One of the most common reasons people go to the doctor is due to pharyngitis, otherwise known as a sore throat. This is often because they believe they may have a bacterial infection like Strep yet most cases of sore throat are actually viral in nature. Unfortunately, this means that the antibiotics you take home from the doctor’s office are, in a lot of cases, ineffective.
So, what do you do when this happens? Thankfully, you can utilize a multitude of natural sore throat remedies plus a few tips and tricks that help support the immune system, fight off infection, reduce pain, and promote healing.
20+ Sore Throat Remedies for Quick Relief
A sore throat often signals the onset of a cold or flu and can be quite uncomfortable.
Common symptoms of sore throat include:
- A scratchy sensation in the throat
- Dry throat
- Redness in the back of the throat
- Swollen lymph nodes (glands) on the sides of the neck
- Swollen throat
- Throat pain when swallowing
The root causes of a sore throat include:
- A viral infection (often caused by a cold or flu)
- Bacterial infection (like Strep throat)
- Overuse of the throat muscles
- Pollutants in the air
- Post nasal drip
Keep in mind that if you experience symptoms like extreme throat pain, extreme difficulty swallowing, throat pain that does not improve within five days, pus patches on the throat or tonsils, accompanying skin rash, high fever, or vomiting, then you need to seek immediate medical attention.
However, if you have a typical sore throat, natural remedies, when used responsibly, can really help alleviate pain and discomfort while also supporting immunity and fighting off the underlying infection.
How to Treat a Sore Throat Naturally – Diet
The key to decreasing discomfort is to stay properly hydrated. Fluids like water, herbal teas, broth, and soup helps the body produce moisture that protects and soothes the throat.
I especially like drinking ginger tea and hot lemon water with honey. The ginger reduces inflammation, honey helps coat the throat, and lemon helps fight off germs and bacteria that may be the root cause of your sore throat. Plus, the heat from warm drinks is incredibly soothing on irritated and swollen tissues.
Focus on consuming more water throughout the day while also swapping out your normal meals with soup like chicken or miso soup.
Food and Drink to Avoid When You Have a Sore Throat
It’s important to avoid food and drink that are diuretic in nature like caffeine and alcohol. However, I have found that very small sips of whiskey really help sore throat pain! Just don’t consume a whole alcoholic drink since it suppresses the immune system.
Also, try to avoid consuming fruit juices and milk.
Remedies, Supplements, Homeopathy, and More!
I recommend looking through the remedies below and picking just one or two to try. Some of my favorites are echinacea/goldenseal, oregano oil, and slippery elm.
Known as Indian Echinacea, Andrographis is an herb that has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic practices.
In recent years, Andrographis has been found to be extremely effective for treating the symptoms of cold and flu including significantly reducing the severity and duration of sore throat. (source)
For adults, take 400mg of the standardized extract once daily. You can get it here (I usually snap the tablet in half and take one in the morning and one in the evening).
Do not use if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
Colloidal silver is an excellent antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal, so you can imagine its ability to help eradicate a sore throat fast. I like adding it to some warm water and gargle it for a good minute 1-3 times daily to help dislodge and kill bacteria and viruses on the tissues of the throat.
This helps reduce pain and speed up recovery.
For adults, add 1 tsp to 1 oz of warm water and gargle for 60 seconds. Some people swallow the gargle, but I prefer to spit it out.
You can find high-quality colloidal silver here.
Echinacea with Goldenseal
The combination of echinacea and goldenseal is the ultimate one-two punch when it comes to fighting symptoms of cold and flu, including a sore throat.
Echinacea is a powerful immune stimulant (especially in regards to mucous membranes) that encourages the release of macrophages. These go on to engulf and consume virus-infected cells and bacteria while protecting other cells from invasion.
Goldenseal helps reduce inflammation, swelling, heat, and redness while improving circulation to areas of infection. This is what helps transport more macrophages to the area to help eradicate infection.
The combination is perfect for treating sore throat!
Adults can take 500mg in capsule form (do not use this particular supplement if you are on birth control as it contains St John’s Wort) as directed on the label or take 2-4ml of tincture 3 times daily.
Do not take longer than 10 consecutive days (you need to give your immune system a rest!) and do not take goldenseal in more than 2-3 ten-day periods too close together. It’s all about NOT forcing your immune system to work on overdrive for too long. You need a few months in between for your immune system to rest.
We all know how great garlic is when it comes to fighting off infection and a sore throat fits the ticket. It’s antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiviral making it the perfect home remedy for sore throat that almost everyone has on hand.
Licorice root is a demulcent herb that helps coat mucus membranes and soothes pain and inflammation – including the tissues of the throat. It’s the perfect herb to use to combat dryness and inflammation while also enhancing immune function.
For adults, take it 1 ml of licorice root tincture 3 times daily as an effective sore throat treatment.
Loamtium is a member of the parsley family that exhibits powerful antiviral, antibiotic, and virostatic activity that stops the growth of viruses and bacteria.
I recommend reading more about this powerful herb before using it HERE since it goes over its properties, dosage, and the possible rash you can get from using it for the first time.
You can get lomatium tincture here.
Oregano oil is oregano essential oil mixed into a carrier oil base (most often olive oil) that has powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral properties. This is due to its potent carvacrol, thymol, and terpinine content.
When used in a throat spray, it helps combat throat pain and swollen tissues while fighting off infection.
Also known as Umcka, pelargonium is a root from a native South African geranium that is known to help shorten the duration of colds and flu including symptoms of sore throat. Its ability to boost immune function and directly prevent the replication of respiratory viruses and other viral infections is what makes this remedy especially effective. (source)
This is one of my favorite herbs to use for irritated mucous membranes to help soothe dryness and discomfort, reduce inflammation, and protect irritated tissues.
The best way, in my opinion, to take slippery elm is by sucking on slippery elm lozenges. This allows the herb (which is actually the inner bark of the slippery elm tree) to create a viscous coating on areas of infection within the throat.
Thyme is an unassuming yet effective herb for boosting immunity and killing off viruses and bacteria. It was one of the herbs that helped me get over the worst bout of bronchitis I’ve ever experienced several years ago, so you can imagine that I always have some fresh or dried thyme on hand.
For sore throat, thyme works well when steeped as a strong tea and gargled 2-3 times daily. I like to gargle it when it is still comfortably hot as the heat from the tea also helps soothe pain.
Vitamin C is one supplement I always take at the first sign of cold or flu. It enhances immune function and helps the body overcome sickness more quickly, so while it doesn’t directly affect the symptoms of a sore throat, Vitamin C can help you get well in less time.
I like to use a good food-based Vitamin C supplement like this one.
Zinc is another supplement that I like to reach for when a cold or flu rears its ugly head. Not only can it help prevent sickness and fight the common cold, it also helps soothe sore throat.
I like to take zinc as a lozenge. You can get the one I use here.
Be sure to take zinc with a meal since it can make you feel queasy on an empty stomach.
How to Get Rid of a Sore Throat Using Homeopathic Remedies
At the first sign of a sore throat, choose the remedies below that fit your symptoms and take two pellets of homeopathic medicine at 30C potency 4 times daily.
If you notice improvement, you can stop taking the homeopathic unless symptoms return. If your symptoms do not improve within 24 hours, choose a different homeopathic or remedy.
Aconitum Napellus is an effective homeopathic to use at the sudden onset of a sore throat, especially if the first signs appear after being exposed to cold weather. The throat will feel dry and hot and exhibit redness. The face may also feel hot and have a red flush. Emotions are anxious and listless.
Apis Mellifica is used when the tonsils and uvula are red and swollen. Often, a burning or stinging pain is felt in the throat that is alleviated by drinking cold fluids rather than hot.
Belladonna is used at the first signs of a sore throat when there is also high fever and a burning pain in the throat, especially on the right side. Swallowing feels painful and difficult.
Ferrum phosphoricum is used for mild sore throat pain where the person feels mostly well.
Hepar Sulphurus is used when pus is present in the throat or on the tonsils where the sensation of pain is likened to a splinter in the throat. Pain feels better when warm fluids are consumed.
Lycopodium clavatum is for throat pain that begins on the right side and moves to the left. Pain feels alleviated with warm fluids.
Mercurius Solubilis is for throat pain that feels raw with accompanying inflammation of the tonsils and pus, particularly on the right side. There may be increased saliva production and the coating on the tongue is thick. Fever and night sweats are also a common symptom.
Phytolacca is indicated for throat pain that radiates to the ears when swallowing. The lymph nodes on the throat are swollen and pain is alleviated with cold fluids rather than warm fluids.
Sulphur is used for sore throat pain that is only alleviated from drinking icy-cold fluids. The person feels hot and sweats readily while also experiencing great thirst.
Essential Oils for Sore Throat Pain
Essential oils can be used as powerful natural remedies for sore throat. They can help alleviate pain, prevent the spread of your cold or flu to others, and boost overall immunity.
Some of the best essential oils include:
- Eucalyptus radiata
- Juniper berry
- Spanish sage
- Thyme linalool
When properly diluted, these can be used in gargles, throat sprays, compresses, steams, and more!
You can read more about how to use essential oils for a sore throat here.
Other Ways to Alleviate a Sore Throat
- Gargle with salt water 2 times daily
- Get lots of rest
- Use throat lozenges (I like these ones)
- Use a throat spray
- Use a humidifier to help prevent your mucous membranes from drying out (this is the one I have)
What have been your favorite remedies for alleviating sore throat pain? Please share in the comments below!
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