16 Natural Ways to Sooth & Cure A Sore Throat

Sore throat, also known as throat pain, is pain or..

16 Natural Ways to Sooth & Cure A Sore Throat

Sore throat, also known as throat pain, is pain or irritation of the throat. It is usually caused by pharyngitis (inflammation of the throat) or tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils).

It can also result from trauma. About 7.5% of people have a sore throat in any three-month period.

1. Gargle raspberry tea

Raspberry tea tastes great, and it is high in anti-oxidants, and great for treating a sore-throat. To make, pour 1 cup boiling water over 2 teaspoons dried leaves.

Steep for 10 minutes, then strain.

Allow to cool. If you have a fever, this will help make you feel better too, and perhaps break the fever.

2. Steam It Out

Steam can ease a sore throat-particularly one that hurts due to dryness-shorten its duration, and make it easier to breathe if you’re congested.

You don’t have to head to your gym’s sauna/steam room to get the treatment either-there are ways to use steam as a remedy without leaving the comfort of your home.

You will need…

-1 medium to large bowl
-Enough hot water to fill your bowl about halfway
-1 bath towel or a towel of similar size
-Eucalyptus oil (optional)

Boil a pot of water and pour it into your bowl.

Lean over the bowl so that you can fully inhale the rising steam-you don’t have to stick your face right up to it.

Drape the towel over your head to create a tent for the steam.

Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil if you’d like to make it more soothing.

If you’re worried about frightening someone who walks in on a mysterious towel-draped creature snuffling and sniffling over a bowl of steaming water.

Taking a hot shower and letting the bathroom steam up can provide some relief as well.

3. Suck on Echinacea herbal lozenges

Echinacea is a traditional remedy that helps to relieve the symptoms of colds, sore throats and tonsillitis.

One of the ways that echinacea works is as a bactericide.

It stimulates cells in the body called phagocytes, which destroy bacteria or other foreign bodies.

4. Gargle with Salt Water

Salt is a natural anti-bacterial.

Gargling with salt water at least once an hour can help with inflammation and swelling, and can ease the discomfort of a sore throat.

To make the perfect salt water mix, add one tablespoon of salt to one cup of warm water. Gargle with this mixture at least once an hour.

If you have post nasal drip, you might want to gargle more often to soothe your throat.

If you want to add a little flavor to the solution, add one tablespoon of sage or a half-teaspoon of turmeric.

Both can also help ease inflammation of the throat.

5. Drink Apple Cider Vinegar

This sore throat cure is found in several different remedies. Try this formula:

  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar, preferably apple-cider vinegar
  • 8 ounces hot water
  • Mix all the ingredients together in a mug and sip slowly. Use as often as desired.
  • For gargling: You;ll need 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup cider vinegar, and 1 cup warm water.
  • Dissolve the salt in the vinegar, then mix in the water. Gargle every 15 minutes as necessary.


6. Kick It With Cayenne

Drinking warm water with cayenne can actually make you feel better.

This is another one of those really funky sounding home remedies, but again, a lot of people swear by it.

Dumping something involving hot peppers in any way, shape. 

Or form down your already searing throat seems counterintuitive to helping it, but there’s a method to the madness.

Cayenne (and other hot peppers) have a chemical compound called capsaicin that temporarily relieves pain, much like Advil or aspirin does.

It accomplishes this by hindering something called substance P, which is what transmits pain signals to your brain.

Thus, the discomfort from your sore throat is diluted when coming in contact with the Cayenne-and quickly to boot.

You will need…

-1/2 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
-1 cup of boiling water
-1 teaspoon of honey

Add 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper to 1 cup of boiling water. Stir in the honey, and wait until the mixture is warm-but not hot-before drinking throughout the day as needed.

Make sure to stir it frequently, as the Cayenne tends to settle. If you’re sensitive to spice, reduce the pepper to as little as 1/8 of a teaspoon.

7. Make a Horseradish Cocktail

This is an old fashioned Russian sore-throat remedy, but it works! Combine 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.

8. Take Slippery Elm in tea

Slippery elm was once considered a conventional treatment for sore throats in North America. Slippery elm comes from the inner bark of the tree.

The inner bark contains mucilage, a gel-like substance that swells when it is mixed with water.

The mucilage is thought to reduce throat irritation and soothe sore throat.

Slippery elm is can be found in capsule form. It is a common ingredient in herbal lozenges, either on its own (made by Thayer’s) or combined with elderberry and zinc.

Slippery elm is also found in herbal teas for sore throat, such as Throat Comfort (Yogi Teas).

9. Gargle Licorice Root

Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has a long history of use as an herbal remedy for sore throat.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).

Licorice root is used for its anti-inflammatory properties and for stomach ulcers, allergies, canker sores and viral infections.

A study in Anesthesia & Analgesia examined the use of a licorice root gargle to prevent sore throat.

Five minutes before general anesthesia, patients either gargled with a diluted licorice root solution or plain water.

The patients who gargled with the licorice root solution were less likely to have a sore throat after surgery and experienced less post-operative coughing than other patients.

Licorice should not be used in large amounts, as it can lead to high blood pressure, salt and water retention, low potassium levels, and can affect levels of the hormone cortisol.

It should not be combined with diuretics, corticosteroids, or other medications that reduce potassium levels in the body. People with heart disease or high blood pressure should use caution when using licorice.

Pregnant women should avoid licorice.

10. Take an Analgesic

Taking anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or even regular acetaminophen can do wonders for sore-throat pain.

However, aspirin shouldnt be given to children under the age of 19 because of the risk of Reyes syndrome, a potentially fatal condition.

Pregnant and nursing women should check with their doctor before taking any medication. 

11. Drink Hot Liquids

Especially if youre not good at gargling, drink hot fluids, such as coffee, tea or hot lemonade.

Coating the tissue in your throat with warm liquid provides a soothing effect, though temporary.

To make a delicious, soothing tea, use a spoonful of marjoram steeped in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes.

Strain, then sweeten to taste with honey.

12. Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps with immune system function and boosts white blood cells.

Plus, studies show that vitamin C shortens the duration of respiratory symptoms, especially in people under physical stress. 

As soon as you develop signs of a sore throat, take 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C per day and consume vitamin C foods like grapefruit, kiwi, strawberries, oranges, kale and guava.

If it is painful to eat solid foods, try having a smoothie instead.

13. Steam It Out

One old-fashioned remedy for a cold or sore throat is a steam tent.

Sit with your face over a bowl of steaming hot water and your head covered with a towel to keep the steam in.

Adding 1 to 2 drops eucalyptus oil and inhale deeply.

Several scientific studies have shown that steaming can actually shorten the duration of a throat infection.

14. Zinc

Zinc benefits the immune system and has antiviral effects.

When taken for at least five months, zinc may reduce your risk of becoming sick with the common cold, which is associated with a sore throat.

Supplementing once you already feel sick can speed up the healing process, especially when it’s taken at the first sign of illness.

Research shows that zinc can interfere with the molecular process that causes mucus and bacteria to build up in the nasal passages.

Because of its electrical charge, ionic zinc has the ability to exert an antiviral effect by attaching to receptors in nasal epithelial cells and blocking their effects. 

15. Sleep

Getting adequate sleep is vitally important in overcoming a sore throat; in fact, missing sleep can be just as bad for your health as eating poorly and not exercising.

Aim for 9 to 10 hours of sleep until you begin to feel well.

According to research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, sleep quality is thought to be an important predictor of immunity and susceptibility to the common cold.

Nasal drops containing a rhinovirus were given to 153 healthy men and women.

The participants rated their illness symptoms each day, including sore throat, nasal congestion, chest congestion, sinus pain and cough.  

The data showed that those with poorer sleep efficiency and shorter sleep duration in the weeks preceding exposure to rhinovirus had lower resistance to illness. 

16. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Eucalyptus oil is one of the most beneficial sore throat remedies because of its ability to stimulate immunity, provide antioxidant protection and improve respiratory circulation. 

Research published in Pharmaceutical Biology indicates that eucalyptus oil is used as an antiseptic and for relieving symptoms of sore throat, cough, cold and other infections. 

To relieve a sore throat with eucalyptus oil, use it with a diffuser.

Or, use it topically by applying 1-3 drops on your throat and chest.

You can also gargle with eucalyptus oil and water.

If you have sensitive skin, use a carrier oil, like coconut oil, to dilute eucalyptus before topical application.

Daniel Messer, RNutr, CPT

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