A sore throat is usually irritation or inflammation from an infection, trauma or tumor. The most common cause is acute viral pharyngitis (80%) which is a viral infection of the throat. Other causes include other infections (such as streptococcal pharyngitis), trauma, and tumors. In children streptococcal pharyngitis is the cause of 37% of sore throats.


Get plenty of rest and rest your voice. Keep the home free from cigarette smoke and cleaning products that can irritate the throat. Air pollution should be avoided if possible. Drink plenty of water to keep the throat moist and prevent dehydration. Gargle salt water. Warm liquids, such as honey tea, or broth, may help with a sore throat. Humidifying the air will moisten a dry throat. Cold treats such as ice cream can reduce inflammation in the throat. Licorice root may soothe a sore throat. Lozenges or cough drops may help, but should not be given to children age 4 or younger because they are a choking hazard. Analgesics may help, but have many side effects.

If the sore throat persists for longer than a week, or there is difficulty breathing or swallowing, or there is a lump in the neck, or the pain is severe, or you are suspect you might have a health problem, see a health care professional.

Salt Water

Gargling salt water is an age old remedy that helps relieve pain associated with a sore throat. This remedy is best utilized the sore throat is caught at an early stage. The reasoning behind using water with a high concentration of salt is to soak out the some of the inflaming agents that cause a sore throat. Additionally, salt water kills some viral, bacterial and fungal infections. A normal salt to water ratio is 1/2 teaspoon per cup (250 ml or 8 oz) of water, the water should be warm to help soothe the throat some more. The salt water should be gargled then spit out. This remedy provides only short term relief, and must be repeated often to continue to see results. But overextended use may cause more harm than help. As a good rule of thumb don’t gargle more than 2 teaspoons an hour, this will allow for 4 gargles per hour, which should be plenty.

Honey Tea

Drinking warm tea with honey can help soothe the soreness of strep throat, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Although some preliminary studies show that honey may also possess bacteria fighting properties, it's not known whether honey can knock out Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. Honey tea can be bought in individual packets or easily made at home. It can be simply made from placing about 1 or 2 tablespoons of honey in hot water. Stir until the honey melts or the water turns into a dark yellow color. Drinking honey tea should not cause any risks or symptoms although consuming too much may cause stomach aches. A slice of lemon should also be added to this remedy, the lemon helps to coat the throat.


A cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier can moisten and soothe a dry and painful throat. You could also sit for several minutes in a steamy bathroom.

Ice Cream

Ice cream or ice pops may soothe throats and reduce inflammation.

Licorice Root

The "Evaluation of the Efficacy of Licorice.." study published in “Anesthesia & Analgesia” examined the use of a 0.5 g of licorice root in a 30 ml of water gargle and its connection to soothing a patient's postsurgery sore throat. After surgery, the patients who took the licorice root solution reported less severe sore throats and diminished coughing than the group that was given plain water. European health authorities, including the German and French health agencies, warn that licorice should not be used in cases of high blood pressure, potassium deficiency in the blood, or chronic liver inflammation and liver cirrhosis.

Menthol Eucalyptus Cough Drops

Menthol eucalyptus cough drops may soothe sore throats and clear nasal passageways, which would in turn prevent future coughing that would worsen the condition of the throat. The cough drops should be taken about once an hour, slowly dissolved (not chewed) in the mouth. They can be found in most local grocery stores and are inexpensive. After a day, the cough drops should have begun to improve the condition of the throat and/or nasal congestion. Cough drops should not be taken more than once an hour.

Because cough drops and lozenges are a choking hazard for young children, don't give them to children age 4 and younger.


Analgesics such as NSAIDs and paracetamol (acetaminophen) may reduce sore throat pain, but have side effects including increasing the risk of stroke, increasing the risk of erectile dysfunction, gastrointestinal problems, and many others.

Aspirin also may reduce sore throat pain. but it has been linked with Reye's syndrome, so use caution when giving aspirin to children or teenagers. Though aspirin is approved for use in children older than age 2, children and teenagers recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms should never take aspirin. Aspirin also has many other side effects.


Ginseng Soup

In Chinese culture, ginseng soup is commonly ingested to calm and relax the throat. To make the soup, using a medium to large sized pot, boil 3 oz of ginseng, 1 lb of lean pork, and 36 oz of water for 2 hours.


Eating fresh garlic may help with sore throats. A 2010 study reported in the “Journal of Medical Microbiology” tested allicin, an antibacterial component found in garlic, as well as old and fresh garlic extracts against the Streptococcal bacterial toxin Streptolysin O, or SLO. Allicin and the old garlic extract were equally inhibitive against SLO but fresh garlic extract was much more active. Researchers concluded that allicin might have a potential therapeutic use for strep bacteria; however, no clinical studies have been conducted.


The information presented is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem.

QR Code
QR Code sore_throat (generated for current page)