While you’re more likely to have a strong immune system if you eat healthy and exercise regularly, viruses get the best of all of us once and a while.
It’s bad enough to have a headache, runny nose and cough, but when a sore throat gets into the mix, things can get really unpleasant.
Thankfully, there are some tips and natural remedies to soothe a sore throat without having to break open your piggy bank.
Why do you have a sore throat?
Before you can effectively treat a sore throat at home, you need to have an understanding about what causes sore throats.
Some times sore throats are the result of a secondary issue–like postnasal drip. Other times, a sore throat is the primary symptom of an infectious process, such as with strep throat. Depending on your condition, natural remedies to soothe a sore throat may not offer much relief.
There are many reasons an individual may have a sore throat.
The Mayo Clinic indicates sore throats are most commonly linked to the common cold or a virus; however, other conditions, like bacterial infections (strep throat), allergies, muscle strain, and tumor growth can all be causes of a sore throat.
Before you attempt any natural remedies to soothe a sore throat, speak with your medical provider to ensure more in-depth care isn’t needed.
Tips and natural remedies to soothe a sore throat
If you’re in the clear and your sore throat is just the result of minor irritation from the common cold, you can try these tips and natural remedies from Health and Discovery:
- Use a decongestant: This will help keep your nasal passages clear if a sore throat is related to postnasal drip.
- Get plenty of sleep to allow your body to recover from the virus or bacteria attacking it.
- Gargle with one of these natural teas to soothe a sore throat: raspberry, sage, or turmeric.
- Gargle with saltwater to reduce inflammation.
- Gargle with Listerine to kill germs in the back of the throat.
- Drink cider vinegar made from 8 ounces of water, 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (not for children under 2 years of age).
- Horseradish cocktail (popular in Russia): Mix 1 tablespoon pure horseradish or horseradish root with 1 teaspoon honey and 1 teaspoon ground cloves. Mix in a glass of warm water and drink slowly.
- Sip lemon or lime juice with honey.
- Eat a Popsicle; the cold may soothe the throat. Do not suck on the Popsicle as the action can cause more irritation.
- Drink something hot; this acts in a similar manner as applying a hot pack to the skin.
- Suck on hard candy to keep your mouth moist and prevent the sore throat “tickle.”
- Inhale steam; research suggests this can shorten the duration of a sore throat.
- Chew on garlic to fight off the bacteria which are responsible for strep throat.
- Take an anti-inflammatory (for adults only) to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Have some soup; the sodium in the broth can help reduce inflammation.
- Eat some marshmallows; while there’s no scientific evidence behind it, the sap from the marshmallow plant has been used to treat sore throats for centuries.
And what’s one of the most important natural remedies to soothe a sore throat? Drink plenty of fluids.
“Staying hydrated is very important, especially when you’re sick and your throat is irritated or inflamed,” Jeffrey Linder, M.D., an internist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told Health.
“You should be drinking enough fluid so that your urine is light yellow or clear. This keeps your mucous membranes moist and better able to combat bacteria and irritants like allergens, and makes your body better able to fight back against other cold symptoms.”