Millions of people suffer from sore throats and coughs each year. In the U.S., sore throat is often one of the first signs that you're coming down with a cold, especially if a runny nose and cough soon follow.
In most cases you don't need to see your physician for a sore throat, and fewer than 1 in 10 people actually do. Even so, sore throat is the second most common acute infection seen by family practitioners.1
In 85 percent to 95 percent of cases, sore throats in adults are caused by viruses.
Only about 10 percent are due to bacteria, including group A β-hemolytic streptococcus, while allergies, acid reflux, and even dry weather can also cause a sore throat. If you feel a sore throat coming on, you needn't suffer through it.
There are many natural remedies that can not only take the edge off but also help with healing. As a bonus, many of the remedies that follow work for both coughs and sore throats because they tackle the underlying viral infection.2
11 Sore Throat and Cough Remedies
At the first sign of a cold, which is often behind a sore throat, pour a capful of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide in each ear. This works remarkably well at resolving respiratory infections, like colds and flu.
You will hear some bubbling, which is completely normal, and possibly feel a slight stinging sensation. Wait until the bubbling and stinging subside (usually 5 to 10 minutes), then drain onto a tissue and repeat with the other ear.
Vitamin C is best known for its benefits for infectious diseases. Research published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that regular supplementation with vitamin C had a "modest but consistent effect in reducing the duration of common cold symptoms."3
Kiwi fruits are exceptionally high in vitamin C, along with vitamin E, folate, polyphenols, and carotenoids. Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that a kiwi-packed diet reduced the duration and severity of upper respiratory tract infections symptoms in older individuals.4
Other foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, red bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, papaya, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.
3.Apple Cider Vinegar
The antibacterial properties in apple cider vinegar may be useful for sore throats. Gargle with a mixture of about one-third cup of apple cider vinegar mixed with warm water, as needed.
4.Raw Garlic and Oil of Oregano
Garlic is packed with immune-boosting, anti-microbial compounds that may fight off viruses. Take a clove or two and chew them, letting the juice get into the back of your throat, then swallow. You can do the same with oil of oregano.
You can use lemons multiple ways to soothe a sore throat. Try cutting a lemon in half and sprinkling it with natural unprocessed salt and black pepper, then sucking it.
You can also make a potent "lemonade" out of fresh lemon juice, water, stevia, and cayenne pepper (this will help promote detoxification too).
Herbs such as eucalyptus, peppermint, anise, slippery elm, and fennel (and their oils) act as cough suppressants. Sipping an herbal tea or using the essential oils (in a diffuser or hot compress for instance) may help relieve your cough, while Echinacea and sage may relieve a sore throat.
One study found an echinacea/sage throat spray worked just as well as a chlorhexidine/lidocaine spray in relieving sore throats among children.5