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Home Remedies For Sore Throat: The Ultimate Guide

| Reviewed By Dr. Alex Maliekal

A sore throat is quite a common occurrence, and all of us have been affected by it at some point. The painful irritation is more than enough to mess up your day, making it difficult for you to talk, swallow, or eat.

There are several different causes for a sore throat and viruses are the most common of it. Several other reasons like allergies, dry air, pollution, smoking, cold, flu, etc., can also lead to it. You must also understand that not all sore throats are the same and some cases are more severe than the others. You'll experience varied symptoms like pain while swallowing, dry and itchy throat, swollen glands around the neck and throat, hoarse voice, etc.

A sore throat can also turn out to be the first symptom of common cold and flu, which comes with a runny nose, congestion, headache, abdominal pain or vomiting. There are a lot of pills that are available over the counter that will help in treating the symptoms. But popping a pill every time you get sore throat is not entirely healthy, as it will result in your immune system get weak and can put you at the risk of infections - support studies [1] [2] .

And that's when the home remedies come in. Simple, effective and quick, the alternative measures help manage and treat the ailments with the use of herbs, spices, and essential oils - mostly things that are available within your kitchen.

In the current article, we have gathered a list of effective home remedies that can help treat sore throat. From gargle remedies to ayurvedic remedies, we have it all here. Take a look.

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1. Garlic (lahsun)

Known for its antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic properties, garlic helps in treating sore throats. The compound allicin in garlic helps kill the bacteria that cause sore throat [3][4].

How to: 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. Garlic gargle is also an effective way to treat sore throat; add garlic pods to boiling water for 3-4 minutes and use the strained water as a gargle.

Garlic can also be mixed with other herbs for soothing a sore throat.

  • Garlic with honey: Crush a few cloves of raw garlic and mix it with honey. Once mixed, consume it like a syrup. Consume daily.
  • Garlic with lemon: Mix garlic juice (5-6 cloves) and lemon juice (1 lemon) together. Consume this mix once or twice in a day.
  • Garlic tea: In a saucepan, bring 3 cups of water and the 3 cloves of garlic to a boil. Add ½ cup of the honey and ½ cup of the fresh lemon juice and strain. Sip ½ cup, warm, three times a day.
  • Garlic with apple cider vinegar: Take a glass of warm water and add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to it, along with a teaspoon of garlic juice. Consume it once a day.
  • Garlic with olive oil: Warm a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and soak crushed garlic into it. Once cooled down, consume it like a syrup once a day.
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2. Apple cider vinegar

The antibacterial properties of apple cider vinegar make it an essential remedy for sore throat [5]. Its high acidity level can kill bacteria effectively and also soothe the throat itch and pain [6].

How to: Mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a bit of lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey along with a glass of warm water. Drink this at least two times a day.

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3. Lemon (nimbu)

The astringent property of lemon help treats sore throat by shrinking the swollen throat tissue and create a hostile (acidic) environment for viruses and bacteria [7][8].

How to: Add a teaspoon of lemon in a glass of water and stir well. You can also add honey to the solution. Use the solution for gargling. You can also soak lemon zest in a teaspoon of honey and chew it at least 3 times a day.

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4. Honey (shahad)

Known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, honey has been used since ages to treat sore throat [9]. Doctors also suggest using honey if your sore throat is accompanied by a cough [10].

How to: Simply mix two tablespoons of honey with a warm glass of water or tea, and drink as needed. Or you can have a teaspoon of honey before going to bed.

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5. Cinnamon (dalacheenee)

High in antioxidants and possessing antibacterial benefits, the fragrant cinnamon is a traditional remedy for colds and flu. Highly effective, cinnamon help provide relief from throat pain quickly [11].

How to: Take a few drops of cinnamon oil, mix it along with a teaspoon of honey and have it twice a day. You can also add cinnamon to herbal or black tea.

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6. Turmeric (haldee)

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich spice has the strength to fight many serious diseases, infections and even wounds. Known for its antiseptic properties, turmeric is one of the best ingredients to treat sore throat [12].

How to: Mix half a teaspoon of turmeric and half teaspoon of salt into one cup of hot water and gargle. You can also drink turmeric milk before going to bed.

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7. Fenugreek (methi)

Known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties, fenugreek helps provide relief from sore throat [13]. Studies point out that fenugreek relieves pain and kill bacteria that cause irritation or inflammation [14].

How to: Add about two-three teaspoons of fenugreek seeds to water. Boil it well, strain it and then allow it to cool for a while. Gargle with this water.

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8. Cloves (laung)

Cloves have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe and heal a sore throat. Clove oil can also be used to reduce the irritation caused by a sore throat [15].

How to: Add 1 to 3 teaspoons of powdered or ground cloves to water, then mix and gargle. You can also take about two cloves in your mouth and keep sucking them until they become soft, then chew them and swallow.

Clove oil gargle: Add 4-5 drops of clove oil to a cup of hot water and gargle for 5 minutes, once a day.

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9. Ginger (adarak)

The anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties of ginger help in fighting a sore throat [16]. Ginger can help kill bad bacteria and flush out the toxins from your body [17].

How to: Boil water, add a few cubes of fresh ginger and then boil it for about 5-10 minutes. Strain it and then drink at least twice a day. You can also add a teaspoon of honey to one cup of hot water or have it with herbal tea.

Ginger decoction: Mix 1 teaspoon of honey, ½ a teaspoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to a cup of hot water. Gargle using this liquid, for 5-10 minutes

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10. Peppermint (pudina)

One amongst the most popular essential oils for treating a sore throat, peppermint have antimicrobial properties against pathogens that enter the body through the mouth [18]. It also contains menthol, a base ingredient of many sore throat medications, such as lozenges [19].

How to: Steep 2-3 peppermint tea bags in a cup of hot water for 5-10 minutes and let the mix cool off. Then, use the cooled peppermint tea to gargle. Do this at least 2-3 times a day.

Peppermint oil steam: Add a few drops of peppermint oil in a bowl of hot water and take the steam for 10-15 minutes. This will give you a great relief from the discomfort and scratchy feeling.

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11. Cayenne pepper (laal mirch)

Cayenne contains capsaicin that helps relieve pain in the throat. It also helps reduce inflammation and clear the infection of a sore throat [20].

How to: You'll need ½ a spoon of cayenne pepper, 1 cup of boiling water, and 1 spoon of honey. Add the cayenne pepper to boiling water, then the honey and stir well. Drink it throughout the day.

Note: Do not use a cayenne pepper gargle if there are open sores in the throat.

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12. Tomato juice (tamaatar ka ras)

Rich in vitamin C and lycopene content, both of which can help kill the bacteria affecting your throat, tomato is an effective cure for sore throat [21]. The antioxidant properties of lycopene present in this mixture will help to get rid of the sore throat immediately [22].

How to: Add ½ a cup of tomato juice to ½ a cup of water, heat this mixture and gargle your throat with this mixture for 5 minutes.

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13. Oregano oil

Studies have reported that oregano oil might help more painful flu symptoms, such as body aches or a sore throat due to its antiviral properties [23].

How to: You can find some relief by adding a couple of drops of oregano oil to a diffuser or vaporiser and inhaling for a few minutes. Drinking a few drops of oil in juice or water may also provide some relief from a sore throat.

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14. Basil leaves (tulsi)

Consumption of basil leaves can help soothe sore throat due to the presence of a range of natural antioxidants, which can help protect body tissues against free radical damage and irritants [24][25].

How to: Basil leaves can be added to the boiling water and the decoction can be strained and stored in a pot. The warm decoction can be relished with a spoon of fresh lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey. You can also use it to gargle.

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15. Cardamom (elaichi)

Cardamom or elaichi contains many plant-derived alkaloids that known for their potent antioxidants and health-promoting properties [26]. Its anti-inflammatory properties limit pain and swelling, especially in the mucous membranes, the mouth and the throat [27].

How to: Infuse 2-3 cardamom pods in water and gargle with it in the morning to cure a stubborn sore throat.

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16. Liquorice root (mulethi)

The root contains anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties that help in reducing the swelling and irritation [28]. It also soothes the mucous membrane in the throat [29].

How to: You'll require 1 cup of chopped liquorice root, ½ a cup of cinnamon chip, 2 spoons of whole cloves, ½ a cup of the chamomile flower. Mix everything and prepare the tea. Simmer it for ten minutes, strain it and drink twice a day. You can also use it to gargle.

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17. Chamomile tea (babune ka phal)

One of the best home remedies for sore throat, chamomile tea is naturally soothing due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and astringent properties [30]. Studies have pointed out that inhaling chamomile steam can help relieve symptoms of a cold, including a sore throat [31].

How to: Add a bit of chamomile powder to a glass of hot boiled water. Steep it for about 10 minutes. Strain it and drink it 2 times a day.

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18. Mango tree bark

According to Ayurveda, mango bark is one of the most effective treatments for a sore throat [32]. The bark possesses astringent properties, which make it beneficial for treating sore throat [33].

How to: The liquid extracted while grinding it can be mixed in water and used as a gargle or can be used to apply to the affected area.

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19. Salt

The most common and widely used relief method for sore throat, salt helps as it is a natural disinfectant capable of drawing infection out of deep tissues to the surface where it's easier to deal with them [34]. And a warm saltwater gargle works in the same way for your sore throat [35][36].

How to: Just stir half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of lukewarm water and gargle with it once every hour for the next 8 hours.

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20. Baking soda

The compounds in baking soda have also proven to be successful in reducing throat infection and sore throat symptoms [37]. Gargling baking soda solution can help kill bacteria and prevent the growth of yeast and fungi [38].

How to: Add ¼ tablespoon of baking soda and ¼ teaspoon of salt into a cup of hot water. Gargle every morning, for 5 minutes, until the symptoms reduce.

Apart from the aforementioned, some of the measures that help provide relief for a sore throat are as follows:

  • Take plenty of rest
  • Stay silent and give your throat some rest
  • Humidify the air in your home
  • Avoid acidic foods
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On A Final Note…

No matter what you've heard or how badly you want relief, talk with your doctor or pharmacist before trying any home remedy, especially if you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications. Please note that, for severe pain and irritation that prolong for a longer period, it is critical to get medical attention.

If you have some effective home remedies that we may have missed out, leave a comment.

View Article References
  1. [1] El‐Boghdadly, K., Bailey, C. R., & Wiles, M. D. (2016). Postoperative sore throat: a systematic review. Anaesthesia, 71(6), 706-717.
  2. [2] Llor, C., Molero, J. M., Moragas, A., Cordoba, G., & Bjerrum, L. (2020). Use of point-of-care tests and antibiotic prescribing in sore throat and lower respiratory infections by general practitioners. Enfermedades infecciosas y microbiologia clinica (English ed.), 38(1), 21-24.
Alex MaliekalGeneral Medicine
MBBS
Alex Maliekal
Read more about: sore throat home remedies
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