With the cold season approaching, it’s important to know a stable of remedies in case you or your loved ones come down with a cold or flu.  One of the most irritating symptoms can be a persistent sore throat, which if severe enough can sometimes last days before abating.  The following is a list of 10 time-tested and proven natural remedies for sore throats to keep on file for when occasion arises.

  1. Cayenne Pepper: Dr. Ben Kim recommends taking cayenne pepper with pulpy orange juice slowly through a straw every two to three hours until the sore throat is gone, but he adds that it can cure a sore throat almost instantly.  Cayenne pepper is the active ingredient; the orange juice is only for flavor and the pulpiness to make the mixture a bit thicker, so it doesn’t run down your throat too quickly; the straw is suggested so you don’t have to taste spiciness itself.   Cayenne pepper has the ability to kill bacteria and viruses that have accumulated in the back of the throat.  The recipe calls for a ratio of 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper to 8 ounces of pulpy orange juice.
  2. Goldenseal Gargle: Goldenseal is an herbal antibiotic often used as an antibacterial and to treat local inflammation, and it features an ability to soothe irritated mucus membranes.  A suggested recipe is to take half a teaspoon of goldenseal powder with a pinch of sea salt in enough water for a single gargle, and repeat the gargle a few times every hour or so until the sore throat is gone.
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar with the ‘Mother’: Apple cider vinegar with the ‘mother’ is a natural antibiotic that can treat infections and kill bacteria in the throat.  You can mix two tablespoons with four ounces of water and gargle that amount every hour, or for a stronger solution, use apple cider vinegar by itself.
  4. Mineralized Water: By mineralized water I mean sea salt water, or water mixed with colloidal minerals, the latter for a less salty-tasting experience.  The purpose of this gargle is to address the swelling—a gargle of sea salt minerals can help draw out some of the fluid to reduce swelling and relieve some of the pain.
  5. Tea with Lemon and Honey: The base liquid can be a tea or water.  The active components are the lemon and the honey.  The lemon acts to reduce mucus, and the honey acts not only to coat the throat, but as a natural antibacterial.  Because it’s unheated, raw honey is more effective, and the most effective antibacterial honey is manuka honey.
  6. Propolis: Propolis is a bee product used for its antibacterial and antiviral properties, and it’s been used since ancient Greek times to treat sore throats.  You can often find propolis in spray form to coat the throat.
  7. Marshmallow Root: Marshmallow root (not to be confused with candy marshmallows) is an herb that can soothe inflamed throats by coating them with mucilage, and stimulate the immune system by promoting phagocytosis, the removal of pathogens like bacteria.  For sore throats specifically, it’s best taken as a tea.
  8. Gargle with Baking Soda: Baking soda can be used as an effective antibacterial to treat infections, and it’s a time-tested “old wives’” remedy for sore throats.
  9. Zinc Lozenges: Zinc lozenges work by coating the throat with zinc and stimulating the immune system locally to kill the bacterial or viral pathogens responsible for the cold.  Try to make sure the lozenges are free of chemicals and additives.
  10. Horehound: Horehound is an antiviral and antibiotic herb that can break up mucus and fight off pathogens in the throat.  You can find it as a tea, lozenge, and even syrup.