Dealing with an itchy, scratchy, sore throat? No matter the cause, sore throats make it harder to eat, drink, sleep, and talk…and generally function in our day-to-day.
Viruses that cause the common cold and the flu are also responsible for most sore throats. However, bacterial infections, and allergies can be culprits as well.
Other causes include:
The best way to determine the root cause (and most targeted treatment) of your sore throat is to consult with your doctor.
But if you need relief quickly, or have to wait for an appointment, you might give one of these tried-and-true home remedies a try:
If you don’t already have some honey in your kitchen cabinet, head to your local grocery store and grab some, as it can have a soothing effect on your throat by reducing irritation. Honey also has antibacterial properties that can promote health and wellbeing, too.
You may already be used to having a nice cup of chamomile tea before bed. Fortunately, in addition to helping you drift off the sleep, chamomile has also been shown to gently relieve sore throat symptoms, too. Rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, chamomile is a long-trusted solution to the common cold. A bonus tip? Add a little bit of honey to your chamomile tea for an extra dose of protection.
If you’ve never heard of marshmallow root, your sore throat is going to be happy to hear about it now. Marshmallow root is a plant that may actually help relieve throat pain. It helps to build a protective coat in your mouth and throat that can relieve irritation and swelling.
As an added plus, marshmallow root can also reduce dry cough symptoms. Look for it in the vitamin or supplement aisle at your local health food store, either in capsules or loose in bags.
Known for its sweet flavor, the licorice plant holds certain properties which may help reduce the pain and swelling of a sore throat. Try mixing ground licorice root with warm water, and steep it for several minutes before drinking. As an alternative, you may also consider gargling licorice water or taking licorice root lozenges.
Studies also show that ingesting garlic on a regular basis can actually help to prevent the common cold—though you may want to brush your teeth afterwards.
Salt water is known to help reduce swelling and irritation in your throat. To treat a sore throat, try dissolving ½ teaspoon in a glass of warm water and gargle, remembering not to swallow, every three hours while sore throat symptoms persist.
Low humidity can cause dry skin, irritate your nasal passages and throat, and make your eyes itchy too. Especially in the dry air of winter, you might have some success adding a humidifier to your home to ease throat discomfort and pain.
Trying all or one of these natural remedies may provide some much-needed relief for your sore throat. If your throat pain persists, or gets worse over time and you want to rule out strep throat, it might also be a good idea to check in with your provider to see if your throat needs medical attention or if there are over-the-counter products you should try. In the meantime, keep up healthy habits like washing your hands, try the above tips, and for one final tip—replace your old toothbrush as soon as possible with a new, clean, germ-free one.
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