How to Soothe a Sore Throat
Grandma's Best Toddies and Elixirs
A sore throat could be the result of anything ranging from an impending cold to getting too vocal at your kid's sports event. Seasonal temperature changes, smoking, or simple postnasal drip can all cause that raw feeling in your throat. Many sore throats are not necessarily the result of a bacterial infection, and home remedies can often trump antibiotics in treating this condition. As Ignugent commented below months ago: "It is very simple, and it is in the kitchen"! You are so right, my dear. As a matter of fact, according to a recent article in the Asian Pacific Journal of Biomedicine, "Honey may promote the repair of damaged intestinal mucosa, stimulate the growth of new tissues, and work as an anti-inflammatory agent".
Here are some of the best, oldest, and most effective remedies for your sore throat!
Tried and True: Honey and Vinegar
When I was growing up and still living at home, our Dad would fix an ailing kid a “sore throat toddy” mixture that his mother used when he was young. It consisted of hot water, a tablespoon of honey and a dash of vinegar. Of course we hated the flavor, but this odd-sounding concoction really does have medicinal properties! Here's why: Honey has antimicrobial properties and kills bacteria, as well as anti-inflammatory properties to reduce swelling and pain. It boosts your immunity with its antioxidant compounds and gives you energy with its simple sugar breakdown. Choosing buckwheat honey over clover honey will maximize the antioxidant benefit. The reason is that buckwheat honey contains more antioxidants, according to University of Illinois food scientists. "Buckwheat is the highest of the honeys tested, with about three times as many antioxidants as acacia honey, which is much lighter in color," says researcher Nikki Engeseth. You should also use unpasteurized honey over the typical grocery store brands (tip: it should say "raw honey" somewhere on the label). Typically the darker the color of the honey, the richer it is in iron and antioxidants.
Vinegar has antibacterial properties as well. The best vinegar will be the kind that contains the "mother", which you will know by the words "raw and unfiltered" on the label. Don't be concerned if you see what looks like sediment in the bottom of the bottle. That's actually what you should see, it is the visible collection of beneficial bacteria and living enzymes. The clear vinegar is actually lacking in these benefits.
Both honey and vinegar work to correct your body’s pH levels, another important wellness tip. Illness thrives in an acidic environment and the honey/vinegar mixture works to create a more alkaline blood pH. This is the optimal environment for healing to occur. Please be aware that honey is not safe for children under two years old as their immune systems are not yet developed enough to fight the infantile botulism in the honey spores.
Black Currant Tea
Black Currant tea contains tannins, which kill bacteria and reduce inflammation. If you buy Black Currant tea, read the label and make sure the tea contains black currant leaves and isn’t simply black tea flavored with black currant. Believe it or not, it does matter. Black currant tea is also high in vitamin C and makes a great liver tonic. Next time you're in the medicine aisle at your favorite grocer, take a look at the cold remedies and make note of how many throat lozenges contain black currant- you will be amazed! Deborah Brooks had a comment about herbal teas. I have used them with even greater results after adding lemon and honey! Never underestimate the healing properties they contain.
Honey and Lemon
Here is another extremely effective sore throat tonic. Honey and lemon work together to dissolve mucus (think postnasal drip), which irritates sensitive tissues in the throat and makes it feel sore. Lemons are high in vitamin C, which effectively aids your immune system in fighting infection and has a thinning effect on mucus. Honey has antibacterial properties, containing enzymes that produce the antiseptic hydrogen peroxide in your body, which speeds healing. There are types of honey that are more effective than others, such as buckwheat honey and wildflower honey. Both of these are higher in antioxidants than plain clover honey. The darker the color of your raw honey the more antioxidants it contains.
Grandma's Best Gargles
If you can't keep anything down, or just don't feel like drinking your toddy you can make a great gargle for your sore throat. Here are some popular mixtures that work with natural ingredients instead of chemicals. Keep in mind that if you have strep throat nothing will work except a visit to a doctor for a good antibiotic, so these remedies are not intended for nor will they help a strep-stricken throat.
Warm Salt Water
The salt draws excess fluids out of your swollen throat to reduce inflammation. Although it won't kill bacteria, warm salt water will thin the phlegm which is draining down your throat and causing inflammation. Don't overdo the salt or you will dry out your throat tissues too much, which will do no good. Start out with a teaspoon of salt in 8 oz. of warm water and taste the resulting mixture. You want the flavor to be saltier than your normal saliva without going overboard. Add a bit more salt until you feel the salinity is noticeable but not overpowering. The results of the saltwater gargle will be temporary relief as your body works at healing so you may have to use this remedy multiple times during your illness.
Cayenne Pepper Gargle
Don't laugh, don't gag! This remedy has amazing results and no, it does not burn (unless you splash and get it in your eye-then it will burn). There are several ways to mix this potent concoction: a couple of dashes of cayenne in a glass of warm water and then gargle letting the mixture sit on the back of your throat as long as you can before spitting. Some people mix the cayenne with tomato juice or fruit juice and simply drink the mixture. So whether you prefer to gargle or sip, this spicy little concoction will work its magic quickly.
Some Other Effective Remedies Out There
In the process of researching these amazing natural throat soothers, I came across some others you might have used or heard about that are lauded and recommended by relief seekers. Some of them include:
- the addition of sage to a mixture of honey and apple cider vinegar and gargle the mixture warm
- gargling with raspberry tea (you can also drink raspberry tea to fight a fever but don't drink anything you have gargled with)
- add turmeric to your salt/water gargle to give it a boost
- the unlikely combination of one tablespoonfull of horseradish to one teaspoon of honey and one teaspoon of ground cloves in warm water is used as a sore throat cure in Russia.
These are just a few of the natural remedies for treatment of sore throat miseries. Some of these concoctions work pretty much immediately and some of them work best overnight. They're safe, they're gentle, they're affordable, they're made with readily available natural ingredients. What's more, they have been used in many cases for thousands of years by doctors and healers from all over the world. In my book, that makes them at least worth a try. Some ingredients, like cayenne pepper, honey and apple cider vinegar, are used for relief of many different health issues- not just for sore throat pain. If you are one of the millions of people who feel that modern medicine often misses the mark you too can rediscover nature's amazing healing capability.
If you know of a healing remedy that uses natural ingredients and provides amazing relief, please leave a comment. You could be the reason someone else felt better!
The Combination Approach
Recently I awoke one morning at 2:30AM with the mother of all sore throats complete with chest miseries, fever, and a headache. At first "flu" did cross my mind, but since it was just a low-grade fever I decided it wasn't the flu. I had an upper respiratory infection, probably due to lowered immunity, brought on by weather changes, allergic reactions to local harvesting activities, extra hard gym workout stress, plus working extra long hours as an insurance agent this time of year. I was just worn down, and the germs took advantage and proliferated. Even though it wasn't the flu, I needed some remedies. Rather than running to the doctor (I tend to avoid those guys except for emergencies), I decided to self-medicate. I went to my local Earth Fare and picked up some colloidal silver (30ppm), a big jar of organic honey (pure raw Madhava), a bag of organic lemons, a box of Triple Leaf Detox herbal tea, a box of Triple Leaf Cold & Flu Time herbal tea, and I went to work.
As hard as it is for me to take time for myself, I knew rest was critical to a speedy recovery. The rest of the key was to use the lemon, honey and teas to break up the congestion, the colloidal silver to help rebuild my immune system (along with the bed rest), and that was exactly the combination I needed.
My fever broke in the middle of the 3rd day. I was back to work the 4th day. I still had some lingering congestion for a couple of days beyond that, but 10 days from that first miserable night I was 100% back to normal. Amazingly fast, all natural, gentle, non-chemical. Awesome.
The strongest natural antibiotic
I know I keep editing this hub, but every now and then I come across a new awesome remedy and I just have to share it with you.
WHAT IF it isn't just a simple sore throat? What if it's something like strep? I know, I know...most folks are off to see the doctor and that prescription pad. But if you are like me, and a die-hard self-medicate r? My cabinets are well stocked with things like raw honey, elderberry syrup, colloidal silver (drops and spray),herbal tea, powdered turmeric, garlic, the list goes on. Well, here's a new-to-me concoction that has probably been around for a long time...just flying under MY personal radar. I can't tell you how many times I've excitedly told a friend about a remedy only to hear "I thought EVERYONE knew that!". Sorta knocks the wind out of my sails a little bit.
Hopefully some people that have the tenacity to read this far will not already be in the know about this one. It is...are you ready?
Turmeric with pepper and raw honey!
Here's how it works: The honey has throat soothing properties, antibacterial properties, antioxidants, antifungal properties.
The turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory with bio-active compounds for natural healing.
The pepper helps the body absorb and utilize the healing properties of the turmeric.
So there you have it! This is a must-have for fall and winter when throat miseries seem to be all around us. You don't know who is out there spreading those things around, it could be someone in a checkout line, even the clerk handling your money. By the way, money carries a load of germs all on its own! So be prepared with a small arsenal of the good stuff, and maybe this will be the year you can say "I beat it! All on my own!"