Sore throats are caused by many different illnesses, behaviors, or environmental factors. While most of these are minor, chronic sore throats can indicate more serious health issues. Usually, however, sore throats are due to some type of minor irritation as a result of allergies, coughing, or airborne irritants such as smoke or smog. Since sore throats are so pervasive, there are countless home remedies to help individuals get through a sore throat and get on with their lives.
Gargle With Warm Salt Water
This age-old remedy persists as an “old wives’ tale” because it actually works. Gargling with warm salt water can rinse away the mucus and other fluids that can accumulate in the throat during a sore throat and prevent the body’s anti-inflammatory response. The warm, salty water can also relieve swelling much in the same way a hot compress can. To use this home remedy, mix one teaspoon (5 grams) of salt in 8 fluid ounces (240 mL) of warm water and gargle for sixty seconds.
Honey has been used for sore throats for thousands of years, and honey has even been found in the tombs of ancient Egyptian pharaohs for use as a medication in the afterlife. Honey has numerous health benefits including relieving the pain associated with sore throats. One clinical study even found that honey is just as effective for preventing nighttime coughing as over-the-counter cough syrups. To use honey as a sore throat reliever, consume one tablespoon of raw honey or drink it mixed into a glass of hot tea or water.
Use A Humidifier
Sore throats are often caused when the sensitive mucous membranes at the back of the throat get dried out due to snoring, coughing, or simply not enough moisture in the air. Using a home humidifier or vaporizer can return the air inside one’s home to a proper humidity level which can relieve and prevent sore throats. If an electric dehumidifier is not available, a pot of water left to boil on a stove can have the same effect - just don’t let it dry out and burn overnight.
Smoking is one of the leading causes of sore throats. Cigarette smoke is still hot when it enters the throat, which can burn the sensitive tissues of the mouth and throat. On top of that, cigarette smoke contains dozens of chemical particulates that can irritate mucous membranes in the nose, soft palate, and throat. Stopping smoking at the first sign of a sore throat will ensure that the possible cause of a sore throat is eliminated, as well as ensuring that one’s body can heal itself as quickly as possible.
Have A Hot Toddy
There’s a reason Grandma used to always suggest whiskey whenever anyone had a sore throat. The old folklore surrounding “Grandma’s cough medicine” has some degree of truth to it. One of the most common home remedies for a sore throat was for centuries the hot toddy. A hot toddy is a hot beverage composed of whiskey or bourbon, a tablespoon of honey, lemon juice, and four to eight ounces of hot water. When mixed together, these form a delicious concoction that can often relieve sore throat inflammation and ensure a good night’s sleep.
Suck On Garlic
It might sound like a pejorative term, but sucking garlic is actually an ancient an effective home remedy for sore throats. Garlic is well-known to have many health benefits and improve the immune system. Sucking on garlic can relieve sore throats because garlic contains sulfur compounds with a natural anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting effects as well as allicin, a natural antibiotic which can help fight any germs that might be causing a sore throat. To use this home remedy, simply slice a raw garlic clove in half on suck on it for several minutes.
This plant and its leaves have been used for hundreds of years for their medicinal properties which include anti-inflammation and benefits to the skin. Chamomile tea is just one typical preparation for this wonder herb and almost one million cups per day are consumed worldwide. Not only will a hot or iced chamomile tea do wonders for a sore throat, but it also tastes fantastic as well. Chamomile tea bags are commonplace in any grocery store and incorporating this beverage into a diet will improve mood as well as aiding digestion and containing a significant amount of antioxidants. Also known as a herbal aspirin, chamomile leafs are also added to many products such as soap and skin lotion. In a study from the U.S National Library of Medicine, chamomile has shown characteristics of a therapeutic substance that promotes overall health in humans.
Peppermint has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties due to the main compound, menthol, which helps to break up mucus in the body. Consuming peppermint may help to destroy infection and bacteria within the body, in this case, the throat. This natural remedy is found in many products related to the common cold including chest rub, cough syrup and lozenges, inhalers, and the oil is also inhaled by many experiencing the flu. Peppermint oil has been shown in clinical trials to have an immediate and significant improvement on a sore throat in comparison to a placebo. Candy, or gum, that contains peppermint can also be a useful band-aid solution for a sore throat if no medication is available right away. Peppermint is also commonly used to treat anxiety, headaches, an upset stomach, and menstrual cramps.
Fenugreek is a versatile, natural remedy for a sore throat that comes in many forms that are useful including tea, oil, or seeds. There is a substantial amount of medical research that points to fenugreek relieving pain as well as killing bacteria and infection in the body. Fenugreek can also be used as an anti-fungal agent. One of the easiest ways to consume fenugreek is to add three or four seeds to hot water and then drink once it has become warm. To improve the flavor of this beverage, try adding honey, ginger, or peppermint to get a double-dose of throat clearing. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health recommends that women who are pregnant avoid fenugreek due to the uterine stimulating and labor-inducing characteristics of the substance.
Roots, such as marshmallow and licorice, have long been used to treat a sore throat. Marshmallow roots contain a substance that coats and soothes a sore throat (similar to mucus) and can protect from cold winds or pollution. Add dried marshmallow root to a cup of boiled water to make this tea and consume two to three times per day. People with diabetes should consult with their doctors before trying this remedy as it can potentially cause a drop in blood sugar levels. Licorice root can be used in a gargle solution with water and other helpful substances such as honey, ginger, or salt to help alleviate pain in the throat. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, women who are breastfeeding or pregnant should avoid licorice root.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a great drink to have handy if a sore throat is coming on. The acidity in apple cider vinegar is key to fighting infections in the body by breaking down mucus and stopping the bacteria in the throat from spreading. One of the most well-known methods for using apple cider vinegar to soothe a sore throat is to mix two tablespoons of the cider in one cup of water and gargle this mixture every half-hour. Make sure to drink plenty of water in between gargling sessions. Apple cider vinegar can be added to salt water, honey and lemon water, or even Cayenne pepper, honey and water and these are also great home remedies for a frog in the throat.
Gargle With Baking Soda
Although warm salt water is used more often, gargling a mixture of baking soda, salt and water can help relieve a sore throat just as well. The mixture kills bacteria and can prevent further growth of bacteria, yeast, and fungi. Baking soda can also be used as a natural teeth whitener.
The recommended mixture is a combination of 1 cup of lukewarm water, ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, and ⅛ teaspoon of salt. When the salt and the baking soda has dissolved into the solution, gargle and gently swish. Rinse and gargle every three hours as needed.
Sore Throat Remedies For Young Children
A sore throat is not much to worry about for a child. However, they can be quite a nuisance. Luckily, there are many ways to treat a child or infant's sore throat.
Put a humidifier in the child’s room to add moisture to the air and help relieve some of the pain caused by a sore throat. Get the child to stay hydrated by encouraging them to drink a lot of water and juices. However, avoid citrus juices that can aggravate a sore throat. They can also be given cooled tea made of honey and lemon but do not allow children under the age of one to consume honey.