Sore throats are one of the top ten reasons people visit their doctors. Though they’re usually a minor viral infection—only about 10% of sore throats end up being strep infections—they’re so uncomfortable that most people just want them to stop. Eating, drinking, even talking becomes painful, and left untreated it can go on for four or five days.
It’s worth noting that if you have a sore throat that is accompanied with a fever higher than 101°, or if it becomes difficult to breath, you should seek medical attention. But most of the time, it’s just a … well, pain in the neck. It will go away on its own, but why wait? Here are a handful of home remedies that will help minimize symptoms and, in some cases, may even drive off infection faster.
Tea with honey is a classic go-to, but you may want to consider coffee with honey. Honey has natural antimicrobial properties, but surprisingly when paired with coffee is actually better for a persistent cough than oral steroids. If it works for a cough, it ought to work for a sore throat, and people who have tried it to relieve a scratchy, burning throat swear by it.
Garlic is also well known to have natural antibiotic properties, and (though it sounds gross) combining minced or crushed garlic with honey not only relieves the sore throat symptoms—but may actually fight off the bacteria that causes strep throat.
Another old classic—chicken soup—also works wonders. It’s not the soup per se, but rather broth made from chicken bones. It’s been shown that chicken broth contains a compound called carnosine, which has anti-inflammatory properties—and the gelatin derived from bone marrow also serves to coat and soothe a sore throat.
Last but not least, you can supercharge that honey-garlic mixture we mentioned earlier by adding an unlikely ingredient—cayenne pepper. Combine a tablespoon of honey, about a quarter-teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and three to five cloves of garlic, minced finely. We’ve gone into the benefits of garlic and honey, but the cayenne pepper works some magic on its own—it’s a natural rubefacient, which means it will stimulate blood flow to any tissues that are exposed to it, and this increased blood flow helps your immune system fight off the viral or bacterial infection that’s causing the sore throat in the first place. It may not taste the greatest, but the relief it brings is well worth it.
So, the next time you or a loved one feel a tickle in the back of your throat, don’t wait—and don’t suffer. Reach for one of these natural remedies and you’ll have relief in no time.
To your survival,