Isn’t it funny how we don’t usually notice how many times a day we swallow until our throat starts to hurt? A sore throat can feel scratchy, dry and tender, and can even cause a burning sensation, making talking and swallowing difficult. Many sore throats are caused by infections and allergies, and can also be due to environmental factors like dry air and chemical irritants.
Here are five easy, natural remedies to help soothe a sore throat:
Honey has been used for centuries in Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and China for its medicinal benefits for skin abrasions, wounds, coughs, earaches and more. Honey contains an array of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that give our bodies energy. It also contains medicinal compounds, including ascorbic acid, that offer antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic benefits!
Honey can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. For a sore throat, try adding a teaspoon into a mug of tea, or a mug of hot water with some sliced lemon – what a delicious remedy for a sore throat! You can also drizzle some honey onto toast, yoghurt or cereal.
DIY Throat Gargle
Gargling can not only provide symptomatic relief of a sore throat, but is also said to have preventative benefits. Gargling helps to moisturise a dry throat, and helps to wash away any pathogens. The most common gargle recipe is simple, salt water – mix half a teaspoon of salt in a tall glass of warm water. Take a sip, gargle and spit out. Continue until you’ve used up all the salty water, and repeat 2-3 times a day or as needed.
Herbs can also be easily made up in a throat gargle formula. Licorice, marshmallow and slippery elm are known as demulcents in herbal medicine – they have soothing and healing benefits on inflamed tissue, making them a perfect choice to help with a sore throat.
To make your own herbal throat gargle, steep around 20 grams of dried licorice and/or marshmallow in a teapot with boiling water until the water has cooled to a luke-warm temperature. If you’d like to add slippery elm powder, do so just before you begin gargling as it will make your mixture very gelatinous! Gargle 2-3 times daily.
Home-made Ice Blocks
Some people find relief for a sore throat by consuming cold food and drink more than they do from warmer options. This easy ice-block recipe can help to soothe a sore throat due to the local cooling effects on areas of inflammation in the throat. Plus, it includes ingredients rich in vitamin C, which we know can support a healthy immune system.
- 3 cups of water
- 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Option: you can also add in some chopped fresh fruit, like pineapple or some berries
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and pour into ice block moulds. Freeze until completely set, and enjoy!
Use a Humidifier
A dry environment can be a contributor to a sore throat. Dry air can make the throat feel rough and scratchy. Investing in an air humidifier for your home can be helpful in regulating the amount of moisture in the air, helping to prevent your throat (as well as your nasal passages) drying out and becoming irritated.
Drink Herbal Tea
Peppermint, sage and chamomile teas possess anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and cooling properties. They have been used in traditional herbal medicine to support many different body systems, including the immune system. Their anti-inflammatory and cooling properties can be helpful for soothing sore throats.
Enjoy a couple of mugs of these teas a day when you have a sore throat, enjoyed either warm or cool. You can also add a teaspoon of honey for extra throat-soothing benefits. Tip: if you’re not a huge fan of these tea flavours, you can try gargling them
Please speak to your doctor if you have a sore throat or any other symptoms of illness, if you are pregnant, and before you make any significant changes to your diet. Honey is not recommended for children under 12 months.
- Anderson, C.C. (2019), Does Gargling with Salt Water Ease a Sore Throat? WebMD, <https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/features/does-gargling-wlth-salt-water-ease-a-sore-throat#2>
- Hewings-Martin, Y. (2017), Are hot drinks or ice pops better for sore throat? Medical News Today, <https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319896.php>
- Pasupuleti, V.R., Sammugam, L., Ramesh, N., Gan, S.H. (2017), Honey, Propolis and Royal Jelly: A Comprehensive Review of Their Biological Actions and Health Benefits, Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, doi: 10.115/2017/1295910
- Spritzler, F. (20170, 15 Natural Remedies for a Sore Throat, Medical News Today, <https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318631.php>
- Wilson, D.R. (2017), 12 Natural Remedies for Sore Throat, Healthline, <https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/sore-throat-natural-remedies>