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Everyone at my house has been sick the last few days with sore throats - blah. It sucks, but it did get me thinking about natural sore throat relief. If you’re in the same boat and suffering from a sore throat you can try some natural remedies before turning to conventional medications.

Natural treatments are good because they tend to come with less packaging, fewer chemicals, and often no artificial colors, preservatives, and so on BUT there’s a time and place for natural remedies. If you have a sore throat and also a high and persistent fever, white patches or bumps on the back of your throat, painful lymph nodes, a rash or any other symptoms that are serious (vomiting, headache, or other) then you need to see the doctor. You may have strep and fighting strep with natural remedies is hard at best and at worst very risky (strep can lead to scarlet fever). Strep is a serious bacteria infection and if you have it you usually need strong antibiotics to fight it.

WHEN TO USE NATURAL TREATMENTS:

Sore throats accompanied by cold-like symptoms such as runny nose, coughing, sneezing, and so on are not normally bacterial (like strep) but a simple viral infection. If your throat is just feeling icky and sore but not so painful that you can’t sleep than it’s a good time to try a natural treatment.

NATURAL SORE THROAT REMEDIES:

Prevention – prevention is the best remedy for just about any illness obviously; sore throat included. Wash your hands often and don’t use antibacterial soaps use a decent natural hand soap. Make sure you’re eating healthy during cold and flu season. Eat foods rich in antioxidants and consider a probiotic which can minimize your susceptibility to illness. Get regular exercise which also boosts your ability to fight off illness and make sure your home air quality is good not toxic.

If you’ve already got a sore throat try…

Clear liquids especially organic tea made with naturally soothing chamomile, lemon, echinacea, ginger, and licorice are ideal.

Stay clear of dairy (except sugar-free organic yogurt) and sugar. Dairy can fuel mucus production while sugar feeds bacteria (you don’t want to help the bacteria!). The American Cancer Society notes that tart, acidic, or extra salty foods and drinks such as citrus fruit juices (grapefruit, orange, lemon, and lime), pickled and vinegary foods, tomato-based foods, and some canned broths can irritate throats as well.

Here are two interesting contradictions; according to some experts, chocolate has been shown to help a bacterial caused sore throat feel better. The sugar content is no good obviously, but really, when my throat is super sore a cup of hot chocolate seems to help a lot. As for the salt, experts seem torn. Some say it’ll irritate a sore throat and others note that gargling with salt water can help. Personally salt gargles have never helped me, but do help a friend of mine so maybe it’s the person?

Garlic is a good preventative and treatment measure as garlic has both antibacterial and antiviral properties. Simply add fresh garlic to soup, tea or whatever other foods you can stomach while sick.

Sweeten up – Honey contains natural antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Take organic honey by the spoonful or mix it in hot tea. NEVER ever give honey to a baby under the age of one year though.

On the go – Look for all natural, sugar-free, herbal throat drops made with natural ingredients like licorice or slippery elm.

If you try these natural remedies and don’t feel better soon then see a doctor.