Isvaiyah has been a licensed pharmacist at Gadjah Mada University (Indonesia) for nine years. She earned her M.Sc. from the same university.
Natural Remedies for a Painful Sore Throat
A sore throat is the main symptom of a swollen throat, or pharyngitis. In most cases, a swollen throat is characterized by a number of symptoms, including: pain, a scratchy and/or dry feeling in the throat, difficulty swallowing, and hoarseness.
The primary cause of sore throat is still undetermined, but most doctors believe that exposure to chemical irritants or to a family of streptococcus bacteria play key roles.
How to Get Rid of a Sore Throat?
The standard medication for a sore throat depends on the cause, but in general, you don’t need any special medication. It will heal by itself within 5-7 days, depending on how strong your immune system is.
In order to speed up the healing process, however, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics (if the symptoms are caused by bacteria) or antivirals (if they're caused by viruses).
Natural Sore Throat Remedies To Try Today
A sore throat will go away on its own in a few days. But if you'd like to speed up your recovery, there are many natural remedies that may work for you:
How to Cure a Sore Throat, By Dr. Josh Axe
Alternative Sore Throat Remedies to Try Today
Drink a cup of strong herbal tea
Don’t go any higher than 3 cups a day.
Apple cider vinegar
Drink or use Apple Cider Vinegar as a gargle.
Rinse your mouth with warm water every after taking it.
Cinnamon + ginger
Drink a cup of herbal tea made with cinnamon and ginger root powder.
Don't drink it if you take blood thinning medications or have hypertension.
Take slippery elm lozenges or drink a cup of tea made with the herb.
Avoid use if you are pregnant or nursing women.
Eucalyptus leaf tea
If you use eucalyptus oil as a gargle, avoid ingesting the oil. Ingesting eucalyptus oil can cause seizures.
Mix 3 tsp. of honey and a few drops of lemon juice and then drink.
Not recommended for one-year children.
Dissolve baking soda in the warm water and use as a gargle.
Never ingest the mixture as it may cause undesired side effects.
Stir salt with warm water and use as a gargle.
Never ingest the mixture as it may cause unwanted side effects.
#1 - Licorice Root
People in Europe and China have traditionally used licorice root, or Glycyrrhiza glabra, as a natural sore throat remedy. Active components in this herb work by boosting the levels of interferon – a chemical that plays a role in strengthening immune system.
- Simply put 5-7 teaspoons of licorice root pieces into 3 cups of water.
- Bring it to boil and simmer until about half of the water has boiled away.
- Well done! Your licorice tea is ready to drink.
NOTE: Licorice is a pleasant tasting herb, so you do not need to add any sweetener. But keep in mind, never go any higher than 3 cups in a day. Overuse of licorice roots and their preparations can cause discomforts and unfavorable side effects.
#2 - Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar (or ACV) has some active components which bring anti-bacterial properties. These are what you need to eliminate sore-throat-causing bacteria in your throat, thus bringing relief you need.
You can take ACV either by drinking or using as a gargle – or both for extra bonus.
- Stir two tablespoons of ACV with ½ cup of warm water until well blended.
- Use it as a gargle once in a day.
- If you prefer drinking it, just mix a tablespoon of ACV with a cup of warm water.
Need better taste? Simply add a tablespoon of 100% pure honey into your mixture.
NOTE: Apple cider vinegar sometimes can lead to dental problems. That’s why it's important to make sure to rinse your mouth with warm water after taking it.
#3 - Combo of Cinnamon and Ginger
A combo made with cinnamon and ginger for medicinal purpose has a long history of use. Because of its powerful healing effect, some old Chinese herbal doctors suggest it as a powerful natural sore throat relief.
Both cinnamon and ginger root have antibacterial and soothing properties – powerful things you need to get rid of a sore throat and its related infections.
- Add ½ teaspoon each of cinnamon and ginger powder into a cup of hot water.
- Stir it until well blended.
- Add 1 tablespoon of 100% pure honey into it for better taste and greater effect.
- Drink it immediately or before going to bed.
#4 - Slippery Elm
The herb slippery elm has an active component called mucilages. Some herbal doctors stated that the component can help ease irritation caused by a throat pain.
What to do:
Taking slippery elm lozenges seems to be a good idea. But if you need greater effect, enjoying a cup of herbal tea is the best way. Simply add a teaspoon of dried slippery elm into a cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 15 minutes or a bit longer. Then, strain it. If you need better taste, add a little honey into your tea.
A WARNING WORD: Slippery elm may provide relief your need to tackle a painful throat. But keep in mind, if you are a pregnant or nursing woman, avoid all use.
#5 - Eucalyptus Tea
The German Commission E approved eucalyptus for treating sore throat. Technically, eucalyptus can help alleviate sore throat in two ways. Chemical "tannins" help soothe inflamed tissue, while aromatic oil brings a cooling effect.
- Acquire prepared eucalyptus leaf tea bags
- Steep for 15 minutes or a bit longer.
- Your eucalyptus herbal tea is ready to drink.
NOTE: Consider also gargling with eucalyptus solution to boost the healing effect. To prepare it yourself, mix a few drops of eucalyptus oils with a cup of warm water. Just keep in mind, however, never ingest it!
#6 - Honey
Honey is a bee product that have long been used for treating a wide range of medical problems and infections. In providing sore throat relief, it acts as a mild antiseptic and help ease irritated tissue of the throat.
- Add 3 teaspoons of raw organic honey to a cup of hot water.
- Stir it until well blended.
- Add a few drops of lemon juice into your mixture.
A WARNING WORD: Never give honey to children younger than one year, as it can increase the risk of infant botulism. Ask your doctor for more details!
#7 - Baking Soda
Baking soda is known to contain anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. This ingredient helps to treat sore throat by killing bacteria and easing inflamed tissues.
- Dissolve ½ teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of warm water.
- Use the mixture as a gargle for a few times a day.
NOTE: Keep in mind, however, never ingest the mixture!
#8 - Salt Water
Salt water contains mild antiseptic properties, which can help kill bacteria. In addition, it can also help rinse phlegm away and dilute mucus.
Among all the sore throat remedies listed above, this method is the easiest one.
Simply stir ½ teaspoon of salt with one cup of warm water until well dissolved. Then, take it as a regular gargle 3 - 4 times a day. Do this method regularly until the painful sore throat has subsided.
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.
© 2017 Isvaiyah
Have any to add to this story?
aisha on September 26, 2019:
I like it
Isvaiyah (author) from Yogyakarta on March 13, 2017:
Thanks for a nice recipe, Chitrangada Sharan! Your recipe is a very popular traditional Indian remedy. I call it turmeric milk.
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on March 13, 2017:
This is very useful and informative hub to treat sore throat! All your suggestions sound effective to me and I am sure it would benefit those who try them.
Normally I mix half teaspoonful of turmeric powder in half cup of warm milk . This really helps to soothe the pain.
Another method is to mix fresh grated ginger along with honey and black pepper powder. This is effective in curing the repeated cough as well.
Thanks for sharing this useful hub!