A sore throat is caused by irritation and inflammation of the throat. It is a scratchy feeling, a tickle or even a burning pain. The feeling of soreness usually begins at the back of the mouth and extends to the middle of the throat. When the throat is infected, the body responds by sending more blood to the area. It carries white blood cells and other substances to fight the infection and these actually cause the redness, swelling and pain in the throat.
What are the symptoms of sore throat?
Pain or burning in the throat
Difficulty in swallowing
A lump like feeling in the throat
swollen lymph glands under jaw
What are the causes of sore throat?
environmental triggers like dust, low humidity and smoke
Sore throat home remedies
The remedies listed below helps to strengthen your immune system, heal inflamed throat tissue, and ease pain.
- Vitamin C helps the body to fight the upper respiratory infections that often cause sore throat. Being a natural antihistamine, it can reduce the inflammatory compounds produced by the bodies of people with allergies. You can take 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C three times a day
- Vitamin A speeds the healing of mucous membranes, such as those in the throat. Vitamin A is necessary for the health of the mucous membranes and increases cilia action to expel mucus. Vitamin A is required in high doses for upper respiratory conditions.
- Zinc lozenges help to prevent sore throat caused by a cold. Studies show that they may shorten the duration of the illness. Even though zinc lozenges have proved effective in reducing the duration of the cold viruses in adults, new research shows that they do not have the same effect on children. It is not clear why zinc works for adults but not for children.
Garlic, Echinacea, slippery elm and marshmallow root are some other herbs that may help in managing a sore throat.
Perhaps the simplest remedy and one that is quite effective, is gargling. Ayurveda recommends using 1 cup of hot water (not so hot that it will burn your throat) with 1/2 tsp salt mixed in it. Gargle with this solution every morning and evening.
Gargling several times a day reduces the pain of sore throat.
With Salt and turmeric
Take 1/2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp turmeric and mix them in into 250 ml of warm water. Gargle with this to ease your throat pain at once
With Licorice powder
One of the best ways to use licorice to treat sore throat is to powder the root and then mix it with warm water. Gargle with this water to get instant relief.
2. Turmeric Milk
Boil 200 ml of milk. Add 1/2 a tsp of turmeric to it. Drink it hot, but not so hot that it will burn your throat. Turmeric is a natural antibiotic.
3. Turmeric and Honey
Mix some turmeric with honey and have a little at a time throughout the day. Just take some on your finger tips and lick it or use a spoon and take a pinch of the mixture throughout the day. Honey has long been used as a sore-throat remedy. It has antibacterial properties, which can help speed healing. It also draws water out of inflamed tissue. This reduces the swelling and discomfort.
4. Herbal tea for sore throat
This is a soothing tea suggested in the book, ‘The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies’ by Dr. Vasant Lad. This tea has only three ingredients, each of which is very effective remedy that could help treat your sore throat.
Ginger helps in soothing a sore throat in two ways – one by relieving the pain and second by fighting the infections. Ginger’s immense anti-inflammatory properties is very effective in giving your sore throat relief.
Cinnamon is a very good antioxidant, which makes it have mild analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. Cinnamon-infused water is a traditional remedy for healing cold, cough, and sore throat.
Licorice is a decongestant and expectorant. These properties help in giving relief from respiratory infections and heal inflammation. Licorice root has been used in the treatment of sore throat for centuries.
Ginger -2 parts
cinnamon 2 parts
licorice – 3 parts
Take 1 tsp of this herbal mixture in a cup and add hot water to it. Let it steep for about 5-10 minutes. Drink it up to 3 times a day.
5. Lemon Water
Squeeze a lemon in warm water, add some honey and a pinch of salt to get instant relief from irritating throat pain. Lemon contains a good amount of vitamin C which is a great antioxidant. It helps to heal a sore throat.
6. Yoga postures
Simhasana (Lion Pose)
The yoga postures known as the lion pose is traditionally recommended for sore throat. It is called the Simhasana. The lion pose is said to strengthen the lungs, throat and voice. It also stimulates the immune system and reduces stress.
The steps are as follows:
- In a seated position, place your hips on the heels with the palms resting on the knees, inhale and lengthen the spine.
- As you exhale, bring the palms to the floor in front of the knees, arch the spine, look up at the third eye, stick out the tongue and roar like a lion saying (Haaa) loudly with force.
- Inhale back to the starting position and repeat 2-3 times.
Do not do this exercise if you have had injury to the knees, face, neck or tongue.
Bhramari Pranayama is a breathing exercise that is good for the thyroid, thymus and parathyroid gland. Bhramari pranayama is a humming breath like a bee.
How to Practice Bhramari Pranayama
Sit comfortably. The spine should be straight so that the back, neck, and head are erect. Now close the lips, keeping the teeth slightly apart. Place the tip of your tongue on the space behind the upper front teeth. Then, place your thumb on the cartilage of the ear gently. Place the index fingers at the midpoint of the forehead—just above the eyebrows. The middle, ring, and little fingers should be across the eyes so that the tips of these fingers press very gently against the bridge of the nose.
To begin, take a long, deep breath in through the nostrils, bringing the breath all the way into the belly. Drop the chin to the chest and begin to exhale slowly, making a steady, low-pitched ‘hmmm’ sound at the back of the throat—like the humming of a bee. This pose allows the vibration to resonate throughout the head, affecting the tissues of the brain. After exhalation, slowly straighten your neck as you inhale again through the nostrils to repeat the process. Begin with seven repetitions, going up to ten, which is enough to manage sore throats.
How to prevent a sore throat
While we cannot really avoid a sore throat for ever, we can definitely take steps to prevent it.
You may be able to prevent a sore threat by
- Cleaning your hands regularly.
- Avoid or try to limit close contact with people who have respiratory infections, sore throats, and colds.
- Quit smoking.
- Try and prevent exposure to secondhand smoke as much as possible.