Sore throats abound. With winter already dropping temperatures and the inevitable cold symptoms sneaking in, it’s time to stock up on supplies to combat the result of infection, such as the painful sore throat. Over-the-counter medication treats the symptoms, such as a sore throat, but doesn’t aid your body’s defenses in fighting off the infection. Rather than sticking to patent medicines, take an approach that’s gentler on your body while boosting your ability to get well. Try any of these natural remedies.
1. Salt Water For Sore Throats
Although it sounds painful, gargling with warm salt water is actually soothing to a sore throat. The sodium in salt draws moisture out of cells, reducing the swelling of the mucous membranes in the mouth and throat. This eases the pressure of the swollen tissues, thins mucus and allows your sinuses to drain.
One cup of warm water, preferably around 8 ounces, and a half teaspoon of salt are all that are needed. Heat the water until it’s warm, but not hot, and stir in the salt until it’s dissolved. Gargle thoroughly. Repeat this at least three times a day to prevent the tissues from swelling further.
2. Garlic For Sore Throats
Fresh garlic contains allicin, a natural antibiotic. This helps your body fight further infection, and also reduces the irritation done to your tissues by active germs. As an immune system stimulant, it also helps boost the body’s defenses. Garlic does not have to be specially preserved to maintain its’ properties. Most kitchens can boast a bulb or two of garlic and it’s easily obtained from the grocery store.
A fresh clove- one section, not the entire bulb- cut in half act like cough drops. Tuck one in each cheek and suck on them. There may be initial soreness in the mouth from holding the garlic there; avoid this by shifting the pieces around your gums periodically until you discard the garlic.
3. Cloves For Sore Throats
Containing eugenol- a natural pain killer with antibacterial properties – cloves have been in medicinal usage for centuries. Dentists in the 19th Century would often prescribe oil of cloves to combat toothache. To ease a sore throat, clove oil is not recommended as it may cause an upset stomach.
All that’s needed are several whole cloves, but a glass of water is helpful to keep the oil from accumulating on the tissues and for hydration. Simply pop a dry clove into your mouth and suck on it until it becomes pliable. Chew the clove like gum. Swallowing the residue is not harmful and you can repeat this as needed to keep your pain level manageable.
4. Sage For Sore Throats
Sage is an amazing herb. An herb found in almost every kitchen, sage has astringent properties which reduce swelling in tissues. Phenolic acids found in sage are also known to be antibacterial substances. This readily available herb combines well with salt in order to ease the swelling of a sore throat.
To create a sage gargle, pour one cup (12 oz) of boiling water over 2 teaspoons of sage leaves. You can use either dried or fresh; the effectiveness of the gargle remains the same. Cover and let it steep for twenty minutes. Add one and a half teaspoons of salt, mix until thoroughly dissolved. Gargle as needed.
5. Honey For Sore Throats
The medicinal properties of honey are well known, and it’s one of the first things recommended for feeling sniffly or stuffy- a cup of hot tea with honey. With antibacterial and antioxidant properties, honey has been used for centuries to treat sore throats and coughs. It calms inflamed membranes without drying out the tissues and inhibits the growth of bacteria.
Honey can be taken as a sweetener with an herbal tea, such as peppermint- for the sinus soothing menthol- or cinnamon for extra antioxidants. It can also be taken alone, mixed with one cup (12 oz) of hot water. Honey may also be used as a cough syrup, taken in teaspoonfuls to ease coughing.
As many natural remedies and treatments for cold symptoms are usually awaiting in the kitchen, try a quick fix this winter. One quick poke through the spice cabinet and a whistling kettle can provide relief that will aid your body in fighting against the germs which caused your illness.