Most people have experienced the struggle of talking, breathing or swallowing with a sore throat. Either there’s a mild scratchy sensation in your throat or it feels like it’s on fire. Either way, sore throats are a normal and common occurrence. If you’re currently suffering from a bout of sore throat, you don’t have to reach for over-the-counter medications. There are numerous natural and easy-to-find remedies for this condition.
Five Natural Home Remedies for a Sore Throat
There are available sore throat remedies in the market today, from antibacterial lozenges to antibiotics. The problem is that these medications target only a select few of all the causes of sore throats. The good news is that there are natural remedies for sore throat, which can be just as effective as their pharmaceutical counterparts. They also don’t pose any serious side effects on the overall health of the body. Some of the options you can try are:
Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water. Gargle the saltwater several times a day to dislodge mucus in the throat and flush out irritants.1
Peel the ginger and grate it into a teapot. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the grated ginger and steep for three minutes. Put the lemon juice and honey in a large mug and pour the ginger tea.2
Boil 1 cup of water and add the chamomile tea bag. Let it steep for 10 minutes. Add honey or lemon to taste.3
Add a handful of sage leaves and stems to boiling water. Turn off the heat and cover the pot. Let it steep for 20 minutes.4
Add turmeric powder to hot water. Let it steep for 15 minutes.5
Pour 1 cup of boiling water over a hollyhock flower. Steep for 5 minutes. Strain. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and honey to taste.6
Try These Essential Oils for Your Sore Throat
Another option that you can try is the use of essential oils to help improve your sore throat. Essential oils can either be applied to your throat or inhaled through a diffuser. Some of these oils include:7
• Lavender oil. Using this essential oil can help improve breathing and alleviate throat inflammation. Put a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow before going to sleep, or mix it with a carrier oil and apply to your chest.
• Oregano oil. This essential oil is widely known for its ability to assist in respiratory system issues. It has antiviral properties, which can help ease a sore throat caused by a viral infection.8 Add three drops of food-grade oregano oil to a glass of water or juice and drink.9
• Thyme oil. Thyme has both antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities, which can help improve immune function and fight against bacterial infections.10 You can use thyme oil by adding four to five drops of the oil to a steam inhalation treatment.
• Peppermint oil. This oil is popularly used as an anti-inflammatory and anti-spasm. Add this to a steam inhalation device or apply a few drops to your chest and neck for relief.
Take note that some people may suffer from allergic reactions to certain essential oils. To make sure that you can tolerate the abovementioned oils, apply a small amount to a patch of skin and see if you develop any irritation. Discontinue use if you develop any adverse reactions.
What Are the Other Possible Symptoms of a Sore Throat?
Aside from soreness in the throat, some of the other telltale signs that you should look out for are:
• Pain when swallowing. You may have difficulty swallowing because of the throat pain. This is often caused by inflammation in certain parts in the throat.11
• Swollen glands in your neck. If you have a sore throat and have swollen lymph nodes in your neck, there is a high chance that you have an infection. After your sore throat subsides, the inflammation in the glands usually goes away.12
• Swollen tonsils. If your tonsils are inflamed and you also have a sore throat, there is a high chance that you have tonsillitis. This is probably one of the leading causes of sore throat across the population.13
• Hoarse voice. Sore throat can be accompanied by hoarse voice when the vocal cords are affected. Your voice usually temporarily becomes more raspy and airy during the onset of a sore throat.
Why Do People Get Sore Throats?
Most sore throats are caused by viral infections and are only rarely caused by bacteria. It usually accompanies the flu, common colds and other illnesses. Some of the other sore throat causes include:14
• Streptococcus bacterial infection or strep throat. This is the most common cause of sore throat in children, usually accompanied by a fever and swollen lymph nodes in the neck.15
• Allergies. A sore throat can be caused by allergens and irritants in your environment. People who suffer from allergic reactions may have a scratchy feeling in their throat when exposed to allergens. If you're currently taking antihistamines, sore throat may also be one of the side effects of your meds.
• Dry air. Dry indoor air may cause your throat to feel dry and rough, especially upon waking up. Nasal congestion because of dry air may cause sore throat as well, because you start breathing through your mouth instead of your nose.
• Muscle strain. Yelling and screaming can cause your throat muscles to become stressed, which can mimic the symptoms of a sore throat.
• Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The reflux of stomach acid up the throat may cause damage to the esophagus, which then cause sore throat.16
A Chronic Sore Throat May Indicate a Serious Condition
In rare instances, sore throat may be linked to the presence of tumors in the throat, tongue or the voice box. Prolonged and chronic sore throat can also be a symptom of throat cancer, with it being one of the primary symptoms of this serious condition. If you’ve noticed that you’ve been suffering from sore throats frequently, it’s best that you get yourself checked by a health practitioner to cross out possible diseases.17