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21 Home Remedies for Sore Throat

Sore throats refer to pain or irritation of the throat, which worsens during swallowing. The most common cause of sore throat is viral infections such as common cold, and flu. Therefore, sore throat is usually common during the cold season.

Other causes of sore throats include: strep throat, chemical irritations, allergies, dryness, and gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Most sore throats resolve on their own within a week. They do not require antibiotic treatment and can be easily cured at home.

However, strep throat, a sore throat caused by the Streptococcus pyogenes bacterium needs antibiotic therapy. This will prevent long term complications such as heart failure. See how a simple sore throat could lead to congestive heart failure

Signs and Symptoms of Sore Throat

The following signs may indicate a sore throat:

  • Painful or scratchy throat
  • A husky voice
  • Pain in the throat when swallowing or talking
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Swollen lymph nodes around the neck

In other cases, a sore throat may be accompanied by the following:

  • A fever
  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Dry cough

Note: A sore throat without a cough, or running nose, that is accompanied with high fevers could be a strep throat infection. Consult your doctor.

Home Remedies for Treating Sore Throats

When dealing with a sore throat, looking for treatment options that offer relief without causing further irritation is essential. Home-care remedies are easy to prepare and do not require expensive ingredients.

1.     Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider for Sore Throat

Apple Cider Vinegar is readily available in most home kitchens. It contains acetic acid, which helps in fighting bacteria. This makes it a perfect remedy for killing bacteria that causes sore throats.

Directions for use:

  • Put warm water in a cup. Then put a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a tablespoon of honey. Mix and drink to help relieve painful throats.
  • Mix a cup of warm water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Gaggle the mixture for at least 2 minutes. Repeat this three times a day.
  • Put warm water in a cup and add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Then add a tea bag and mix. Drink apple cider vinegar tea to reduce throat inflammation.
  • Apply a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar on the hands. Rub this on the throat area for 2 minutes. The smell of apple cider vinegar will provide relief for the sore throat.

Caution: one should take apple cider vinegar in low quantities due to its acidic nature. It can erode the tooth enamel and the stomach lining.

2.     Gargle Salt Water

Salt is the most common kitchen ingredient in every home. Its availability makes it the go-to home remedy for sore throat. Also, salt is cheap and safe to use.

To prepare a saltwater gargle, you only need two ingredients- salt and water.

Directions for use;

  • Put warm water in a cup and add a tablespoon of salt. It is recommended to use warm water because it helps the salt dissolve easily.
  • Next, stir the salt to mix and gargle for at least 30 seconds. It is best to gargle the mixture at the back of the throat to get optimal results.
  •  After gargling, spit out the water and repeat this a few times. It is also safe to drink leftover salt water.

Saltwater gargles are effective in extracting water out of the throat area, which reduces swelling.

The salt also acts as a protective barrier, killing harmful bacteria and preventing more from entering the throat.

Therefore, gargling warm salty water frequently during the day will reduce throat pain.

Caution:  Salt water gargles should be moderated because drinking too much salt can lead to dehydration.

3.     Honey

Honey for sore throat

Honey is perfect for curing sore throat because it contains anti-inflammatory benefits. It is a natural sweetener making it more preferred than other home remedies such as apple cider vinegar.

Directions for use;

  • Put warm water in a cup and add a tablespoon of honey.
  • Stir to mix and drink the mixture.
  • To get better results, it is best to use raw honey.
  • Add a tablespoon of honey to the apple cider or salt water recipes to improve the taste.
  • Substitute sugar with honey when making tea. Drink honey tea regularly during the day.

Honey also contains antimicrobial properties, which help fight off bacteria. It also aids in suppressing itchy throats and dry coughs.

Caution: This remedy should not be given to children under one year since honey may cause infant botulism. Their systems still need to be fully developed to fight off the clostridium botulinum bacteria found in honey.

4.     Lemon Water

Lemon water for sore throat

Lemons are effective in curing sore throats because they contain vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for improving the immune system in its fight against infections.

Directions for use;

  • Take a lemon and cut it into two.
  • Squeeze the lemon juice into a cup of warm water and drink.
  • Add lemon juice to salt water or honey remedies for better results.

Lemons have antioxidant properties, which help reduce inflammation caused by a sore throat. Also, it breaks down mucus in the throat and promotes saliva production releaving the dryness caused by a sore throat.

Caution: Lemon water is not recommended for people with gastric ulcers. Lemons are citrus fruits, and their acidic nature may lead to more stomach lining erosion.

5.     Ginger Tea

Ginger Tea for sore throat

Ginger is a natural spice that is used to add taste to food. However, ginger can also cure sore throat because it contains gingerol.

Gingerol has medicinal properties derived from its anti-inflammatory components. These are key in reducing swollen glands around the neck when one has a sore throat.

Powdered ginger is readily available in stores, but fresh ginger is preferred when making ginger tea.

Directions for use;

  • Take a fresh piece of ginger root and peel.
  • Cut into small pieces or grate finely.
  • Boil a cup of water in a pot.
  • Put the grated ginger in the boiled water and close the lid.
  • Let it soak for about 10 minutes.
  • Add one tablespoon of honey.
  • Add lemon juice, mix, and drink.

Caution: Taking too much ginger tea can cause heartburn, bloating, and diarrhea.

6.     Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea for sore throat

Peppermint is a natural herb and cross-breed of water mint and spearmint. It is known to have medicinal value for treating headaches, digestive issues, and the common cold.

Also, peppermint has a naturally sweet smell. It is used in making toothpaste because of its refreshing smell.

Its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial components make it perfect for relieving sore throat.

Peppermint tea bags are readily available at local stores. Alternatively, one can buy fresh peppermint leaves to grow their own.

Directions for use;

  • Boil two cups of water in a pot.
  • After turning off the heat, add two peppermint teabags.
  • Alternatively, add a handful of peppermint leaves to the water.
  • Let the leaves boil for 3 minutes.
  • Strain and let it cool before drinking.

Peppermint is naturally sweet, so the tea does not require one to add sweeteners. Apart from peppermint tea, one can buy peppermint candy at the store.

Peppermint candy has menthol, which provides a cooling effect for an itchy, inflamed throat.

Caution: Peppermint should be used in moderation as it can cause nausea. This usually happens when applied in its oil form.

7.     Cinnamon Tea

Cinnamon tea for sore throat

Cinnamon is a refreshing spice loaded with several medicinal benefits. First, cinnamon has been used in Chinese medicine since ancient times due to its soothing effects.

It has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal components, which boost the immune system to fight infections.

Therefore, cinnamon is a great choice when dealing with bacterial infections which cause strep throat and the common cold.

Cinnamon is readily available in local markets in herbal form or as a spice.

Directions for use;

  • Put two cups of water in a pot.
  • Add cinnamon sticks and bring to a boil.
  • Cover with a lid and let it simmer down for ten minutes.
  • Add a sweetener such as honey or sugar.
  • Sieve into a glass and drink.

The number of cinnamon sticks depends on one’s preference and the number of people.

Caution: Cinnamon exists in two types: Cassia and Ceylon. Cassia should not be consumed in high quantities because it can damage the liver.

8.     Marshmallow Tea

Marshmallow plant for sore throat

The roots and leaves of the marshmallow plant are widely used for medicinal purposes. First, the marshmallow treats skin irritation due to its anti-inflammatory effect.

It is also effective in treating coughs and colds and fighting off infections. Therefore, marshmallow is one of the components used to make cough syrups.

Also, marshmallow roots contain mucilage which helps to loosen mucus after a cold. It also helps to provide relief to an itchy throat.

Directions for use;

  • Put 2 cups of water in a pot.
  • Add two tablespoons of marshmallow root. Marshmallow root is readily available at the store. Cut and sift well before adding to the pot.
  • Cover the pot with a lid and bring it to a boil.
  • Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and sieve the herbs.
  • Serve in a cup, and add honey as a sweetener.

Alternatively, one can take a piece of marshmallow root and tie it to a piece of cloth. Next, immerse it in a jar of cold water and let it soak overnight.

Remove the piece of cloth in the morning and pour the liquid into a cup. It is okay to drink it as it is or add a sweetener such as sugar.

Drinking marshmallow tea frequently during the day helps soothe a sore throat. Marshmallow root and leaf tea bags are also found in stores and ready to make

Caution: Prolonged use of marshmallow root may slow blood clotting. It has also been reported to lower blood sugar levels in some people.

9.     Echinacea Tea

Echinacea tea for sore throat

Echinacea is a flowering herb used for medicinal purposes, mainly in Native America. Its healing properties boost the immune system and help to fight infections.

It also contains active ingredients with antiviral and antioxidant effects. Thus, using it reduces flu, common cold, sore throat, and fever symptoms.

Directions for use;

  • Put two cups of water in a pot.
  • Add two tablespoons of dried echinacea root.
  • Boil the water and then reduce the heat.
  • Let it simmer for five minutes.
  • Allow the tea to cool, then strain and serve.
  • Drink plain or add honey as a sweetener.

Drinking echinacea tea enhances air flow into the throat and reduces swelling of lymph nodes around the neck.

Caution: Avoid drinking echinacea tea if allergic to the herb. Also, the pungent smell of the echinacea herb can trigger nausea in some people.

Echinacea tea can also cause stomach pain when taken in excess.

10.  Sage

Sage tea for sore throat

Sage is a natural herb belonging to the mint family. It has a rich aroma, making it a preferred herb in various cuisines.

Sage is full of antioxidants that improve the body’s immune system. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which reduce swelling.

The herb also has antimicrobial properties that are good for oral hygiene. Therefore, sage is a perfect herb for dealing with throat infections and dental plaque.

In addition, one can combine echinacea and sage herbs to make a throat spray at home.

Directions for making throat spray;

  • Boil two cups of water in a pot.
  • Add a tablespoon of sage and a tablespoon of echinacea to the pot.
  • Stir, close the lid, and let it soak for half an hour.
  • Strain the mixture and put it in a spray bottle.
  • Spray into the throat after every 2-3 hours.

This homemade spray works effectively, and there is no need to buy an antiseptic spray. Sage can also make a tea that soothes the throat during flu season.

Caution: People who are allergic or sensitive to sage should avoid using it. Pregnant and breastfeeding moms should not take sage or sage supplements.

11.  Chicken Soup

Chicken soup for sore throat

Chicken soup is the go-to meal during the flu season. It is enriched with vitamins and nutrients which strengthen the immune system.

The broth also works effectively to cure sore throats, depending on the ingredients used to make the soup.

The following chicken soup recipe is easy to prepare and only takes 40 minutes from the comfort of your home.

The ingredients needed are; 2 pieces of chicken breast, one red onion, two carrots, two stalks of celery, a piece of ginger root, six cloves of garlic, one potato, rosemary herb, pepper, and salt.

Directions for use;

  • Place the chicken on a plate and season with pepper and salt.
  • Pour cooking oil into a pot and add the chicken. Cook each side for 2 minutes until well browned, then remove the chicken.
  • Cut onions, put into the pot, and cook till golden brown.
  • Add the ginger and garlic paste, then cook for 2 minutes.
  • Cut the carrots and celery, then add into the pot, mix and fry briefly for 2 minutes.
  • Add the chicken, diced potato, rosemary herb, salt, and pepper. Mix, add water, cover with a lid, and boil for 5 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and continue boiling for 20 minutes.
  • Once the chicken is cooked thoroughly, remove and shred.
  • Add the shredded chicken back to the pot and season to taste.

Enjoy the chicken soup while still hot. Garlic has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties making it perfect for colds and sore throats.

Chicken soup is a good meal when one feels under the weather and provides the body with much-needed fluids.

The leftover chicken soup can be stored for later. However, it should be consumed within five days to ensure safety.

Caution: It is vital to make sure the chicken is well cooked when making chicken soup. Consuming undercooked chicken has various side effects, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

12.  Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea for sore throat

Chamomile is a favorite herbal tea in many households.

Studies about the chamomile herb have proven that it has anti-inflammatory benefits, which reduce swelling. Its antioxidant properties are helpful in soothing throat pain and reducing hoarseness.

More studies have proven that chamomile tea has a calming effect on sleep and promotes better healing.

Dried chamomile flowers and teabags are readily available at the local store.

Directions for use;

  • Boil two cups of water in a pot.
  • Add the dried chamomile flowers, mix, and cover the pot. Let the chamomile steep for ten minutes.
  • Strain the tea and pour it into a cup.
  • Add a sweetener of your choice, such as honey, and enjoy.

Chamomile also helps soothe stomach upset and infuses relaxation, which reduces anxiety.

The leftover chamomile tea should be consumed within four days.

Caution: Chamomile should not be mixed with alcohol because it can cause drowsiness. It can also trigger allergic reactions in some people.

13.  Turmeric Tea

Turmeric tea for sore throat

Turmeric is a natural ground spice famously known for its bright yellow color. It adds flavor and color to various meals, especially curries.

Additionally, turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce swelling. Also, the anti-oxidative properties of turmeric improve memory.

Overall, turmeric boosts the body’s health and helps to reduce pain.

Directions for use;

  • Put two cups of water in a pot.
  • Take a piece of raw turmeric and cut it into thin pieces.
  • Add the turmeric to the pot of water, mix, and simmer for five minutes.
  • Strain the mixture and pour it into a cup.
  • Add a tablespoon of honey as a sweetener (this is optional).

To add more flavor to turmeric tea, add a stick of cinnamon or a thin slice of ginger.

Caution: Turmeric easily stains surfaces and clothes; therefore, it should be handled carefully.

Taking too much turmeric can also cause nausea and diarrhea.

14.  Licorice Tea

Licorice tea for sore throat

Licorice is a herbal root used to treat various ailments for a long time.

Research shows that licorice was used in traditional Chinese and Greek culture to treat stomach upsets and respiratory problems.

Licorice root has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which aid in fighting off infections such as sore throat.

Extracts from the licorice root are also used to relieve heartburn.

Directions for use;

  • Pour two cups of water into a pot and boil.
  • Add ground licorice root and steep for 10 minutes.
  • Strain the mixture and pour it into a cup.

Research about licorice has shown that it significantly reduces the risk of throat pain when taken before surgery.

Caution: when taken excessively, licorice can lead to shortness of breath, headache, and high blood pressure.

15.  Slippery Elm Tea

Slippery elm tea for sore throat

Slippery elm belongs to the elm tree species found in North America. It is used in traditional medicine to soothe a sore throat and aid digestion.

Slippery elm coats the throat with a protective layer of mucilage, preventing further irritation.

Directions for use;

  • Put two cups of water into a pot and boil.
  • Add two tablespoons of powdered elm bark.
  • Mix and let it steep for five minutes.
  • Pour into a cup, leave it to cool, then gargle for 2 minutes.
  • Repeat thrice a day for better results.

Recent studies have also proven that slippery elm can help reduce inflammation in the airways.

Slippery elm is also available in various forms, including; tablets, capsules, lozenges, powder, and tea bags.

Caution: Applying slippery elm on the skin can trigger allergic reactions. Pregnant women should consult their doctors first before consuming slippery elm.

16. Hot toddy

Hot Toddy for Sore Throat

A hot toddy is a simple home remedy made using three ingredients. These are water, lemon and honey.

These three ingredients have proven to treat sore throats and flu infections when used separately. Therefore, combining them offers a quick and effect relief for sore throats.

The magic of a hot toddy is hidden in the drink’s temperature. The drink should be hot so that it can clear nasal airways.

Additionally, the vitamin C found in lemons helps the immune system fight against common cold.

Directions for use;

  • Put two cups of water in a pot and boil.
  • Add two tablespoons of honey into a glass.
  • Add half a piece of lemon.
  • Pour the boiled water into the mug and mix well before drinking.

It is recommended to drink it while still warm for best results. Also, most people add alcohol when making hot toddy but it is not safe.

Caution: Avoid adding alcohol while making hot toddy because it dehydrates the body. When fighting infections such as sore throats, hydration is key for normal functioning of the immune system.

17.  Lozenges

Lozenges work and cure sore throats because they provide a cooling effect. Most lozenges are bought over the counter in local stores.

However, one can use natural herbs to make lozenges in the comfort of their home kitchen. When making lozenges at home, the best herbs are marshmallow root and slippery elm.

Directions for use;

  • One cup of water in a pot.
  • Add a tablespoon of powdered marshmallow root and mix.
  • Put two tablespoons of honey in a glass.
  • Add the marshmallow root solution and mix.
  • Put half a cup of slippery elm powder into a bowl. Add the solution of marshmallow root and honey to the bowl.
  • Knead the ingredients to form a smooth dough. Cut the dough into a small shapes like lozenges.
  • Dust the finished lozenges with slippery elm powder to avoid stickiness.
  • Put them on a plate and dry them for 24 hours.
  • Wrap the finished lozenges with waxed paper and store them in a cool, dry place.

These lozenges can be stored for several months. It is best to make lozenges before the flu season to be ready whenever a sore throat occurs.

Caution: Lozenges should not be used as a substitute for flu medication. If the sore throat persists, it is best to consult a doctor.

18.  Fluids

A dry, itchy throat usually accompanies a sore throat. In such cases, it is very easy to feel dehydrated.

Therefore, drinking water and fluids make the throat feel much better. Fluids help to moisten the mucus membranes of the throat, which promotes healing.

Also, drinking tea, soups, and warm beverages helps to thin mucus around the throat.

19.  Steam Shower

Taking a steam shower at home help in the humidification of the throat. When one has a sore throat, the throat tends to get dry and scratchy.

The steam shower helps to moisten the mucus membrane in the throat area, which provides a soothing effect.

20.  Rest

When dealing with a sore throat, it is important to rest as much as possible. The vocal cords need to relax to reduce hoarseness.

Therefore, avoid talking too much since it will make your sore throat hurt more.

It is better to speak in low tones but not whisper because it will strain your voice and add to the soreness.

21.  Use a Humidifier

Turning on the home humidifier helps moisten dry air, which usually irritates the throat. Cleaning out the humidifier before turning it on is essential to eliminate any bacteria that may have accumulated.

Moist air loosens the mucus membranes around the throat and nose. It also helps to reduce swelling around the throat, which provides a soothing effect on the throat.



One response to “21 Home Remedies for Sore Throat”

  1. Anything involving honey and/or lemon interests me.

    Liked by 1 person

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About Me

A passionate medical doctor with special interest in research, surgery, and medical entrepreneurship. Loves writing!


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