16 Best Sore Throat Remedies for Fast Relief | ENT and Allergy Associates

The Top 30 Ways to how to get rid of a sore throat

At ENTA, we’re constantly monitoring and adjusting our protocols to make sure we are safely and effectively providing the care you need. For more information on how ENTA is taking extra precautions to provide the safest environment possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, please click here. ENTA Blog 16 Best Sore Throat Remedies to Make You Feel Better

At ENTA, we’re constantly monitoring and adjusting our protocols to make sure we are safely and effectively providing the care you need. For more information on how ENTA is taking extra precautions to provide the safest environment possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, please click here.

The Top 30 Ways to how to get rid of a sore throatThe Top 30 Ways to how to get rid of a sore throat

Some home remedies only mask pain—but these solutions can help you get rid of your sore throat completely.

sore throat remedies

Sore throat symptoms can be rough. Your saliva goes down like sandpaper, every cough makes you wince, and the only thing you can think about is making that lump in the back of your throat go away.

But to ease the pain, you need to understand what’s causing your sore throat in the first place: dry air, smoking, acid reflux, viral infections like the flu or common cold, and bacterial infections like strep can all lead to a sore throat.

In general, a viral infection usually comes with other symptoms, like muscle aches and fatigue, along with your sore throat, says Chester Griffiths MD, an otolaryngologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif. With a bacterial infection, on the other hand, the pain is usually more focused on your throat and the soreness tends to be pretty severe, Dr. Griffiths says. You may also have intense pain when you swallow, along with a high fever.

Exposure to smoke, breathing in dry air, and having acid reflux tends to feel “very different” from an infection, says Jason Abramowitz, MD, an ear, nose, and throat specialist at ENT and Allergy Associates. “Usually patients do not feel as sick overall [and] the pain is also usually not as severe,” he says.

The good news: Sipping warm teaand sucking on cough drops or zinc lozenges can usually soothe the throat irritation and inflammation that are causing your agony, says Brett Comer, MD, a head and neck surgeon at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.

Still, some of your favorite home remedies may just be masking the pain—not actually resolving it. If you really want to get rid of a sore throat, reach for these best OTC cures next time you’re feeling achy.

  1. Gargle with salt water—but steer clear of apple cider vinegar.
    Salt water is a great home remedy for sore throat, as it can reduce swelling and calm inflammation and irritation. It may also help draw infections or irritants to the surface of your throat, where your body is better able to deal with them. Dissolve 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water and gargle every hour or two, advises Mia Finkelston, MD, a Maryland-based family physician who also treats patients via LiveHealth Online. While you may have heard that gargling with apple cider vinegar has a similar effect, you should probably steer clear of this tactic for now, says Dr. Comer. “There is little doubt that apple cider vinegar has antibacterial and possibly antifungal properties in lab studies, but whether or not this translates into helping viral or bacterial sore throats is unknown,” he explains. “Additionally, there are potential significant issues to extended use of vinegar with the tooth enamel—vinegar is acidic, and repeated use can damage tooth enamel.”
  2. Drink extra-cold liquids.
    Those first few swallows may not be pleasant. But just as icing a sprained ankle can dull the pain and prevent swelling, drinking icy liquids can both numb your throat and calm some of the inflammation that’s causing you pain, Dr. Finkelston says.
  3. Suck on an ice pop.
    If you get sick of downing ice water, a popsicle can be just as effective at fighting off the inflammation in your throat. Just be sure to steer clear of citrus flavors which can trigger acid reflux and in turn, worsen your symptoms.
  4. Fight dry air with a humidifier.
    Dry air can irritate a sore throat, prolonging your recovery time. Taking a steamy shower or using a humidifier can bring moisture back into the air, thus relieving any discomfort. “The mucus membranes of the nose and throat love moisture,” Dr. Abramowitz says. “Steam provides moisture and warmth, which helps the vocal cords calm down and decrease in swelling.” The moisture in your nose can also help clear out mucus and gunk, which can be part of the problem, he adds.
    Just be sure to clean your humidifier before turning it on. Left neglected, a humidifier’s water tank can breed bacteria and fungi, which then get pumped into the air, according to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSP) safety alert. While this may not make your throat feel any worse, it could cause flu-like symptoms or exacerbate allergies or asthma.
  5. Skip acidic foods.
    Acid reflux—which occurs when acids produced by your stomach make their way into the throat—is a common cause of a sore throat, Dr. Comer says. That means anything you do to stoke acid reflux could prolong or worsen a sore throat. For that reason, Dr. Comer recommends avoiding soda, fried foods, and citrus fruits like oranges and lemons. Also, skip food altogether for an hour before bed. Eating before you lie down can promote reflux and heartburn.
  6. Swallow antacids.
    If you think acid reflux is to blame for your sore throat, taking antacids or other reflux meds could help relieve pain, Dr. Finkelston says. As a first-line treatment, try an over-the-counter antacid such as Tums or Mylanta.
  7. Sip herbal teas.
    Turmeric is the trendy spice you should definitely be adding to your diet. While some of its benefits—including its potential to prevent cancer or brain diseases—require more study, its anti-inflammatory powers are well-established and may help get rid of your sore throat, Dr. Finkelston says. Add a few dashes to your tea or salt-water gargle.
    You also try other teas if you prefer another flavor. “Many herbal teas have a positive immune effect and helps our body fight infection,” Dr. Abramowitz says. He recommends choosing a tea with Echinacea—it’s been shown to help boost your immune system. (Check out our favorite teas to soothe a sore throat here.)
  8. Coat and soothe your throat with honey.
    There’s a reason honey is a popular ingredient in cough medicine and teas: It has antibacterial properties, coats your throat to reduce irritation, and adds much needed sweetness to your cup. Simply add a tablespoon to warm water or tea and sip away until you feel your symptoms ease up. Just keep this in mind if you have acid reflux: Honey can be acidic “so it may not be ideal for throats dealing with bad acid reflux,” Dr. Abramowitz says.
  9. Pop a pain reliever.
    Ibuprofen can help put a stop to the coughing and throat-clearing that prevents your sore throat from healing, Dr. Finkelston says. Just be sure to take your ibuprofen with food, and follow the dosing instructions on the label.
  10. Try a nasal decongestant.
    If part of the reason you’re breathing through your mouth is because your nose is clogged, use an over-the-counter medicated decongestant nasal spray or drops to open up airways, such as Afrin or Vicks. “Nasal decongestants work well at eliminating congestion in your nose and drying mucus out,” Dr. Abramowitz says. “This can help you feel better and also decrease postnasal drip.” But you should limit use to a day or two.
  11. Give your voice a rest.
    If you developed a sore throat after yelling and cheering at a concert or sporting event, you likely strained your vocal cords. The best treatment for any overworked muscle is rest. “It’s similar to a sprained ankle—walking on it hurts,” Dr. Griffiths says. “Moving your sore throat a lot when you speak hurts, too.”
    That doesn’t mean you should whisper, though. This actually strains your voice more than speaking. Instead, try talking at a lower volume than usual until the hoarseness and soreness subside.
  12. Toss your toothbrush.
    Believe it or not, your toothbrush may be perpetuating—or even causing—your sore throat. Bacteria collect on the bristles, and any injury to the gums during brushing injects these germs into your system. As soon as you start feeling ill, throw away your toothbrush. Often that’s enough to stop the illness in its tracks. “Changing your toothbrush is often recommended for patients with bacterial throat infections to eliminate the spread of infection,” Dr. Abramowitz says.
    If you do get sick, replace your brush again when you start to feel better and when you feel completely well. That keeps you from reinfecting yourself.
  13. 13. Alleviate your allergies.
    Airborne allergies, such as pollen, indoor molds, or dust mites, can cause chronic low-grade throat inflammation. “Allergies are a very common cause of postnasal drip which can lead to throat pain,” Dr. Abramowitz says. To start, try taking a non-drowsy over-the-counter allergy medication containing cetirizine hydrochloride, such as Zyrtec or Claritin. Even if that seems to help, “it’s a good idea to get your allergies checked so you know what you’re dealing with,” Dr. Abramowitz says.
  14. 14. Take time to recharge.
    If you’re super stressed and worn out, your body’s immune system will have a harder time with the recovery process—so get some rest! Time in bed or away from life’s usual stressors—like work, taking care of the kids, and cleaning up the house—can help recharge your immune system, Dr. Finkelston says. Aim for at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
  15. 15. Take a steam shower.
    Steam helps humidify your airways, says Dr. Griffiths. “Any humidification can relieve symptoms,” he says. The tissues in your throat produce mucus under normal circumstances and, when they’re swollen, they can get dry and scratchy, he explains. Humidity can help add some moisture back into the area, soothing it in the process.
  16. 16. Elevate your head when you sleep.
    This helps in a few ways. When you lay flat on your back, it increases pressure on your neck and can exacerbate symptoms in your throat, Dr. Griffiths says. “Propping yourself up helps relieve the pressure and can make you feel better,” he says. If you’re struggling with acid reflux, elevating your head also can work with gravity to help keep your stomach acids where they belong—in your stomach.
  17. When to see a doctor about your sore throat
    Strep throat is an extremely painful bacterial infection that may come on suddenly. Fortunately, the vast majority of bacterial infections, including strep, generally respond well to one course of an appropriate antibiotic. Because sore throats can have so many causes, some symptoms (which ENT and Allergy specializes in) need to be seen by a specialist. These include:

    • Severe, prolonged, or recurrent sore throats
    • Difficulty breathing, swallowing, or opening the mouth
    • Joint pains, earache, or a lump in the neck
    • Rash or a fever above 101°F
    • Hoarseness lasting 2 weeks or longer
    • White patches on your throat (look with a flashlight)
    • Blood in saliva or phlegm

    Schedule your appointment in New York and new Jersey to find a specialist near you if you have these symptoms

6 Sore Throat Remedies That Actually Work

 

Your poor sore throat. Is there anything that can help? A sore throat makes it more difficult to eat, drink, sleep, talk and generally function — and who wants that?

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

What’s even more frustrating is that sore throats can be caused by a myriad of maladies — from allergies to the common cold, from bacterial infections like strep throat to other issues.

“The best way to get to the bottom of what’s causing your sore throat is to visit your doctor,” says family medicine specialist Daniel Allan, MD. But if you can’t make an appointment right away, Dr. Allan shares the most effective home remedies for a sore throat that’ll hold you over for a few days — along with those that don’t quite work as advertised.

How long does a sore throat last?

It really depends on what’s causing your sore throat. “Most sore throats will dissipate within three to 10 days if it’s caused by a viral infection like a cold,” says Dr. Allan.

If a bacterial infection like strep or allergies is the culprit, your sore throat could last longer if not treated with appropriate antibiotics or medications.

Once you’re properly diagnosed and treated for a bacterial infection, your sore throat should clear up within a day or so.

6 home remedies to get rid of a sore throat

In the meantime, try some of Dr. Allan’s tried-and-true ways to alleviate your sore throat.

1. Warm and cold fluids

Sip on warm drinks, like tea or chicken soup. (It’s not just good for the soul, you know!) Or try cold liquids, such as ice water or popsicles. It depends on your preference and what soothes your throat best.

Liquids help clear mucous membranes, keep things flowing and prevent sinus infections,” says Dr. Allan. Warm temperatures may also reduce coughs by soothing the back of your throat. Try both warm and cold to see what works best for you.

2. Gargling

Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of salt — or a similar amount of baking soda — in a glass of warm water. Gargle (but don’t swallow) the concoction every three hours for an all-natural sore throat remedy.

Salt water can help reduce swelling and irritation in your throat. Baking soda also soothes the throat, breaks up mucus and can help with throat-irritating acid reflux.

3. Over-the-counter antihistamines and pain relievers

An antihistamine may dull or relieve throat pain. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen also help with pain that’s located a little deeper in your glands and other parts of your neck.

Histamines are chemicals that help your immune system fight foreign substances. But sometimes, they go overboard, triggering symptoms (such as congestion and post-nasal drip) that can make a sore throat feel worse,” explains Dr. Allan. Antihistamines can counteract this overreaction.

4. Steam and humidity

Take a hot shower. When it gets really steamy, breathe in the throat-clearing magic. Dr. Allan says steam loosens mucus and can moisturize and soothe a sore throat.

5. Hot toddy

A hot toddy is a drink combo made with water, whiskey, honey and lemon juice and served hot. Some people add spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger. Oh yeah — you should also be of legal drinking age to try this one. Sorry, kids.

Dr. Allan shares why hot toddies can be very soothing:

  • Honey coats your throat and soothes it by reducing irritation. Honey also has antibacterial properties, and the sweetness can calm your throat’s nerve endings and reduce coughing.
  • Whiskey (a small amount; too much can dehydrate you) breaks up and thins mucus. Whiskey also dilates your blood vessels on the surface of your throat, so immune cells in your blood can multiply and fight the infection.
  • Spices stimulate saliva production, improving both hydration and mucus flow in your throat.

6. Rest

Put your head on your pillow at a decent hour and close your eyes. Repeat as necessary.

Don’t underestimate physically resting your body and voice,” Dr. Allan says. But beware: Lying flat can sometimes cause swelling due to an increase in pressure at the back of your throat. Instead, try elevating the bed or sitting propped up or in a chair to alleviate the pain and discomfort.

Home remedies for sore throat to avoid

Dr. Allan warns that not all sore throat remedies are created equally. He recommends you pass on these two:

  • Apple cider vinegar. “It probably has some antibacterial properties, but that’s not going to do much for the sore throat itself.”
  • Essential oils. “They haven’t been well-studied or clinically proven for safety or effectiveness.”

And avoid things that can irritate your throat, including:

  • Dry air.
  • Smoking.
  • Acidic foods or spicy foods.
  • Lying down immediately after you eat, especially if you have acid reflux.

When to see a doctor about throat pain

Dr. Allan advises using common sense when deciding whether to seek out medical care.

Call your doctor if you:

  • Have throat pain that’s severe, prolonged or not improving, or stretches into your ear.
  • Have trouble swallowing, breathing or opening your mouth.
  • Are coughing up blood or have blood in your saliva.
  • Feel enlarged lymph nodes, or lumps, in your neck.
  • Have white patches on the back of your throat or a rash, possible signs of strep throat or scarlet fever.
  • Have a high fever.
  • Lose your voice for more than a week or two.

And remember, when it comes to illnesses, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Wash your hands often. And if you do get sick, Dr. Allan recommends immediately replacing your toothbrush with a fresh, germ-free one. 

15 natural remedies for a sore throat: Marshmallow root and more

 

A sore throat can be very uncomfortable. The main symptoms are pain and irritation in the throat, especially when swallowing.

A sore throat occurs as part of the body’s immune response to viral or bacterial infections.

The natural immune response leads to inflammation and swelling of the mucous membranes in the throat.

However, several natural remedies may provide relief, including some that are supported by scientific evidence.

Here are 15 natural sore throat remedies.

 

a man holding his throat because he is sore there and natural remedies have not helpedShare on Pinterest
A person can choose from a variety of natural remedies to help soothe a sore throat.

People have used extracts from the marshmallow plant, Althaea officinalis, to treat sore throats and other conditions since ancient times.

Its root contains a gelatin-like substance called mucilage that coats and lubricates the throat when a person swallows it.

Researchers have tested lozenges containing marshmallow root in animals and found them to be effective and nontoxic, even at very high doses. It may also help soothe a dry cough (1, 2, 3).

Marshmallow root infusion

Here is a recipe for a cold marshmallow root infusion to soothe a painful throat:

Ingredients:

  • 1 liter (l) of cold water
  • 1 ounce, or 28 grams (g), of dried marshmallow root

Directions:

  1. Fill a jar with the cold water.
  2. Place the marshmallow root in cheesecloth and tie it up in a bundle.
  3. Lower the bundle into the water until it is completely submerged.
  4. Place the tied end of the bundle over the lip of the jar, place the lid on the jar, and screw it on.
  5. Infuse overnight, or for at least 8 hours, then remove the bundle.
  6. Pour the desired amount into a glass. Add an optional sweetener of choice.

When it is ready, take sips throughout the day to help reduce symptoms.

Choosing high quality dried marshmallow root from a reliable source is important.

Bottom line: Marshmallow has a long history of use for treating sore throats. Its root contains a gelatinous substance, called mucilage, which coats and soothes the throat.

 

Sage is a popular herb in cooking, but it also has several medicinal uses.

Sage, also called Salvia officinalis, originated in the Mediterranean. Now, people grow it around the world.

Sage may help with many inflammatory conditions, and controlled studies suggest that it can help relieve throat pain (4, 5, 6).

In one study, a sage-echinacea spray was slightly more effective at reducing throat pain than a chlorhexidine lidocaine spray. Neither treatment caused any negative side effects (7).

Echinacea is another herb that people use in traditional medicine. It can fight bacteria, reduce inflammation, and help treat respiratory conditions (8).

Sage-echinacea throat spray

Follow this recipe to make sage-echinacea throat spray at home:

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) of ground sage
  • 1 tsp of ground echinacea
  • 1/2 cup of water

Directions:

  1. Boil the water.
  2. Place the sage and echinacea in a small jar, then fill it with boiling water.
  3. Let it steep for 30 minutes.
  4. Pour the mixture through a strainer. Add 1/2 cup of hard liquor if desired.
  5. Place the mixture in a small spray bottle and spray into the throat every 2 hours or as needed.

Bottom line: Research suggests that a sage-echinacea spray can help relieve a sore throat as effectively as antiseptic medication spray.

 

Apple cider vinegar is a natural health tonic. It has been a staple in folk medicine remedies for centuries. Its main active ingredient, acetic acid, helps fight bacteria.

The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine, prescribed a combination of apple cider vinegar and honey, called oxymel, to treat flu symptoms, such as coughs and sore throats (9).

To help relieve throat pain, drink 1 cup of warm water mixed with 1 tablespoon (tbsp) of apple cider vinegar and 1 optional tbsp of honey.

The possible risks of apple cider vinegar include tooth decay and digestive problems. Learn more here.

People can find apple cider vinegar in supermarkets, health stores, and online.

Bottom line: Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties and, when a person mixes it in small amounts with warm water, could help relieve a sore throat.

 

Gargling with salt water is a well-known natural remedy to get rid of a sore throat.

The salt helps reduce swelling by pulling water out of the throat tissue. It may also help kill harmful microbes in the throat.

Combine 1 cup of warm water with 1 tsp of salt and stir to dissolve. Gargle with a mouthful of this mixture for 30 seconds once per hour.

Bottom line: Gargling hourly with warm salt water may help reduce swelling and ease throat discomfort.

 

Honey is a sweetener that people often combine with other natural ingredients to soothe a sore throat.

People use honey as a medicine because it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial effects (10).

In addition to helping fight infection and providing pain relief, honey can also make certain remedies taste better.

Honey may be especially effective when a person combines it with warm water and apple cider vinegar or herbs. Some people choose to use raw honey or manuka honey.

However, children under the age of 1 should avoid honey. Their guts have not yet acquired healthy bacteria that can fight off some germs, such as botulism spores, that sometimes occur in honey.

Also, people who avoid sugar or follow a low carb diet may want to choose another remedy, since honey is a form of sugar. It contains 17.3 g of carbohydrates per tablespoon (11).

Bottom line: Honey can help relieve throat pain, particularly when a person combines it with vinegar or herbs in warm water. Never give honey to children under 1.

 

The licorice plant, also called Glycyrrhiza glabra, is native to Europe and South Asia.

Best known for its sweet flavor, licorice also has uses in traditional medicine.

It has properties similar to aspirin that may help reduce sore throat pain. It also has antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects (12).

However, there is no research into its ability to relieve illness-related sore throats.

That said, studies have reported that after surgery, licorice could significantly reduce throat pain due to breathing tube removal (13, 14).

One study found that gargling with licorice water before surgery reduced the risk of getting a sore throat by 50%, compared with gargling with sugar water (14).

To make licorice tea, combine ground licorice root with hot water, let it steep for 5 minutes, then strain it prior to drinking.

Licorice root tea is also available at natural grocery stores and online.

Bottom line: Drinking or gargling licorice tea may help soothe a sore throat.

 

Lemon water is a refreshing beverage that may also reduce the throat pain that occurs during a cold or flu.

Lemon contains vitamin C and other powerful antioxidants. These compounds fight inflammation and reduce oxidative stress, which are common markers of disease (15).

Lemon also increases the amount of saliva the body produces, which can help keep the mucous membranes moist.

Try combining lemon with warm water and a little honey or salt water to maximize its benefits.

Bottom line: Lemon water contains vitamin C and compounds that can soothe a sore throat and assist with healing.

 

Ginger is a spice with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects that may help relieve throat pain.

Some laboratory studies have found that ginger extract can kill some bacteria and viruses that cause respiratory illnesses. It can also reduce inflammation in people with tuberculosis, which is a lung disease (16, 17, 18).

Ginger tea is available from most markets and online retailers. People can also make their own from fresh ginger.

Ginger root tea

Follow this recipe to make ginger root tea at home:

Ingredients:

  • fresh ginger root
  • 1 l of water
  • 1 tbsp (21 g) of honey or a sweetener of choice
  • a squeeze of lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Peel the ginger root and grate it into a small bowl.
  2. Boil the water in a large saucepan, then remove it from the heat.
  3. Place 1 tbsp of grated ginger into the saucepan and cover it with a lid.
  4. Let it steep for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the sweetener and lemon juice, then stir to combine.

This tea works well reheated as needed or served cold.

Bottom line: Ginger root tea may help fight infection, reduce inflammation, and relieve sore throat pain.

Coconut oil is a versatile food with several health benefits.

Animal studies suggest that it may help fight infection and reduce inflammation in areas exposed to it (19, 20).

Coconut oil is also very soothing because it helps lubricate the mucous membranes in the throat.

Here are a few ideas to try:

  • Add a spoonful to hot tea or hot cocoa.
  • Add a spoonful to soup.
  • Put a spoonful in the mouth, allowing it to melt and coat the throat.

Read about some other ways to use coconut oil here.

Limit coconut oil consumption to about 2 tbsp (30 milliliters [ml]) per day, as it can have a laxative effect at higher dosages. When using coconut oil for the first time, start with 1 tsp (5 ml) at a time to minimize potential side effects.

Bottom line: Coconut oil is very soothing on the throat and may have anti-inflammatory effects. Take up to 2 tbsp (30 ml) per day alone or in warm beverages.

Cinnamon is a fragrant and delicious spice with a high antioxidant content. It can also provide antibacterial benefits (21).

In Chinese medicine, cinnamon is a traditional remedy for colds, flus, and sore throats.

Cinnamon tea is available for purchase in most grocery stores, in both herbal and regular varieties, and online. People can also add cinnamon to herbal or black tea.

Another option is to make cinnamon almond milk, which may be especially soothing for a sore throat.

Cinnamon almond milk

Follow this recipe to make cinnamon almond milk at home:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) of ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp (0.6 ml) of baking soda
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) of honey or a sweetener of choice

Directions:

  1. Place the cinnamon and baking soda in a saucepan and mix together.
  2. Add the almond milk and mix again until it is well combined.
  3. Heat the mixture until it just begins to simmer, then remove it from the heat.
  4. Stir in the honey or sweetener.

Bottom line: Cinnamon may help fight throat pain and infection due to a cold or flu. Try drinking cinnamon tea, or adding cinnamon to a warm beverage, to ease throat discomfort.

Although swallowing may be uncomfortable, drinking plenty of water or other fluids will ultimately make the throat feel better. It is important to keep the throat’s mucous membranes hydrated so that they can heal.

Drink tea, herbal infusions, water, or other beverages at whatever temperature feels most comfortable.

Bottom line: Staying hydrated, by drinking enough fluid through the day, will allow the throat to remain moist so that it can heal.

Chicken soup is a well-known natural cold and sore throat remedy. It is also a comfort food that allows people to get more fluids when they are sick.

Try adding garlic to the soup. Garlic contains bioactive compounds that can also provide benefits during times of illness (22).

A person can buy canned chicken soup ahead of time and store it until needed, or they can prepare a homemade chicken soup.

Bottom line: Chicken soup is a comfort food that may help soothe a sore throat. Adding garlic may provide additional benefits.

Peppermint tea contains anti-inflammatory compounds and is very soothing to the throat. The mint may also slightly numb the throat, thereby relieving pain (23).

Peppermint tea is caffeine-free, and its naturally sweet taste often requires no additional sweetener.

There are many peppermint herbal teas in stores and online.

To make peppermint tea at home, steep fresh peppermint leaves in boiling water for 3–5 minutes, then strain off the leaves.

Bottom line: Peppermint tea is a tasty, refreshing beverage that may help reduce inflammation and throat discomfort.

Chamomile is a daisy-like plant that people have used for medicinal purposes since ancient times.

Some research suggests that chamomile tea promotes restful sleep, which is important for healing (24).

Other studies have found that chamomile may help fight infection and reduce pain (25).

Chamomile tea has a pleasant, mild aroma and flavor. Like other herbal teas, chamomile contains no caffeine.

Chamomile tea is widely available at grocery stores and online.

Bottom line: Chamomile tea may promote restorative sleep, help fight infection, and soothe sore throat pain.

Teas, infusions, and other drinks are soothing and provide hydration, but sometimes sucking on a throat lozenge can also be comforting.

There are herbal throat lozenges available for purchase online and in some natural grocery stores. People can also make homemade throat lozenges with some of the herbs listed in this article.

Slippery elm is a popular herb for lozenges. It contains mucilage that coats and soothes the throat, similar to marshmallow root.

Try making lozenges ahead of time to have them on hand when a sore throat develops.

Bottom line: Purchase herbal throat lozenges or make a batch ahead of time to stay prepared for a sore throat.

Over-the-counter medications also can help ease a sore throat, including:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs relieve inflammation and sore throat pain without causing stomach discomfort. Two common types are ibuprofen and aspirin.
  • Sprays: Lidocaine sprays and other numbing throat sprays can effectively reduce throat pain.
  • Lozenges: Throat lozenges containing lidocaine or other types of numbing medicine can help soothe a sore throat.

Bottom line: Several medications — including NSAIDs, throat sprays, and lozenges — can provide relief from a sore throat. These are available in stores and online.

No matter how healthy a person is, everyone gets a sore throat occasionally.

However, there are many steps a person can take to soothe a sore throat and encourage healing.

Be sure to see a doctor if a sore throat lasts for longer than a few days or is extremely painful. Severe or persistent pain may indicate strep throat, tonsillitis, or another serious infection that requires medical treatment.