A sore throat can be very very uncomfortable and it can cause pain and irritation in your throat. However, with certain sore throat remedies, you can reduce it.
A sore throat occurs when the immune system of your body responds to viral or bacterial infections.
It is important to note that throat pain is the main symptom of sore throat.
It can even get worse when trying to swallow anything, thus, it often makes drinking and swallowing difficult.
Even if your sore throat is not serious, it is still painful and can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.
Fortunately enough, there are a number of remedies you can try at home to soothe the pain and irritation of a sore throat.
But before learning about the remedies for sore throat, let’s learn about the symptoms and causes of sore throat.
Sore Throat Symptoms
The symptoms of sore throat can vary with what is causing it in the first place.
However, there are certain signs and symptoms that are common. Your sore throat will feel like:
Scratchy, burning, raw, dry, tender, and irritated.
Moreover, it may also hurt when you swallow or talk and your throat and tonsils might look red as well.
In some cases, white patches or areas of pus can also form in the tonsils. However, these white patches are more common in strep throat than is due to a virus.
Along with sore throat, you have the following symptoms:
Nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, cough, fever, chills, swollen glands in the neck, hoarse voice, body aches, headache, trouble swallowing, and appetite loss.
Causes of Sore Throat
There are a number of causes of a sore throat ranging from infections to injuries, however, many doctors classify them into 88 categories.
These are as follows:
1# Common Cold, flu, and other Viral Infections.
About 90% of the sore throat is often due to the presence of viruses and these are as follows:
Common colds, influenza or flu, mononucleosis, measles, chickenpox. and mumps.
2# Strep throat and Other Bacterial Infections
Bacterial infections can cause sore throat as well, and the most common one is strep throat.
When your immune system reacts to allergy triggers like pollen, grass, and pet dander, it releases chemicals that cause a number of symptoms.
4# Dry Air
It often sucks the moisture from your throat and leaves them dry and scratchy.
It often happens in winter when the heater is running.
5# Smoke, Chemicals, and Other Irritants
Cigarettes and tobacco products, air pollution, cleaning agents, and other chemical substances often irritates your throat, thus causing a sore throat.
An injury to your neck can cause pain in the throat. Moreover, food stuck in your throat can also cause it.
Continous use of vocal cords, yelling, talking loudly or singing can also cause it.
7# Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
When the acid from your stomach comes back into the esophagus, it often burns your throat and esophagus, thus causing a sore throat.
A tumor of the throat, voice box, or tongue is a less common cause of a sore throat, however, it can be a sign of cancer if it does not go away after a few days.
Sore Throat Remedies
It is important to note that a sore throat is often caused by viruses like the flu or the common cold and it usually goes away on its own.
Moreover, in areas where the summers and warm and winters are cold, viral sore throats usually peak in the winter and early spring.
The virus often spreads by droplets in the air from sneeze and coughs, however, viral sore throats go away on their own.
There are a number of ways you can treat a sore throat at home and it can help ease the symptoms of the common viral sore throat.
As it is due to a virus, antibiotics will not help to treat it, however, they are effective for strep throat.
For mild bouts of sore throat, you can try the following home remedies:
Gargling with salt water is a well-known and old remedy to treat sore throat and ease its symptoms.
The salt helps to reduce the swelling by pulling the water out of the throat tissues and it also helps to kill harmful microbes in your throat.
For this sore throat remedy, you can combine 1 cup of warm water with 1 tsp of salt and stir it to dissolve.
Then gargle with a mouthful of this mixture for 30 seconds once per hour.
Thus, gargling every hour with warm salt water can help reduce swelling and ease throat discomfort.
One of the effective sore throat remedies is using honey.
It is a sweetener that often individuals combine with other natural ingredients to soothe a sore throat.
You can also use it as a medicine as it has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidants, and anti-microbial effects.
Additionally, it helps to fight infections and provides pain relief, as well as make some remedies taste better.
It is especially effective when you combine it in warm water and apple cider vinegar or other herbs.
However, you can also choose to use it in raw form or manuka honey.
However, it is important to note that do not give it to your child if their age is less than 1.
This is because their guts have not acquired healthy bacteria that can fight off germs like botulism spores that are sometimes present in honey.
Also, if you avoid sugar or follow a low-carb diet, then you might wanna choose another remedy as honey is a form of sugar.
A licorice plant or Glycyrrhiza glabra is native to Europe and South Asia and is known for its sweet flavor.
It is important to note that it has properties similar to aspirin, that can help reduce the pain due to sore throat.
Moreover, it has antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-bacterial effects, thus making it an effective sore throat remedy.
There is not much research available on the effects of licorice root on a sore throat, however, after you use it significantly reduces pain in your throat.
According to another study, gargling with licorice water before surgery reduces the risk of getting a sore throat by 50%, as compared to gargling with salt water.
To make licorice tea, you can combine it in ground form with hot water, and let it steep for 5 minutes.
Strain it prior to drinking it.
It is important to note that licorice root is available at grocery stores and online.
Another one of the effective sore throat remedies is using ginger. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help to relieve throat pain.
Some laboratory studies suggest that using ginger extract can kill some bacteria and viruses that cause respiratory illnesses.
Moreover, it can also reduce inflammation if you have tuberculosis, which is a lung disease.
You can use it in your tea or it is also available in the form of ginger tea.
Moreover, you can also make it at home by following the recipe below:
Peel the ginger root and grate it into a small bowl, boil the water in a large pan and remove it from the head.
Place 1 tsp of grated ginger into the saucepan and cover the lid. Let it steep for 10 minutes. You can add a sweetener and lemon juice to combine.
It is important to note it works best reheated as needed or you can also serve it cold.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a natural health tonic and is a staple for many centuries.
Its main active ingredient is acetic acid that helps to fight bacteria.
According to the ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates also known as the father of medicine, using a combination of apple cider vinegar and honest can help to treat flu symptoms like cough and sore throat.
Thus, to relieve throat pain, drink 1cup of warm water with 1 tbsp of apple vinegar and 1 optional tbsp of honey.
However, the possible effect of using apple vinegar is that it can cause tooth decay and digestive problems.
You can easily find it in supermarkets, health stores, and online.
Learn more about Apple Cider Vinegar and its effects on teeth here.
Chamomile tea has naturally soothing properties and has long been used for medicinal purposes.
These include soothing a sore throat. This is because it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and astringent properties.
According to some studies, inhaling chamomile steam can help to relieve the symptoms of cold including a sore throat.
Moreover, drinking chamomile tea offers the same benefits. It also stimulates your immune system to help your body fight bacteria that cause sore throat in the first place.
Baking Soda Gargle
While you might have heard the use of salt water gargle to treat a sore throat, gargling baking soda can also help treat it. It has antibacterial properties to treat sore throat.
You can add baking soda with water to help relieve it and this solution can help kill bacteria and prevent the growth of yeast and fungi.
According to the National Cancer Institute, gargling and gently swishing a combination of 1 cup warm water, with 1/4 tsp of baking soda with 1/8 tsp of salt can help.
Moreover, they recommend using the rinse every 3 hours as needed.
Fenugreek and Marshmallow Root
One of the other sore throat remedies includes using fenugreek and marshmallow root.
Fenugreek has a number of health benefits and comes in many forms.
You can either use it in the form of seeds, use topical oil or drink fenugreek tea.
Moreover, fenugreek tea is one of the natural sore throat remedies.
Research suggests that the healing properties of fenugreek can help relieve pain and kill bacteria that cause irritation or inflammation.
Additionally, it is an effective antifungal as well.
However, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, pregnant women should avoid using fenugreek.
On the other hand, marshmallow roots contain a mucus-like substance that coats and soothes a sore throat.
You can add some of the dried roots to a cup of boiling water to make tea. Sipping it at least 2 to 3 times a day can help ease the throat pain.
However, it is important to note that if you have diabetes, then you should consult your doctor before taking marshmallow root.
According to some animal research, it may cause a drop in blood sugar levels.
Sore Throat Remedies for Infants and Children
Sore throat in infants and children is definitely no fun, however, the good news is that they are rarely a sign of a medical emergency.
Still, treating sore throat can be different for infants and children.
The following are a few tips and remedies for infants and children:
Add a cool mist or humidifier to your child’s room as moisture in the room can help relieve the pain from a sore throat.
Keep your child hydrated by encouraging them to drink water or fluids. Avoid giving them juices or popsicles with lots of citruses.
Moreover, children under 5 years of age should not be given hard candy cough drops or anything that might cause choking.
Be cautious when giving cough drops to your child if they are under 10 years of age.
Also, do not give them honey, especially if they are younger than 1 year of age.
When natural remedies are not helping to treat the sore throat, there are several over-the-counter- treatment options.
Acetaminophen can be an effective medication and you can also give it to your child.
Other OTC medications are lozenges or numbing sprays can help to provide relief.
Another potential sore throat soothing agents are eucalyptus, which you can find in natural throat lozenges and cough syrups.
Bacterial infections like strep throat, whooping cough, and diphtheria are responsible for a small fraction of sore throats. With the help of slippery elm, herbal teas, and mixing water with a teaspoon of salt soothes the throat.
Most doctors recommend calling a doctor only in case of severe sore throat, like a sore throat with fever, or when your swollen tonsils block the throat. They recommend pain relievers in severe cases. Try out some natural sore throat remedies that can help you feel better and save your trip to the doctor’s office. However, make sure to drink plenty of fluids and enough rest.