The most common cause of a sore throat (pharyngitis) is a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. The less common type of a sore throat is Strep throat (streptococcal infection) caused by bacteria.
If a sore throat is caught early enough, there are many antimicrobial and immune supporting herbs plus easy home remedies that can help reduce the severity and encourage healing.
Let's look at some of these herbal remedies.
HERBAL THROAT SPRAY
Tincture of marshmallow (anti-inflammatory, soothing), sage (antibacterial, antiseptic), calendula (healing, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral) echinacea (anti-inflammatory, healing, immune enhancing), and myrrh (healing, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral), combined to spray directly onto the back of the throat as a topical antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and anaesthetic healing spray. Spray the throat four times every 1-2 hours as required (adult dosage).
SORE THROAT TEA
Marshmallow root (anti-inflammatory, soothing), calendula (healing, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral), licorice root (anti-inflammatory, soothing) and chamomile (anti-inflammatory, healing) make an excellent tea that is soothing and healing to the throat. This blend with the addition of elderberries can be purchased here.
Method: Use one part of each of the following dried herbs, marshmallow, calendula, and chamomile. Use ½ part of licorice root. Pour the water over the dried herbs then cover to prevent evaporation of the plant's chemical constituents. Infuse for 10 minutes then strain. Drink up to 3-4 cups daily.
SOOTHING SORE THROAT LOZENGES
adapted from John Callagher @ Learning Herbs
Both the slippery elm, marshmallow and the licorice will soothe the irritation in the throat, and help with the inflammation.
What you’ll need…
• 1 teaspoon dried, chopped Licorice root
• ½ cup Slippery Elm powder (or split 50/50 with Marshmallow root powder)
• 2 tablespoons Manuka honey
• ½ cup of filtered water
• Make a licorice tea by adding the licorice root to the water and bringing it to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then strain.
• Put two tablespoons of manuka honey into a ¼ cup measuring cup. Add enough of the licorice tea to fill the cup.
• Put ½ cup slippery elm powder (or 50/50 with marshmallow root powder) in a bowl and make a depression in the centre.
• Pour the tea into the hole and mix to make a smooth dough.
• Sprinkle some slippery elm powder on a flat surface and roll out the dough to about a 1 cm thickness.
• Cut the lozenges into small circles or use a cap off a bottle and a knife to cut the circles.
• Smooth the edges, so there are no rough spots.
• Keep rolling out the dough and making circles until all dough is used.
• Arrange them on a plate and leave them out uncovered overnight or until completely dry.
• Store in a dark bottle or tin in a cool, dry, dark place.
• Suck on the lozenge, so it dissolves in your mouth and coats your throat to soothe and heal your throat.
The home remedies below are a little simpler to make using ingredients that are readily available.
SAGE AND HONEY INFUSION
Sage (antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic) is a great herb, and with frequent sips of a strong infusion, it can act directly on the microbes at the back of the throat making replication difficult while supporting the immune system in fighting infection.
Method: Use one tablespoon of dried sage leaves or two tablespoons of fresh sage to one cup of near boiling water. Pour the water over the sage then cover to prevent evaporation of the plant's chemical constituents. Infusing for 10 minutes then strain and stir in one teaspoon of raw manuka honey. Sip frequently. Drink up to 3-4 cups daily. Avoid sage if pregnant or breastfeeding.
HONEY AND LEMON TEA
You can’t bet the traditional hot water, manuka honey and fresh lemon mix for a sore throat. Consider adding green tea to this traditional mix. It is the catechins in green tea that help to inhibit virus replication and enhance immunity.
GARGLE WITH RAW APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Apple cider vinegar contains tannins which tone the inflamed membranes of the throat, creating a surface which is temporarily tougher and therefore harder for microbes to penetrate.
To make a gargle: In a glass dilute 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with some warm water. Take a mouthful and gargle for up to 1 minute, then spit out. Gargle once per hour until your throat is feeling better.
GARGLE WITH HIMALAYAN SALT
Gargling with warm salt water will help to soothe a sore throat. It creates a high-salt barrier that pulls out a lot of fluids from the swollen tissues in the throat area and cleans this area.
To make a gargle: In a small glass dilute one teaspoon of Himalayan salt with some warm water. Take a mouthful and gargle for up to 1 minute, spit out. Gargle once per hour until your throat is feeling better.
Aside from all of the suggested remedies, you will need to get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, and drink plenty of bone broth to boost the immune system.
If your symptoms worsen or persist, it is advisable to see your health practitioner.