A sore throat can make life unpleasant, whether you are an adult, or a parent caring for a child. Most sore throats respond well to natural treatments, potentially alleviating pain and discomfort, as well as reducing throat inflammation.
A sore throat is usually the result of inflammation, and can result in soreness extending from the back of the mouth to the middle of the throat. A sore throat is a symptom, not a condition on its own. The soreness arises from an undercoming inflammation or infection, and in some cases may need a visit to your doctor and some medication. The body responds to the infection by sending blood and white blood cells, causing redness, pain and swelling. Very uncomfortable!
Allergies, bacterial and viral infections can all cause a sore throat. The virus causing the infection and inflammation may actually be attacking the throat itself via the mucus membranes. Post-nasal drips further cause inflammation and discomfort. A strep throat will normally require a visit to the doctor and you may need antibiotics.
Viral infections develop over a few days, and are different to bacterial infections which can come on very quickly, sometimes in hours. Bacterial infections can cause quite severe pain and may include a fever.
Apart from a visit to a doctor for medications if required, and to rule out tonsillitis, some herbal treatments may help by strengthening your immune system, healing the inflamed tissues and lessening the pain.
Vitamin C can help the body fight upper respiratory infections which may cause colds. Anything up to 1000mg a day could help.
Vitamin A may help with healing the mucus membranes in the throat, and herbs such as echinacea and garlic are thought to have antiviral and antibacterial properties.
Zinc has long been thought to help the body's natural immune system, and to function as a natural antibiotic. Studies have shown zinc may shorten the length of time you have a sore throat.
A tea made of slippery elm or marshmallow root may make swallowing easier and relieve some of the pain from the sore throat. Slippery elm contains compounds which coat the throat, and is available in lozenge form from a drugstore, chemist or supermarket.
Gargling several times a day can help your sore throat heal. Warm salty water may be useful, as may a tea of equal parts slippery elm, raspberry leaf, goldenseal and licorice in a cup of warm water.