A sore throat is typically caused by a virus like the common cold, flu or Epstein Barr. In some cases it can be caused by bacteria like strep or mycoplasma. A recurrent painful throat is more likely to be caused by allergy, acid reflux, overuse of the voice, sinusitis or an underlying chronic infection.
Typical symptoms like pain and inflammation of the throat may be accompanied by hoarseness of the voice, swollen glands, fever, chills, headache, respiratory symptoms and in some cases digestive upsets.
Conventional sore throat treatment
Most doctors will recommend rest, painkillers and plenty of fluids to treat this ailment. If they suspect it has a bacterial cause, then antibiotics may be prescribed.
Natural sore throat treatment
Fortunately there is a host of natural remedies that you can usually find in the home to treat this condition.
Sea salt and cayenne pepper gargle
To cleanse the throat and ease the pain, gargle with a quarter of a teaspoon of salt in one quarter cup of warm water. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper to help numb the nerves of the throat. Gargle every hour or as needed.
Apple cider vinegar remedy
Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with one teaspoon of honey (preferably Manuka honey) in 1/3 cup of hot water. Sip slowly as required.
Mix a teaspoon of turmeric to a teaspoon of honey and sip slowly.
Hot lemon tea
Make up a hot lemon tea – simply add the juice of half a lemon to a cup of hot water. For added punch, add some grated ginger, garlic and cayenne pepper.
Ice cube melt
If your throat is so bad that it is hard to swallow, then place an ice-cube in your mouth and let it melt. This can numb the pain temporarily and will keep you hydrated.
Place a heated wheat bag or hot water bottle over your throat and neck to ease discomfort and to increase circulation to the area.
Aromatherapy oils like tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus and thyme are useful adjuncts if there are respiratory symptoms like a runny nose, cough or lung congestion. These oils can be added to hot water and inhaled or added to a bath or humidifier.
Garlic is a well known anti-microbial often recommended as an effective sore throat treatment. I tell my patients to eat at least a clove of garlic a day – preferably raw or added to soups, teas or dressings.
Chicken soup is a famous sore throat treatment used to bring relief from congestion and discomfort. Scientifically chicken soup has been shown to be high in the amino acid cysteine which helps thin mucous and expel it from the body. So dig up grandmother’s old recipe, cook it up and enjoy!
A popular sore throat treatment is vitamin C. Most homes will have a supply of vitamin C tucked away somewhere. Take at least 3-5 gram a day to strengthen your immunity.