Health

5 Natural Ways to Relieve a Sore Throat

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Struggling with a sore, scratchy or irritated throat? Here, the surprisingly common culprits, and simple steps that can erase even the worst symptoms-fast!

Soothes a scratchy throat: Ginger chews.

The Spring showers are great for our gardens, but changes in temperature and humidity irritate the delicate membranes lining your throat, doubling your risk of dryness and scratchiness. Ginger chews to the rescue! Ginger is packed with compounds (gingerols) that shut down inflammation and calm irritated pain nerves. No wonder Danish scientists say nibbling on one of these sweet, spicy treats soothes throat irritation in two minutes.

Ends hoarseness: Gargling with this.

Throat inflammation can drag on for weeks after a cold, and it triples your risk of hoarseness.

To cut your throat irritation by 50 percent or more in 24 hours, mix 1 drop of oregano oil and 1⁄2 tsp. of sea salt into 6 oz. of water, and gargle with this mix three times daily (refrigerate between uses). Explains Fred Pescatore, M.D., oregano oil dampens inflammation and encourages tissue repair, while the salt kills invading germs.

Nixes postnasal drip: Warming cheeks.

Postnasal drip plagues up to 85 percent of folks with allergies. “And since mucus is acidic, it can really irritate throat tissues,” explains Michael Finkelstein, M.D., author of Slow Medicine. The quick fix: Soak a facecloth in the warmest water you find comfortable, lean over the sink and hold the cloth to your cheeks for two minutes.

Researchers at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut say this simple remedy opens and drains sinuses, cutting postnasal drip in half or more in minutes.

Aids swallowing: Sipping honey ‘tea.’

When swallowing hurts, sipping 4 oz. of warm water with 1 Tbs. of unpasteurized honey mixed in can help. Research in the journal Rhinology suggests this comforting brew can end discomfort in five minutes, plus the enzymes in unpasteurized honey kill 60 different types of infection-causing germs on contact!

Minimize your risk of invading viruses.

End each day by washing your face well with soap and warm water, then brush your teeth and tongue, gargle with antiseptic mouthwash, then rinse and spit. According to researchers at Oregon’s St. Charles Medical Center, this removes viruses lodged near or in your mouth so they can’t be inhaled during sleep.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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