Many illnesses and factors can cause a sore throat, though bacterial and viral infections are most common. Sore throats and their causes generally resolve on their own, but anyone who experiences one for more than two weeks, or develops a fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, should see a doctor. In addition to prescription medications and over-the-counter remedies, the kitchen cabinets contain a number of potential sore throat remedies.
Honey and Warm Water
Honey is a home remedy for a wide range of discomforts, including sore throats. Numerous studies explore its antiviral and antibacterial properties, and some even demonstrate that it works as well as over-the-counter medicines for soothing coughs and sore throats. Honey can be taken straight from the jar or bottle by the spoonful. Alternately, stir it into a cup of warm water for a soothing drink. Note that pediatricians do not recommend giving honey to children under 12 months old, as it may contain spores that cause botulism.
Salt Water Gargle
Salt, a staple in nearly every household pantry, is a powerful antiseptic. Gargling with warm salt water reduces swelling in the throat and helps rinse away irritating mucus by creating a high-salt barrier that washes the virus out, helping the throat heal more quickly. Make a salt water rinse by dissolving a half teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water, and gargle with the mixture twice a day.
The Curative Powers of Garlic
Garlic has been used in medicine since ancient times. The bulbs contain antibacterial substances that may work even more effectively than manufactured medicines, without any side effects, according to some studies. However, more research is needed before most experts will recommend garlic over antibiotics for bacterial infections. People with sore throats can brew garlic tea with a few cloves of garlic, a cup of boiling water, the juice of half of a lemon, and a teaspoon of honey.
Sore throats often go hand-in-hand with a cold or flu. The body requires ample energy and hydration to fight these illnesses and can become depleted if an individual pushes herself when not in peak health. Anyone with a sore throat should take care to get enough rest, eat a nutrient-dense diet, and drink enough fluids until their symptoms have passed.
Avoid Polluted Environments
Poor air quality can exacerbate a sore throat and prolong recovery. When one is unwell, he or she should take measures to improve the air quality in the home, including removing dust, mold, and pet dander. Open windows to let in fresh air and consider taking a few days off work if the environment has poor air quality or is overly dry. A humidifier may be helpful for a home that has dry air.
Pomegranates are full of vitamins and minerals that promote good health and provide a delicious way to support the immune system. They also contain antioxidants and astringents effective for reducing pain and swelling in the throat. Pomegranate tea is also a home remedy for soothing a sore throat, and pomegranate juices that do not contain added sugar may also offer these benefits. Studies show that pomegranate juice can alter the metabolism of some prescription medications. If you’re on medications, talk to your doctor before drinking pomegranate juice.
A Dose of Ginger
In addition to its uses in the kitchen, ginger is well-known for its many health benefits. Anti-inflammatory and bacteria-fighting properties in the root make it a good remedy for sore throats. Some experts suggest that ginger aids in eliminating mucus and viruses, promoting quicker healing. To use ginger as a sore throat remedy, make ginger tea by slicing up some ginger root, boiling it in a cup of water, and straining it. For added sweetness and throat-soothing properties, add a teaspoon of honey.
Drink Milk with Caution
Ensuring adequate hydration is essential when the body is fighting off an infection, and some people find relief from a glass of warm milk. Others believe, however, that dairy products worsen their symptoms. Milk may be beneficial if the throat is sore due to dryness. However, if excess phlegm and mucus are the cause, it may be best to avoid dairy products, which can cause the phlegm to become thicker, increasing pain.
Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants and has a strong scent that can open up the sinuses, which makes it a popular home remedy for cold symptoms. Making cinnamon tea by adding cinnamon sticks to boiling water can positively affect a sore throat, though it is important not to add sugar to the beverage.
Chamomile tea has a long list of benefits: it contains a mild sedative that promotes relaxation and restorative sleep, promotes healthy skin, and can soothe a sore throat. The herb possesses antibacterial and muscle relaxant properties that help ease throat pain and, if consumed regularly during an illness, can encourage faster recovery. Chamomile can be dangerous to people with certain diseases or taking certain medications. Therefore, anyone with an existing condition should check with a doctor before drinking it. Also, people who are allergic to plants in the daisy family, including ragweed, may experience worsening of their allergy symptoms when they drink chamomile tea.