Author: Gino Salvatelli, Herbalist
Sore throats have troubled people throughout history. Before the advent of modern medicine, healers discovered many ways to gently and naturally soothe the pain and discomfort we’ve all faced at one time or another. Interestingly, many of the natural remedies that help to alleviate pain also support the body in fighting off infection.
From time immemorial, salt has been used to preserve food and prevent spoilage. In addition to seasoning food, salt is a powerful antimicrobial substance. No wonder your grandmother probably suggested a salt water gargle to help with that painful sore throat. If you’re congested, salt is also known to help break down excess mucus.
Honey is an amazing antimicrobial substance that can help soothe the throat and ward off infection. Raw and unfiltered is best, as this unrefined form preserves important enzymes. Honey can be mixed with grated ginger to make a powerful sore throat tonic. 6-gingerol is one of the active compounds in ginger known to have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties (1). Traditionally, ginger has been used throughout Asia to help with sore throats. A small piece of ginger can be grated and mixed with several spoons of honey to make this tonic. Typically, this is taken two to three times a day until symptoms improve.
Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is an excellent antimicrobial ally. Reports of the therapeutic value of apple cider vinegar date back over 5,000 years. Hippocrates, considered by many as the father of western medicine, used apple cider vinegar as a healing elixir for many different ailments. For sore throats, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar can be mixed with 1 tablespoon of honey in 8 oz. of hot water. This healing brew can be consumed 2-3 times a day until symptoms subside.
Lastly, homeopathy is a safe, gentle way to help with a sore throat. Homeopathic remedies function by gently sending a message to the body to re-establish balance or harmony. As the body initiates this process, symptoms improve and healing is facilitated.
1. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities of -gingerol. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Jan 4;96(1-2):207-10. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15588672