Natural and Home Remedies for Throat Infection - Natural remedies for a sore throat

Throat infection is a common problem during winter. This infection is usually accompanied by a cold and/or cough. Most of the times, a throat infection or a sore throat is caused by bacterial infection. This infection makes swallowing solid food and liquids difficult. Primary symptoms include a dry throat, throat pain and hoarseness, among a few others. 

A pesky throat infection is hard to handle. The irritation and itchiness can make it difficult for you to concentrate on your daily chores. Not to forget, the terrible pain that may accompany in severe conditions. A lot of kitchen ingredients are known for their powerful anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties and can help fight infections.
Your natural immune response leads to inflammation and swelling of the mucous membranes in the throat.

Fortunately, there are several natural remedies that may provide relief, including some that are supported by scientific evidence.

What causes a throat infection? It could be tonsillitis, cold or a strep throat. It is usually one of the first effects of cold, flu or congestion. A throat infection is basically caused by some virus or bacteria. It may be an effect of some other ailment that you are suffering with or may be attacked by the pollutants or irritants in the air or some kind of allergies. 

Look out for the following symptoms if you feel you are suffering from a throat infection.

  • Swelling of the tonsils
  • Swollen lymph nodes in your neck
  • Throat pain and inflammation
  • Pain in your ears

Home Remedies For A Throat Infection

  • Apple cider vinegar
    Vinegar is acidic and can kill bacteria in the throat, and also coat and soothe a sore throat. It may also loosen phlegm that may be irritating the throat. Use as a gargle - mix 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with 8 ounces of water. This also can be combined with 1 teaspoon of salt for a saltwater vinegar gargle (gargling with warm salt-water remedy). You also can add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 tablespoon of honey to your tea (see gargling with warm water remedy).
  • Gargle with salt water
    This is one of the oldest and easiest remedies that even your grandmother would recommend. Salt is known to have amazing anti-bacterial properties. Mix ¼ teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water. Gargle at least two-three times a day. It will rinse away the bacteria and neutralize the acids that may be causing the burning sensation.
  • Honey
    Honey is a wonderful solution for many ailments including your sore throat. You can have honey either as a sweetener mixed in your tea or on your own. Take a teaspoon of honey as often as you can. The more you take, the faster you are sure to find a remedy for your throat infection.
  • Chamomile tea
    Chamomile tea is naturally soothing. It has long been used for medicinal purposes, like soothing a sore throat. It’s often used for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and astringent properties.

    Some study reviews have shown that inhaling chamomile steam can help relieve symptoms of a cold, including a sore throat. Drinking chamomile tea can offer the same benefit. It can also stimulate the immune system to help your body fight off the infection that caused your sore throat in the first place.

  • Raw garlic
    Garlic has antiseptic properties, and it may help relieve sore throat pain. When crushed, raw garlic releases a compound called allicin that has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. The best way to use garlic for sore throats is simply to chew on a raw clove, or take a slice and suck on it for 15 minutes. This may be hard for most people to handle. To make the raw garlic easier to ingest, you can mince it and add some honey or olive oil. Blend some with other veggies and make vegetable juice. Add it to a little salsa. The key is to eat it raw and as soon as possible after crushing for the allicin to be effective.

  • Licorice root
    Interestingly, it has been used in traditional medicine to treat many disorders.
    Licorice has properties similar to aspirin that may help reduce sore throat pain.
    Unfortunately, there isn't any research on its ability to relieve illness-related sore throats.
    However, studies on individuals who had just undergone major surgery found that licorice significantly reduced throat pain due to breathing tube removal.
    One study found that gargling with licorice water prior to surgery reduced the risk of getting a sore throat by 50%, compared to gargling with sugar water.
    Licorice root tea can be purchased at natural grocery stores or from online retailers.
    You can also make your own to drink or gargle. Combine ground licorice root with hot water, let it steep for five minutes, then strain it prior to drinking.

    Licorice root has aspirin-like qualities and may help soothe a sore throat when gargled or consumed as a tea.

  • Peppermint essential oil
    Once again, this is not the candy, but the plant. The main component of peppermint is menthol, which is believed to act as a decongestant by thinning mucus. Peppermint may soothe a sore throat, and ease a dry cough. Drink peppermint tea, or add some peppermint oil to a diffuser, or rub some peppermint essential oil on the chest (it may need to be diluted if the oil is strong).

  • Turmeric milk
    Another wonderful home remedy form granny’s treasure trove, drinking turmeric milk has been considered to be ancient tradition in our country. It known to treat a sore throat, cold and even persistent coughs. It can even relieve swelling and pain. In the world of Ayurveda, it is known as a natural antibiotic.

  • Salt water gargling
    This method has been in use for quite a long time across many generations. All you need to do is to add a half teaspoon of salt in a full glass of water and mix well till the salt is completely dissolved. Gargle with this solution every three hours. The warm water kills the bacteria causing the infection, lessens any swelling that might be present and also cleans the throat. A lesser known variation of this remedy is to replace salt with baking soda.

  • Peppermint
    Peppermint is known for its ability to freshen breath. Diluted peppermint oil sprays may also relieve sore throats. Peppermint contains menthol, which helps thin mucus and calm sore throats and coughs. Peppermint also has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, which may encourage healing.

    Never use essential oils without mixing them with a carrier oil such as olive oil, sweet almond oil, or softened coconut oil. For peppermint oil, mix five drops of the essential oil with one ounce of the carrier oil of your choice. Never ingest essential oils.

  • Marshmallow root
    This is not the confection, but the herb. Like slippery elm, marshmallow root is a demulcent, and marshmallow root can soothe a sore throat by coating the irritated tissues of the throat. It may also loosen mucus and help with cough that may accompany or aggravate a sore throat. Marshmallow root may be taken as a tea.

  • Ginger root tea
    Ginger is a spice with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects that may help relieve throat pain.
    One study found that when ginger extract was applied to throat swabs from people with bacterial respiratory tract infections, it helped kill some of the bacteria responsible for the illnes. Ginger root tea may help fight infection, reduce inflammation and relieve sore throat pain.

  • Slippery Elm
    Also known as Indian elm, moose elm, and sweet elm, slippery elm is believed to help coat the throat. It is considered a demulcent, which means it can help relieve irritation of the mucous membranes in the mouth by forming a protective film. Slippery elm can be particularly effective when used in a lozenge as it can help prolong the pain-relieving effects. It may also be taken as a tea.

  • Baking soda gargle
    While the saltwater gargle is more commonly used, gargling baking soda mixed with salt water can help relieve a sore throat as well. Gargling this solution can kill bacteria and prevent the growth of yeast and fungi.

    The National Cancer Institute recommends gargling and gently swishing a combination of 1 cup warm water, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. They recommend using the rinse every three hours as needed.

  • Fenugreek
    Having fenugreek tea is a natural solution for throat infection. If you do not like flavored tea, you can also consume fenugreek seeds. However, as a word of caution, pregnant women with sore throats must not opt for this relief measure. This is because fenugreek has been known to induce labor and hasten the delivery in many cases.

  • Frozen foods
    Frozen foods can be soothing for a sore throat just as much as warm liquids are. Sucking on a sorbet or popsicle can lessen a sore throat just as much as a cup of warm tea does. However, it is recommended that you do not have dairy products in frozen form because they can increase the mucus content in some people.

  • Steam inhalation
    Opting for steam inhalation is yet another effective measure for a throat infection. Boil some water in a wide mouthed vessel and add some eucalyptus oil to it. Lean forward such that your face comes in contact with the steam. Remember to cover your head and vessel with a towel to prevent the steam from escaping. Inhale for as long as you can tolerate the heat fumes on your face.

  • Drink warm liquids
    1. Drinking warm liquids such as caffeine-free tea with lemon and honey, warm water with lemon and honey, or warm soup broth can be          soothing on a sore throat.
    2. Hot fluids also help thin sinus mucus, which allows for better drainage and decreased stuffiness, according to the American Osteopathic      Association.
    3. Warm beverages also help keep you hydrated, which is important when you are feeling sick. 

  • Fenugreek
    Fenugreek has many health benefits. It also has many forms. You can eat fenugreek seeds, use the topical oil, or drink fenugreek tea. Fenugreek tea is a natural remedy for sore throats.

    Research demonstrates the healing powers of fenugreek. It can relieve pain and kill bacteria that cause irritation or inflammation. Fenugreek is also an effective antifungal.

    The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health suggests that pregnant women avoid fenugreek. 

  • Chicken soup
    Grandma was right on this one! It's warm and helps moisten the throat. Just like drinking hot tea, hot soup can be soothing on a sore throat and can help thin sinus mucus. It also helps keep you hydrated (but stick with low sodium soups) and according to a study in the Chest Journal, it may even contain anti-inflammatory substances that could help reduce cold symptoms. 

  • Coconut oil
    Coconut oil is a versatile food with several health benefits.
    Animal studies suggest that it may help fight infection, reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
    Coconut oil is also very soothing because it helps lubricate the mucous membranes in the throat.

Here are a few ideas you can try:    

  1. Add a spoonful to hot tea or hot cocoa.
  2. Add a spoonful to soup.
  3. Simply put a spoonful in your mouth and allow it to melt down your throat.

It's best to limit coconut oil to about 2 tablespoons (30 ml) per day, as it can have a laxative effect at higher dosages. If you've never tried coconut oil, start out taking 1 teaspoon (5 ml) at a time to minimize potential side effects.
Coconut oil is very soothing on the throat, has anti-inflammatory effects and may help your body fight infection. Take up to 2 tablespoons (30 ml) per day alone or in warm beverages.

  • Plenty of fluids
    When your throat hurts, the last thing you may feel like doing is drinking a lot of fluids.
    However, it's important to keep your throat's mucous membranes hydrated so they can heal.
    While swallowing may be uncomfortable, drinking plenty of water or other fluids will ultimately make your throat feel better.
    Drink tea, herbal infusions, water or other beverages at whatever temperature feels most comfortable.

    Consuming adequate fluid ensures that you stay well hydrated and allows your throat to remain moist so it can heal.

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