Don’t Succumb To Your Sore Throat, Use These Naturopathic Remedies!

The rainy season even though is an enjoyable period for several, often brings along fever, cold, cough, and flu with it. One of the most common medical conditions during this period is a sore throat. A sore throat can affect you at any time, and it’s caused due to a number of reasons.

The constant itch in the throat is caused by the sore throat, and is often agitating and hinders your ability to function. Sore throats are mostly caused due to viral infections.

There is a fundamental difference between sore throat and strep throat. Sore throat is mostly caused by bacteria. However, strep throat is caused by bacteria, specifically Staphylococcus aureus(1).

Contagious in nature, sore throat is often the first signal our body gives as a reaction to the virus that has entered our body. Thankfully, there are natural remedies/alternative treatments that you can use at your home and that don’t require an antibiotic prescription.

CURE 1: Home Remedies for Sore Throat

1.  Apple Cider Vinegar for Sore Throat

apple cider vinegar benefits
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Apple cider vinegar has been used for ages to treat a plethora of diseases. This age-old folk remedy was Hippocrates, the father of medicine. He used to prescribe apple cider vinegar (2)and honey. Also, known as oxymel to treat flu symptoms that are cold and cough.

Why does it work?

During the two-step preparation of apple cider vinegar, the second step forms the crucial step as this is the step that essentially converts the boozy drink into vinegar. Vinegar consists of acetic acid, that is known to be an antibacterial/antiviral agent that kills the pathogens that are present in the body and additionally, it also helps in boosting the immune system of the human body.

How to use?

Ideally, it is recommended that you consume one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon of salt simultaneously together, for the best benefits. However, it may not be such a plausible treatment to a few, owing to the bitter taste of apple cider vinegar.

Alternatively, you could dissolve apple cider vinegar and salt in a glass of warm water and drink this solution, and for an even gentler treatment, you can mix ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar and ¼ cup of honey. Take one tablespoon of this mixture every four hours to cure sore throat naturally.

How much to use?

Apple cider vinegar even though bears several medicinal benefits, consuming it a lot or more than the prescribed dosage could hurt your internal organs and body. It is strongly advised that you dilute it with water and refrain from directly consuming it.

It is also advised that you consult your physician/doctor before following this regimen, as he/she would be able to recommend the proper form of ingesting them.

[Also Read: Apple Cider Vinegar Health Benefits]

2. Salt Water Gargle for Sore Throat

salt water gargle
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This is possibly the easiest and one of the most functional and frugal methods that you could follow to get rid of that scratchy sore throat.
Anyone ranging from children to adults could use this home remedy. However, children below the age of 6 years, are not recommended to use this.

Why does this work?

A 2013 study(3) had established that using salt water gargle regularly could not only prevent flu-symptoms. However, it could also help in curing these symptoms, more effectively than the flu vaccinations.

Saltwater can help draw out water and bacteria that are residing in the pharyngeal and oral areas, and they could also help by killing these bacteria. Additionally, they also provide instant relief from pain and inflammation caused by a sore throat.

How to use?

The Mayo Clinic(4), recommends making the solution of water and salt by mixing ½ to ¼ teaspoon of salt per 250 ml of water. Ideally, it is recommended that you use warm water for the best benefits as the salt readily dissolves in warm water.

Gargle the water in the back of your throat for about 2 minutes. However, if you could it longer, it is recommended that you try doing it as long as you can. Swish the water in and around the mouth and teeth. Spit it out when you’re done. However, it can be swallowed but spitting it out is recommended.

Spitting out salt water is considered better and therefore keeps the infection at bay. Be careful if you are doing multiple mouth rinses per day and are swallowing too much salt water, as it can dehydrate you severely. Drinking too much salt water can also have health risks, such as calcium deficiency and high blood pressure.

How much to use?

Gargling twice a day is recommended.  however, you could safely gargle more than that. Additionally, you could also add a little honey/lemon juice into the mix to gargle to swish it a less monotonous and a little more beneficial.

[Also Read: Home Remedies for Sore Throat]

3. Baking soda for Sore Throat

baking soda benefits
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Although the salt water gargle is a well-known home remedy, using baking soda to treat your sore throat could bear a lot of medicinal benefits. The natural presence of sodium bicarbonate makes using baking soda safe for the human body.

Why does this work?

In a recent study(5) conducted amongst 62 individuals, it was established that baking soda was an effective cure against cold and cough. Baking soda is known to kill any pathogens that are present in the oral cavity that could cause a sore throat. Additionally, it also prevents the growth of fungi and yeast.

How to use?

The National Cancer Institute (6) (NCI) recommends gargling and swishing a combination of a cup of warm water, ¼ baking soda, and ⅛ teaspoon of salt. Swish it in your mouth and clear your throat for the best benefits.  Swish it in/around your throat and the oral cavity for as long as you can. Ideally, swish it for at least a minute to reap the most benefits of this remedy.

How much to use?

Gargling twice a day is recommended. However, you could safely gargle more than that. Additionally, you could also add a little honey/lemon juice into the mix to make it a less monotonous and a little more beneficial.

CURE 2: Food for Sore Throat

A sore throat could hinder your capability of swallowing and chewing food to the extent of causing pain while you perform these actions. However, after eating these foods you are bound to get some relief, and they’re also very easy to chew and swallow!

1. Garlic for Sore Throat  (Allium Sativum)

benefits of Garlic
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Garlic has been considered as a cornerstone of traditional medicine, and it has been used to treat several medical conditions. From the ancient Chinese to this day, garlic has proven to be an effective remedy in curing several respiratory disorders.

Why does it work?

Garlic presents several anti-bacterial properties, owing to the presence of allicin, an organosulfur compound known for its ability to ward off bacterial growth and infections.
In a study(7) conducted, it was observed that consuming garlic regularly can not only cure a cold, and it can also prevent it by boosting your immune system.

How to use?

Adding honey with garlic is a powerful combination because they both possess antimicrobial properties. Honey coats the throat helping soothe the inflammation and act as an anti-inflammatory, garlic acts as a potent antimicrobial and helps inhibit the growth of pathogens.

Procedure:
  1. Peel and crush 2-4 cloves of garlic.
  2. Throw the crushed garlic into a bowl.
  3. Take around 1 tablespoon of Manuka honey and mix it with the crushed garlic cloves.
  4. Leave the mix for about 5 minutes to allow the allicin to be released.

You may eat this as it is or better still, you could make some toast, drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil on the toast and then spread the garlic and honey mix across the bread.

Garlic can be quite potent and difficult to consume by itself, consuming it with some food will be easier on the mouth and stomach.

How much to use?

It is ideally recommended to use this daily during winters or if you feel the first signs of a cold. Use this method, every morning. Additionally, you could also do it twice a day for best results.

[Also Read: Benefits of Garlic for Sore Throat]

2. Lemon for Sore Throat  (Citrus x limon)

benefits of Lemon
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There has been an uproar in the alternative medicine – lemon has several benefits including weight loss, and helping in curing a cold. Lemon is a known antibacterial agent and additionally, rich in vitamin C making it the best option to cure your cold.

Why does it work?

A study (8)conducted in 2014, found that using lemon as a vitamin C supplement helped to cure and keep the cold at bay. Lemon is well known to kill pathogens and restrict the growth of pathogens by inhibiting the growth of the pathogen cells.

How to use?

Lemon and honey in combination could do wonders in eradicating and protecting your body from cold. Additionally, this is also an immune boosting drink, that would help you stay healthy and active throughout the day.

Procedure
  • Take 2-3 lemons and roll them around properly to let the juices flowing.
  • Cut them open and squeeze the juice into a glass.
  • To this extracted lemon juice, add a tbsp of honey and preferably add warm water to it.
  • As warm water helps in a quicker dissolution of the ingredients.
  • You could go ahead and drink this!

How much to use?

Ideally, it is suggested that you start drinking this in the morning on an empty stomach after the early onset of your sore throat symptoms. However, you could also add this drink to your breakfast as it bears several health benefits that could help you boost your immune system and live a healthier life.

3. Cinnamon for Sore Throat  (Cinnamomum verum)

cinnamon benefits
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All this while you thought that the cinnamon was only used to add that punch to your coffee; however, this spice can help you cure your cold and prevents it from occurring ever again.

Why does it work?

Cinnamon(9) is proven to be an antibacterial agent that can help you fight your sore throat and keep your symptoms at bay. Additionally, it also helps boost your immunity and helps in keeping your breath fresh!

How to use?

To make it easy for integrating this into your regimen is to drink cinnamon tea, which you could easily acquire from any nearby stores. However, the better way of reaping the benefits of cinnamon is to make your own cinnamon almond milk.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of almond milk.
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground cinnamon.
  • 1/8 teaspoon (0.6 ml) baking soda.
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey or sweetener of choice.
Procedure:
  1. Add cinnamon and baking soda into a saucepan and mix it well.
  2. Add almond milk to the mixture and mix again until it dissolves well into the milk.
  3. Heat mixture until it begins to simmer, then remove from heat.
  4. Stir in sweetener and let it cool down.

How much to use?

Ideally, there is no restriction of any sort on consuming this milk. However, you could stick to a full glass of milk and substitute for your regular dairy consumption. It is to be noted that you should consume this once in a day, in the morning on an empty stomach or alongside your breakfast.

CURE 3: Herbs for Sore Throat

Herbs are naturally occurring substances which originated from plants or plant derivatives. They have shown immense potential in curing a lot of diseases effectively including respiratory disorders such as pneumonia and sore throat. Herbal remedies are easily accessible and don’t bear any side effects. Some of the best herbs for how to deal with sore throat include

[Also Read: Natural Herbs for Sore Throat]

1. Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

benefits of licorice
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Licorice is a plant native to Europe and South Asia. Interestingly, it has been used in traditional medicine to treat many disorders including sore throat.  It has been noticed that licorice has properties similar to that of aspirin that may help reduce sore throat.

Why does it work?

A recent study found that using licorice was extremely effective in preventing a sore throat in several who have used it. Although there isn’t any clarity on the functioning of this herb and how it helps the body. However, it has been hypothesized that it contains chemicals that can kill pathogens, thin mucus secretions, and thereby assisting in curing a sore throat.

How to use?

Ideally, the best way to reap the benefits of licorice is to use the oil or the extract after boiling it and mixing it with 250 ml water and swishing it in your mouth for as long as you can. However, you could also use licorice tea to cure your sore throat.

How much to use?

Although set rigid dosage for the use of licorice isn’t specified, it is strongly recommended that you consult your doctor/physician before starting this regimen.

Note: It is strongly recommended that you first consult with your physician if you are a pregnant woman/ or are going to administer this to your children.

2. Marshmallow Root (Althaea Officinalis)

marshmallow root(Althaea Officinalis)
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Marshmallow root is a perennial herb that’s native to Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. It’s been used as a folk remedy for thousands of years to treat digestive, respiratory, and skin conditions.

Why does it work?

This root has mucilaginous content that holds the key to help you fight with your sore throat. The mucilaginous substance acts as an enzyme and helps in loosening the mucous growth and inhibiting the growth of the bacteria as well.

A study from 2005 found that marshmallow root was effective in relieving coughs due to colds, bronchitis, or respiratory tract diseases. Within 2 weeks, all 62 participants experienced an 86 to 90 percent improvement in their symptoms and confirmed that felt better than before.

How to use?

Ideally, the best way to reap the benefits of marshmallow root is to use the oil or the extract after boiling it and mixing it with 250 ml water and swishing it in your mouth for as long as you can. However, you could also use marshmallow root tea to cure your sore throat.

You could additionally also use a throat syrup that is available at any stores. Consume 10ml of the throat syrup, every day for at least 7 days.  

How much to use?

Although a set rigid dosage for the use of licorice isn’t specified, it is strongly recommended that you consult with your doctor/physician before starting this regimen.

Note: If you are a diabetic patient, check with your doctor before starting this regimen, as marshmallow root is known to interfere with drugs used for diabetics.

3. Chamomile Tea for Sore Throat

chamomile tea benefits
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Chamomile tea is naturally soothing and has been used for ages due to its medicinal purposes, like curing a sore throat. It is known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and astringent properties.

Why does it work?

Studies (10)have shown that inhaling chamomile steam alleviates the symptoms of a cold, including a sore throat. Drinking chamomile tea bears the same benefit. It is also known to stimulate the immune system to help your body fight off the infection that caused your sore throat in the first place.

How to use?

Ideally, the best way to reap the benefits of chamomile tea is to boil the tea bag and inhale the steam for about 5-10 minutes every morning. However, if that is not a plausible option, you could also drink chamomile tea to cure your sore throat.

How much to use?

Although set rigid dosage isn’t specified for the use of licorice, it is strongly recommended that you consult your doctor/physician before starting this regimen.

[Also Read: Chamomile Tea Health Benefits ]

CURE 4: Essential Oils for Sore Throat

These oils are extracted from barks, flowers, stems and other living parts of plants and have a lot of beneficial effect for humans as kill several pathogens and help in the reduction of swelling and alleviate pain.

1. Peppermint oil for Sore Throat

benefits of peppermint oil
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Peppermint oil is commonly used for the treatment of the common cold, cough, sinus infections, respiratory infections, and inflammation of the mouth and throat, including sore throats.  
A 2015 study(11) found that peppermint essential oil has antibacterial properties similar to those of the antibiotic gentamicin (Garamycin) thereby proving its efficacy as a potent remedy to cure a sore throat.

Why does it work?

Peppermint oil consists of menthol, the active ingredient that is present in several conventional lozenges, syrups and pills to cure sore throat, cold and several other respiratory problems. It alleviates pain and helps in reducing the swelling as well. Additionally, it also kills the bacteria that is present in the throat.

How to use?

Ideally, it is recommended that you inhale this essential oil directly, you could directly take sniffs from the bottle during the day. Additionally, you could also add 3-4 drops of the oil in a humidifier and place it in your bedroom while you are sleeping. It is to be noted that you can not ingest essential oils, however, you could apply it topically after mixing it with a carrier oil like coconut oil, almond oil, etc.

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How much to use?

Although a set of rigid dosage for the use of peppermint oil isn’t specified, however, it is strongly recommended that you consult your doctor/physician before starting this regimen.

[Also Read: 9 Popular Essential Oils for Sore Throat]

2. Tea tree oil for Sore Throat

tea tree oil benefits
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A 2013 study (12) conducted by scientists narrowed down on the fact that tea tree oil is a powerful antibacterial, anti-inflammatory agent against the pathogens. Additionally, it could also cure/prevent a lot of diseases such as respiratory diseases, and gastrointestinal diseases.

Why does it work?

Tea tree oil is a well-known antibacterial, an anti-inflammatory agent, that has proven efficacy in the human body by killing pathogens and alleviating swelling in the body. Additionally, it also acts as an antiseptic and keeps the oral cavity fresh and disinfected.

How to use?

Ideally, it is recommended that you inhale this essential oil directly, you could directly take sniffs from the bottle during the day. Additionally, you could also add 3-4 drops of the oil in a humidifier and place it in your bedroom while you are sleeping.

It is to be noted that you can not ingest essential oils. However, you could apply it topically after mixing it with a carrier oil like coconut oil, and almond oil.

How much to use?

Although a set rigid dosage for the use of peppermint oil isn’t specified, however, it is strongly recommended that you consult with your doctor/physician before starting this regimen.

3. Oregano oil for Sore Throat

oregano oil benefits
Image:ShutterStock

Oregano oil is a well-known antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and has antioxidant properties. It contains several healing compounds, such as carvacrol, thymol, and terpinine that can help cure your sore throat and much more.

Why does it work?

In a 2011 study (13) conducted on the antiviral properties of oregano oil, concluded that oregano oil was able to inhibit the growth of animal and human viruses in vitro. Researchers narrowed it down to the presence of carvacrol, one of the main compounds in oregano oil.

Carvacrol is more effective against certain viruses on its own. However, oregano oil is more effective against respiratory viruses, such as flu viruses.

How to use?

Ideally, it is recommended that you inhale this essential oil directly, you could directly take sniffs from the bottle during the day. Additionally, you could also add 3-4 drops of the oil in a humidifier and place it in your bedroom while you are sleeping. It is to be noted that you can not ingest essential oils. However, you could apply it topically after mixing it with a carrier oil like coconut oil, almond oil, etc.

How much to use?

Although, a set of rigid dosage for the use of oregano oil isn’t specified, however, it is strongly recommended that you consult your doctor/physician before starting this regimen.

CURE 5: Supplements for Sore Throat

Supplements form the adjuvant therapy, i.e., you should follow this treatment alongside the primary treatment. Supplements form the backbone for your recovery as lacking nutrients and minerals could lead to respiratory disorders and weakened immunity.

1. Zinc for Sore Throat

zinc benefits
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There hasn’t been any development for a lot of time for a cure for a cold/sore throat. However, scientists now think that zinc is the next best thing, close to a cure that could help you cure/prevent the diseases in the first place.

Why does it work?

A 2008 study(14) conducted by the Journal of Infectious Diseases, found that zinc supplementation in the cases of severe sore throat cut down the infection period from seven days to three-four days. It also had an effect on coughing, and it reduced it to two-three days. Although there hasn’t been any consensus as to how zinc works, it has been hypothesized that it prevents/inhibits the growth of the bacteria that causes a sore throat.

How to use?

Zinc supplementation is very simple and could be followed by just using them right from the container. Although it is strictly advised that you check with your doctor/physician before you start this regimen.

How much to use?

According to the recommended daily intake(15), it is ideally 11mg for men and 8mg for women.    

2. Vitamin C for sore throat (Ascorbic Acid)

vitamin c benefits
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Vitamin C is an important vitamin and antioxidant that the body uses to keep you strong and healthy. It is used in the maintenance of bones, muscle, and blood vessels. Vitamin C also assists in the formation of collagen and helps the body in absorbing iron.

Why does it work?

A vitamin C deficiency significantly weakens the immune system(16) and increases the risk of infection and also causes several oral problems such as gingivitis and scurvy in children. According to a study(17) conducted, it was concluded that vitamin C supplementation reduced the risk of having a cold/sore throat by 18% on an average.

How to use?

Vitamin C supplementation is very simple and could be followed by t using them right from the container.  Although it is strictly advised that you check with your doctor/physician before you start this regimen.

How much to use?

According to the recommended daily intake, for men and women is 60mg.   

3. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical compound that combines hydrogen with oxygen. You can use it for everything from disinfecting wounds to cleaning your bathtub. Many people have been using it as a gargle to soothe a sore throat, to whiten teeth, and to reduce gum inflammation.

Why does it work?

Gargling hydrogen peroxide may help a sore throat as it has antibacterial(18) properties. It can help your body fight infections that often cause sore throats.

Additionally, when the mucus in your mouth comes into contact with hydrogen peroxide, it creates a foam. This foam makes the mucus less sticky and easier to drain. It can also help loosen the mucus in your throat, which causes irritation and pain.

How does it work?

  • Start with a 3% concentration of hydrogen peroxide. This is the strength you’ll find at most stores.
  • Next, combine one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts water. Thereby making your final mix having a concentration of 1% hydrogen peroxide.
  • Tilt your head back and take a small mouthful of hydrogen peroxide and water mix. Gargle and swish the solution around in your mouth for 60 seconds. Don’t try to gargle the mixture for more than 90 seconds as it could be harmful or you could unknowingly swallow it.
  • Spit the solution out after rinsing.

How much to use?

Although there aren’t any set restrictions on using this solution, you should bear in mind that you should gargle it only for 90 seconds and start this when you feel your symptoms have begun to appear.

Prevention

  1. If you are prone to sore throats, try changing your toothbrush every month – the bristles can harbor bacteria. Also, throw away your old toothbrush after recovery from a sore throat to not reinfect yourself.
  2. Try not to share eating and drinking utensils with others as it can aid in spreading the infection and you could be prone to a sore throat.
  3. Do not have close contact with someone who has a sore throat, try to maintain a safe distance as this is an airborne disease.
  4. Don’t consume large amounts of alcohol.
  5. Avoid areas where there is a lot of cigarette smoke and if you smoke, try to stop it immediately.
  6. If the air is very dry in your home, try humidifying by using a humidifier.
  7. Build up your body’s natural defenses: reduce stress levels, eat healthily and get plenty of rest.
  8. Rest well and also make sure you rest your voice as well.
  9. Drink fluids. Fluids keep the throat moist and prevent dehydration. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can dehydrate you.
  10. Try comforting foods and beverages. Warm liquids — broth, caffeine-free tea or warm water with honey — and cold treats such as ice pops can soothe a sore throat.
  11. Consider lozenges or hard candy. Either can soothe a sore throat, but don’t give them to children age 4 and younger because of choking risk.
  12. Washing your hands regularly and properly, particularly after touching your nose or mouth and before handling food.
  13. Always sneezing and coughing into tissues, then throwing away the used tissues and washing your hands.
  14. Clean surfaces regularly to keep them free of germs.

A sore throat is a common issue caused by a virus, and it is most prevalent during the winters. People suffering from it choose medications to treat a sore throat. However, the massive doses of these medications might relieve you from the pain of a sore throat but will leave significant adverse effects on the body causing long term damage.

Naturopathic remedies are bliss when used with the utmost care, and the treatment is easy and convenient. There are several approaches you could use and choose from the above list.

However, any of these remedies would be able to reduce the severity of your condition, and could completely cure and even prevent sore throat. Say goodbye to stuffy noses, blocked throats and itchy noses!  

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