Sore throats are one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor and they tend to affect children the most. A sore throat is usually considered a minor complaint until you have one and every swallow induces pain—pain that may seem unbearable. Unfortunately, the only option is to treat the symptoms and rest until you recover. Fortunately, there are many natural remedies that can soothe a sore throat and there’s a good chance you already have many of them in your home.
A sore throat can be very uncomfortable.
The main symptom is pain and irritation in the throat, especially when you swallow.
A sore throat occurs as part of your body’s immune response to viral or bacterial infections.
Your natural immune response leads to inflammation and swelling of the mucous membranes in the throat.
Fortunately, there are several natural remedies that may provide relief, including some that are supported by scientific evidence.
Common Sore Throat Causes
There are many potential causes of a sore throat, viruses are the most common. In fact, viruses account for about 95% of sore throats in both adults and children under the age of 5. Other common causes of a sore throat include:
Exposure to people with a sore throat
Strep throat (bacterial)
Weak immune system
Common Sore Throat Symptoms
Isn’t a sore throat a symptom itself? Yes, but as you probably already know, not all sore throats are the same and some are more severe than others. You might have one that only makes your voice a little hoarse, or it might be a serious impediment to your ability to breathe comfortably. Some of the most common symptoms of a sore throat are:
Pain when swallowing
Dry and itchy throat
Swollen glands around the neck and throat
A sore throat is also a first symptom of the common cold and flu, but you might have other symptoms such as fever, runny nose, congestion, headache, abdominal pain, or vomiting. Consult your trusted healthcare provider if your sore throat lasts longer than one week.
Remedies to Treat a sore throat at Home
Antiseptic, antibacterial and other medicinal properties of garlic help avert a sore throat
Cut fresh garlic leaves into small pieces. Suck on them and crush them occasionally with your teeth, so as to release allicin- a chemical that kills a sore throat causing bacteria because of its antibacterial properties
Another option is to mix a few drops of garlic oil in a ¼ cup of water. Gargle with this solution once daily.
You can also consume it raw, or use it in cooking.
Garlic pills can also be taken, if you do not like the taste of raw garlic.
Baking soda is counted in the best sore throat remedies because of its antibacterial properties. Slightly heat 1 cup of water. Add ½ teaspoon each of baking soda and salt to it. Stir well. Gargle with this solution thrice a day.
Salt gives you an instant relief by drawing out water from the mucous membrane of the throat and reducing phlegm. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 cup of warm water. Stir well. Use this solution for gargling. For the best results, gargle several times a day.
Lemon helps eliminate mucus, thereby, curing sore throat. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon. Pour this juice along with a teaspoon of honey in a cup of warm water. Mix properly and drink it slowly.
Or else, dilute lemon juice with an equal quantity of warm water. Gargle with it.
Sprinkle pepper and salt on ½ a lemon. Lick it slowly.
Cinnamon possess strong antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties, which make it a very useful remedy for sore throat (10). In a glass of warm water, mix 1 teaspoon of black pepper powder and the same quantity of cinnamon powder. You can also add cardamom to it. Strain it. Gargle with this solution twice or thrice a day. Alternatively, mix 1 teaspoon of pure honey and a few drops of cinnamon oil. Eat it twice a day to alleviate inflammation and pain associated with the sore throat.
Pomegranate is used as a dietary supplement in many health problems, including sore throat. You can also use it as a gargle to get relief from throat problems. The antioxidants present in pomegranates reduce swelling in your throat, thus, alleviating the pain . Boil pomegranate rinds in 3-4 cups of water, for 12-15 minutes. Strain the solution.
You can sip it as tea or can use it for gargle. Alternatively, drink pomegranate juice thrice a day.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Apple cider vinegar possesses antibacterial properties that help treat a number of ailments including a sore throat. Add 1 tablespoon of ACV and 1 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water. Gargle with this solution 3-4 times every day.
If your throat is left raw by a bad cough, grab a bottle of apple cider vinegar because germs can’t survive in the acidic coating it’ll form on your throat. Gargle with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt dissolved in a glass of warm water; use several times a day if needed. For a gentler treatment, combine 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup honey and take 1 tablespoon every four hours.
Another option is to mix 1 teaspoon, each of honey and lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of ACV to a cup of warm water. Sip it to get immediate relief from inflammation and pain.
The antibacterial properties of honey help heal a sore throat quickly. Take one cup of hot water and add 1-2 tablespoons of honey to it. Drink it 3-4 times a day. Alternatively, brew a cup of your favorite herbal tea and add honey to it. Sip it several times a day.
You can also consume 2 teaspoons of honey before going to bed for a soothing relief and good night sleep.
Goldenseal and water
Gargling with the herbal germ-killer goldenseal (1 1⁄2 teaspoons goldenseal tincture in 8 ounces water) kills viruses and bacteria as it soothes inflamed throat tissue.
Suck on sugar-free candy to give relief to your sore throat. This remedy will keep your mouth moist and also help expel a ticklish cough. Sucking on lozenges and popsicle will also be a great help for your strep throat.
Note: Because of choking risk, lozenges are not meant for younger children
Herbal throat lozenges
Teas, infusions and other drinks are soothing and provide hydration, but sometimes sucking on a throat lozenge can be comforting as well.
There are herbal throat lozenges available for purchase online and in some natural grocery stores. You can also make homemade throat lozenges with some of the herbs listed in this article.
Another herb you may want to use when making lozenges is slippery elm, which contains mucilage that coats and soothes the throat, similar to marshmallow root.
It’s best to make lozenges ahead of time to have on hand in case you come down with a sore throat.
Besides healing your cuts and wounds, hydrogen peroxide also works as a good at-home treatment for a sore throat because it contains antioxidants. Take one cupful of hydrogen peroxide in a cup. Fill the cup with warm (not hot) water. Stir well. Gargle with this solution. If you don’t like the taste, add some honey to it.
Cloves contain eugenol, which acts as an anti-bacterial and natural painkiller. Make a gargle solution by pouring hot water into 3 teaspoons of powdered clove. Mix it and gargle.
You can also slowly chew on whole cloves to release eugenol, and numb the pain associated with a sore throat . Alternatively, prepare clove tea by adding 4-5 cloves to a cup of boiling water. Steep it for a few minutes and drink it hot.
Turmeric is endowed with anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that make it an excellent natural cure for a sore throat. Add turmeric powder to a glass of water or milk. Stir it well and drink. This will provide you relief from a sore throat.
Or else, add 1 teaspoon, each of ground black pepper and turmeric powder, to a glass of warm milk. Drink it before hitting the hay.
Ginger is an excellent expectorant having anti-inflammatory properties which loosen and drives out mucus from your throat. Many experiments have proved that ginger contains components with anti-inflammatory properties.
Make a mixture of one teaspoon each of ginger and honey, juice of 1/2 squeezed lemon and 1/2 cup of hot water. Mix all these ingredients, stir an drink. This is an outstanding remedy to cure a sore throat.
Pain and inflammation of a sore throat can be cured using cayenne pepper. The capsaicin in cayenne pepper reduces your discomfort by soothing your aching throat. Put five shakes of cayenne pepper powder in a cup of hot water. Use this solution for gargles. Repeat gargles every 15 minutes. Cayenne pepper will give a burning sensation but this is the most effective remedy for a sore throat.
The lycopene in tomato is an excellent antioxidant and a therapeutic cure for a sore throat.
Mix ½ cup tomato juice and 10 drops of hot pepper sauce in ½ cup of hot water. Stir all the ingredients well, and gargle with it.
Gargling with Listerine mouthwash can also relax your strep throat.
The mucus-dissolving properties of fenugreek reduce the inflammation and make you feel better instantly.
Take 6 cups of water. Add 2 tablespoons of fenugreek seeds to it and boil for ½ an hour. Strain it, when it comes to room temperature. Use this solution for gargling. Repeat this remedy 3-4 times a day.
Use a humidifier to eliminate dry air as dry air can further irritate the throat. You can also sit in a steamy bathroom for some minutes to soothe a sore throat.
Sage and water
Sage can soothe a sore throat and ease painful or swollen nasal passages. One traditional home remedy calls for 1 teaspoon sage, 1⁄2 teaspoon alum, 1⁄4 cup brown sugar, 3⁄8 cup vinegar, and 1⁄8 cup water.
Turmeric and water
This yellow spice is a powerful antioxidant, and scientists think it has the strength to fight many serious diseases. For a sore throat remedy, mix 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon of salt into 1 cup of hot water and gargle.
Another good sore throat remedy: Wheatgrass juice. A quick rinse and spit with this chlorophyll-rich liquid helps prohibit bacteria growth and ease throat pain. Held in the mouth for five minutes or so, wheatgrass juice is said to help revitalize weakened gums and stop toothache pain
Add 1 to 3 teaspoons of powdered or ground cloves to water, then mix and gargle. Cloves have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe and heal a sore throat.
Spices: Cayenne, Turmeric, Ginger, and Clove
Cayenne might seem counterintuitive for a sore throat but, after the burn, it provides relief by numbing the pain. To make, add one tablespoon of cayenne pepper to a quarter cup of warm water. Mix in the cayenne completely, take a mouthful, tilt your head back, and gargle. If you can’t handle a lot of spice, this might not be the best solution.
Turmeric and ginger both have long histories as therapeutic plants. Drinking ginger juice alleviates sore throat pain. You can also make a tea with fresh ginger. Turmeric contains curcumin, which is very soothing.You can make a turmeric gargle to soothe a sore throat, just like cayenne, but without the sting.
Make a clove tea, clove calms inflammation and eases the discomfort associated with a sore throat
Research indicates that propolis offers multiple health benefits, especially for those suffering from an upper respiratory infection. If you’ve never heard of it, propolis is made of plant material, beeswax, and, well, bee saliva. It is useful against most types of harmful organisms, even the flu virus Take it by adding 5 drops of propolis to a teaspoon of water.
Honey and Elderberry
Honey with elderberry is my favorite combination and goes great with a few sprays of Allertrex®. Research suggests that elderberry reduces the severity of the common cold and flu symptoms and may shorten the duration of the illness. Add a little elderberry syrup to your honey and stir into your tea or simply take it by mouth. If you use fresh elderberries, make sure to cook them thoroughly; raw elderberries are not safe to eat.
For temporary relief of sore throat symptoms, gargle with a mixture of 1/2 cup tomato juice and 1/2 cup hot water, plus about 10 drops hot pepper sauce. The antioxidant properties of lycopene may help remedy a sore throat faster.
Green tea is known to naturally fight infections. Next time you brew a cup, make a little extra and gargle with some of this remedy to kill any bacteria your sore throat may be harboring.
Essential Oils: Lavender, Eucalyptus, and Myrrh
Myrrh and eucalyptus are effective for soothing a sore throat but don’t take them as a tea. Instead, inhale the vapors by using a diffuser or humidifier. You can also gargle with myrrh like a mouthwash.
Apply one or two drops of lavender oil, specifically and exclusively from the Lavandula angustifolia species, to the back of your tongue or throat to relieve the pain from a dry, scratchy throat. The taste isn’t overwhelming and the only side effect is fresh floral-smelling breath.
Many varieties of herbal tea are effective at soothing a sore throat. Chamomile lavender, echinacea, sage, ginger, peppermint, and licorice root tea all have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Peppermint, in particular, relieves upper respiratory congestion by improving lung function and the ability to breath through your nose. If you need to add a little sweetener, stir a teaspoon of honey or elderberry into your herbal tea. Love garlic?
Peppermint tea contains anti-inflammatory compounds and is extremely soothing to the throat. The mint may also slightly numb your throat, thereby relieving pain.
There are many peppermint herbal teas on the market.
You can also make your own by steeping fresh peppermint leaves in boiling water for three to five minutes, then straining off the leaves.
Peppermint tea is caffeine-free and its naturally sweet taste often requires no additional sweetener
Marshmallow root tea is the best herbal remedy for curing a common cold and cough.
Its root contains a gelatin-like substance known as mucilage, which coats and lubricates the throat when you swallow it
A Recent study on marshmallow preparations has confirmed its use as a remedy to cure a sore throat. It soothes the pain and inflammation of mucous membrane. This herbal root contains a mucous-like substance that coats the throat and provides relief. Consume this herbal tea. In order to prepare tea, steep 1 tablespoon of dried marshmallow root in 1 cup of boiling water. Strain it. Add some honey and drink this herbal tea thrice a day.
Take 2 teaspoons of dried leaves and pour 1 cup of boiling water over it. Steep it for 8-10 minutes. Strain it and let it cool down. Gargle with this tea to get rid of soreness in the throat. The antioxidants present in raspberry cures a sore throat and common cold.
Raspberry tea is an old home remedy believed to treat everything from the flu to open wounds. One recipe calls for pouring 1 cup of boiling water over 2 teaspoons of dried tea leaves. Steep for 10 minutes, then strain and let cool a bit. Gargle while warm.
A gel-like substance called mucilage that is found in slippery elm makes a protective covering on the throat and reduces the tenderness. Slippery Elm is the main ingredient of many commercial lozenges. It has pain killing effect
You can prepare this herbal tea as it soothes a sore throat. Take 2 tablespoons of the inner bark of this herb and add it to 2 cups of boiling water. Allow it to steep for 3-5 minutes. Strain it. Sip it, while it is still warm. Consume 3 times per day
Sage has been traditionally used to treat throat inflammation. A randomized double-blind trial proved the efficacy of sage spray in the treatment of acute sore throats.
Sage is applied directly to the throat skin to cure inflamed throat. You can also drink sage tea or Gargle with it to calm a cranky throat. To prepare tea, steep 1 teaspoon of sage leaves in 1 cup boiling water for a minimum of 10 minutes. Strain it and add 1 teaspoon each of honey and apple cider vinegar to it. Gargle with it 4 times a day.
Chamomile is a wonder herb for your throat. It acts as a painkiller and soothes throat inflammation.
Chamomile is a daisy-like plant that has been used for medicinal purposes since the Middle Ages.
You may be most familiar with it in the form of tea.
All you need to do is, add a bag of chamomile tea in a cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 8-10 minutes. Add a little bit of lemon juice and honey if you want. Drink it 2-3 times a day.
Alternatively, you can put some chamomile leaves in the steam bath and inhale its steam to get relief from a sore throat .
Honeysuckle is extremely helpful in relieving the symptoms of flu, strep throat, and cough.
Its anti-bacterial properties keep your system protected from those nasty buggers, while the anti-inflammatory properties reduce swelling in the throat. Simmer 2 cups of fresh leaves and flowers of Honeysuckle in one quart of boiling water, at least for 8-10 minutes. Strain the solution. Add lemon or honey to make it flavorsome.
You can prepare decoction, infusion or poultice of Honeysuckle leaves, berries or bark for the treatment of a sore throat.
Licorice Root Tea
Licorice root tea soothes the mucous membranes, thus, comforting your sore throat. You can mix it with water to make gargle solution.
Licorice is a plant native to Europe and South Asia.
Interestingly, it has been used in traditional medicine to treat many disorders.
Licorice has properties similar to aspirin that may help reduce sore throat pain.
Licorice root can soothe a sore throat and eliminate cough-inducing phlegm; a 2009 study found that post-operative patients who gargled with a licorice solution were less likely to develop a sore throat post-surgery. Mix one teaspoon of licorice syrup or powder with eight ounces of water and swish.
The Blackfeet made licorice tea and used it as a cure to relieve throat inflammation.
Horseradish herb acts as an expectorant. It soothes the throat and reduces inflammation. Mix 1 tablespoon horseradish root powder with 1 teaspoon, each of ground cloves and honey. Mix it in a glass of warm water and drink slowly.
Wheatgrass juice is a good herbal cure for throat inflammation. Gargle with it to prevent bacterial infections in the throat.
Wheatgrass juice is also used as a mouthwash to cure a sore throat.
Green tea is known to naturally fight infections. Next time you brew a cup, make a little extra and gargle with some of this remedy to kill any bacteria your sore throat may be harboring.
The antioxidants present in green tea fights throat inflammation . Brew a cup of green tea (add a green tea bag in a cup of boiling water and steep for a few minutes). Gargle with it to do away with any infections in your throat.
Drink Warm Fluids
If you have a cold, make sure you’re taking in plenty of fluids. Nothing feels better than warm tea and thin soup when you’re sick. When your throat is raw and inflamed, drinking warm beverages keeps your throat moist and comfortable. Black tea might be the obvious choice, but give green or oolong tea a chance if Earl Grey just isn’t your, well, cup of tea.
Plenty of fluids
When your throat hurts, the last thing you may feel like doing is drinking a lot of fluids.
However, it’s important to keep your throat’s mucous membranes hydrated so they can heal.
While swallowing may be uncomfortable, drinking plenty of water or other fluids will ultimately make your throat feel better.
Drink tea, herbal infusions, water or other beverages at whatever temperature feels most comfortable.
Chicken soup is a well-known natural cold and sore throat remedy. It’s also a comfort food that allows you to get more fluids when you’re sick.
You may want to use garlic in it because garlic contains bioactive compounds that can also provide benefits when you’re sick (13).
Canned chicken soup can be purchased ahead of time and stored until needed.
You can also prepare the tasty homemade chicken soup.
Add a few drops of myrrh tincture in a cup of water. Mix well. Gargle with this solution 6 times a day.
You may be able to speed the healing process with myrrh (a few drops of tincture of myrrh in a cup of water). Highly astringent, myrrh is superb at combating inflammation. It’s an antiseptic too. Gargle six times a day—a bit of an effort, true, but well worth it.
It will help combat inflammation. It is also one of the best throat infection remedies.
Echinacea is an herbal virus killer. A randomized double-blind trial proved that Echinacea spray is an effective cure for a sore throat.
Although you may know sage as an herb used in cooking, it also has several medicinal uses.
Sage originated in the Mediterranean and is now grown throughout the world.
It has been used to treat many inflammatory conditions, and controlled studies suggest it can help relieve throat pain
Add 2 teaspoons tincture of echinacea to 1 cup water and gargle this home remedy three times daily. In addition to easing sore throat pain, an echinacea gargle will give your immune system the boost it needs to fight the infection.
This herb is also recommended by many herbalists as a remedy to enhance immune system which helps fight infection. Take 1 cup water and add 2 teaspoons of Echinacea tincture to it. Gargle with it three times a day.
Use a Humidifier
If there’s anything that can make a sore throat even worse, it’s harsh, dry air. Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air around you. In one study, using a humidifier reduced the severity of sore throat pain. If you’re experiencing other symptoms like upper respiratory congestion, try adding an essential oil like eucalyptus oil to the humidifier to loosen and help expel excess mucus.
Honey and Black Seed Oil
Honey may not be suitable for vegans, and it’s dangerous for children under the age of one. However, honey does offer many benefits. Add a teaspoon of honey to your tea, or take a spoonful by mouth to soothe your sore throat. As an added bonus, research indicates that honey significantly improves cough symptoms in children.
You can spike your honey with therapeutic spice by adding 2-3 drops of black cumin seed oil (also called black seed oil) to your honey. Like herbal teas, black cumin seed oil is an anti-inflammatory and can help soothe the pain
Tea made from marjoram leaves or flowers is used for throat inflammation. Add 1 teaspoon of marjoram to a cup of boiling water. Steep it for 10 minutes. Strain it and add honey to taste. Drink it 2-3 times a day.
Alternatively, cloth dipped in marjoram decoction when wrapped around the throat provides relief from throat pain.
Basil is a herb having antioxidant and antiviral properties. Tea prepared from basil leaves is used as a gargle to cure a sore throat . Many scientific types of research have reported health benefits related to this herb.
To get rid of a sore throat, gargle with the tea made from leaves and bark of Huisache. This herb is widely cultivated in the southern United States and tropical America. This tree has many medicinal properties which are used for the treatment of malaria, post-partum treatment, and skin diseases.