Sore throat

Updated 19 July 2016

Sore throat gargles and remedies that work – and some that don't

Oftentimes the right gargle can cure the nastiest sore throat – BUT using the wrong one could make matters a lot worse.

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Sore throats are an inflammation of the pharynx – the tube extending from the back of the mouth to the oesophagus – and are usually the result of either a viral or bacterial infection.

We explore 3 homemade gargles that do the trick, and 3 remedies that don’t . . .

The goodness of gargles

Aside from the well-known salt water gargle (1/2 teaspoon of salt dissolved in 235ml of warm water); these 3 gargles are not only homemade, they're also all-natural, and can sooth even the most inflamed throat.

1. Liquorice water

Liquorice root is said to ease a sore throat and remove phlegm. According to Reader's Digest a study done in 2009 found that patients who gargled with a liquorice mixture post-operation were less likely to develop a sore throat after surgery.

Mix one teaspoon of liquorice syrup or powder with 240 ml of water and swish it around in the mouth.

Read: Causes of a sore throat

2. Peppermint gargle

The menthol in peppermint helps sooth the throat and open up the nasal passages, especially if you gargle with a strong brew of peppermint tea. Best Health Mag reports that the antiseptic characteristics of peppermint keeps bacteria at bay.

Let 2 peppermint tea bags steep in 1 cup of boiling water for 4-5 minutes. Gargle two or three times a day with the cooled-down mixture.

3. Cayenne pepper

Adding half a teaspoon (2.5ml) of cayenne pepper powder to 1 cup of hot water and gargling every 15 minutes with the spicy solution will help cure your sore throat.

According to Organic Authority you can swallow a little bit of the mixture each time you gargle. This will definitely burn, but that’s the reason why it works.

Cayenne pepper is also a natural antibiotic, and it can be taken with orange juice. However if you swallow it in powder form, be sure to have eaten something before so that it doesn't damage the stomach lining; Dr Ben Kim reports.

Read: Diagnosing a sore throat

Old-wives tales

The following are bad news for your throat ailment. Trying them might cause damage to the oesaphagus – and you do so at your own risk.

1. A clove of garlic

According to Peterjasie, it helps to swallow a whole clove of garlic – but be careful not to choke.

2. A sock

Another ridiculous remedy for a sore throat is to tie a sock tightly around your neck. According to Mieliestronk, it works best when the sock is warm.

Read: Types of sore throat

3. A sugar lump

The last outlandish remedy is to swallow a lump of sugar. Republikein reports that a sore throat is usually accompanied by dryness, and apparently the sugar lump is a natural way to keep your throat moist – while avoiding the chemicals in a lozenge.

Some remedies are effective as a treatment for a sore throat while others can do a lot of harm. It's up to you to find the method that works best for you.

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Image: Girl gargling from Shutterstock

 

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