12 Natural Remedies for a Sore Throat
By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
A sore throat is uncomfortable and can also be very painful, particularly when it becomes difficult and painful to swallow, talk and even sleep. This symptom commonly appears at the beginning of a cold, pharyngitis, laryngitis or tonsillitis and can also include fevers, chills, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes and a headache. Whatever that cause of your sore throat, these easy remedies will give you relief — and they can also help support your immunity and reduce the severity and duration of the infection! Here are my favorite natural remedies for a sore throat:
- Lemon with honey and ginger: This is an age-old remedy and often gives immediate relief. Mix ½-1 fresh lemon juiced with 1 cup of boiled water, a few slices of fresh ginger and 1 tsp of raw honey and sip slowly.
- Hydrogen peroxide: Mix one part hydrogen peroxide with one part water. Gargle this mixture then spit it out (do not swallow!). I normally use a tablespoon of each. You can gargle with this mixture several times a day. It is a very effective antimicrobial as it delivers a high level of oxygen to the area and pathogens do not like high oxygen levels. You can buy 3% hydrogen peroxide in most supermarkets near the toiletries.
- Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is a topical antiseptic and can be used for a variety of health and well-being reasons. For a sore throat you can gargle 1oz (30mls) of undiluted ACV for 20-30 seconds and swallow a small amount, leave it for a few minutes then drink some water and rinse teeth and repeat this every hour. Or, gargle ¼ cup of ACV and ¼ cup of warm water and gargle and swallow a small amount but spit out the rest, repeat hourly. Remember to rinse your teeth afterwards to remove the ACV off your teeth.
- Oregano oil: 1-2 drops of oregano oil mixed in a little warm water and gargled will offer relief and reduce the symptoms of a sore throat.
- Salt: Mix 1 teaspoon of salt in lukewarm water and gargle the liquid several times a day to obtain relief.
- Echinacea: This is a fabulous immune herb that helps to reduce the topical infection and also works on reducing the severity and duration of many types of infections by supporting the immune system and white blood cell activity. A good quality Echinacea will leave a strong zing on your tongue. This can be consumed as a liquid, tablet or as a tea. Be cautious about using the leaves and flowers of Echinacea if you suffer with asthma.
- Cayenne: Using spice to treat heat and inflammation may sound odd but it can offer immediate relief. A hot cup of water with ½ teaspoon of cayenne or chili can help to give relief.
- Chamomile tea: Chamomile tea with Manuka honey can be helpful to soothe an irritated throat. Bonus: The Manuka acts as a natural antiseptic.
- Garlic: Take 1 clove of garlic crushed in a dessert spoon of coconut or olive oil for its natural antibacterial benefits. The oil helps to reduce the acidic nature of the allicin (the active compound) and protect the esophagus and the stomach from the acid. Garlic will help fight the infection and put you on the mend quicker.
- Marshmallow root: Marshmallow root tea or tincture can help to reduce the pain and discomfort of the sore throat. The root can be simmered on the stove for 15 minutes then strained and drunk repeatedly throughout the day to provide comfort.
- Licorice tea: This can be taken as a tea or as a herbal tincture to help soothe a sore throat. It is a very good relaxing cough expectorant that helps to alleviate coughs (particularly at night when you really need the rest!).
- Onion and honey: Chop 1 fresh onion and place into a jar and cover with honey and leave overnight. The onion will release a fluid that will mix into the honey. Take 1-3 tbsp twice per day to help treat a sore throat. Keep refrigerated.
For aches and pains during viral infections, it can help to give yourself an Epsom salts bath with some relaxing and antiseptic essential oils such as tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus, geranium and peppermint. Add 1 cup of Epsom salts to a warm bath for relief.