It won't be long before the colder nights are upon us and unfortunately, this usually means an increase in ailments such as sore throats and colds. This often happens because of the heating being switched on at home and at the office, which will enable germs to spread quicker.
Fortunately, sore throats don't tend to last too long - 10 days is usually the maximum - and unless the symptoms persist or get worse, there is probably no need to see a doctor. However, if you are struggling with a sore throat and want some relief, then try these natural remedies.
Honey and Lemon
An old favourite for relieving a sore throat is hot honey and lemon. You can buy ready-made mixes, but if you'd prefer you can make you own natural version. Simply fill a cup with warm water and then add a few drops of lemon juice. Mix in some honey, which has antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, and enjoy.
You may also want to try combining honey with apple cider vinegar, which is also thought to be effective in relieving a sore throat.
Some people advise eating a raw garlic clove to help alleviate a sore throat. However, this might just be a little too much if you throat is already inflamed. If you want to benefit from the antibiotic qualities of garlic, add it to soups, salads, or stews. You could also try taking garlic capsules to help ease your sore throat.
Echinacea is another on of those herbs that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries and has the ability to reduce inflammation and fight bacteria.
Many people take the herb Echinacea during the winter months to try and prevent colds and coughs, but it is also useful at soothing sore throats as Echinacea is known for its antibiotic properties.
Echinacea is also believed to boost the immune system; it can be brought as a tincture or as a throat spray.
Chicken soup really will help you feel better when you are feeling ill; it will help sooth a sore throat, too. The soup shouldn't be served too hot in case it burns the back of the throat. Vegetable soups and tomato soups are good as well.
Vitamin C and Zinc Lozenges
These are designed for taking once or twice a day, but the lozenges are usually quite big so they can be divided into two and used when needed to help sooth your throat. Zinc and vitamin C will also help to boost the immune system.
Salt Water Gargle
Salt is known for reducing infection and inflammation. Stir in a few teaspoons into some warm water, give it a stir to mix it up, and then gargle. This should be repeated morning and evening for the best effects.
Herbal tea such as camomile and mint are great for soothing a sore throat. Serve them with a teaspoon or two of honey and drink them as often as you need to. Again, don't serve them too hot, or there is a chance you could burn your throat. Blackcurrant teas are also good, or chose teas that are flavoured with lemon, orange or honey.
Fluids are important to help keep you hydrated; keeping your throat moist will also help to reduce mucus. Iced water is helpful to some people, and sucking on an ice cube can also help bring relief – just don't try this for too long as the cold can burn the back of the throat.
Some people suggest cayenne pepper will act as a natural pain reliever in the case of a sore throat. However, since cayenne tends to burn, then it would be best to either dilute it heavily with water or to buy a tincture that is already mixed. Don't try this as a remedy in the early stages of a sore throat.
Rosemary and Thyme
These fragrant herbs can be added to a meal or made up as a cup of tea. Rosemary and thyme can also be brought in the form of the tincture and used as a gargle to soothe a sore throat. The gargle should be used morning and evening, but can be used more often if needed.
One Last Tip
One final tip: Avoiding milk and other dairy products when you have a sore throat is a good idea as dairy products increase the amount of mucus the body produces, and can add to the misery.
Image credit: adamgregor / 123RF Stock Photo
November 12, 2013