes, spit in the trash, and brush teeth normally.
Lemon is one of the most powerful disinfects around. It has natural antibacterial and antiviral properties that kill germs on contact. It is also high in vitamin C to boost the immune system and blood purifying properties to restore alkalinity in the body where infections cannot survive. Sucking on a piece of a raw lemon is the best way to attack germs in the throat. Freshly squeezed lemon juice can also be added to warm tea, such as green tea and honey.
According to a 2011 study published in Medicinal Chemistry, thyme essential oil responded to one hundred and twenty strains of bacteria when given to patients with oral cavity, respiratory and genitourinary tract infections. Results showed that thyme oil was effective in treating antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. To use, add two drops of thyme essential oil to water or coconut oil and gargle. Or take a hot detox bath with thyme oil to ease body aches.
Vitamin C is needed to support immune system health, repair tissue damage in the throat, and decrease the risk of airborne illnesses. One study showed that taking one thousand milligrams of vitamin C was useful in fighting off an oncoming infection. Taking four thousand milligrams of vitamin C when the infection is already present in the body has been shown to reduce the duration of the illness. Citrus foods, kale, strawberries, and kiwi are all good sources.
Research indicates that the herb Echinacea has powerful immune-enhancing benefits to fight off the common cold by preventing the spread of bacterial infections such as strep throat. A 2005 study showed that Echinacea contains phytochemicals called echinacein that fight bacteria and viruses from entering healthy cells. It can also be used to relieve pain and inflammation associated with strep throat. Echinacea can be taken in supplement or liquid form, or it can be enjoyed as a tea.