Having a sore throat is nothing new or odd in many people’s lives. Every once in a while we experience pain in our throat and it can be the first sigh of coming down with a cold, flu, a simple side effect of a lively night before and strained vocal cords, or, sometimes, even an indication of something a little more serious such as strep throat.
Whatever the cause is, having a sore throat is not a pleasant feeling and you would want to get the relief from the pain as fast as you can. Sometimes, medical assistance is necessary, but most of the time a simple home remedy can make the pain go away. Nowadays, there is a plethora of over-the-counter medicine and various natural remedies for this problem, so if you are looking for a way to alleviate the pain and be able to function properly again, keep on reading.
This one is a no-brainer, but resting is essential when it comes to soothing any type of pain. Try not to speak, or if you really must, make it as short as possible. If you can, take a few days off work or school and spend some time in bed watching your favorite TV series. Sleep a lot and give your body time to heal on its own, and in a few days, you’ll be as good as new!
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Another obvious choice is to drink plenty of fluids. Fluids will keep your throat moist and prevent dehydration which, in this case, is of the utmost importance. If your throat gets too dry it will hurt even more and make the soreness last longer. Try to drink at least eight glasses of water a day and do not shy away from warm teas. However, avoid drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages as they can dehydrate your body and make matters worse
Comfort Food and Drinks
It is no wonder that warm, soothing chicken soup is the mother of cold remedies. Warm soups, broths, caffeine-free teas, and even warm water with a little bit of lemon and honey can do wonders for your sore throat.
One of the best drinks you can take is ginger tea. Ginger has a lot of anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, so sipping on this tea throughout the day can help your throat get back to normal in no time. To make it, boil two cups of water in a pot. Slice a thumb-sized piece of ginger root and add it to the boiling water and let simmer for about 20 minutes. After that, remove the pot from the stove and let the ginger steep for about five minutes. Add a little bit of honey and drink your delicious tea to soothe your sore throat.
Contrary to popular belief, cold treats can actually make a sore throat go away instead of further messing it up. Our grandmas did not let us eat ice pops when we have a cold, but nowadays, it is completely acceptable to have an ice pop now and again to soothe the pain. Just don’t go overboard, as you actually can have too much of a good thing in this case.
Use a Humidifier
The worst enemy of a sore throat is dry air. The dry air can irritate your throat even further and cause more pain and discomfort. To avoid this, especially in winter when we all have our heaters on, use an air humidifier in your home to make the air more suitable for your condition. Alternatively, you can sit for a while in a steamy bathroom or even a sauna if you have access to one.
Gargle with Saltwater
Saltwater gargle does wonders for a sore throat. There have been studies that have shown that gargling with salt water a few times a day will reduce the swelling and loosen the mucus. Saltwater gargle can also flush out the bacteria and other unwanted substances that irritate your throat.
To make it, mix half a teaspoon of salt with a glass of warm water. Stir well and gargle with this solution several times a day. Make sure you spit the solution out when you are done. If the water is too salty for you, instead of a half of a teaspoon, put ¼ of a teaspoon in a glass of warm water and you should be good.
Simple over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (also known as NSAIDs) are something most of us already have in our homes, so why not take a look in your medicine cabinet for one. These medicines, such as Advil or Aleve will reduce the swelling and take away the pain, while also soothing the inflammation that is causing the discomfort. Additionally, they are good if you have a fever, as they can reduce it immensely.
Sprays and Lozenges
Lozenges, also known as cough drops, are quite a popular choice when it comes to a sore throat soothing. They can stimulate the production of saliva which helps your throat become moister and thus alleviate some of the uncomfortable symptoms. However, many professionals agree that these cough drops are no more effective than a simple hard candy. Reach out in your grandma’s purse and fish out some of those delicious candy treats and enjoy. If, however, you choose lozenges, opt for those which have a numbing or a cooling ingredient, such as eucalyptus or menthol.
Additionally, there are a plethora of over-the-counter throat sprays which have a similar effect to the lozenges. These sprays will not solve the underlying issues or cure your throat, but they will provide a relief from the pain. Opt for a spray with a numbing agent and with antibacterial properties.
Over-the-counter cough syrups can definitely help with a sore throat even though you are not coughing. Just like the sprays, their syrups coat the throat and give you a relief from the pain if only for a little while.
However, be careful with them. If you are looking forward to a productive day steer clear from drowsy cough syrups and choose a non-drowsy formula, but if you have trouble sleeping because of the pain in your throat, opt for a nighttime formula such as NyQuill, which has a pain reliever and an antihistamine, or even Robitussin AC, which contains codeine and guaifenesin.
The most delicious remedy for a sore throat is definitely the marshmallow! Even though there is no evidence that this actually works, for hundreds of years the sap from the mallow plant (of which marshmallows are made) has been used to soothe a sore throat, colds, and coughs. Of course, the real marshmallows are worlds apart from the puffy treats we are used to, both of these, the natural and the man-made marshmallow, may help you soothe the pain.
Marshmallows that we all know and love can help ease the pain according to some anecdotal evidence. This may be due to the gelatin which coats the throat, thus soothing the pain. However, if you are a vegetarian or a vegan you may want to stay away from modern-day marshmallows, as the gelatin used for the production of them is made from animal ingredients, mainly cattle, chicken, and pig bones, skin, and connective tissues.
If you are out of luck and do get a bacterial infection (known as Streptococcus pyrogens), also known as strep throat, it will cause the soreness and the overall feeling of discomfort. If you test positive for strep throat or some other bacterial infection, your doctor will most likely prescribe you an antibiotic that you should take according to your doctor’s recommendation. Make sure to always take a full course of an antibiotic, even though you start feeling better or even completely healthy after a few days.
Note: antibiotics should NEVER be taken at your own hand. Always consult with your doctor before taking them. Also, they will not do anything for a sore throat caused by a virus.
Honey is famous for its numerous benefits to the overall health. It has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties which can do wonders for your sore throat. Apart from being super delicious, honey can also coat your throat and give you relief from the pain. Just make sure to opt for the organically produced honey to help save the environment and the bees, and, of course, to have as many benefits as you can get from it.
Icy treats can help relieve the pain in your throat and make swallowing food easier and painless. Having a popsicle or a simple ice-cube can numb your throat but make sure not to overdo it. Instead of store bought popsicles, why not try a more natural and nutritious version?
Basil and berry popsicle. To make this healthy and yummy treat, combine one cup of blueberries, one cup of raspberries, one cup of strawberries, a quarter of a cup of basil, juice of half a lemon, a third of a cup of maple syrup and a pinch of salt in a blender. Blend the ingredients until smooth and pour the mixture into popsicle molds. Freeze this for about four hours and enjoy!
Mint, pineapple, and cucumber. In a blender, combine one cup of pineapple chunks, half of a peeled and seeded cucumber, quarter cup of fresh mint leaves, juice of half a lemon, quarter cup of honey, and a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth and pour the mixture into your pop molds. Freeze for at least four hours or more.
Matcha and coconut. Combine a can of coconut milk, one tablespoon of matcha powder, a quarter cup of honey, one teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt in a blender. Blend the ingredients until you get a smooth mixture and pour into the pop molds. Freeze for at least four hours.
A Hot Toddy will soothe your sore throat quite effectively. You can make an alcohol-free version if you do not drink as well, and because alcohol actually dehydrates the body which is definitely not good for a sore throat.
To make a Hot Toddy, you will need four tablespoons of whiskey or bourbon (which is completely optional and actually not recommended), one tablespoon or more of honey, four ounces of hot water, one teaspoon of lemon juice, and a slice of fresh lemon (also optional). Mix all the ingredients in a large mug and stir well. Put the mug in the microwave and heat for about one minute. In the end, add the lemon slice and drink the concoction.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is known for its numerous benefits as its acidity can actually kill the harmful bacteria that cause the pain and soothe your sore throat quite effectively. You can gargle with apple cider vinegar once a day (for this, mix two tablespoons of ACV with half a cup of warm water), or make an ACV-honey drink.
To do this, you will need one cup of warm water, one tablespoon of honey, and one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Mix the ingredients well and drink the concoction while it’s still warm.
Even though sucking on a clove of garlic does not sound delicious or pleasantly smelling, it is actually one of the best things you can do if you have a sore throat. Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which can kill the bacteria that causes strep throat.
Just cut a clove of garlic in half and suck on it like you would a cough drop. From time to time bite the garlic lightly to release the allicin. You can do this once a day, just make sure you cancel your dinner date if you don’t want to be that guy who smells like garlic during the first kiss.
Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, a compound which can temporarily alleviate the pain just like aspirin can. You can mix half a teaspoon of Cayenne pepper and one teaspoon of honey into a cup of boiling water. Stir well and drink while it is warm. Just make sure to stir the drink often as Cayenne does tend to settle on the bottom of the glass.
Licorice root possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties which can help reduce the swelling and soothe the irritation, thus making the pain in your throat go away sooner. To make a homemade licorice tea, you will need one cup of chopped dry licorice root, half a cup of cinnamon chips, two tablespoons of cloves, and a half a cup of chamomile flowers.
Mix the ingredients in a bowl and store in a jar in a cold and dark place. To make the tea, boil two and a half cups of water and add three full tablespoons of the tea mix. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low, letting it simmer for about ten minutes. Strain your tea and sip on it throughout the day until you start feeling better.
Cloves were quite popular back in the day, as they were used a lot in the traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. They can alleviate the pain in your throat and even soothe the toothaches. They contain the substance called eugenol, which is a known painkiller. In addition to this, cloves have anti-bacterial properties as well. Simply suck on a couple of cloves until they become soft and then chew on them just like you would a chewing gum.
One of the most helpful herbs you can use for a sore throat is sage. Used for a long time as a medicine, it is a welcome guest in most kitchens, and it is also a natural astringent. You can make a sage tea or a sage gargle, which is, in our humble opinion, much more effective.
To make a gargle, boil a cup of water and pour it over two heap teaspoons of sage leaves. Add a sprinkle of salt and let it all steep for about twenty minutes. Strain the “tea” and let it cool down a bit before you gargle with it. You can do this several times a day, just make sure not to swallow it, as this mixture is very strong.