Thursday, November 13, 2008

Natural Treatment for Sore Throats

Sore throats are common during fall and winter months. Some people get the more mild variety - the scratchy, dry throat...while others experience extremely painful throats that can have a profound effect on talking, swallowing, eating, and doing daily tasks. Many sore throats are brought on by viruses and can be a warning sign of an impending cold. Most of us know that antibiotics and other medications are ineffective toward healing this type of illness. The solution for relief is actually closer than you think -- try looking in your own cupboard or refrigerator!

When you are sick, plenty of liquids and a lot of rest are recommended. There are some other things you can try which are often useful as well. Gargling with warm saline or salt water several times a day will help speed the healing process because it will promote better circulation and blood flow to the area and washes away mucous that contains toxins.

Other useful home remedies include the following:
  • Cayenne pepper - add 1/2 teaspoon to one cup boiling water, stir well and gargle while mixture is still warm. This also helps with circulation and allows infection-fighting antibodies to do their work. If desired, you can also add four parts Echinacea, one part garlic bulb, and two parts peppermint leaves to one part cayenne.
  • Aloe vera juice - try gargling with this juice two or three times daily. You can purchase this amazing, healing juice at your local health food store. If you swallow this juice, it is not a problem because Aloe Vera is not a medication and is also used by naturopath and homepath practitioners in healing the digestive tract. In fact, swallowing some of the juice will be beneficial to your throat.
  • Apple cider vinegar - mix one to two teaspoons with a glass of water. Gargle a mouthful once per hour and swallow when finished. Like aloe vera juice, apple cider is a food and it contains nutrients and trace elements the body needs. The acid content in the vinegar can sooth and minimize sore throat pain. The best type of apple cider vinegar is the natural, unpasteurized variety. When you are finished, be certain to rinse your mouth with some water to keep acid from eroding away your teeth's enamel.
  • Grapefruit seed extract - this extract is a powerful antimicrobial agent and also disinfects as well as provides antiseptic property. Add five drops to a glass of water and gargle.
  • Lemon juice - add the juice of one lemon and one teaspoon of salt to one cup of warm water. Gargle three times daily for a minute each session.
  • Slippery elm - this herb which has been used in North America for centuries is an effective remedy for healing many ailments including colds and coughs, wounds and burns, and sore throats. There are several ways to obtain slippery elm, whether it be in a throat-type lozenge, supplement capsule, tea, or in bark form (usually sold in bulk) at your local health food store. This herb can also be found in some of the packaged teas created especially for throat comfort.
Here are some good herbs for use in teas to soothe a sore throat (you can also purchase these items in bulk at a health food store):
  • Chamomile blossoms
  • Echinacea
  • Ginger
  • Goldenseal
  • Hyssop
  • Licorice
  • Marshmallow root bark
You can also find packaged teas that are useful for sore throats, as well as other illnesses. Good brands include Traditional Medicinals and Yogi Tea.

When you are sick, this is a sign that your immune system is compromised. Take care of your body holistically and treat more than just your symptoms; be certain to drink plenty of filtered mineral water, eat fresh, whole foods including organic fruits and vegetables, and slow down and make certain you are receiving adequate respite from your everyday grind.

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