The best sore throat remedies are often the least expensive. Chances are you already have them in your pantry or refrigerator. Teas, fruits and honey are just a few of the home remedies for pesky sore throats.
A sore throat makes it hard to talk or swallow, and may be the first sign of a cold. Most sore throats are a result of colds or other viral infections. Simple sore throat can be treated with home remedies and over the counter medication, such as throat lozenges.
Some sore throats are the result of conditions other than viral infections. Strep throat, which is caused by bacteria, has different symptoms, including white patches on your tonsils, fever and swollen lymph nodes. Only 10% of adults get strep throat. It occurs mostly in children ages 5 to 15. It's diagnosed with a swab test on the back of the throat. See your doctor if you think you may have strep throat.
If you have allergies, it may cause post-nasal drip. This allows mucus to run down the back of your throat. A runny nose and sneezing usually accompany sore throat caused by post-nasal drip. Home remedies reduce sore throat symptoms caused by allergies, but you may need to contact your doctor if the condition persists.
Find the Best Sore Throat Remedies in Your Kitchen
The best sore throat remedies aren't much different than the home treatments for colds, and coughs. Keep your kitchen stocked with herbal teas and supplements to cure sore throats naturally – or prevent them by building up your immunity.
Your sore throat should improve after three days when you use home remedies and get more rest. Using a humidifier in your home reduces the dry air that makes sore throats worse. You can also place a bowl of water over your radiator before you go to sleep.
Best Sore Throat Remedies Include Ginger, Thyme and Other Herbal Teas
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is an anti-inflammatory that helps clear the sinuses and cut through congestion. It breaks up mucus and warms a sore throat. Make tea with fresh ginger root and add honey and lemon for extra soothing power. Add grated ginger root to water and boil the covered pot for 20 minutes, then inhale the steam as you drink the tea to loosen mucus. You can make a ginger honey mixture similar to the garlic-honey sore throat remedy described above. Fill a jar with grated ginger root, then fill it with honey, cap it and shake vigorously to mix the solution.
Echinacea is a popular ingredient in many over-the-counter cold-fighting aids, and it's also one of the best sore throat remedies.Antibacterial echinacea increases the chemical properdin in your body, which helps your immune system fight viral infections. Drinking echinacea tea warms your throat, and treats the symptoms of colds and sore throats faster than tea without echinacea. An Italian study showed that echinacea extract proved helpful in preventing respiratory tract infections. Echinacea tea is available from your supermarket, health food stores or online. For best results, use organic Echinacea tea or special “throat coat” formulas containing lemon and other herbs, which may include marshmallow root or licorice root.
Thyme is an antiseptic herb. Make tea using fresh crushed thyme or buy thyme tea from the health food store. A common remedy for congestion, coughs and throat ailments, thyme can also be made into an oil to remove mucous from the throat and lungs and treat bronchitis. Fill a glass bottle with thyme leaves and olive oil and leave in the sun for 14 days and then strain the mixture. Discard the leaves and store the oil in cool, dry place.
Honey – One of the Best Sore Throat Remedies With or Without Tea
A mixture of garlic and honey makes a soothing anti-microbial drink for a sore throat. Fill a small jar with fresh, minced garlic and add honey til the jar's filled. Stir the mixture and cap the jar. To make sure the drink is thoroughly mixed, you can turn the jar upside down and shake it. Drink the mixture as needed. In a few days the garlic-honey drink will have a thick, syrupy-like consistency, making it easier to drink and better able to coat your throat. You can substitute white onion for garlic if you wish.
Add honey to hot tea along with lemon for better throat coating power. Drink as needed to cut mucous without the drying effects of over the counter medications.
Stay Hydrated to Improve or Prevent a Sore Throat
Drinking enough water and other fluids is important to stay healthy, and even more so when you have a sore throat or cold. Fluids help break up congestion in your throat and chest and flush out bacteria. Hot tea, water, juice, chicken soup and broth are your best bets to relieve the scratchiness and congestion of a sore throat. Even sucking on ice chips or Popsicles can soothe a hot, irritated throat.
Don't overdo it, but drink enough water or other healthy fluids to moisten mucous membranes. If your urine is light yellow or clear, you're drinking enough fluids to fight sore throat inflammation. Avoid coffee, soda, alcohol or any drink with caffeine, as they can dry out your already compromised system.
Chicken Soup – One of the Best Remedies for Sore Throats, Colds and Coughs
Mom's homemade chicken soup is one of the best sore throat remedies, and research backs up her claims. Several studies show that chicken soup reduces cold symptoms in the upper respiratory system and warms the throat. The combination of carrots, chicken, parsley, salt, pepper and other vegetables provides nutrients and hydrates you, relieving sore throat and congestion symptoms. Homemade chicken soup is the healthiest way to fight off a sore throat, but canned or packaged “just add water” soups reduce throat irritation and congestion, too.
Use a Saltwater Gargle
Saltwater cleanses your throat, flushing out bacteria and preventing it from reappearing.
Gargle a few times a day with saltwater to loosen mucus and eliminate bacteria. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of water, gargle, and spit out the solution. Don't swallow the solution or add too much salt – that won't get rid of your sore throat faster. If you can't stand the taste, add a drop of honey to make it more palatable. If you really don't like the taste of salt, gargle with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice or plain warm water. Gargling rids any bits of phlegm stuck in the throat by bathing it in fluid, so just the action of gargling alone will soothe your throat.
Get More Zzzzzzzzz's
One of the best sore throat remedies doesn't come from a bottle, tea bag or the produce section. Getting more sleep is one of the best ways to relieve a sore throat or cold. When you feel a sore throat coming on, increase the number of hours you sleep to stop it dead in its tracks. While it may not be possible to take time off from work or other responsibilities and sleep all day at the first sign of a sore throat, taking a nap when you can will help.
Add Lemon to Your Tea to Soothe Sore Throats
Lemon helps soothe a sore throat in several ways. It contains citric acid to break up mucus, which you then cough up or spit out. This relieves the scratchy voice common with so many sore throats. Lemon juice makes you salivate more, moistening a dry, irritated throat. The antioxidants and Vitamin C in lemon bolster your immune system, helping you heal faster and fighting inflammation. Lemon has antiseptic properties, which kills the bacteria and viruses that cause sore throats. There's a good reason lemon is included in so many beauty and cleaning products – it gets rid of all the bacteria that causes dirt and disease.
It's a good idea to include lemon in your tea on a regular basis to keep your body strong and prevent sore throats from developing. Regular consumption of lemons offers other health advantages. Lemons contains limonoids, which have been shown to fight mouth, stomach and colon cancer. A study cited in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases indicated that subjects who consumed the lowest amount of lemons and other Vitamin C rich foods were more likely to develop arthritis.
Get More Vitamin C and Zinc
The antioxidants in Vitamin C-rich foods help heal irritated throats and boost your body's power to fight inflammation-causing free radicals. Ideally, it's better to eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies (and drink orange juice) before you're sick to prevent sore throats, but eating berries, apples and other fruits and drinking orange juice will help your body fight off an existing sore throat faster. If your throat is so irritated it's hard to eat regular food, drink orange juice or buy chewable Vitamin C tablets. There are other Vitamin C-rich supplements that can supply you with adequate amounts of Vitamin C, such as wheatgrass pills.
Zinc lozenges or chewable zinc tablets can reduce the length and severity of a cold or sore throat. A March 2011 article in Psychology Today suggests that zinc may be just as effective as Mom's chicken soup in putting an early end to your cold and/or sore throat. Zinc may be one of the best sore throat remedies available, and it's known for its all-around healing properties.
Marshmallow Root – An Ancient Remedy to Reduce Throat Irritation
The ancient Romans, Egyptians and Chinese used marshmallow root as a medicine and food. Marshmallow Root has been used for medicinal purposes for over 2,000 years. It contains mucilage to sooth sore throats. When mixed with water, marshmallow root coats the throat to reduce irritation. It may also be applied to chapped lips or dry skin.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a recent study shows that marshmallow root soothes inflamed mucous membranes due to sore throats, asthma, colds, coughs and bronchitis. Take marshmallow root as a tea or liquid tincture. You can but marshmallow tea online or from your local health food store. Marshmallow root is considered safe, but it may interfere with diabetes drugs or lithium.
How to Reduce Your Chance of Getting a Sore Throat
Stay strong and healthy by eating a good diet rich in Vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, Vitamin E, magnesium, potassium and inflammation-fighting zinc. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, beans and nuts are the basis of a healthy diet. Add in a moderate amount of dairy products, lean meat and poultry and you'll find you develop few, if any. sore throats or colds.
Nutritional supplements are helpful in winning the fight against sore throats and colds. A wheatgrass supplement provides more vitamins and minerals than most store-bought multivitamins, along with enzymes and amino acids.
Wheatgrass contains mostly chlorophyll, the green pigment found in plants. Chlorophyll has all the vitamins and minerals you need to keep your body healthy and avoid contracting colds, sore throats or coughs during the winter, or any other time. And if you do develop a sore throat, you'll heal sooner if you've consistently eaten a good diet and taken a wheatgrass supplement prior to getting sick.
Other Ways to Avoid Getting a Sore Throat
Dress for the weather. If it's cold and windy, wear warm, layered clothing, a thick coat or jacket, and keep your throat covered.
Sneeze or cough into a tissue and throw it away, or use a handkerchief. Cough into your elbow if no tissue is available.
Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating, when you have a cold, and after using the toilet. Use a hand sanitizer to clean hands when soap and water isn't available.
Rinse your toothbrush after each use and don't share it with others, as used toothbrushes are a source of bacteria. Replace your toothbrush every three months, or as soon as the bristles are worn.
Wear a mask covering your mouth and nose when dusting or using chemical-laden cleaning products.
Don't share drinking glasses, utensils or food. Clean TV remotes, computer keyboards and phones regularly with sanitizing cleanser.
Don't smoke, and stay away from secondhand smoke.
Detox your body for better overall health and resistance to sore throats and colds.
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