It’s funny how pain can take us by surprise. For instance, pulling a muscle you never knew you had or realizing just how much a paper cut can sting. It’s the same for sore throats. You never think about how much something so menial can hurt until it does.
Whenever I come down with a sore throat I know it’s often one of the first signs of something worse. To quickly counteract that possibility, I reach for the best natural remedies for sore throat I can think of: herbs of course! Instead of using nerve cell numbing anesthetic cough drops, try herbs that will actually treat the cause and bring down inflammation.
Whether you’re coming down with a cold or have been exposed to strep or airborne irritants, these simple yet effective remedies will have you forgetting your throat even exists in no time. However, if your sore throat is accompanied by a fever, I strongly advise you seek a visit with your healthcare practitioner.
The Best Natural Remedies for Sore Throat
Let me begin with one of the most tried and true remedies; slippery elm. A woodsy and earthy bark that soothes all mucus membranes, slippery elm contains compounds that are both germ-killing and histamine balancing allowing it to soothe and bring down irritation, swelling, and by extension, pain. This is the herb I always reach for first. Slippery elm will often keep the beginning stages of a sore throat from taking hold as well as get rid of the worst cases after a few doses.
There are a few ways to take slippery elm:
• As a tea- A bit slimy in consistency but works quite well if you’re fine with the texture. I like this one.
• As porridge- This is a very easy way to take slippery elm and it tastes delicious. Check out this recipe.
• In a capsule- I like this brand
• As a lozenge- Buy them here, or make your own slippery elm lozenges
• As a tincture- I like this brand (keep in mind that this form is the least effective but may work in a pinch)
Adults can take and of these preparations 3-4 times a day.
Throughout history, licorice root has been revered for its ability to soothe and calm sore throats. It is also an expectorant, so if you have a croupy cough along with an aching throat, this remedy will work for that as well.
You can easily buy the tea (I like this one) or licorice root itself (I like this one and this one) to make the tea at home. It has a sweet flavor, so feel free to add other tasty herbs like cinnamon or a few cloves to balance the sweetness.
The best way to make licorice root tea is by method of decoction (learn how to do it here) to insure you get all of the good stuff out. You can also take licorice root as a capsule or tincture, but I really feel the best results from the strongly made tea.
Adults can take licorice root 2-3 times per day.
A demulcent herb that moistens mucus membranes, marshmallow root is a must have for soothing dry, irritated sore throats. It contains a water soluble fiber that has amazing pain easing properties.
I find that taking marshmallow root as a tea is the most soothing and effective way to use it. You can get it here and here. Also, make sure to get the loose ROOT and not the leaf. Unless you have a very fine cloth to strain marshmallow leaf tea you will be in for a surprise. It has thousands of tiny irritating hairs that will make your sore throat worse so unless you’re buying it already bagged you’re going to need to strain it well. Just sayin’.
Everyone should have this handy herb in their pantry as it’s so useful! To treat a sore throat with sage simply make a strong tea with the dried or fresh herb and sip on it 2-3 times per day.
This is my favorite sage tea, but you can easily make it yourself at home by steeping 1 TB dried garden sage in a mug of boiling water for 30 minutes. The astringency of sage will tighten aching tissues and ease pain.
This is the best place to find the highest quality dried sage leaf.
Another remedy I’ve come across that you can easily buy already prepared is the Gaia Herbs Sage and Aloe Throat Shield Spray. Holy goodness does this stuff WORK! If you’re dying of sore throat agony and you have nothing else I implore you to try this spray. It’s seriously the only store-bought throat spray I’ve used that actually helps. Guess what one of the main ingredients is? You guessed it, sage!
Sounds crazy I know, but cayenne has some pretty amazing pain relieving properties that also fight inflammation and bacteria. Gargling with a small amount of cayenne pepper (about a 1/8-1/4 tsp or whatever is comfortable) in warm water every 15 minutes is a tried and true remedy for sore throats. The compound in cayenne and all other hot peppers responsible for its amazing ability to dull pain is called Capsaicin.
One of my favorite natural remedies for sore throat is by mixing 1/8 tsp cayenne and 1 TB raw apple cider vinegar in a cup of hot lemon water with a spoonful of honey. Simply pour boiling water over all of the ingredients and steep the tea covered for 5 minutes. Sip slowly, deliberately getting the tea on affected areas of the throat. I will often gargle with this tea before swallowing for best results.
Rose is such a luxuriant yet effective herb. Its astringency and cooling properties is what makes rose an ideal remedy for painful throat symptoms. I used to have a potted rose bush that I would cart around with me every placed I moved to and I am so glad I did! Not only is rose fantastic for sore throats, it’s also amazing for a multitude of other ills and ailments.
There are many ways to use rose petals to treat a sore throat:
• As a tea- Use the fresh unsprayed rose petals or buy them dried
• As a tincture– learn how to make your own tinctures here.
• In a homemade lozenge recipe
• Infused in honey
• As a gargle- Make a strong tea and add sea salt
Adults can use these rose preparations freely and upon need.
What have been some of your tried and true natural remedies for sore throat?
Check out these other great sore throat remedy articles:
Soothing and Healing Sore Throat Remedy
Homemade Remedy for Sore Throat and Cough
Honey and Lemon Cough Syrup with Coconut Oil
Soothing Sore Throat Tea
DIY Herbal Cough Drops: Sore Throat Remedy
DIY Homemade Cough Drops
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