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Home Remedies for Sore Throat Relief

Jo has been an ITU nurse at the London North West NHS Trust for 14 years. She obtained her RN at University College London Hospital.

Anatomy of normal versus strep throat.

Anatomy of normal versus strep throat.

Sore Throat Pain Relief

  • Drink warm broths and soups.
  • Rest.
  • Gargle often.
  • Drink lots of water or warm liquids. Keeping the throat lubricated will prevent dryness and irritation.
  • Consult a doctor if there is no sign of improvements after two to three days.
  • Wash hands often.
  • Check temperature every 24 hours while a sore throat continues. If temperature exceeds 38.3 C or (101 F) consult a doctor as this could be due to viral or bacterial infection.
  • Drink warm honey and lemon drinks.
  • Take Ibuprofen every four to six hours.
  • Wear a warm scarf outdoors in cold weather.

What Is a Sore Throat?

The American Heritage Medical Dictionary defines sore throat as “a painful or sensitive condition of the throat exaggerated by swallowing or talking, usually caused by bacteria or viruses; laryngitis; pharyngitis; tonsillitis."

A sore throat can be very painful on swallowing. It can often feel itchy, and it may appear red and swollen on examination. It may be accompanied by mild coughing and a hoarse voice. A sore throat can be caused by viruses, bacteria, allergens, irritants, and trauma injuries.

Almost everyone will experience a sore throat at one time or another; young children experience sore throats more often than adults and adolescents. Sore throats commonly occur in the winter months and can be acute or chronic.

An acute sore throat is the most common; it attacks suddenly and lasts for around three to seven days. A chronic sore throat, however, tends to last much longer and is a symptom of an unresolved underlying condition.

A sore throat can be a symptom of many different conditions; it is often associated with colds and flu, fever and swollen lymph glands. The appropriate treatment will largely depend on understanding the underlying causes.

Sore throats commonly occur in the winter months and can be acute or chronic.

Sore throats commonly occur in the winter months and can be acute or chronic.

Viral Causes

According to Wikipedia, the most common cause of sore throat is viral pharyngitis. Pharyngitis comes from the Greek word pharynx meaning throat, and the suffix -itis meaning inflammation. It is an inflammation of the throat. In most cases, it is quite painful.

Viruses are responsible for 90-95% of all sore throat, the majority of which are caused by cold and flu viruses which causes inflammation in the throat and sometimes the tonsils (tonsillitis). Viral sore throat often includes runny nose, cough, congestion, hoarseness, sore eyes, and fever. The level of pain can range from mild to severe. Sufferers may find it difficult to eat, breathe, swallow, and speak. Sore throat can be caused by many different viruses including:

  • Coxsackie virus
  • Herpangina
  • Mononucleosis, often referred to as the kissing disease, mono or glandular fever
Bacteria which causes strep throat

Bacteria which causes strep throat

Bacterial Infection

Between 5 to 10% of all sore throats are caused by bacteria. The most common bacterial sore throat are from infection by group A. streptococcus, known as strep throat. Strep throat affects everyone but occurs more frequently in children of school age.

Pharyngeal Gonorrhea

This is a sexually transmitted bacterial disease that can cause a severe sore throat. Having oral sex with someone who is infected can transmit the condition.

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Noninfectious Sore Throat

A sore throat can be caused by trauma or injury to the throat, by allergies like hay fever, and irritants and by smoking or breathing in second-hand smoking fumes. It can be the result of heavy alcohol consumption, the breathing of polluted air, chemical fumes, or ingestion of substances that burn or scratches the throat. Some people get a sore throat through mouth breathing as a result of nasal congestion.

It is easy to diagnose a sore throat; the difficult part is in finding out what is causing the soreness. Although most sore throats are relatively minor occurrences with no real complications, a small percentage of bacterial sore throats can develop into a severe illness. For this reason, it is advisable to seek medical attention if a sore throat lasts longer than a few days, and especially if it is also accompanied by a fever, nausea or abdominal pain.


A viral sore throat is best left to run its course without the intervention of drugs since antibiotics will have no effect.

When a sore throat is caused by streptococci and other bacteria the condition must be treated with antibiotics and penicillin is often the drug of choice. When someone who is suffering from a sore throat also happens to be allergic to penicillin, an alternative antibiotic will be used.

Oral penicillin must be taken for 10 days, and the entire amount should be taken even after the symptoms of a sore throat have gone. In the case of a chronic sore throat resulting from an underlying condition, it will be necessary to treat the condition to cure a sore throat.


Always consult a medical professional regarding your condition, preexisting conditions, or if you are pregnant or nursing before introducing new remedies into your regimen.

Home Remedies

Although the causes of a sore throat are many, there are home remedies such as:

  • Gargling can be done with warm double-strength tea or warm salt water. Prepare the solution by adding one tsp of salt to 237 ml (8 oz ) of water. Gargling with Aloe vera solution can provide quick relief from sore throat symptoms, used frequently it can boost overall health and immunity.
  • Drink lots of fluids. Water will keep the body hydrated, especially if there is also fever. Acidic juices should be avoided.
  • Sucking popsicles is an excellent way to get children to take fluids and can cool the mouth to give sore throat relief.
  • Soft foods, including nutritious soups. Avoid spicy foods.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Rest and avoid strenuous activities until fever has gone.
  • Raw garlic is a potent antioxidant with antimicrobial, antiviral and antibiotic properties. It is great for colds and flu and also has decongestant and expectorant effects.
  • A room humidifier can help to make the atmosphere more comfortable for a sore throat sufferer. The cool mist can improve the air quality to relieve congestion and provide relief.
  • Antiseptic lozenges and sprays can help to numb the throat and relieve pain, but it is believed that some of these can also aggravate the throat and worsen the symptoms.
  • Ibuprofen can be taken for pain. Aspirin should not be given to children. It can increase the risk of Reye's Syndrome.
  • Aromatherapy, including the fragrances of essential oils such as lavender, thyme, eucalyptus, sage, and sandalwood.
  • Ayurvedic medicine, traditional to the Indian subcontinent, recommends gargling with a mixture of water salt and turmeric (Curcuma longa) powder or astringents like alum, sumac, sage (do not swallow if pregnant, sage can have an effect on hormones, and can trigger menstrual bleeding and miscarriage), and bayberry. When gargling, do not ingest these tinctures. Be sure to research your plant species and proper preparation and dosing before gargling with these preparations.
  • Herbs, including osha root (internally for treating infections, but should not be used during pregnancy), ginger root, and slippery elm tea for pain.
  • Homeopathic diluted solutions (only to be administered by a professional) including lachesis (the venom of the bushmaster snake), Belladonna (the most common homeopathic medication, toxic if not prepared properly), Phytolacca (certain parts of this plant are poisonous so work with a homeopath), and yellow jasmine (poisonous if not prepared correctly).


  • Vitamin C
  • Bioflavonoids
  • Vitamin A
  • Beta-carotene supplements
Eleutherococcus senticosus leaves

Eleutherococcus senticosus leaves

Herbals to Boost the Immune System

Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)

There is a wealth of research into how natural products can support and strengthen the immune system. Siberian ginseng is at the top of the list, as are sterols found in foods like sesame seeds. It is not yet entirely clear just how these foods work, but the consensus is that they do work.

The positive effect of Siberian ginseng, such as coping with stress, is often described in scientific journals.

It was reported that the Russian cosmonauts took Siberian ginseng to help them deal with tough training and the stress of working in space. Research shows that this herb can have a positive effect on the immune system. It is used widely to counteract infections like flu and the common cold and to speed up recovery from infections.

Eleutherococcus and Echinacea are said to be powerful enough to squash the beginnings of the flu overnight.

How to Check for Strep Throat

  • A sudden severe sore throat with no sign of common cold, runny nose, or sneezing
  • Spiking fever over 38.3 C. A lower temperature is more likely to be due to a viral infection.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • White or yellow spots or coating on the throat and tonsils
  • Bright red throat or dark red spots in the upper mouth near the back of the throat
  • Scarlet blotches in the neck or other areas of the body

Be Well!

Sore throats are common; the cause may be due to a range of viruses or less commonly, a bacterial infection.

There are other causes of painful throat such as allergies, smoking and pollution, but a sore throat can also be a symptom of many serious diseases, therefore; it is vital to seek medical help sooner rather than later. Medical intervention is of particular importance in children especially where symptoms include a high fever, difficulty breathing and neck stiffness. A doctor should be contacted immediately. This article is for information only and is not intended to be used instead for medical advice. Always do your research.

Pregnant women should be particularly cautious with medication, traditional and alternative.

Live long stay healthy!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2013 Jo Alexis-Hagues


Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on February 01, 2015:

Hi peachpurple, sorry about the sore throat, the garlic probably did more good than you know, garlic is a great immune booster, so keep taking it. Hope you're feeling better, I had the flu a couple of weeks ago, it's no fun. Appreciate you stopping by, my best to you.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on February 01, 2015:

i took raw garlic with warm water, didn't cure the sore throat but did clear off the phlegm

Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on February 06, 2014:

Hi dis-cover, let's hope that now you are armed and prepared, the bugs will stay away. :)

Thank you for checking it out. My best to you.

Nikolic Predrag from Serbia, Belgrade on February 05, 2014:

I printed out your hub, next time my throat is sore. Great info and excellent health article! Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up)

Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on December 25, 2013:

Erorantes@yahoo, thank you for the visit and comment. I hope you're enjoying the day and not requiring these sore throat remedies. My best to you.

erorantes@yahoo on December 24, 2013:

Good article, Miss Jo Alexis. You did a great job with the helpful information. Congratulations.

Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on November 30, 2013:

Susan, it's a pleasure, thanks for checking this out.

All the best.

Susan from India on November 30, 2013:

Very useful and informative hub. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.

Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on November 01, 2013:

Hi Jackie, looks like you've already got it sussed. :)

Green tea is a good source of antioxidant, it's great to find something that works for you. Thanks for stopping by, always appreciated.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on November 01, 2013:

Tea and aloe vera; gonna store that information in the noodle I hope. Will be interesting to try. You know I rarely have sore throat and haven't had a cold or flu in years which I credit to green tea daily so maybe that is why I get no sore throats? Great info, impressively done. ^

Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on October 24, 2013:

CampbellLena, let's hope you will not need it, but it's good to be prepared. :)

Thank you for stopping by, appreciated.

Lena Campbell from Maryland on October 23, 2013:

I'm def going to keep this hub in mind next time my throat is sore

Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on October 16, 2013:

Hi Audrey, lovely to see you! Yes, it is that time of the year again, must stock up on the honey and lemons.

I've already had my flu jab, fingers cross.:)

Audrey Howitt from California on October 15, 2013:

So useful! Especially this time of year!!

Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on September 27, 2013:

Dream ON, I tend to do the same, any excuse for a hot honey and lemon. :)

Thanks for stopping by and for the very kind comment, take care and my best to you.

DREAM ON on September 26, 2013:

What a very comprehensive hub on sore throats. I have been lucky all my life not to have had many but when I do get them I am miserable. Just reading your work made my throat itchy now I am going to have some tea and honey just incase.

Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on September 26, 2013:

Hi Benjamin, I'm glad you're feeling better, a sore throat is no fun at all. Thank you for reading this, and for the great comment, much appreciated.

Benjamin Chege on September 26, 2013:

Hi Jo, voted up, useful and awesome. I think I should have seen this hub earlier. I has a very severe sore throat last year. It was a real nightmare. I tried almost everything to no avail. However, the doctor finally gave me an antibiotic that helped a lot. It was really painful and it lasted for a week and a half. Thank you for informing us. Will share the hub with my audience as well.

Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on September 10, 2013:

Hi Reality Talk, Thank you for checking this out. Six months is a long time to be suffering from a sore throat, it may well be due to acid reflux, however, if the reflux has settled and the sore throat continues, you may need to get the throat check again. Good luck and my best to you. Appreciate the visit and comment.


Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on September 10, 2013:

Levertis, thank you so much for taking a look at this. I'm in total agreement with you, nature provides for much of what ails us.. I'm just afraid we may have already destroyed much of what we need. Many of our traditional medication are extracted from plants, the old wives knew a thing or two. :).

Appreciate the visit, insightful comment and the share. Have a lovely day.


RealityTalk from Planet Earth on September 09, 2013:

I will have to try some of your remedies. I have had a sore throat for some six months now. I had a specialist look at it about three months ago & she said it may be caused by acid reflux & she prescribed some pills. I still have the sore throat however.

Levertis Steele from Southern Clime on September 09, 2013:

Someone said that many of the best remedies for illnesses are right in our kitchens. These are the ones grandmothers used. So true--garlic, honey, lemon, water, salt, etc. Many of the old ways have been lost, but we are wise to "get back to nature." I personally believe that there are natural cures for most, if not all, ailment; but many have escaped us because of modern ways of healing, namely drugs.

I learned that a pinch of black, white, or red pepper added to the salt water remedy can be very soothing for an itchy throat. Of course, this may not be the best for young children who may be more sensitive to pepper. If it is used for older children, it should be the amount that one would put in one serving of soup. Whenever I have a cold and an itchy throat, chicken soup with a dash of pepper, if it hasn't already been added, works wonders. Many may not realize that the use of pepper in chicken soup is one of the ingredients that gives a sore throat a needed rest.

I just love helpful hubs! Thanks for sharing. I will share, too.

Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on September 09, 2013:

Hi Vellur, lovely to see you, many thanks for the visit, comment and vote. Always appreciated and my best to you.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on September 09, 2013:

Sore throat can be really painful and best controlled in the initial stages. Honey and ginger works great. Thank you for sharing this useful and informative hub. Voted up.

Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on August 15, 2013:

Hi Vinaya, sorry about the sore throat, I hope some of this information will prove useful, get well soon and my best to you.

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on August 15, 2013:

What a coincidence, I have a sore throat at the moment. I'm going to try some of your remedies.

Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on August 14, 2013:

Hi Devika, yes, warm honey and lemons can be very soothing...thank you for stopping by, always appreciated and my very best to you.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on August 14, 2013:

Awesome ideas for the relieving of sore throat Honey is such a good idea for me and all your suggestions sound helpful too. A useful hub to any reader.

Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on August 12, 2013:

Hi jpcmc, It's good to know that you've found the information useful, a sore throat is no fun, especially for a public speaker. Thank you for stopping by, much appreciated.

JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on August 11, 2013:

I do a lot of public speaking and having sore throat just makes it more difficult. This is a valuable resource.

Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on August 11, 2013:

Hi Rose, thank you so much for the Great comment and terrific advice...a sore throat is one of those things we have to do battle with now and again it helps to be forearmed. Take care and my very best to you.

rose-the planner from Toronto, Ontario-Canada on August 11, 2013:

Another excellent health article! I have certainly had some very bad sore throat episodes in my lifetime and it feels awful. It always happens just before a bad cold develops. You have provided some great information and very useful tips. I think a salt gargle works well and so does honey and lemon but what really works very well for me is rubbing Vicks Vapor Rub on my neck where the throat area is and wrapping any kind of scarf around my neck. It will sting at first but it works amazingly especially if you do this when you go to bed. Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up)


Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on August 11, 2013:

Hi Kashmir, always a pleasure....thank you very much for the visit and lovely comment, my best as always.

Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on August 11, 2013:

Thanks Frank, much appreciated.

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on August 11, 2013:

Hi my friend this is great useful information to help when you have a sore throat. Well done, loved the graphics !

Vote up and more !!!

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on August 11, 2013:

tobusiness down to business as usual very thorough.. clear and easy to follow voted useful keep up with the good hubs :) oh I gotta vote :)

Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on August 11, 2013:

Peachpurple, well it's timely anyway :). I hope some of this will be useful and thank you so much for taking a look, you're very brave, I hope you get rid of those frogs soon and if not, get ye to a doctor. Take care now and my very best to you

Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on August 11, 2013:

Hi Kidscraft, many thanks for this very insightful comment and for the great extra suggestions. It's always good to know what works best. I hope you're now fit and healthy, and well prepared to take on the Winter. Have a wonderful day and my best to you.

Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on August 11, 2013:

Thank you Wetnose nice to see you and very much appreciated, glad you found this useful.

My best to you and the gang.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on August 11, 2013:

this is the best hub i read today. I have sore throat. I may have swallowed a bullfrog.!!

kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on August 11, 2013:

Very informative hub, Jo! Anybody can feel quite miserable with sore throat! My problem was that as soon as I started with a sore throat, I would start to cough... and not sleep (one to two hours per night) and then I felt worse and then it turned into infection and I had to see the doctor who prescribee antibiotics. I was quite tired to use antibiotics!!!

I use homeopathy since a long time but it didn't seem to tackle that specific problem. Finally, I started to use oregano oil as soon as I feel something ... and it helps. So I use oregano and homeopathy as well as manuka honey together! On top of it since last year, I bought an humidifier for our bedroom because the central humidifier is not enough and also aromatherapy with eucalyptus (like you suggest) or tea tree oil.

I will add for sure your suggestion of Ayurvedic gargle!

I am ready to tackle those bad guys!

Thanks for sharing all your suggestions! There are a few that I can add to my arsenal!

Have a great week!

Voted up, useful and interesting!

wetnosedogs from Alabama on August 11, 2013:

Wow, A lot of information and great work you did.

Appreciate all the info.

Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on August 11, 2013:

Martin, always a pleasure!... I hope all is well with you, have a lovely day and my very best to you.

Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on August 11, 2013:

Hi Bill, just remember to warn Bev before you start munching on those raw garlic cloves, it can put a girl right off. :)

Thank you so much for all the awesome support, it means a lot. Have a wonderful Sunday, my best to you and Bev as always.

Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on August 11, 2013:

Hi Donnah, very nice to see you!...I can see how this could well be an occupational hazard for you, but also a good excuse to break out the honey and lemon.:)

Thank you so much for stopping by and for the great comment, much appreciated and my best to you.

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on August 11, 2013:

Thank you for this.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 10, 2013:

Jo, this is information every person on the planet needs. I had no idea raw garlic was beneficial for a sore throat....well now I do and I'll be ready for the next one.

Thanks for the great suggestions and education.

blessings always


Donna Hilbrandt from Upstate New York on August 10, 2013:

Very informative hub. I don't often get a sore throat, but I do often lose my voice when I am teaching and talking for long stretches. The increase in fluids and the lemon/honey remedies work for that too. Thanks for this resource. I'll save it for future reference. Voted up and useful.

Jo Alexis-Hagues (author) from Lincolnshire, U.K on August 10, 2013:

Hi Faith, having a sore throat is no fun, but it looks like you've already got it well sorted. For the little ones it's a good excuse to o.d on ice cream and popsicles, bless em!

Thank you for being my first and for the great comment, always a pleasure, my best to you and the family.

Hugs Jo.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on August 10, 2013:

Hi Jo,

What a comprehensive hub here as to those nasty sore throats. I really hate having a sore throat. It is just so uncomfortable and miserable no doubt. The salt gargles truly do help using warm water, but I love the tea and honey too ... anything to soothe that irritation.

Strep throat is the worst of the worst! My grands love the popsicle remedy best of course : )

Thanks for this useful and informative write here. You always find the best imagery.

Voted up +++ and sharing

Have a lovely rest of the weekend,

Faith Reaper

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