Top 10 Ways to Overcome a Sore Throat
You and I have both experienced that feeling when we wake up in the morning and are immediately met with a sharp pain in our throat the first time we swallow. Sore throats are a common thing we all develop but they can be remedied quickly through the natural strategies I discuss in this article.
Few people actually seek out their family practitioner for aid to heal a sore throat but this is a signal that our immune systems are being strained. Sore throats are most common during early schooling years and are predominantly a concern during the fall and winter months. This article will arm you with 10 ways to overcome a sore throat naturally.
- Medication use
- Indoor and outdoor air pollution
- Temperature and humidity conditions
- Exposure to Mold
Infectious sore throats however are more common. In fact, the rhinovirus and adenovirus account for up to 40% of sore throat cases alone. Although bacteria, fungi and parasites may attribute to a sore throat infection, they are less likely or at least documented less frequently to be the originating cause. (8)
Accounting for one-third of bacteria caused throat infections, GABHS (A B-hemolytic streptococcus) affects children from ages 5 to 15 years of age the most. You may likely already know if you are a carrier of this form of strep although these individuals carry a low risk of infecting others. Viruses account for 95% of sore throats in children younger than 5 years of age. Later into adult years, viruses are responsible for up to 95% of sore throats. (7)
Here are some of the symptoms associated with infectious sore throats.
Foods to Avoid
One of the best things you can do when struggling with any illness is to encourage your body to use all its energy to heal itself. Consuming less food will circumvent the energy your body requires to metabolize food during digestion for the more critical task of fighting inflammation, defending against pathogens and repairing cellular and tissue damage.
These foods are associated with irritation to the throat and may causing swelling, burning and even feed pathogenic substances that are exacerbating your sore throat problems. If you are suffering from a sore throat be sure to avoid these 6 foods:
Sugar damages the immune system depriving your body of vital tools it needs to suppress and overcome infection. Studies show that sugar feeds harmful bacteria and promotes inflammation in the oral cavity which lead to sickness and disease (29).
Sugar also reduces the white blood cells to uptake and use of vitamin C and the ability of our immune system (called phagocytosis) to destroy harmful pathogens. A blood sugar level of 120 actually reduces the immune system’s phagocytic index by 75%.
2. Fruit Juices
They may be from natural sources but fruit juices are metabolized in the body as simple sugars. Some fruit juices may even act as irritants to your throat depending on the symptoms you are having. For instance, acidic juices like orange juice may be hard to swallow.
3. Artificial Sweeteners
Not only will cutting sugar from your diet help your body heal faster, eliminating artificial sweeteners is beneficial as well. These sweeteners such as aspartame can spike your blood sugar and feed a Candida infection (9). Artificial sweeteners are also associated with metabolic dysfunction leading to inflammation and a weakened immune system (10).
Caffeine dehydrates your body creating an imbalance of fluids essential for life giving processes. Dehydration can lead to a dry and tight feeling throat also possibly causing it to feel sticky (28). Drinking caffeine may therefore increase the tenderness you are feeling and pain in your throat.
Like caffeine consumption, alcohol also contributes to dehydration and aggravates sore throat concerns.
6. Conventional Dairy
Conventional dairy can increase the viscosity of phlegm produced in the oral cavity aggravating sore throat symptoms. This sticky mucus thickens with milk and can drip down the throat adding to greater agitation making it hard to swallow.
Top 10 Remedies
Avoid sugar laden lozenges and antibiotic treatment to heal your sore throat. Many marketed sore throat treatments actually contain sugars that you should be avoiding. Follow these 10 natural remedies for fast pain relief.
1. Gargle with Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar:
Apple cider vinegar is an ancient health tool used by the Babylonians during 5,000 B.C. and historically used by Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, for its healing abilities (18).
Research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Center for AIDS Research has found significant evidence that the acetic acid found in vinegar provides powerful disinfectant activity against even the most resistant bacterial strains (19).
Polyphenols found in apple cider vinegar also equip the body with antioxidant support to heal from oxidative stress and tissue damage while contributing to a healthy immune response (20). Gargling straight ACV can be harsh but effective at killing off microbial colonies associated with sore throats. In addition, you can drink diluted ACV in the following recipes.
2. Drink Lemon Water
Hydrating with purified water is essential to optimize the life processes of your whole body. Aside from hydrating a dry and irritated throat, drinking lemon water contains immune boosting enzymes that stimulate the body’s natural detoxification pathways (11,12).
Strains of Candida concentrate the oral cavities of the majority of healthy individuals and their over abundance can promote infection and an interactive breeding ground for other pathogens including streptococcus (32). This health powering citrus fruit is an effective remedy to treat several species of Candida fungal infections, improving oral health (31).
3. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is a traditional Ayurvedic practice that is useful to remove parasites, bacteria, viruses and toxins from the oral cavity that can be making you sick (26). After less than 2 weeks of oil pulling for only 10 minutes once a day, individuals with strep were shown to significantly have lower levels of these infectious microorganisms in their mouths (25).
Practice oil pulling using ½ tsp of a high quality organic coconut oil and mixing it with one drop of a potent essential oil with antimicrobial properties. Both lemon oil and eucalyptus oil have profound benefits on oral health. Swish this solution around in your mouth for 10 to 15 minutes. Spit the oil out and brush your teeth to remove toxic debris left behind.
4. Vitamin C Supplementation
If you are craving some grapefruit or orange juice, your body may be communicating that you are deficient in vitamin C. Vitamin C boost immune health by supporting biochemical pathways which reduces oxidative damage and assist in destroying pathogens (24).
Taking a vitamin C supplement with bioflavonoids will help you more than drinking a sugar laden fruit juice. Bioflavonoids, also called vitamin P, are unique anti-oxidants naturally found in citrus fruits that synergize with vitamin C for significantly better immune benefits. For best results with vitamin C, always get it in a 1:1 ratio with citrus bioflavonoids.
When vitamin C levels are low, the body resorts to glutathione storages to recycle used vitamin C which further removes antioxidants from supporting the recovery of your throat (23). Consider supplementing your diet with 2 grams of vitamin C every 2 hours until your symptoms subside. Our Super C product has a 1:1 ratio of vitamin C and bioflavonoids and it is what I recommend to my clients to support their immune health.
5. Ginger Tea
This superfood contains volatile oils with the ability to defend against harmful bacteria, viruses and fungus infection (15). Researchers have shown that ginger increases the storage supplies of the powerhouse antioxidant known as glutathione while also aiding in pain relief. (16,17)
Researchers have shown that compared to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), ginger exhibits the same inflammation reducing and pain relieving effects (35). Swap out that ibuprofen for ginger as your go-to aid for sore throat relief.
6. Chicken Broth
A chicken broth, specifically a bone broth, helps speed up your healing and recovery from a sore throat. Bone broth made from pastured chicken bones is packed with vital immune stimulating nutrients including potassium, magnesium and especially the amino acids glycine and proline. These two amino acids are especially vital to suppressing inflammation while fighting both viral and bacterial infections. (30)
Receive the optimal health benefits from sipping on chicken broth by enriching it with flavors from adding antioxidant rich vegetables and herbs to the broth. Sweet bell peppers, chives, kale, leeks and spinach have some of the highest concentrations of vitamin C per serving (34).
My favorite brand of liquid premade bone broth is Kettle & Fire. They only use organic, pasture-raised animal bones and do a slow simmering process to extract all the powerful collagen protein, minerals and immune co factors. My family drinks this regularly.
7. Garlic and Onions
These sulfur containing compounds belonging to the Allium group are especially beneficial to combating a sore throat. The use of these flowering plants for medical practices have been documented in Egyptian, Roman, Chinese, Greek and Indian texts for more than 4,000 years (33).
Both garlic and onion contain antimicrobial properties along with the ability to destroy fungus and viruses. Allicin is the predominant sulfur compound richly contained in garlic and onions. This compound destroys bacteria, viruses and fungi. (13, 14)
If you feel a sore throat developing, consider eating a clove of crushed raw garlic daily for its potent health properties.
8. Zinc Supplementation
Zinc is an essential mineral to support our immune system and yet this vital nutrient is deficient in many of our diets. Inadequate zinc intake causes immune dysfunction impairing its abilities to respond and prevent viral replication and inhibit infection. Zinc assists in regulating an immune system protein called NF-kB (Nuclear FActor- kappa Beta) by reducing inflammation and serving as an antioxidant to prevent oxidative stress. (21, 22)
Supplement your diet with zinc rich foods like grass-fed dairy, salmon, pumpkin seeds and spinach. Consume 20-40 mg of zinc supplementation every 2 hours until your sore throat symptoms go away. The form of zinc I recommend supplementing with is a zinc glycinate as the glycine amino acid helps to calm the body and aids in liver detoxification. The produce we use is zinc charge.
9. Echinacea Tea
The echinacea plant has been medicinally used to stimulate the immune system to fight off flu, the common cold and other infections for centuries. Studies show that echinacea relieves inflammation and pain while combating harmful pathogens.
Echinacea extract is believed to shorten the duration of a cold and flu and alleviate symptoms of a scratchy throat when consumed echinacea tea regularly. (27) A great brand I like is Traditional Medicinals here
10. Lemon Throat Coat Tea
Soothe your sore throat with an herbal tea elixir by Traditional Medicinals. Their organic Throat Coat lemon echinacea tea is naturally caffeine free so it won’t keep you from getting the rest you need to boost your immunity. This sweet and lemony tea contains a blend of organic herbs including: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
- Licorice: Herbal sweetener containing compounds which suppress inflammation
- Lemon myrtle leaf: Leaves contain volatile essential oils with antibacterial properties
- Marshmallow leaf: Fights against infection while also suppresses coughing and provides soothing relief
- Bitter fennel fruit: Essential oil composition possess antifungal effects
- Sweet orange peel:
- Cinnamon bark: Possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anticarcinogenic and antidiabetic activity