A sore throat is a minor health condition that can cause discomfort, but it can also result in more serious complications if left untreated. If you’re dealing with a sore throat, relieve painful symptoms with home remedies like honey or various herbal teas.
Over 13 million people consult their doctors yearly because of a sore throat. A sore throat is a painful, dry and scratchy feeling in your throat. One of the most common symptoms is pain in the throat.
In most cases, sore throats are caused by infections or by environmental factors like dry air. Sore throat symptoms can vary depending on what caused it. If you have a sore throat, you may experience a burning sensation, dryness or irritation. It also might hurt more to swallow or talk.
Additionally, your throat or tonsils might look red. In some cases, you will see white patches or areas of pus on your tonsils. These white patches are more common in strep throat than in a sore throat caused by a virus.
If you have a sore throat, you can have symptoms such as appetite loss, body aches, cough, chills, fever, headache, hoarse voice, nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, swollen glands in the neck and trouble swallowing.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, try taking a warm shower and rest your voice if you can. If you experience severe pain or a sore throat accompanied by bleeding, high fever or trouble breathing, consult your physician.
Soothing sore throat remedies
The next time you have a sore throat, soothe painful symptoms with these natural home remedies.
Cayenne is great for sore throat relief because it contains capsaicin, a natural anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. This is why cayenne is commonly used in pain relief salves.
To use cayenne as a natural sore throat remedy, add 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne powder to a glass of warm water. Gargle with the liquid several times per day or as needed. You can also try adding 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt.
If you don’t have cayenne powder, add a couple of drops of hot pepper sauce instead. Note that cayenne may interact with some prescription medications so check before using it.
Garlic has antiviral and antibacterial properties and it can help eliminate some causes of sore throat. Garlic’s pungent smell comes from the sulfur-rich compounds it contains, such as allicin and alliin. However, cooking makes these compounds less effective so it’s better to use raw garlic.
Crushing or chopping the garlic and letting it sit before using helps produce more of the beneficial sulfur compounds. When using garlic, set it aside for at least 15 minutes and consume it within an hour of crushing or chopping.
Raw garlic can be hard to swallow, so add some honey or lemon. You can also consume raw chopped garlic in an herbal tea or steep it in hot water to make garlic tea.
Honey is a natural antimicrobial. Research has shown that honey can help relieve symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections. Honey and cayenne are a potent superfood duo for your sore throat. The capsaicin in cayenne desensitizes your throat while the honey coats and soothes.
You can also use honey and cayenne to relieve a cough. Add a spoonful of honey to warm drinks or mix a bit of honey and cayenne together. Take honey as needed to soothe your throat. (Related: Survival medicine: 5 Home remedies for sore throat.)
Pickle juice might seem like an unusual choice, but the salt and vinegar in the liquid can help relieve a sore throat.
Pour some pickle juice into a glass and gargle with the liquid.
Sipping warm liquids can help soothe a sore throat, but the following teas also offer various health benefits:
- Chamomile – Relaxing and soothing
- Cinnamon – Anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial
- Clove – Contains eugenol, a natural numbing agent
- Elderberry and echinacea – Helps fight viruses
- Ginger – Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory
- Horehound – Anti-inflammatory and a mild expectorant
- Licorice root – Lightly sweet and antimicrobial
- Peppermint – Cooling and soothing
- Rose hips – Full of vitamin C
- Slippery elm – Coats and soothes
- Turmeric – Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory
While enjoying these teas, add some honey and lemon to help coat your throat and break up mucus. Alternatively, you can sip warm broth.
If you need to rest, choose non-caffeinated herbal tea blends.
Warm salt water
When you’re sick because of a bacteria or a virus, your throat pH may be imbalanced. Trying a warm salt water gargle can restore the proper pH levels.
The warmth also helps relax tight, aching throat muscles. Use 1/4 teaspoon salt per four ounces of warm water then gargle the mixture several times per day.
Zinc interferes with the ability of rhinoviruses that cause most colds to reproduce and lock onto your cells. However, zinc lozenges taste a little strange so try rotating them with other sore throat remedies like honey or tea.
What to eat and what to avoid when you have a sore throat
What to eat
Soothe a sore throat with foods that have a smooth texture and are nutrient-dense. For best results, include immune-boosting herbs.
Hot or warm foods will help relax the throat while cool or cold foods may help numb it. You can consume dairy products, but note that these may increase congestion.
If you have a sore throat, eat the following foods:
- Fruit juice popsicles
- Gently cooked eggs
- Homemade soup with plenty of broth, like chicken soup
- Mashed potatoes
- Oatmeal or other hot cereal
- Smoothies (Use ingredients like berries, celery and kale, which are low in sugar but full of beneficial antioxidants.)
What to avoid
To recover faster when you have a sore throat, make dietary changes and avoid foods that can worsen your condition.
Avoid the following if you have a sore throat:
- Acidic foods and beverages like alcohol and coffee
- Crunchy and scratchy foods like crackers and chips
- Excess caffeine
- High acidity tomato products
More related stories:
Watch the video below to learn how to treat a sore throat with spring onions.
Go to FoodIsMedicine.com to learn more about other foods that can help relieve sore throat symptoms.