20 Ways to Treat Sore Throat

April 27, 2014 at 7:36 AM

Sore throat is a so common condition that you might have experienced at least once in your life. This condition is so irritating that you can’t do even routine chores properly. But what is sore throat from the medical point of view? Sore throat is usually an irritation, pain or inflammation of the throat whose culprit can either be viral or bacterial infection.

It is characterized by burning, itching, scratching and soreness of the throat that worsens during swallowing. These symptoms usually go away within a few days but in some cases these can be severe, forcing you to seek medical advice.

Here there are 20 ways that can help you in soothing and easing your throat next time you catch sore throat:


Most of the doctors say that cold virus causes the majority of sore throat and you can do very little to cure sore throat once it has started, but taking rest will help you feel better as it aids in fighting against viruses.

Also give a rest to your voice as it can prevent hoarseness of voice. Never ignore rest considering it of little importance; it can work as a miracle for you.


Gargling is washing your mouth and throat with a fluid. This is perhaps the most effective way through which sore throat can be cured. Here are different types of gargle techniques that you can employ to cure aching throat.

Saltwater gargle: Heat 1 cup of water slightly, add a teaspoon of salt in it and mix the ingredients thoroughly. Now gargle with this liquid. You can repeat this process according to your need and throat infection. It is actually the swelling and inflammation of the cells in the throat that makes it hurt. During gargling with saltwater, when you expel water from your mouth the shrinkage of these swollen cells occurs. This is due to the ability of the salt to draw out water. Saltwater gargles also wash away the excess amount of mucous and bacteria that might be clinging to your throat.

Honey gargle: Honey can cure sore throat as it has some antibacterial properties. Dissolve 1-3 teaspoons of honey in 1 cup water and gargle twice or thrice a day with this liquid.

Peppermint gargle: Peppermint contains menthol, which is blessed with a property to open nasal passages. Take 1 cup of hot water and add 2 peppermint tea bags in it. Use this mixture for gargling when it cools down.


Over the counter analgesics are recommended for sore throat relief. These include paracetamol (acetaminophen) and ibuprofen. These medicines reduce pain associated with sore throat. They are also helpful in managing fever and headache accompanied by a sore throat. This makes these drugs ideal for sore throat. Of these two drugs ibuprofen is proved to be the most beneficial for adults. Use of aspirin should be avoided in children and teenagers as these drugs can cause “Reye syndrome” (fatal acute attack of brain and liver damage) in them.

People with liver, stomach and kidney problems should avoid ibuprofen. The dosage of these drugs should be proper, as prescribed by the doctor or recommended by the manufacturer on the packet.

Anti-inflammatory drugs

These drugs reduce inflammation and help you feel better. As mentioned above sore throat occurs due to inflammation of the cells in the throat, treating inflammation can be a good step. There are many drugs which can decrease inflammation. Out of all these, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are advised. NSAIDS possess pain relieving, fever treating and swelling decreasing properties. Advil or Aleve is the name of a NSAID.


Antibiotics are the medicines that help you get rid of the bacteria and provide you relief. Usually antibiotics are not recommended for sore throat because mostly viruses are the causative organism. But in 10% of cases, bacterial infections can be the cause. Of these bacteria, mostly Streptococcus pyogenes are the culprits. How can you get an idea that your sore throat is caused by a bacteria? Viral sore throat goes within a week, but if your sore throat is persistent, severe and lasts more than a week, accompanied by a high grade fever, pus in the tonsils and tender lymph nodes in the neck then most probably you are having sore throat due to bacteria. In these cases you must need an antibacterial medication.

Antibiotics can also be used if your immune system is weak or not working properly. Antibiotics are usually prescribed in the form of courses. Once you start this course, as prescribed, be sure that you complete it. You will start feeling better and your symptoms will disappear in one or two days, but do not stop medicines at this time because with half completed course, there is a risk of recurrence of a worse sore throat; more severe than the previous one.


Lozenges are the medications used to ease a sore throat. Most herbal lozenges contain honey or lemon. Sucrets Maximum Strength or Spec-T is one of the throat lozenges which are safe to use and give good results. It contains a medicine which acts as a local anesthetic (a medical substance which reduces the perception of pain or induces numbness locally) and causes numbness of the throat which reduces pain sensations.

There are some over-the-counter throat lozenges that have menthol in them. Menthol is an ingredient which can cause numbness of the throat tissue, thus providing you a short period free of pain and burning sensation. Peppermint candies work the same. These candies increase the production of saliva in the mouth, which keeps throat moist and lubricated but this relief is temporary. The use of lozenges should be avoided in children as there is a hazard of choking.

Throat sprays

Throat sprays are also effective for sore throat as they numb the throat lining. The numbness relieves pain.

Cepacol is one of the throat sprays. These should be used only when recommended by a doctor or if you are using it by yourself, then properly adhere to the instructions on the label.

Hot drinks

Honey dissolved in hot water and caffeine free tea provides a comfort to your throat. A warm herbal tea can give immediate relief while non-herbal tea, whether black or green can also offer you relief. They contain antioxidants that boost immunity and ward off infection. Honey, when added to tea increase its effectiveness due to its antibacterial properties.

You can make other teas too, such as:

Licorice root tea: It is prepared by adding some licorice root in cold water and then it is boiled for 10 minutes. Licorice root has a property of reducing inflammation of throat and mucus membrane.

Chamomile tea: Chamomile is a natural painkiller and can kill bacteria. It can also provide rest to the throat muscle by causing their relaxation. Pour boiling water into a mug and add chamomile, let it steep for 10 minutes and drink the tea afterwards.

Pomegranate tea: This drink can cure your sore throat due to its antioxidant property. Boil pomegranates in water for 15 minutes and then drink it.


When the throat is inflamed or irritated, it is necessary to stay hydrated. Fluids keep the mucus membrane of throat moist. Moist throat can fight against infections effectively and can combat allergens too. You can also drink fruit juices and soups instead. You should take plenty of these fluids. During dehydrated state your body cannot produce enough saliva to lubricate your throat properly. This can make the condition worse.


Humidifiers increase humidity in your surroundings. Humidifiers are machines that add some moisture to your room. It is a great way to boost humidity. Breathing in the humid air prevents or relieves dryness. It provides ease to swollen throat tissues. It also manages the discomfort in your throat.

Chicken soup

Hot chicken soup can help you feel better. There is sodium in the broth, which has anti-inflammatory properties, due to which it can soothe your throat. This drink has an additional advantage; it is easy to take. As swallowing becomes difficult during sore throat, sipping can be easy for you and will provide you the required nutrients and energy too.

Hot showers

To treat sore throat you need hot showers every day. It can clean your body both from the inside and the outside. While bathing in the moist air take deep breaths. This can reduce inflammation in your throat and provides you comfort. After taking bathe you can clearly feel how much your throat is eased as compared to before.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant. It scavenges the injurious free radicals produced in the body. Free radicals are the reactive oxygen molecules that have unpaired electrons. These free oxygen radicals are very dangerous for the body tissues and cells and can cause damage to the DNA. So, vitamin C can be beneficial in treating sore throat as it can protect the throat due to its antioxidant property.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is an acidic drink that may not taste delicious to you, but it will make you feel better. It is highly acidic drink and can kill bacteria. You can mix it with honey, which may improve the taste and will ease your throat.

This drink can be prepared by mixing 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of boiling water.

Garlic suck

It may sound repulsive, but its efficiency is exactly opposite to this. It can kick out painful sore throat. Garlic contains “allicin” which fights against bacteria and relieves irritation and pain. Take 1 piece of garlic, place it under the cheek and suck it. Do this once a day.


Marshmallow is an herb that has ingredient called “mucilage”. Marshmallow when taken in the form of mixture, which is prepared by boiling its root in the water for 30-60minutes, can coat mucus membranes of the throat and provides a comfort to your throat due to this ingredient in it.

Inhale Steam

Sometimes a sore throat is accompanied by nasal congestion. In this case the first remedy you can take is inhalation of steam. It lessens your symptoms. Fill a bowl with boiling water and bring your mouth near it, take slow deep breaths. Cover up your hairs with a towel. You can also add nasal decongestants into the water to speed up relief. Alternatively, you can go for a hot shower.

Ginger drink

This remedy is in use for years. Ginger can relieve sore throat and reduces swelling. Ginger can increase blood circulation due to which more oxygen reaches the cells and healing occurs at an accelerated rate. Take a two inch piece of ginger and crush it. Add this paste to boiling water and let it boil for 5 minutes. Slightly cool this drink and add some honey. Now, your drink is ready to use.


Tonsils are the collection of small masses of lymphoid tissue in the throat. They are located on each side of the root of the tongue. Some infections either bacterial or viral can cause inflammation of the tonsils known as tonsillitis which gives symptoms like tenderness, soreness, hoarseness, fever, etc. To treat sore throat in these patients tonsillectomy is necessary. Tonsillectomy is a medical procedure in which we remove both the tonsils, which provides cure to these people.

Non-alcohol Hot Teddy

Hot teddy is the perfect relief to throat ache and cold. It is a combination of honey, lemon and hot water. Take 4 ounces of hot water; add 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of lemon in it. Stir it well and dissolve honey completely. Add a slice of lemon for garnishing and enjoy the hot delicious drink. This drink will greatly help you as the combination of lemon and honey provides your throat soothe and ease. It can also clear your nasal passages. But it can dehydrate your throat and nasal passages when used in excess. So do not go crazy over it!

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Written by: Michal Vilímovský (EN)
Education: Physician
Published: April 27, 2014 at 7:36 AM
Next scheduled update: April 27, 2016 at 7:36 AM
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