Although you can catch a cold all year round, most people have a higher risk of catching a cold in the winter and spring months.1 One of the most common symptoms is a sore throat. The Guardian characterizes the common cold as “a double difference in that it is both the most widespread contagious disease in the world and one of the most elusive.”2
According to data collected from 142,377 participants in the Rochester Epidemiological Project, upper respiratory disease, excluding asthma, was one of the top five reasons this population sought medical attention.3
Sore throat, also called pharyngitis,4 they are often triggered by viral infections, including influenza, colds, and COVID-19. Because they are viruses, antibiotics are not effective against infection.5 However, there are natural remedies that can shorten the duration of a viral infection, as well as alleviate the symptoms of pharyngitis.
Many pharmaceutical drugs sold today are the result of the isolation of herbal compounds and their replication in the laboratory.6 Through many years of fighting disease and illness, people from all over the world have learned to rely on medicinal plants for healing. They have been a part of human history since the beginning of recorded time.
The World Health Organization reports that many nations continue to rely on herbal treatments for health care purposes.7 In a study in 133 nations, 110 reported the use of herbal remedies. Another 2007 poll8 in the United States, nearly 4 out of 10 adults were found to have used complementary and alternative therapies, including herbal treatments.
The re-emergence of herbal medicine treatment may be partly driven by a significant mortality rate from all viruses, including influenza9 and SARS-CoV-2.10 Two pleasant ingredients in herbal tea can help soothe sore throats, making it easier to swallow, retain hydration and eat.
Do you need to drink your herbal medicine hot or cold?
While some health experts advise you to drink fluids at a temperature that suits you,11 others have studied the effect of a hot drink on a cold. Ron Eccles, a professor emeritus at Cardiff University, for example, has spent his professional life analyzing and researching human upper respiratory diseases.12
His research includes a published study on the effects of hot drinks on cold and flu symptoms. His goal was to obtain subjective and objective measurements of air flow. In his 30 subjects, the data showed that, although there was no objective change in the measurement of nasal air flow, participants reported that the hot beverage was:13
“Trenutno provided immediate and permanent relief from symptoms of runny nose, cough, sneezing, sore throat, chills and fatigue, while the same drink at room temperature provided only relief from symptoms of runny nose, cough and sneeze… In conclusion, the results confirm the popular story that a hot tasty drink is a beneficial treatment for relieving most cold and flu symptoms. ”
The Mayo Clinic adds that warm fluids can help relieve blockages by stimulating mucus flow.14 ENT and allergy expert Dr. Shawn Nasseri agrees, saying for good and good: “Hot teas cause the throat vessels and muscles to open and relax more, soothing a sore throat. Iced drinks can sometimes cause sore throats. which is definitely not the case.15
That could explain how January 11 became National Hot Toddy Day.16 According to one source, in the 1700s, Scottish doctors created a drink as a treatment for their patients who suffered from sore throats and congestion.
A traditional hot toddy contains a glass of whiskey, honey, fresh lemon and boiling water. Personal preferences determine whether to add fresh ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks or cloves.17 Although a hot beverage is effective, it is not alcohol that gives benefits because it has detrimental effects on your immune system.18 As Eccles explained:
“Hot toddy is the equivalent of any kind of hot beverage. The more it stimulates the secretion of saliva, the more it stimulates the secretion of mucus, and mucus is our first line of defense against bacteria and viruses. That’s why it contains honey and lemon – it stimulates both sweet and sour. “
Slippery elm and licorice root tea soothes sore throats
Herbal teas can help reduce the pain of pharyngitis because they have a calming effect on the mucous membranes. In a double-blind, randomized controlled trial,19 Researchers have evaluated the effectiveness of herbal tea containing marshmallow root, licorice root and inner elm bark.
They hired 60 outpatients with acute pharyngitis and randomly selected them to consume herbal tea or placebo tea of the same taste and smell. Participants drank tea four to six times a day until they had symptoms. Scientists have asked that individuals not use other medications for sore throats.
Pain relief was assessed after one minute and then every five minutes for the first 30 minutes after drinking tea. Participants then rated their pain after three hours and 24 hours after the initial dose. The data found that herbal tea was more effective than placebo in short-term relief, but the effect lasted less than 30 minutes.20
Other health benefits of licorice root and slippery elm
The study evaluated the calming effect that tea can have on acute pharyngitis, but did not address other herbal health benefits. According to Mount Sinai Hospital,21 slippery elm has been used for centuries in North America to treat wounds, ulcers, burns and ulcers. The Indians took it internally to relieve coughs and sore throats.
The plant has antioxidant action and causes stimulation in the gastrointestinal tract to increase mucus secretion, which can help protect against ulcers and excess acid. It is often suggested in the treatment of sore throat and cough.22
One of the main active ingredients in licorice root is glycyrrhizin.23 Like everything else, excessive intake can result in negative health effects, including primary pseudo hyperaldosteronism,24 causes high blood pressure, muscle weakness and headaches.
It suppresses plasma renin activity and aldosterone levels through prolonged and excessive consumption of licorice. If you enjoy the taste of licorice, you may get it in sweets, drinks and extracts. One of the side effects is a significant decrease in plasma potassium levels, which one study suggests could have clinical application in people on chronic dialysis and at risk of hyperkalaemia.
Licorice is a widely prescribed herb in Chinese medicine for treating several disorders, including stomach ulcers25 and peptic ulcers. In Japan, doctors give glycyrrhizin intravenously to patients with chronic hepatitis B to improve liver function and suppress the secretion of hepatitis B surface antigen.26
Licorice has been used in combination with spironolactone to treat polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).27 One study suggested that licorice root may reduce body fat28 and has been shown to lower testosterone in healthy women,29 which may be one of the ways it helps women with PCOS.30
Studies have also shown a dose-dependent effect in animal studies on cell proliferation and apoptosis.31 One study32 published in the Lancet found that the compound also showed an antiviral effect against SARS-CoV-1 by stopping virus reproduction.
Another study33 showed that glycyrrhizin has antiviral activity against coxsackievirus A16 and enterovirus 71 responsible for hand, foot and mouth disease, contagious childhood viral infection.
More medications to relieve sore throat and reduce colds
Although there are several reasons why you may feel sore throat, the most common cause is a cold. Here are some natural remedies to help alleviate the discomfort of sore throat. After that, these are natural strategies that can shorten the length of your cold and then shorten the time when you have a sore throat.
- Herbal Remedies – Herbal teas made from eucalyptus, peppermint or licorice can help relieve cold symptoms and soothe sore throats.34
- Gargle with salt water – Gargling with a quarter to half a teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water can help relieve the pain and discomfort of sore throat.35
- Steam – Adding moisture36 into the air using a cold mist vaporizer or humidifier can help relieve congestion and reduce dripping from the nose, which irritates the throat tissue.
Zinc lozenges – Zinc is an effective natural remedy. As early as 1984, the results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial37 showed that zinc lozenges shorten the common cold, and further studies have shown that they can reduce the length of your cold by an average of 33%.38 Zinc lozenges are most effective when taken in the first 24 hours when you feel symptoms.39
Citric acid, tartaric acid and sweeteners mannitol / sorbitol should not be taken with zinc as they interfere with the release of nutrients in your body.40 Recent research has shown that both zinc acetate and zinc gluconate are effective.41
Hydrogen peroxide – One of my favorite treatments for upper respiratory tract viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is nebulized hydrogen peroxide. The treatment is simple and effectively helps kill the virus in your respiratory tract. This video shows how to apply the treatment, which must use hydrogen peroxide for food, not the product you buy in the store.
Apple cider vinegar – This has antibacterial properties and is very acidic, so it can be used to create an inhospitable environment for the virus. Consider gargling with a glass of warm water and 2 tablespoons of salt to help fight sore throat.42 Do not use it at full power as it can damage your esophagus and stomach lining.
Garlic – Although there is mixed evidence,43 allicin in raw garlic is antimicrobial and can affect the length or severity of your cold. Crush the clove before eating it to release the active properties.
Raw honey – Although raw honey has antibacterial and antiviral properties, they are not strong enough in reasonable quantities to fight the virus. However, raw honey is just as effective as cough syrup or cough drops.44 Remember that honey is a natural sugar, so in large quantities it can negatively affect your immune system and affect insulin and leptin levels.
Chicken soup – Homemade chicken soup soothes when you are sick and contains the amino acid cysteine45 which can dilute the mucus in your lungs, making it easier to clean.46
Vitamin C – Consuming foods rich in vitamin C can shorten the duration of a cold.47 Foods rich in vitamin C include red peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, kiwis and citrus fruits.
Echinacea tea – Echinacea is one of the most popular Indian herbs that can help shorten the common cold when you start drinking tea on the first or second day. Researchers have found that it will reduce the recurrence of viral infections.48 Drinking two or three cups of hot tea a day can also help soothe a sore throat.
propolis – This material is collected by bees from trees to maintain the hive. One study found that nasal spray with propolis improves children’s recovery from colds.49