Sore throats are one of the symptoms of a cold. This condition is characterized by a dry inflamed throat. The medical term for this condition is pharyngitis. Apart from the common cold, a sore throat can also be the result of strained vocal chords, a bacterial infection or something deep seated.
Interestingly, in about 30% of all cases, studies have revealed, sore throat has no causative agent. This makes it important to know some of the handy home remedies that you can use to offer relief for your throat. It is interesting to note how much you are unaware of how you swallow until you get a sore throat. The characteristic discomfort you experience when swallowing is one of the key symptoms of a sore throat. You may also notice that the glands in your neck are a little swollen, and may be very tender.
Sometimes this is also accompanied by tonsillitis, which is basically a manifestation of swollen tonsils. Depending on the nature of the infection (whether viral or bacterial), the sore throat may be associated with fever (temperatures of over 38 degrees Celsius), unexplained fatigue, a runny nose, dizziness and a headache. If these symptoms persist for a couple of days even with the use of natural remedies, take time to get a doctor’s appointment.
For the most part, sore throats will pass without the need for medication. To ease the discomfort however, the natural remedies listed below will help you relieve the symptoms associated with the same. In addition to this, the typical sore throat will pass about a week after its onset. Choose from any of the following remedies to help you sail through this period.
1. Salt Water Gargle:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: Half teaspoon of salt, a cup of warm water.
Warm salt water gargle is an age-old remedy for the treatment of sore throat. This is not just a fable passed down to you by Aunt Martha; it is actually an effective remedy for alleviating the symptoms of sore throat. Irrespective of the cause of the sore throat,the cells found in the throat become inflamed and are usually tender.
The use of warm water eases the inflammation, and prevents further swelling of the area. The mode of action of warm salty water is the osmotic draw of fluid from the cells, thus easing the pain. The added benefit of salty water is that it helps get rid of excess mucous lining the cells, which in turn helps you deal with a runny nose.
- Add the teaspoon of salt to the warm water and stir to dissolve the salt.
- Gargle the salt solution for about 5 minutes, and spit the solution.
- Use this remedy a maximum of three times daily, any more than this and you are likely to cause the cells in the throat to dry up. This will only compound the problem and make it harder to heal.
2. Prepare a Hot Toddy:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: A shot of whiskey (this is optional), a tablespoon of honey, a cup of hot water, a teaspoon of freshly squeezed juice and a slice of fresh lemon.
A hot toddy is yet another popular home remedy for dealing with a sore throat. It is recommended thanks to three key ingredients: the alcohol, the honey and the lemon. There are 2 main reasons why this home remedy is touted to be effective. The combination of honey and lemon is helpful in soothing the sore throat. In fact, honey is a great antimicrobial and antiviral, which makes it ideal in handling the probable causative agents of the sore throat.The use of alcohol in the remedy is believed to help you sleep better, which does go a long way when you are feeling a little under the weather. It is, however, optional if you are not comfortable with the idea of using alcohol as a home remedy.
- If you opt to include the alcohol, transfer it to a mug before adding the teaspoon of honey.
- Stir the honey and leave the spoon in the mug to help you get all of the honey off the spoon.
- Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice and stir some more to ensure the ingredients blend well.
- Put the mixture in the mug and microwave for about a minute. The idea here is to ensure the toddy is hot, not boiling.
- Top the hot toddy with the slice of lemon and drink.
- Take this remedy twice a day; any more and there’s the risk of getting drunk (which is exactly what you want to avoid).
3. Raw Garlic:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: A fresh clove of garlic
Difficulty: Moderate (largely due to the taste of the garlic)
As repugnant as it sounds, fresh raw garlic could actually be the key to treating a sore throat using one of the best home remedies available. Garlic contains allicin, a sulfur compound that has been shown to be effective in the fight against the bacteria that are likely to cause the sore throat. Its presence also creates a harsh environment for the survival of the micro-organisms that cause inflammation and irritation of cells in the throat.
In clove form, the allicin is rarely effective as it is only released when the cloves are pounded or chewed. Note however, that this home remedy is not intended for everyone for the simple reason that there are a number of people who show allergic reactions to the use of raw garlic. If you are in this category of people allergic to garlic, make sure to avoid this home remedy.
- Peel the clove of garlic to reveal the fleshy part.
- Clean the clove and proceed to cut it in half.
- Put each half in your mouth, right against the cheeks. Suck on the halved clove like you would candy.
- From time to time, grit the clove against your teeth in order to release the allicin. If you are really up to the challenge, you could bite the garlic (and certainly avoid any dates after that).
- Use this remedy once daily until the sore throat heals.
4. Steam Therapy:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: A medium bowl, hot water (to fill the bowl at a maximum three quarters full), a washcloth or small towel and eucalyptus oil (optional).
Steam is a convenient and effective home remedy in the treatment of the symptoms that characterize a sore throat. If your sore throat is dried and painful, steam therapy effectively addresses this condition. It also clears a stuffy nose, which is one of the common symptoms for people with a sore throat. This hydration effect goes a long way in ensuring that your throat remains moist. The best part of using this remedy is that you need not go to your spa to get the job done. Simply use the directions below to get the benefits of steam therapy from the comfort of your home.Eucalyptus oil has a soothing effect on the throat, and is a great addition to this remedy.
- Bring the equivalent water of the bowl’s size to boil and carefully transfer it to the bowl to prevent any accidental slip ups that could cause scalding.
- Add three drops of eucalyptus oil to the hot water and mix.
- Lower your head and lean over the bowl. This allows you to take in the steam, and enjoy the soothing effects of the added eucalyptus oil.
- Cover your head with the towel to prevent the steam from escaping into your surrounding.
- Enjoy this therapy for about 20 minutes or until the water is warm and does not provide any steam. You can use steam therapy twice daily.
- The other slight variation to this method is to run a hot shower with doors closed, allowing the steam to build as you sit and enjoy the relief from the sore throat’s symptoms.
5. Cayenne Powder:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Half teaspoon of cayenne powder/ red pepper, a cup of boiling water and a teaspoon of honey.
Using cayenne powder, a fiery spice to treat the effects of a sore throat seems to counter the aim of the hone remedy for most people. Interestingly, cayenne does have a few benefits for you if you have a sore throat. Cayenne and a number of hot peppers contain a compound known as capsaicin. Capsaicin’s anti inflammatory characteristics makes it an integral addition to the list of home remedies for a sore throat.
Its mode of action is the inhibition of nerve impulses that communicate pain to the brain, thus offering relief for the sore throat. The use of hot water on the other hand, improves the flow of blood in the area, offering relief for your sore throat. This combination, coupled with the benefits of honey, makes the cayenne in water an effective home remedy altogether.
- Put the cayenne powder in a mug and transfer the boiling water carefully.
- Add the honey and stir the mixture repeatedly until the water is warm enough to drink comfortably.
- Drink the mixture, stirring all the while. The latter is because the cayenne powder does not dissolve, and has a tendency to settle at the bottom of the glass.
- Use this remedy twice a day. If you find that you are sensitive to the amount of pepper, you could try reducing it to just about an 1/8 of a teaspoon.
6. Chamomile Tea:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: Chamomile tea bag and a cup of boiling water, a teaspoon of honey and a slice of lemon (optional).
Chamomile has immense benefits for anyone suffering from a sore throat. The active ingredients in this tea create a harsh environment for the causative agents of the sore throat. These compounds also works effectively as a natural anti inflammatory compound, as well as enable you to rest, thanks to its soothing properties. Overall, this is a great home remedy for sore throats. Honey’s wide array of properties makes it a perfect accompaniment for remedies used to treat a sore throat. Lemon is optional, but makes for a great way to boost your immunity when you are a little under the weather.
- Boil the water and transfer it to the cup.
- Add the chamomile tea bag and allow it to steep for about 15 minutes.
- Stir in the honey and add the lemon if you wish.
- Drink this tea thrice a day or until you start to note improvements.
Granted, there is no magical cure for the common cold, but the use of natural remedies has been shown to significantly reduce the period of the cold, while alleviating the severity of the accompanying symptoms. Additionally, most of these home remedies do not predispose you to the myriad of side effects linked to OTC medication, perfect for a healthy body.