Quantcast

6 Natural Remedies to Heal a Sore Throat

Health + Wellness

It's that time of year for those yucky minor ailments like stuffed noses, coughs and sore throats. A lot of times they're inconvenient and make you feel less than your best, but aren't quite serious enough to justify staying home and snuggling under the covers. It might be tempting to take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug or cough syrup, and they can help. But if you'd like to try something natural first, here are a few choices.

There's a reason hot tea with honey and lemon is an old standby for sore throats—it works.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

1. You've heard that old standby "hot tea with lemon and honey" a million times. It's the first thing all your friends will suggest when you say you're feeling achey and congested. There's a reason for that. It works. The hot beverage relaxes and soothes your throat, the lemon cuts through the mucus and honey adds a soothing coating to your throat—one that has antibacterial properties as well.

2. What kind of tea? Chances are your favorite oolong or Earl Grey will be just fine. But some herbal varieties are reputed to have curative powers. Marshmallow root and slippery elm bark, with their throat-coating mucilage, are said to be effective sore throat remedies. Steep a couple of teaspoons in boiling water for ten minutes before drinking several times a day.

3. Try a natural gargle with simple ingredients you have in your kitchen. A salt water gargle is one of the best. Dissolve a half teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, gargle for a minute like you would a mouthwash and spit it out. The salt water reduces the swelling and inflammation in your mucus membranes and draws out the excess phlegm they produce. Since it's that swelling that makes your throat feel sore, you'll start to feel better. Or gargle with baking soda, an antibacterial that's effective against minor skin irritations including the inflamed tissue in your throat. Follow the same process for making a salt gargle. Do either 3-4 times a day.

4. Ginger is a great digestive aid, with the ability to quell nausea and queasiness. But it's also an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial that helps loosen the buildup of mucus clogging up your throat and nose. You can make a tea with fresh ginger root by cutting it into tiny pieces and pouring some boiling water over it. Or just chew on a piece if you don't mind its bracing taste—and it may remind you of your favorite Thai restaurant, a motivation to kick that bug.

5. Your grandmother was right: some hot chicken soup would do you good! Like hot tea, it's soothing and relaxing going down, and it contains nutrients in easy-to-digest form that are beneficial if you're fighting off an illness. You may not feel like eating much if you're under the weather but you need nutrition when you've got the blahs. And just the smell of that chicken soup could make you feel better, especially if it's your grandmother's recipe

6. A sore throat is often a scratchy, dry throat and it needs moisture to heal. That can come in many forms, starting with drinking plenty of water or fresh juice. Make sure your house is humidified. You don't necessarily need an expensive humidifier—just place bowls of waters in the rooms where you hang out. Steam is great for your throat too. Boil a big pot of water and inhale. To avoid getting too close for comfort but to get the maximum benefit of the steam, drape a towel over your head. Or just fill a wash basin with the hottest water you can, stand over it and inhale.

If your sore throat lingers for more than a few days, it could be a sign of a more serious illness and you'll want to get it checked out. But if it's merely a mild winter bug, try these old-fashioned cures and you may find yourself feeling in prime condition in no time.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Top 10 Superfoods of 2014

6 Reason Drinking Tea Will Keep You Healthy This Winter

9 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

In this view from an airplane rivers of meltwater carve into the Greenland ice sheet near Sermeq Avangnardleq glacier on Aug. 4 near Ilulissat, Greenland. Climate change is having a profound effect in Greenland, where over the last several decades summers have become longer and the rate that glaciers and the Greenland ice cap are retreating has accelerated. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

The rate that Greenland's ice sheet is melting surpassed scientists' expectations and has raised concerns that their worst-case scenario predictions are coming true, Business Insider reported.

Read More Show Less
An Alagoas curassow in captivity. Luís Fábio Silveira / Agência Alagoas / Mongabay

By Pedro Biondi

Extinct in its habitat for at least three decades, the Alagoas curassow (Pauxi mitu) is now back in the jungle and facing a test of survival, thanks to the joint efforts of more than a dozen institutions to pull this pheasant-like bird back from the brink.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Elizabeth Warren's Blue New Deal aims to expand offshore renewable energy projects, like the Block Island Wind Farm in Rhode Island. Luke H. Gordon / Flickr

By Julia Conley

Sen. Elizabeth Warren expanded her vision for combating the climate crisis on Tuesday with the release of her Blue New Deal — a new component of the Green New Deal focusing on protecting and restoring the world's oceans after decades of pollution and industry-caused warming.

Read More Show Less
Former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson leaves the courthouse after testifying in the Exxon Mobil trial on Oct. 30, 2019 in New York. DON EMMERT / AFP via Getty Images

A judge in New York's Supreme Court sided with Exxon in a case that accused the fossil fuel giant of lying to investors about the true cost of the climate crisis. The judge did not absolve Exxon from its contribution to the climate crisis, but insisted that New York State failed to prove that the company intentionally defrauded investors, as NPR reported.

Read More Show Less

By Sharon Elber

You may have heard that giving a pet for Christmas is just a bad idea. Although many people believe this myth, according to the ASPCA, 86 percent of adopted pets given as gifts stay in their new homes. These success rates are actually slightly higher than average adoption/rehoming rates. So, if done well, giving an adopted pet as a Christmas gift can work out.

Read More Show Less