Nothing is more pesky and annoying than an itchy, sore throat. Just hearing about one makes you want to pop a lozenge in your mouth! In the United States alone, around 3 million people are diagnosed with strep throat every year. It’s better to treat a sore throat at the very early stage, and several simple at-home care strategies can help you with that in a matter of seconds.
We at Bright Side take great interest in home remedies people use around the world to treat sore throats and want to share them with you.
1. Gargle with salt water.
Something as simple as salt can help heal your throat by pulling mucus out of your inflamed tissue. All you need to do is mix around half a teaspoon of table salt with 8 ounces of warm water, stirring it all until the salt has dissolved. Once you’ve got this mixture, gargle with it for a few seconds. If your throat still hurts, repeat doing this several times a day. You can also add lemon juice to help the mixture kill more viruses and bacteria.
2. Try some honey.
Honey is a natural cough suppressant that can serve as the perfect home remedy. Simply swallowing a spoonful of honey is enough to help cut down on nighttime coughing, especially in children. If you don’t like the taste of honey, just adding it to warm tea or water can also help with a sore throat. Some people even like to freeze honey to make their own honey lollipops to take care of an itchy throat.
3. Inhale steam.
Some people like to use a humidifier to treat themselves when they become sick, but if you don’t have one, there are plenty of other ways to use steam to reduce throat swelling. You can take a steamy shower, for starters. You can lean your head into a sink with hot water, covering yourself with a towel. Some people just boil water on the stove, mix in some menthol ointment to add some decongestants to the mix.
4. Suck on some garlic.
You might never have thought of chewing garlic, but it’s a great way to help soothe your throat. Thanks to a chemical called allicin, it can actually kill the bacteria hurting your throat. Just peel a fresh clove, slice it in half, and suck on both pieces in between your cheeks. Try to crush your teeth against the garlic but don’t actually bite it.
5. Eat small bits of a popsicle.
While a lot of sore throat remedies involve heat, cold foods can also be soothing. Just eat a juice bar or fruit-based popsicle. Just remember to actually “eat” the icy treat. Don’t just suck on it or you can actually irritate your throat. Just allow small pieces of it to melt in your mouth.
6. Drink lime juice with honey.
Citrus fruits like lemons and limes can really help your throat. Mix a spoonful of honey with lime juice and drink it as often as you need to help your throat. If lime juice is unavailable, you can use lemon water instead. Some people even make warm lemonade! Just remember, when using lemons, the drink should only be sipped on at most, so try to use a straw.
7. Make a horseradish concoction.
This trick can help you whether you want to use pure horseradish or horseradish root. Mix one tablespoon of either with a teaspoon of honey, a teaspoon of ground cloves, and a glass of warm water. Once mixed, drink it slowly. You can also use horseradish to make fire cider, a drink which helps the immune system. Generally, the recipe includes mixing horseradish with garlic, apple cider vinegar, and honey.
8. Gargle with apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar is a staple of many throat remedies. To make one yourself, mix half a cup of the apple cider vinegar with a teaspoon of salt. Once the salt dissolves, mix in a cup of warm water. Use the mixture to gargle every 15 minutes.
9. Mix some coconut oil into your food.
Coconut oil is a popular ingredient in recipes and luckily, it has many health benefits that can soothe your throat. It can fight infection, inflammation, and even pain. It even helps to lubricate your throat. You can add a spoonful of the oil to tea, water, or even some of your favorite soups. If you’d prefer, you can just let a spoonful of the stuff melt in your mouth.
10. Consume dairy products.
You may have heard that you shouldn’t drink milk when you’re sick since it could make you phlegmy but the truth is actually more complicated than that. Milk and dairy can make phlegm thicker but it does not actually increase it. Dairy can actually help comfort your throat; in fact, mixing milk with honey or chocolate can help thicken the milk and really coat your throat. In addition to that, milk doesn’t stop being good for you when you’re sick — it’s a healthy way to get calories if your sore throat is keeping you from eating.
11. Brew some marshmallow root.
When you think of marshmallows, the first thing you think of is the candy, but we’re talking about the original marshmallow root. It’s been used as medicine since the days of Ancient Egypt. When ingested orally, it can be used to soothe your throat and even calm a dry cough.
12. Spray your throat with some echinacea and sage.
Spraying your throat can do more than freshen your breath. While you can buy sprays to help, you can even make a homemade spray out of echinacea and sage. It can help your throat just as well as the store-bought sprays. To make a spray at home, use some leftover sage from tea and mix in echinacea tincture and some essential oil, placing it into a spray bottle.
13. Raise your head when taking a nap.
A nap can do wonders when you’re sick. The trick is to keep your head raised while sleeping. All you have to do is rest your head on 2 or 3 pillows instead of 1, elevating your head. Not only will this help you breathe easier, but it will also help you keep your mouth closed, preventing your throat from getting irritated further.
14. Make some golden milk.
We told you milk was a good thing! This Indian specialty goes by many names, like turmeric tea or golden milk, and has been used to heal many ailments. To make it yourself, crush turmeric sticks and mix the powder with boiling water and milk, and add honey or palm ginger. To really help with a sore throat, add some ghee to the mix before drinking, as it will coat your throat and suppress coughing.
Bonus: When should you see a doctor?
Remember, in most cases, a sore throat can be treated at home with simple remedies, but there are times when you should see a doctor. If your sore throat comes with a high fever, lasts for more than a few days, keeps you from sleeping, or even gives your mouth a red rash, things could be more serious. You might have an infection that a doctor can treat with antibiotics.
Do you know of any other fast ways to take care of a sore throat? Let us know!
Illustrated by Yekaterina Ragozina, Darya Barabanova for Bright Side