6 Ultimate Natural Herbs for Sore Throat

Updated on March 12th, 2020
Herbs for Sore Throat

Sore throat causes a lot of discomforts. When a person has a sore throat, it could cause difficulty in swallowing due to the infection in his throat. This sore throat is called pharyngitis. 85%-95% of the sore throat is caused by viruses in adults and kids below five years of age.

While for the age group of 5-15 years, 70% of sore throats are caused by viruses. If your infection is acute, you might need medication. You could also treat your throat infection at home as there are several herbs for sore throat.

Herbs for Sore Throat

1.  Marshmallow Root

marshmallow root
Image: ShutterStock

Why use it?

The root of the marshmallow plant has been used as a home remedy since the middle ages. It is used not only as one of the herbs for a sore throat(1) but for various other conditions. Marshmallow roots contain mucilage, which is a gelatin-like element. This mucilage acts as a lubricant and coats the throat making swallowing easier.

How to use it?

You could either take it as tea or prepare a marshmallow infused water. To prepare the infused water, you need to take 1-ounce marshmallow dried root and tie it in a cheesecloth bundle. Then you have to place this in a jar with 1-liter water. Now close the lid and leave it for at least 8 hours before consuming it. While drinking it, you could also add sweetener to it. For preparing tea, you just need to add dried marshmallow roots to the boiling water. Then strain and enjoy.

[Read: Marshmallow Root Benefits]

How much to use?

You could take 2-3 cups of marshmallow tea every day. As for the marshmallow infused water, you could sip it throughout the day without worrying about side effects. The marshmallow root is one of the herbs good for a sore throat, but it might not be a good option for people with diabetes. So diabetes patients should consult a doctor before consuming marshmallow roots.

[Also Read: Naturopathic Remedies for Sore Throat]

2. Sage

Why use it?

Sage is a herb used in various recipes, but it is now becoming popular as a herb good for sore throat(2). Apart from this, it is believed to have antibacterial, antiseptic, astringent, and anti-inflammatory properties.

How to use it?

You could prepare a spray or consume it as a tea. For tea, add one tablespoon of fresh sage leaves in a cup of boiling water. Boil this for 10-15 minutes. You could use two tablespoons of dried sage leaves if you don’t have fresh leaves. Strain and if you desire, you could add honey with lemon to it. You could use sage tea for gargling.

You could also prepare a sage-echinacea spray at home. Take 1 teaspoon each of ground sage and Echinacea in a jar and add a half cup of boiling water. Let it soak for around 30 minutes. Now strain this and add half a cup of hard liquor. Liquor could be avoided if you want. This liquid is now ready to be stored in a spray bottle.

How much to use?

Sage-echinacea spray could be sprayed into the throat every 2 hours. Though sage tea is a comforting tea, it is not advised for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

[Also Read: Best Teas for Sore Throat Relief]

3. Licorice Root

benefits of licorice root

Why use it?

The licorice plant is grown in parts of Europe and South Asia, traditionally used as a cure for sore throats. Licorice root is not only included in the list of herbs for sore throat. It is sometimes used to cure a viral infection, stomach ulcers, canker sores, and even allergies. 2 studies, one conducted on patients before surgery and another on patients who have had major surgeries, have proved it to be a herb good for sore throat. In both types of patients, the licorice root was seen to be beneficial.

How to use it?

Licorice is sweet and is an ingredient used in various throat drops, lozenges, herbal tea which is believed to be useful for sore throat. You could also prepare a mix at home by soaking ground licorice in hot water for 5 minutes. You can now strain it and sip it to get relief from sore throat. It can also be mixed with hot water and used to gargle.

How much to use?

In spite of licorice being a beneficial herb for sore throat, it is recommended to not consume it in large amounts. You should not consume more than 75 milligrams a day. It should be avoided during pregnancy, lactation as well as by high blood pressure, and heart patients.

4. Ginger

Why use it?

Ginger is one of the best herbs for a sore throat. Ginger has excellent medicinal values. It is known to have anti-bacterial, anti-oxidative, and anti-inflammatory properties. It detoxifies your body, improves blood circulation, and works wonders on your immune system.

How to use it?

There are many ways to use ginger for a sore throat. One of them is making ginger root tea. For this, you need to boil one-liter water. Now add one tablespoon of peeled and grated ginger root to this. Cover and let it soak for around 10 minutes. Now strain it and add honey and lemon to it. This will not only enhance the taste but also will work better for your throat infection. Alternatively, you could also use ginger for a sore throat by chewing raw ginger, using ginger seasoning or powder, ginger lozenge, and candy.

How much to use?

Ginger for sore throat can be used as per the form you are taking it. This tea can be taken for two-three cups per day. Ginger seasoning or powder can be used two teaspoons per meal or 2-3 times daily. You could also chew one inch of raw ginger 2-3 times a day.

5. Fenugreek

Fenugreek Seeds

Why use it?

Fenugreek is not just a herb for a sore throat but a remedy to many health conditions. It has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, laxative, and anticoagulant properties. To name a few fenugreeks is beneficial for indigestion, diabetes, constipation, high cholesterol, diarrhea, arthritis, menopause When you have a sore throat, it helps to clear mucus, thus decreasing the urge to cough.

How to use it?

You could eat fenugreek seeds, or take it as tea. You could even use it as a topical oil. When brewed into a tea, it is excellent in easing congestion. To prepare the tea, either infuse one teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in 8 ounces of cold water overnight or add fenugreek seeds to boiling water and let it soak for 15 minutes. Strain and warm the infused water. Add honey and sip like tea.

How much to use?

You could drink the tea two-three times a day. Pregnant women should avoid its use as it encourages uterine contractions.

[Also Read: Garlic for Sore Throat]

6. Slippery-elm

Why use it?

When it comes to herbs for sore throat, slippery-elm and marshmallow have similar properties. Both of them contain a mucus-like substance which acts as a lubricant and soothes the sore throat.

How to use it?

To make a slippery-elm drink, pour a cup of boiled water on half a teaspoon of powdered bark. Then stir it and let it soak for some time. This mix is now ready to be used as a drink and gargle too. You could also make homemade lozenges using slippery-elm or any of the herbs for sore throat.

How much to use?

You could use slippery-elm in a cup of hot water or tea for around three-four times a day. Slippery-elm might interfere with the absorption of certain drugs. So try to have a gap of one-two hours between medications and slippery-elm.

Though herbs are effective in curing sore throat, yet it is essential to consult a doctor because your sore throat might be due to strep throat infection or in kids it might be a sign of hand, foot, and mouth disease. Take your doctor’s advice as to which home remedies should be best for you.

There are numerous herbs for sore throat which save you from strong medications and their side effects. These herbs are good for sore throat and have a long-lasting effect on your health and could become your friend for life. However, it all depends on whether you choose the perfect one for your body. You should also ensure that you are using it in the correct way and the required amount.


1.    What is sore throat?

Sore throat is an infection that causes problems like itchiness, scratchiness, and pain while swallowing. Your immune system reacts to viral and bacterial infection, which results in swelling and inflammation in the throat. There are many natural home remedies for this. You could benefit from many herbs for sore throat.

2.    Which other remedies can be used for a sore throat?

There are many natural remedies which can be used for sore throat will bring relief. Natural things like honey, sage, marshmallow root, licorice root, ginger, fenugreek, slippery-elm, and even salt water gargle are believed to help soothe the sore throat. Home-made preparation using herbs for sore throat gives good results.

3. How is saltwater gargle helpful in treating a sore throat?

Saltwater gargle helps to decrease the pain and swelling in the throat. When you gargle with salt water, it pulls out water out from the throat tissues, thus reducing swelling. It might also work as an anti-microbial. Apart from this, there are various home remedies using herbs for sore throat, which helps in getting relief.

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