Flu season is right around the corner, but so are fall seasonal allergies for those of us who suffer. Sore throat pain is one of those things that comes with allergies, but can also be a lasting or lingering symptom of the flu as well.
If you have an occasional sore throat, before you take over the counter (OTC) medications or make a trip to the doctor (where you could be exposed to someone who is REALLY sick), try some of these natural remedies first.
Here are some natural cures for a sore scratchy throat, using ingredients you may already have in your spice rack or pantry:
Sage and Echinacea Throat Spray
Sage has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to help relieve throat pain. Echinacea is another herb that has been shown to fight bacteria and reduce inflammation.
Follow this recipe to make your own sage-echinacea throat spray:
1 teaspoon ground sage.
1 teaspoon ground echinacea.
1/2 cup water.
Place sage and echinacea in a small jar and then fill with boiling water.
Let steep for 30 minutes.
Strain, combine with 1/2 cup hard liquor (optional)
Place in small spray bottle and spray into throat every two hours or as needed.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar’s main active ingredient, acetic acid, helps fight bacteria. Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine, prescribed a combination of apple cider vinegar and honey to treat coughs and sore throats.
To help relieve throat pain, drink 1 cup of warm water mixed with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and an optional tablespoon of honey.
Salt Water Gargle
I grew up with both my mother and grandmother telling me to do this for sore throat relief. And I still do it to this day! Gargling with salt water is a long-used natural remedy to get rid of a sore throat. The salt helps reduce swelling by pulling water out of your throat tissue. It may also help kill unwanted microbes in your throat.
Combine 1 cup of warm water with 1 teaspoon of salt and stir to dissolve. Gargle with a mouthful of this mixture for 30 seconds, once per hour.
Honey is used with other natural ingredients to soothe a sore throat. Honey may be especially effective when combined with warm water and apple cider vinegar (see above). Caution: Do not give honey to children under the age of one, as it could cause serious problems.
Lemon contains vitamin C and antioxidants, and also increases the amount of saliva you produce, keeping your mucous membranes moist. Combining lemon with warm water with honey or salt water with maximize its benefits.
Ginger Root Tea
Ginger is a spice with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. Ginger tea can be purchased from most grocery stores and health food stores, but you can also make your own from fresh ginger.
Here is an easy recipe to make your own:
Fresh ginger root.
1 liter water.
1 tablespoon honey.
A squeeze of lemon juice.
Peel and grate ginger root into a small bowl.
Boil water in a large saucepan.
Place 1 tablespoon grated ginger into the saucepan, cover and steep for 10 minutes.
Add honey and lemon juice, then stir to combine.
Coconut oil has many health benefits, including fighting infection, reducing inflammation and relieving pain. Coconut oil is also very soothing, by lubricating the mucous membranes in the throat.
Here are a few ideas:
Add a spoonful to hot coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
Add a spoonful to scrambled eggs (or cook the eggs with the oil).
Put a spoonful in your mouth and let it melt down your throat.
Caution: coconut oil has a laxative effect on some people, so limit your intake to 1 or 2 teaspoons per day.
Cinnamon is high in antioxidants and has antibacterial properties. Cinnamon tea is available in most grocery stores, and you can add it to your own herbal or black tea.
Here is a great recipe for cinnamon almond milk:
1 cup almond milk.
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
1/8 teaspoon baking soda.
1 tablespoon honey.
Place cinnamon and baking soda in saucepan and mix together.
Add almond milk and mix again until well combined.
Heat mixture to simmer, remove from heat.
Stir in honey
Drink Plenty of Fluids
When your throat hurts, the last thing you may want to do is drink a lot of fluid, but it is important to keep hydrated so your throat can heal. Try drinking tea, water or other beverages at whatever temperature feels best.
Peppermint tea contains anti-inflammatory compounds. There are many varieties on the market. You can make your own by steeping fresh peppermint leaves in boiling water for 3 – 5 minutes.
Chamomile tea can promote better sleep, which is important when you are not feeling well. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is widely available at local grocery stores.
So, before you take OTC meds or run out to the doctor’s office or clinic, try a few of these for relief. If your symptoms do not subside in a day or two, then you might need medical intervention for an infection, especially if you begin to run fever or feel achy.