Home Remedies for Sore Throat
A sore throat can be painfully frustrating, causing a great deal of irritation. A problem that affects forty million people a year; this may well be treated at home using natural ingredients available in the kitchen.
What is Sore Throat?
A sore throat generally refers to moderate or severe pain in the throat due to acute inflammation of the pharynx. This inflammation known as pharyngitis occurs behind the throat often accompanied by irritation, redness and swallowing difficulties.
Causes of Sore Throat
Various factors contribute towards the occurrence of sore throat that may be either due to bacterial viral infections, allergies or other medical conditions.
Most cases of sore throat relate to rhinovirus, corona virus and par influenza viruses that cause upper respiratory tract infection, flu and colds. However, another factor that leads to this condition is the mononucleosis or mono caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, which settles down in the lymph nodes causing enlargement of tonsils with white patches. Nicknamed kissing disease, this contracts the infection through the saliva’.
Certain bacterial infections too play an important role for incidences of sore throat.
Infections of the sinuses and the nose cause sore throat as the infection from the mucous moves to the throat.
- Strep throat is an infection caused by streptococcal bacteria.
- Tonsillitis is an infection occurring at the lymphatic tissues on either side of the throat behind the tongue.
- Peritonsillar abscess forms adjacent to the tonsils in the multiple layers of the mouth. This, for most part affects adolescents and children.
- Epiglottises are a deadly form of sore throat, which requires immediate medical attention. This condition affects the larynx or the voice box and obstructs the airway. These exhibit symptoms of swelling, drooling, swallowing and breathing difficulties, and muffled or hoarse voice.
Irritants and Toxins
There are other aspects besides viral and bacterial infections for incidences of sore throat. ..
- Irritation caused by chemicals and industrial pollutants
- Allergens like dust, pollen, molds, dog and cat dander’s and hay fever
- Gastro esophageal disease wherein the stomach acids get transported to the gullet
- Allergic reactions caused by medications also known as the Stevens Johnson syndrome.
- Some types of blood disorders such as leukaemia or aplastic anaemia, a condition caused due to shortage of blood cells in the bone marrow.
- Radiation during chemotherapy for treating instances of cancer often lead to inflammation of the oral tissue layers known as oral mucositis.
- Tumours of the voice box, throat and tongue correlated to prolonged use of alcohol and tobacco
- Throat abuse like singing, coughing and laughing
- Dry air when sleeping open mouthed.
Symptoms of Sore Throat
The following are a few of the symptoms of sore throat. ..
- Itchy throat
- Pain while swallowing
- White patches on tonsils
- Unusual spots
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Nasal congestion
- Body ache
- General weakness
- Hoarse voice
Difference between Sore Throat and Strep Throat
One of the causes for sore throat is strep throat, a condition that mostly affects children between the age group of five to fifteen. Caused due to group A streptococcus bacteria, this causes inflammation to the pharynx, larynx and tonsils. On the other hand, sore throat occurs only due to inflammation of the pharynx. Symptoms of strep throat include swelling of the lymph nodes, throat and tonsils. Occasionally these are seen with white or yellow spots or patches on the tonsils. Untreated streptococcal infections have a tendency to lead to possible complications such as Rheumatic fever, a condition that causes inflammation of the collective tissues coupled with severe pain in the joints.
Lifestyle and Home Remedies for Sore throat
Given below are a few home remedies for soothing an inflamed throat.
1. Salt water
The most important remedy to soothe throat irritation is none other than grandma’s time-tested and very effective salt-water gargles. To make this combine half teaspoon salt with tepid water. Use this solution as a gargle once in two hours. Doing this as many times dispels phlegm reduces swelling helps ease irritation and relieves throat inflammation.
Turmeric is another incredible ingredient with anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial substances. In addition, turmeric is a natural antibiotic with healing tendencies. Therefore, combine half teaspoon each of salt and turmeric in a cup of lukewarm water and gargle thoroughly twice a day for positive results.
Spice up a swollen throat with the goodness of ginger. Containing antibacterial and anti-inflammatory compounds along potent healing properties, the medicinal root also make a wonderful natural expectorant. This helps loosen and get rid of mucous both from the respiratory tract and from the throat. This aspect besides clearing the throat also helps clear the sinuses. Nevertheless, to imbibe the restorative properties of ginger add a piece of crushed ginger to water. Allow it to boil for five minutes, strain and consume with a dash of honey. This promotes overall wellbeing by boosting blood circulation and transporting oxygen to the cells.
[Also read: Health benefits of ginger and honey combination]
The antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compounds in garlic help assuage an irritated throat. By placing a garlic clove on the cheek, sucking, and occasionally crushing the teeth on it helps release the potent medicinal compound, allicin that destroys the bacteria responsible for throat inflammation. Another option is to warm quarter cup of water mixed with garlic oil and gargle once a week.
Fenugreek seeds are effective home remedies for sore throat and throat irritation and inflammation. This is because fenugreek contains unique substances that loosen the mucous in the throat and respiratory tract. Boil six cups of water with two tablespoons of fenugreek seeds for about half an hour. When cool, strain the decoction and gargle three to four times a day.
For centuries, down the ages, honey has remained a natural medicine to treat various medical conditions. Owing to its anti-inflammatory and antiviral substances, honey has been very helpful for curing respiratory conditions like cold, cough and sore throat. This key aspect dries up the fluids and mucous, alleviates soreness and accelerates healing. Therefore drinking an herbal tea combined with a couple of tablespoons of honey soothes severe cases of sore throat. As an alternative, instead of tea combine honey with a cup of hot water and take several times a day to receive beneficial results. Also taking a spoon of honey at bedtime promotes sleep and improves body’s immunity.
Cinnamon with its subtle aroma is one of the oldest spices with natural curative substances. Loaded with powerful antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral elements this spice with great medicinal value is an effective cure for treating sore throat. To find relief add a couple of cinnamon sticks to boiling water for a few minutes. Remove the spice and use this to make a herbal tea. Another method is to combine half teaspoon each of cinnamon and ginger powder to a cup of hot (not boiling) milk. Finally add a tablespoon of honey and take it before bedtime. This tea, besides fighting off a raw painful throat also helps promote general wellbeing.
8. Black Peppercorns
The traditional system of Ayurveda makes use of black peppercorns in tonics for treating various respiratory disorders. Being a natural decongestant pepper alleviates nasal congestion, sinusitis and clears the respiratory tract by dispelling mucous and phlegm. Taking a cup of hot milk mixed with half a teaspoon of pepper powder first thing in the morning before breakfast is excellent home remedies for sore throat. Another method is by way of gargling warm water mixed with a pinch of powdered pepper provides quick relief.
9. Lemon juice
Lemon is another excellent source for sore throat relief. Consisting of high vitamin C antioxidants, taking lukewarm lemonade prepared with half a lemon, combined with a teaspoon of honey provides fast relief. Another way is to drink freshly squeezed lemon diluted in equal parts of warm water.
10. Basil leave
Possessing anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties owing to the presence of volatile oils like Eugenol, holy basil restrains certain bacteria like staphylococcus that cause throat swelling and inflammation. Boiling basil leaves in water and using the solution as a gargle soothes a sore throat. Besides this chewing a few basil leaves too, helps alleviate the symptoms.
[Also read: Benefits of Basil Ginger Tea]
The active components of clove that exist in the volatile oils known as Eugenol offer powerful anti-inflammatory effects. This makes it an excellent remedy for treating sore throat. Keep a couple of cloves in the mouth and chew them occasionally to extract their juice. These ought to remain in the mouth at least for half an hour for effective cure.
12. Pomegranate juice
The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and natural astringents components in pomegranate help relieve redness and swelling in the throat. Hence drinking or gargling pomegranate juice really helps.
13. Cayenne Pepper
The spicy and pungent cayenne pepper contains a potent substance, capsaicin, offering antibacterial and anti-inflammatory compounds. This makes it an effective cure for sore throat. Apart from this, the capsaicin element inhibits substance that transmits pain to the brain receptors. Mix half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and one teaspoon of honey to a glass of lukewarm water. Consume this to eliminate infection, inflammation, redness and swelling.
According to American cancer society, peppermint oil is effective for eliminating mucous and for relieving throat pain, owing to the presence of menthol. So, just add a few drops of peppermint oil to tea and have it for a refreshing cool throat. As an option combine few peppermint leaves along with some crushed garlic, ginger, to boiling water and allow it to simmer for ten minutes. Finally top it with a dash of lemon juice and honey.
15. Apple Cider Vinegar
Highly acidic, ACV neutralizes the ph in the tissues and being a natural expectorant and antibacterial agent it destroys the bacteria that cause sore throat. It soothes and alleviates throat inflammation by dislodging the phlegm and eliminating them. Hence, taking a cup of warm water mixed with a teaspoon each of acv and honey along with a few drops of lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne powder does the trick. Drinking this tea four times a day provides immense relief and cures infection.
Other Remedies to Soothe Sore Throat
A good old steam might sound like old wives tale but according to Researchers, it sure does a whole lot of good for treating a sore throat. Therefore, covering the head with a towel and putting the face over boiling hot water mixed with eucalyptus oil provides relief from sore throats, coughs and colds.
Drinking plenty of fluids help keep the throat hydrated preventing it from being parched. In addition taking hot soups or tea may pacify irritation, alleviate infection and remove swallowing difficulty.
Use a humidifier to prevent fry air that could further irritate the throat.
Relax the voice box to accelerate healing and to avoid any kind of strain to the throat.
Avoid irritants like cigarette smoke or other chemical laden cleaning products that can trigger and make it worse.