Whether it’s allergies, a virus or even a bacterial infection, we get a lot of sore throats in winter. Many times, the pain comes on well after the pharmacy has closed, making it harder to live with. Thankfully, you probably have everything you need in your kitchen right now.
Cinnamon Tea: For a sore throat, I like to use a stick of cinnamon, a tablespoon of whole cloves and another of whole allspice. These have a chemical constituent, eugenol, that is thought of as a mild numbing agent. The heat also helps.
Eucalyptus: Many cough drops use eucalyptus as its base. This is one case where I recommend you buy it already prepared. It is a very strong volatile oil and could cause problems if you try to make it at home. Also, don’t use anything containing eucalyptus on, in or around children under two. Children under six should not ingest it.
Honey and Lemon: As a child, it was my favorite cough and sore throat syrup. It tastes good, the honey coats the throat and the lemon cuts the post nasal drip that could be part of the cause. Children under one should never be given anything with honey in it.
Licorice Root: Of all the herbs, this is the best for a sore throat. I’ve even used it on a horse recovering from colic. She’d had a nasal tube inserted and it caused throat irritation. The root coats every part of the body it touches, from lips to rectum. It’s often used for upset stomachs as well as for sore throats.
There is a caveat. Licorice can be dangerous. Diabetics need to make sure any they take has had the sugars removed. Those with high blood pressure can’t use it at all, and it could cause heart rhythm problems even in those who are healthy.
Marshmallow: While not as thick in the coating department, marshmallow root is actually a lot safer. It performs essentially the same task, and has far less sugar…and side effects. Be aware that I am not referring to the confections roasted on a fire. Those are made from corn syrup, not the sap of the marshmallow.
Warm Salt Water: A teaspoon of salt dissolved in a glass of warm water can make a good gargle for a sore throat. While it’s hard not to swallow some, do your best. It can make you nauseous if you swallow it.
There are two things to keep in mind when it comes to using home remedies for a sore throat. One is that the problem may need seen by a doctor. Herbs can help many things, but some things need a doctor’s diagnosis and prescription.
The second is that you should clear any herbal supplements with your doctor before using them. I’ve mentioned some of the side effects and precautions, but there may be others. Your doctor can protect you from these side effects and any possible drug/herb interactions.