5 natural remedies to soothe a sore throat

A sore throat can be very uncomfortable. The main symptoms are pain and irritation, especially when swallowing. A sore throat is part of the body’s immune response to viral or bacterial infections.

The natural immune response leads to inflammation and swelling of the mucous membranes in the throat. However, several natural remedies may provide relief, including some with scientific evidence.

This article details 5 natural sore throat remedies.

1. Marshmallow root
Since ancient times, people have used extracts from the marshmallow plant Althaea officinalis to treat sore throats and other conditions.

Its root contains a gelatin-like substance called mucilage that coats and lubricates the throat when a person swallows it.

Researchers have tested lozenges containing marshmallow root in animals and found them to be effective and nontoxic, even at very high doses. It may alsoTrusted Source help soothe a dry cough.

2. Sage and echinacea
Sage is a popular herb in cooking, but it also has several medicinal uses. Sage, also called Salvia officinalis, originated in the Mediterranean. Now, people grow it around the world.

Sage may help with many inflammatory conditions, and controlled studies suggest that it can help relieve throat pain.

Echinacea is another herb that people use in traditional medicine. It can fight bacteria, reduce inflammation, and help treat respiratory conditions.

3. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a natural health tonic. It has been a staple in folk medicine remedies for centuries. Its main active ingredient, acetic acid, helps fight bacteria.

The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine, prescribed a combination of apple cider vinegar and honey, called oxymel, to treat flu symptoms, such as coughs and sore throats.

To help relieve throat pain, drink one cup of warm water mixed with one tablespoon (tbsp) of apple cider vinegar and one optional tbsp of honey.

The possible risks of apple cider vinegar include tooth decay and digestive problems. People can find apple cider vinegar in supermarkets, health stores, and online.

4. Saltwater gargle
Gargling with salt water is a well-known natural remedy to relieve a sore throat.

The salt helps reduce swelling by pulling water out of the throat tissue. It may also help kill harmful microbes in the throat.

Combine one cup of warm water with one tsp of salt and stir to dissolve. Gargle with a mouthful of this mixture for 30 seconds once per hour.

5. Honey
Honey is a sweetener that people often combine with other natural ingredients to soothe a sore throat. People use honey as a medicine because it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial effects.

In addition to helping fight infection and providing pain relief, honey can also make certain remedies taste better.

Honey may be especially effective when a person combines it with warm water and apple cider vinegar or herbs. Some people choose to use raw honey or manuka honey.

However, children under the age of one should avoid honey. They have not yet acquired healthy bacteria that can fight off some germs, such as botulism spores, that sometimes occur in honey.

Also, people who avoid sugar or follow a low carb diet may want to choose another remedy since honey is a form of sugar.

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