6 Home Remedies That Can Help a Sore Throat

Even if you avoid potentially harmful foods and maintain a regular workout routine to ward off illness, chances are good you’ll still wind up with a dry, scratchy throat at some point this winter. Since this soreness isn’t typically enough to warrant a visit to the doctor, you’ll have to look elsewhere to score some relief. There might not be a magic cure to make the uncomfortable sensation vanish, but these seven home remedies will make your road to recovery a lot more comfortable.

1. Have some honey

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

Using honey is one of the most traditional ways to relieve discomfort from a sore throat and it’s still one of the best. The sweetener helps to coat your throat, which can help reduce irritation. The Huffington Post reported honey also boasts a number of antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, which could bolster your body’s immune system.

If your sore throat comes with an accompanying cough, honey is a particularly good bet. Researchers examined results from three trials testing the effectiveness of honey as a cough-suppressant and found the sweetener may help relieve symptoms. The results also indicated the sweet stuff may make it easier to sleep when suffering from a cough.

You could eat honey straight from a spoon, but sipping it in a hot beverage might be a better choice. It’ll slow the rate at which you consume the sugar, which means relief for a longer period of time. You’ll also avoid ingesting hundreds of excess calories in pure sugar.

2. Gargle warm saltwater

Salt, Glass of Water

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Another remedy that’s stood the test of time, gargling saltwater remains a favorite throat-soothing method among doctors. Dr. Grace Keenan, founder of Nova Medical & Urgent Care Center, told Real Simple the solution can kill bacteria, provide a soothing sensation, and may even speed recovery by encouraging blood flow to the area. Most health professionals recommend a ratio of ½ teaspoon of salt per cup of warm water.

Some people swear by other specialty gargles, but you really don’t need to go fancier than saltwater because the action may be more important than the solution. One 2005 study examining the incidence of upper respiratory infections divided participants into three groups: Control, one that gargled water at least three times per day, and one that gargled a povidone-iodine solution at least three times per day. Researchers discovered both gargling groups were less likely to get sick.

3. Try a garlic lozenge


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Sorry to say we don’t mean a garlic-flavored lozenge. It might sound strange, but popping a whole clove in your mouth can be an effective remedy for a scratchy throat. Men’s Health explained the allicin, a type of compound found in garlic, can help kill bacteria and viruses. Keep in mind, you need to crush the clove to activate the allicin, so give it a whack before you start sucking. Ideally, aim to keep the clove in your mouth for 5 to 10 minutes, if you can stand it.

While most people would probably prefer regular lozenges since the flavors are designed to taste good, you can actually go overboard on this typical remedy. MedlinePlus explained consuming too many lozenges can actually make your sore throat worse.

4. Stay hydrated

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

Dryness makes a sore throat feel even more awful, so doing your best to down liquids will help keep everything lubricated. Health explained staying hydrated also keeps your mucus membranes healthy, which will enable you to better fight off bacteria and cold symptoms. If you don’t already keep a water bottle on hand during the day, now’s the time to make it a habit.

A lot of people struggle with hydration because water doesn’t offer any exciting flavors. If you find yourself in this camp, try adding a few lemon or cucumber slices. You can also tank up on other beverages. Tea is especially nice because the heat will soothe the pain.

5. Try a humidifier

close shot of a humidifier on a black background

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Guzzling water all day long may not be enough to keep your throat from feeling dry. In this situation, a humidifier is the best option. In addition to soothing irritation, Everyday Health said using a humidifier can also minimize congestion.

There are some drawbacks to humidifiers you should keep in mind. Berkeley Wellness explained these devices can be difficult to keep clean, meaning you can easily pollute the air with microbes and allergens. The story recommended cleaning the tank daily with a bleach solution to eliminate bacteria.

6. Keep your mouth shut

man wearing a striped polo shirt covering his mouth with his hand

Source: iStock

Most people have woken up with their mouth hanging open at least a handful of times, which always leads to a dry mouth and throat. According to Arch Health Partners, breathing through your mouth can lead to a sore throat even if there’s no infection. Doing your best to breathe through your nose will keep things moist and comfortable.

Many people experience a sore throat with a side of laryngitis. You can typically speed the healing process along by resting your voice. You don’t have to go totally silent, just try to keep conversations quiet.

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