8 Ways to Soothe a Sore Throat

Itchy, scratchy, or downright sore throat? Relief might be as close as your pantry. Sometimes seeing the doctor is the only safe thing to do, but often times, you can get rid of your sore throat naturally with ingredients in your own home.

If your sore throat arrived with other cold symptoms like sneezing, congestion and a runny nose, it's not likely your throat is infected and needs a doctor's care. If your symptoms came out of nowhere, or you have a fever or white spots in your throat, you might have strep throat, which won't usually go away without antibiotics. If you think your sore throat is caused by a cold or allergies, however, check out these top ten throat soothers:

1. Hot water. Breathing through your mouth (think, stuffy nose) can dry out and irritate your throat. Drinking a cup of hot water or tea will re-hydrate dried-out tissues and relieve minor irritation.

2. Warm salt water. Mix one teaspoon of table salt into a cup of warm water and gargle several times per day. It will wash away mucous, rehydrate dry tissues, clear away bacteria and reduce inflammation.

3. Honey. A spoonful might be all the medicine you need. Honey has antibacterial properties and soothes irritated tissues by coating them and helping reduce inflammation.

4. Hot lemonade. A cocktail of hot water, honey and lemon juice is a tasty, comforting and naturally soothing drink that will soothe your throat, boost your fluid intake, and give you a healthy dose of vitamin C.

5. Cayenne Pepper.
Add a teaspoon of the spice to a glass of hot water and gargle. It might make your tongue burn for a few minutes, but many people swear it'll take your sore throat away.

6. Marshmallows. The sap from the marshmallow root has been used for generations to coat the throat and reduce irritation-though it was usually ingested in a tea form. However, sticky, sweet marshmallows that top your hot cocoa may be effective at relieving a sore throat. Its possible the gelatin in the sweet treat may coat and soothe an irritated throat.

7. Chicken Soup. The broth is warm (which is soothing) and salty (which has anti-inflammatory properties), plus it's filled with veggies and easily digestible proteins—everything your body needs to heal itself. Plus, the broth will boost hydration-key in helping your body get well.

8. Sleep. One of the most important remedies for healing any illness is time and rest. Climb in bed, turn off the lights and sleep until you feel better.

Liesa Harte, MD, reviewed this article.