Sore throats are often an early warning sign of colds or flu. They can also exist independently as the result of some other viral or bacterial infection. Sometimes they are just minor irritations caused by winter’s low humidity or too much cheering at the football game. Whatever the cause, here is how to make the most of a sore throat situation.
1. Hot soups and beverages slow viral reproduction by raising the temperature of the throat. Orange or tomato juice; or, warm lemonade made with honey and fresh lemon acidifies the throat to help destroy invading viruses.
2. Lemon juice – a gargle made of the juice of a quarter lemon with a quarter pint of warm water is antiseptic and reduces inflammation. Gargle at regular intervals for about 2 days.
3. Apple cider vinegar kills infection and calms an inflamed sore throat. Dilute with a little water if you can not stand it straight; but, the stronger the solution, the better it will relieve the symptoms.
4. Honey is an antiseptic and astringent. It will coat and clear sensitive throats. Take a teaspoon every few hours to relieve scratchiness; or, stir a teaspoon of honey into your favorite herbal tea.
5. Salt water – mix one teaspoon of table salt in one pint of warm water. Gargle every hour or so.
Sore Throat Herbs:
6. Fenugreek used as a gargle can relieve a sore throat and reduce the pain of swollen glands. Add 20 drops of extract in one cup warm water and gargle with the mixture three times daily.
7. Geranium has an antiseptic and tonic effect. Add 3 drops of extract to a cup of warm water and gargle. Repeat several times a day.
8. Goldenseal may be used as an astringent rinse for sore throats. It contains an alkaloid compound – berberine – which acts as a mild local anesthetic on mucous membranes. Caution: Do not take internally if you are pregnant or have high blood pressure.
9. Licorice soothes a sore, hoarse throat. Caution: Do not use licorice for more than 7 days in a row. Avoid it altogether if you have high blood pressure.
10. Lungwort soothes throat irritation.
11. Marigold (calendula) tea or tincture can be used as a mouthwash or gargle to put a stop to soreness and inflammation in the throat.
12. Marshmallow root tea soothes a scratchy, itchy throat.
13. Mullein soothes inflamed tissues and reduces inflammation of the trachea. Mullein leaf tea is very soothing to a sore throat.
14. Myrrh is an antiseptic and astringent. A tincture of myrrh makes a simple gargle. Use 5 to 10 drops to a cup of warm water and gargle. Repeat several times a day.
15. Red raspberry leaf tea is good for easing the pain of a sore throat.
16. Sage is a natural disinfectant which has antiseptic actions and does have merit as a gargle for sore throats.
17. Slippery elm is very soothing for a scratchy sore throat and is one of the all time favorite herbal remedies. It coats and protects inflamed, sensitive throats. Suck on slippery elm root lozenges: or, sip tea; or, use as a gargle.
18. Sweet and spicy remedy – The ultimate sore throat solution is:
– mix 1/8 teaspoon of each of the following spices or herbs; clove powder, ginger powder and cayenne pepper in eight ounces of hot water.
– pour an ice cold glass of pineapple juice and set aside.
– gargle with the spicy mixture.
– gargle with the pineapple juice.
The hot and cold fluids will feel soothing to a scratchy throat. The spices and bromelain, an enzyme in the pineapple, will loosen and pull irritating mucus from the throat. Repeat 3 times daily.
19. As a gargle; mix 1 tablespoon pure horseradish, 1 teaspoon honey and 1 teaspoon ground cloves in a glass of warm water and stir.
Dietary supplements to shorten the duration of a sore throat include:
Vitamin A in the form of beta carotene helps aid healing and strengthens the immune system. Take 75,000 IU daily for one week, reduce to 50,000 IU for one week, then 25,000 IU daily.
Vitamin C has cleared sore throats by the second day. Gargle hourly with 500 milligrams of powered vitamin C stirred in a glass of water, plus taking 250 milligram tablet of vitamin C each hour.
Zinc. One zinc gluconate lozenge dissolved in the mouth every 2 hours until pain is relieved – but – not over 12 in 24 hours and for no longer that 1 week.
Garlic has natural antiseptic and antibiotic actions. Take two 15 grain capsules with each meal.
Because so many different viruses and bacteria can cause sore throats; a throat culture may be needed. See your physician should you suspect strep throat or if:
– not better within 48 hours of starting treatment
– severe, prolonged, or recurrent sore throats
– hoarseness lasting two weeks or longer
– difficulty breathing, swallowing or opening the mouth
– joint pain, earache, or a lump in the neck
– rash or fever above 101
– blood in saliva or phlegm