With the arrival of cold weather, the turning on of the radiators and an increase in the time spent in closed and crowded places, sore throat becomes one of the most common ailments. Whether sore throat can be caused by viral or bacterial infections, pollution, allergens or drier air, today we see what remedies we have available to relieve and soothe the mucous membrane of the throat, keep it hydrated and thus counteract irritation, inflammation, but also hoarseness and lowering of voice.
The remedy for sore throat, the soothing juice
Here is a home remedy to prepare at the first signs of a sore throat. In a saucepan, pour a glass of pineapple juice. Heat quickly, just to warm the drink, and add a teaspoon of honey, drink. Warm pineapple juice rehydrates the tissues, softens them, soothes the sore throat and counteracts the formation of mucus (Peixoto et al, Rev Paul Pediatr, 2016). These properties are attributable to bromelain, the active ingredient in pineapple, which has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties (Brien et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2004). Honey is antimicrobial and emollient (Abuelgasim et al, BMJ Evid Based Med, 2021).
Essential oils against sore throats
Spraying a spray into the throat containing the essential oils of eucalyptus, peppermint, oregano and rosemary allowed, in people diagnosed with pharyngitis, tracheitis, laryngitis and tonsillitis, to significantly reduce sore throat, as well as cough and hoarseness. The benefits were observed as early as 20 minutes after the nebulization and were greater the more severe the symptoms were shown. The properties of this spray are due to the essential oils contained. For example, peppermint, thanks to menthol, is antitussive, antibacterial and antiviral, while oregano, thanks to thymol and carvacrol, is antimicrobial and antifungal. Rosemary relaxes the muscles of the trachea and eucalyptus is anti-inflammatory and analgesic (Ben Arye et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2011). The study used a mixture of essential oils diluted in other substances, therefore, in this case and since you are working with essential oils that can be irritating if in excess, it is better to avoid DIY but resort to sprays with essential oils which can be commonly found on the market.
Alternatively, for a preventive action, you can diffuse the essential oils of eucalyptus, mint, rosemary and oregano into the environment using an essence-burning lamp.
Gargling against sore throats
Gargling with anti-inflammatory substances can help counteract sore throats. For example, gargling with green tea at room temperature has been shown to soothe the tissues and reduce sore throats (Jafari et al, Anesth Pain Med, 2016). Not only that, even gargles with water and salt have been shown to be beneficial, strengthening the mucous membrane of the throat and fighting viruses and bacteria, especially if these gargles are performed at the first symptoms (Chalageri et al, Indian J Community Med, 2022). In a glass of warm water add half a teaspoon of salt, mix and use to gargle.
Emollient and calming herbal tea
As the great French herbalist Maurice Messegue suggests, we can prepare an infusion against sore throat. Bring a cup of water to a boil, remove from heat and add a pinch of thyme, antiseptic, antiviral and antibacterial, a pinch of mint, antiviral and antibacterial, and a pinch of mallow flowers, which are anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial (Messegue, the my herbarium - Mousavi et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2021 - Halat et al, Nutrients, 2022). Let it brew for ten minutes, then filter and drink a cup in the evening.
Hedge mustard in case of a lowering of the voice
If, together with the sore throat, there is also a lowering of the voice, then the remedy par excellence is given by the hedge mustard, scientific name Sisymbrium officinale, also called the herb of singers. In fact, hedge mustard helps in case of throat disorders, aphonia and hoarseness (Zorzan et al, Planta Med, 2020). You can find hedge mustard in tablets, liquid extract or in the form of dried plant to prepare herbal teas. In this case, bring a cup of water to a boil, remove from heat and add a tablespoon of hedge mustard. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes, then filter and drink.