We’ve all experienced the dreaded sore throat--that first sign of some nasty virus that has invaded our body. It’s that moment we wait with baited breath that it won’t turn into some awful viral infection that takes over our body for days or even weeks. To help you eliminate a sore throat and possibly even kill the viral (or sometimes bacterial) infection behind it, I’ve compiled some of the best natural remedies for a sore throat:
The herb thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is perhaps the best natural remedy for sore throats, particularly when it is mixed with some raw, unpasteurized honey. But, even vegans can benefit from thyme’s natural throat-soothing and anti-microbial properties. Natural compounds known as flavonoids have been linked to thyme’s natural cough suppressant and anti-inflammatory effects. To make a sore throat-eliminating tea, add two teaspoons of crushed fresh or dried thyme leaves to one cup of boiled water. Let steep for 10 to 15 minutes, strain and drink three times daily. You can also mix two drops of a high quality thyme essential oil into a teaspoon of honey, combine well, and hold this honey-thyme mixture in your mouth, allowing it to slowly dissolve. Repeat up to three times in a day, as necessary to soothe your throat.
The oil extracted from the herb oregano (Origanum vulgare) is highly anti-infectious, and unlike antibiotics that only work on bacterial infections, oregano oil works against both bacterial and viral infections alike, making it perfect for sore throats of a viral nature or those that are the result of Streptococcus bacteria (think strep throat). In a study published in Biomed Research International, researchers found that both thyme and oregano had significant antibacterial activity against both gram positive and gram negative bacteria linked to sore throats. Both the alcohol extracts known as tinctures and the essential oil of the oregano plant is highly antiseptic, but I find the oil to be the most potent. Mix a two to three drops of high quality, undiluted oregano essential oil intended for internal use in a spoonful of olive oil, swish it around in your mouth and swallow to help ease your sore throats.
The herb lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a potent natural antiviral remedy backed by research. In a recent study against the bird flu virus H9N2 researchers found that the herb prevented the virus from replicating, which is how the virus spreads and infects people or birds. In this study researchers obtained the antiviral effects from the essential oil of the plant but results can likely be obtained with an herbal infusion (tea), tincture, or essential oil. Make a tea from 1 teaspoon of dried herb per cup of boiled water. Allow to steep for 10 to 15 minutes, strain and drink three times daily. Follow package instructions for Melissa tincture. For the essential oil, mix two drops of a high quality, undiluted Melissa oil in a teaspoon of honey or olive oil and swish or dissolve in your mouth. Repeat up to three times daily.
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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM, RNCP is an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty & Cooking.
Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook. All rights reserved. No use of this article, in whole or in part, may be used without the prior written permission of the author. This article is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.