Cold Season: Home Remedies for Sore Throats

A person with a sore throat holding a mug of tea.

This time of year is the prime season for colds and flus, which can be accompanied by sore throats. There are a number of simple at-home remedies you can try that help to alleviate the discomfort of a scratchy, painful throat as well as aid  the healing process. Next time you feel a sore throat coming on, try these natural, safe home remedies. 

Note that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 often begins with a sore throat. If you have a sore throat, get tested, wear a mask, and follow the appropriate isolation procedures.

Honey

Honey is a popular sore throat remedy because it may help suppress coughs and reduce pain 1. It also has soothing properties which may help to relieve sore throat pain. 2 Because of its sweet, pleasant taste, honey is a preferred sore throat remedy for children. To use honey as a sore throat treatment, either take a spoonful as is or mix it into your favorite herbal tea.

Licorice Root

Research shows that drinking or gargling with licorice root tea may help soothe sore throat pain. 3 Licorice root may help kill many bacteria and viruses and may also help to relieve a cough. 4 Try sipping licorice root tea or sucking on a licorice root lozenge to alleviate sore throat symptoms. Please note that those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid consuming licorice root. 5 

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile has anti-inflammatory, astringent, and antioxidant properties that make it an effective remedy for sore throats. Drinking chamomile tea or simply inhaling its steam may soothe sore throat symptoms and helps stimulate the immune system, triggering the body’s natural healing response. 6 Try sipping chamomile tea on its own or with a spoonful of honey mixed in to soothe a sore throat.

Salt Water Gargle

Gargling with a salt water solution is recommended by many healthcare professionals to ease sore throat symptoms. 7 To make a salt water solution, mix ¼ teaspoon of salt with 8 oz of filtered water, and gargle with it at the first sign of a sore throat – be sure to spit out the solution after gargling. Repeat two to four times per day until the sore throat has completely cleared up.

Garlic & Myrrh

Garlic and myrrh both have natural antibiotic properties, and have both been used historically as folk remedies for the common cold. 8 9 Studies show that myrrh is an effective anti-inflammatory agent, which is why it is sometimes recommended as sore-throat relief. 10 Consuming garlic on a regular basis may help to prevent sore throats caused by the common cold because of its antimicrobial properties. 11 You can add more garlic-containing foods to your diet or take garlic supplements, and myrrh is available in tinctures as well as mouthwashes.

Lemon

Not only is lemon a good source of immune-strengthening vitamin C, it also helps to cut mucus and may help relieve sore throat symptoms. 12 For a soothing sore-throat remedy, add a tablespoon of lemon juice to a cup of hot water and slowly stir in honey to taste. You can also add a squeeze of lemon to any herbal tea to give it a boost of vitamin C.

 

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