How to Get Rid of a Sore Throat – Top 5 Tips
Over 90 % of sore throats are caused by viruses, although without testing you can’t tell the difference between viral or strep throat (Streptococcus pyogenes or bacterial tonsillitis), a bacterial infection. Studies have shown that antibiotics don’t really work to get rid of it, but if you are considering taking it, make sure the doctor tests you first because viral diseases don’t respond to antibiotics. It’s advisable not to take antibiotics unnecessarily. The following guidelines on “getting rid of a sore throat” are general and can treat it caused by a virus or a Strep.throat. If you have a viral infection, however also refer to How to Get Rid of a Cold in 24 Hours.
Table of Contents
- How to Get Rid of a Sore Throat – Top 5 Tips
- Good Medicine Solutions: Getting Rid of a Sore Throat
- Best Foods for Sore Throat Remedies
- Worst Foods
- Supplements for Sore Throat
Good Medicine Solutions: Getting Rid of a Sore Throat
1. Take High-Dose Vitamin C
Whether your sore throat is caused by a virus or bacterium, vitamin C helps boost your immune system and fight off infection. Vitamin C works, but you have to take a lot – ideally 1,000mg vitamin c tablets (that’s 20 oranges’ worth) an hour. The amount needed depends very much on the individual. Some people experience loose bowels on high doses, but that is all; there’s no harm in taking large amounts of vitamin C for a few days.
Preferably, take the prescribed amount of vitamin C to just below ‘bowel tolerance’, which means the maximum level you can take before it causes loose bowels. What really works is to dramatically increase your blood level of vitamin C as soon as you get the first hint of symptoms and keep it up until the it has gone.
The effectiveness of vitamin C is increased by taking it with other antioxidants (substances that remove or disarm potentially damaging oxidising agents in the body). Most people think of blueberries as the best source of antioxidants, but one of the richest sources is cherries, particularly Montmorency cherries. During an infection, it’s worth having two or three shots a day of either Cherry Active or Blueberry Active – for example, in a hot drink with some thin slices of fresh ginger – to soothe a sore throat.
2. Try Helpful Herbs
Goldenseal is one of the most popular herbs to treat Strep. throat. The berberine component of goldenseal extract has antibiotic activity against streptococci and has been shown to prevent bacteria and viruses attaching to the lining of the throat. Goldenseal also directly stimulates the immune system. You can buy it as a tea or supplement, a tincture or drops of fluid extract (usually 20 drops are taken three times a day). I would recommend looking for a product that is also combined with echinacea to enhance the effects. This supplement can boost your immune system when you feel a cold/ sore throat is coming.
Echinacea is a powerful agent against both viruses and bacteria. To promote the spread of colonies, microbes secrete large amounts of hyaluronidase, an enzyme that makes them more invasive. Echinacea blocks this enzyme. It also increases the number of white blood cells and enhances their movement into infected areas. It is best taken either as capsules of the powdered herb (2,000mg a day) or as drops of an extract (usually 20 drops three times a day). It is a wonderful herb to get rid of sore throat.
Ginger works as an antiviral and antibacterial agent, as well as having a strong antioxidant effect, but perhaps its main benefit for sore throats is its ability to reduce inflammation. This action can really help to soothe and prevent irritation. Most studies on ginger have used the powdered ginger root at about 1,000mg a day. Fresh root ginger may have even better results, however, because it contains higher levels of the active ingredients. Use about a 5mm (1/4in) piece, sliced, in teas throughout the day. Sipping hot ginger tea is an effective home remedy.
A particularly throat-soothing herbal tea is made with grated ginger, lemon juice and manuka honey with hot water. Manuka honey has recently come under the spotlight for its potential antibacterial effects. This honey from New Zealand is touted as having antibacterial properties. For sore throats, three teaspoons a day has been found to retard the bacteria that cause infection. I would recommend drinking this tea throughout the day to calm the irritation as well as it will get rid of it.
Elderberry is also useful for upper-respiratory infections by preventing viruses from penetrating the cell membranes.
3. Increase Your Intake of Zinc
Zinc is an essential mineral found in the ‘seeds’ of things – from eggs to nuts, seeds themselves and beans (pulses). Meat and fish are also high in zinc. The ideal intake is about i5mg a day, but most people achieve only half this amount from their diet. In times of illness, much higher doses (50-1000 mg a day) have been shown to make the body’s immune-responsive T cells much more effective, hence boosting immunity.
In addition to promoting strong immunity, zinc appears to stop the replication of the virus responsible for cold symptoms (such as sore throats), giving your immune system a chance to fight it off sooner. Zinc is most effective for sore throats during the first day of throat pain, so it’s essential to act fast.
Using zinc lozenges is believed to target the infection where it lives: in the nose and sinuses. Take zinc lozenges (containing 15-2omg zinc) every three hours for up to three days while suffering from a sore throat. Discontinue as soon as you get rid of it and feels better. Note that long-term use of zinc lozenges can cause an imbalance of other nutrients in the body.
Another reason why zinc may be helpful when you have an infection is that it helps vitamin A (which is stored in the liver) to be used. To fight infections, your body needs to have sufficient vitamin A. Although you should eat lightly when you have any infection, foods rich in vitamin A – such as dark green vegetables and yellow/orange fruit and vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, squashes, apricots, peaches) – give your immune system a boost.
4. Check for, and avoid Food Allergies or Intolerances
If you don’t have a fever or other cold and flu symptoms, the cause of your sore throat may be a food allergy or intolerance. These are often overlooked in the diagnosis, but studies show that allergies are a common cause of it. Typical symptoms in the upper respiratory tract of a delayed food allergy (that is, an lgG sensitivity) include chronic sore throats, a runny nose, sinusitis, tonsillitis and laryngitis.
IgG sensitivities to foods are not obvious because they don’t cause immediate or severe reactions, unlike IgE allergies which have immediate and severe reactions. Common foods that cause IgG reactions are milk products, gluten, cereals (wheat, rye, barley, oats), eggs and yeast. We recommend testing. Once you know what you are reacting to, you should strictly avoid your allergens for up to six months.
5. Take Probiotics
Beneficial bacteria (called probiotics) in the body protect against pathogenic bacterial infections by priming the immune system and producing natural antibiotics. They also reduce your body’s inflammatory response, which experts believe helps relieve sore throats. We have colonies of beneficial bacteria throughout our bodies, including in our throats, but the delicate balance of bacteria can easily be disrupted by antibiotics, mouthwashes, a high-sugar, low-fibre diet and alcohol. Supplementing beneficial bacteria also lessens viral cold symptoms, including sore throats.
I would also recommend that you avoid all alcohol, sugar, refined carbohydrates and mouthwashes, as these kill off the good bacteria and/or feed pathogenic ones. The trick is to include good food sources for the beneficial bacteria as well as supplementing a probiotic. Our two main beneficial bacterial species – lactobacilli and bifidobacteria – need us to eat a diet rich in the fibre found only in fresh, unprocessed fruit, vegetables and grains. These are the hard-to-digest carbohydrates known as probiotics – factors that nourish gut bacteria.
Foods rich in prebiotics, which feed the probiotics, include chicory, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, asparagus, garlic, onions, oats and soya beans. The best probiotic supplements also include some prebiotics in the form of fructooligosaccharides (FOS) in the capsules. When you take them, you are giving the good-bacteria population a boost as well as an added food supply. Probiotics are sometimes recommended as best home remedies.
6. Gargle with Salt Water
Gargling with salt water isn’t just Grandma’s cherished household sore throat remedies to help with your sore throat. It does indeed help by providing symptomatic relief as well as preventative benefits. Plus, this household remedy has absolutely no side effects. The saltwater will help combat cold and flu symptoms such as nasal congestion clear respiratory tract and can even reduce the chances of developing related infections. Gargling with warm salt water will help reduce swelling and relieve discomfort. Try mixing about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt to every 8 ounces of water. These and additional benefits of gargling with salty warm water have been cited in numerous studies on the topic.
Best Foods for Sore Throat Remedies
- Chicken soup
- Montmorency cherry juice (Cherry Active)
- Blueberry juice or concentrate (Blueberry Active)
- Refined carbohydrates
Supplements for Sore Throat
- 2 X a high-potency multivitamin-minerals providing at least 15mcg of vitamin D and at least 1,5oomcg of vitamin A
- 1,000mg vitamin C (ideally with berry extracts) every hour
- 1 x zinc lozenge (15-2omg) dissolved in the mouth every three waking hours for up to 3 days
- Do drops of echinacea and goldenseal combination every three hours
- 2 x probiotics (containing FOS and providing at least 15 billion active organisms)
If antibiotics have been taken, it is important to use a probiotic supplement at a dose of at least 15-20 billion active organisms per day. Take the probiotic as far apart in time from the antibiotic as possible, and continue with the probiotics for two weeks after the course.
It’s always best to talk with your doctor and take medical advice before you start taking any supplements.