A sore throat can be the result of many factors, including excessive use of the voice, a viral or bacterial illness, a cold, allergic reactions, and environmental irritants, such as cigarette smoke. Read on for 5 of the best herbs to treat a sore throat.

Do you suffer from a dry and sore throat? You’re not alone. A sore throat is one of the most common ailments that we all suffer from each year, especially when the seasons are changing. In fact, changes in barometric pressure and an increase in seasonal allergens can irritate the throat and weaken the immune system, causing a sore throat.

The common cold is also a frequent culprit for a sore throat; These occur most often in the spring and fall, but can actually occur at any time of the year.

The common cold is a viral infection that should resolve itself in a few days, but there are many natural remedies to help relieve and recover. A sore throat can be caused by a more serious bacterial infection, such as strep throat, which may require antibiotics, so you should always check with your doctor if the pain is severe or lasts more than a few days.

No matter the cause, if you are on a mission to relieve a sore throat and get it back on track, try these natural remedies and tips that include the best herbs and other effective must-try remedies to soothe a sore throat.

The 5 best herbs to treat a sore throat

Below are 5 of the best herbs that are used frequently to help counteract a sore throat.


Sage contains astringent compounds that can momentarily remove a sore throat and if we add to this the antiseptic properties of sea salt, the result is an effective remedy to relieve a sore throat.

The following is a form of gargle treatment:
Pour 2 teaspoons of sage into a cup of boiling water. Let stand for 10 minutes, strain and add 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Gargle as often as necessary.

Licorice root

Licorice root is undoubtedly used in the treatment of sore throats, and it is one of the best herbs for this treatment . Current research reveals that when combined with water to produce a gargle solution it is very beneficial.


Myrrh is a small thorny tree indigenous to Ethiopia and Somalia, from which resin is extracted from its bark. Those in the natural health field use the resin to treat ulcers, gum disorders, colds, injuries, and throat infections. Some herbalists recommend the use of myrrh as a mouthwash for a sore throat.


Experts discovered that the inner bark of the elm tree is actually lined with mucilage, this is a substance with a gel-like consistency. Elm treatment helps to relieve swollen tonsils. It also reduces irritation and decreases coughing.

There are some ways to take the elm, in pills, porridge, but the best is in tea. When you drink elm tea, its gel acts as a protector for your throat, which makes you feel relief from inflammation and pain.

Best Throat Herb Marshmallow Root

Marshmallow root forms a protective layer on the skin and the lining of the digestive tract. It also contains chemicals that can decrease coughing and help wounds heal by decreasing inflammation and fighting certain germs.

Sipping marshmallow root tea 2-3 times a day may help ease a sore throat. Marshmallow tea calms coughs and various throat conditions, being an excellent sedative for painful local inflammations, such as pharyngitis or aphonia, using the tea as a gargle in the latter case.

On the other hand, according to research, drugs used for high blood pressure called ACE inhibitors can sometimes cause coughing as a side effect. Early research suggests that taking marshmallow root by mouth for 4 weeks can reduce coughing caused by ACE inhibitors. Some examples of ACE inhibitors include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), and lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril).

Other sore throat remedies

Bee honey

Honey is great for relieving a sore throat for a reason. Sweet things feel (and taste) good on a sore throat, plus it has great inflammation-fighting power. Honey has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to heal wounds, improve energy, and prevent colds. Its antimicrobial, antiviral and antioxidant properties make it the perfect remedy.

Whether your sore throat is due to a bacterial or viral infection, honey is sure to help you heal. Honey’s antimicrobial properties can help prevent viral infections and stop the spread of disease, while honey’s low water content and pH inhibit bacterial growth.

Additionally, a compound in honey, glucose oxidase, has been found to produce hydrogen peroxide, a strong antibacterial agent. For an added medicinal punch, try Manuka honey. Research has shown that this type of honey has a stronger antibacterial capacity than other commercially available honeys.

If your sore throat is combined with a cough, you may want to try some honey before bed. One study found that honey could relieve overnight coughs and cold symptoms just as effectively as an over-the-counter cough suppressant. Bonus benefit: Participants reported better quality of sleep, which can improve the immune system and speed up recovery time.

Gargle with salt water

A saltwater gargle may sound simple, but science says it can work wonders for a sore throat. Studies have found that gargling with a mixture of warm water and salt can help thin and loosen mucus buildup, clearing the way for a sore throat. It is suggested to combine ¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt with 4 to 8 ounces of water. Gargle a few times a day to maximize the calming benefits.

Drink bone broth

Your mother’s modern take on classic chicken noodle soup for cold and flu days offers more than just healing benefits. Bone broth offers a boost to your immune system, which can help you fight a cold.

Some believe that inhaling the water vapors from hot liquids and soups is an acknowledgment of their throat-soothing abilities, but one study found that drinking chicken soup through the straw of a covered container still provided significant improvements in cleaning the nasal mucus. The same improvements were not seen when drinking warm water through a straw, suggesting that bone broth-based soups may offer additional benefits beyond their warm temperature.

Take a vitamin C supplement

Vitamin C is known for its immune-boosting powers, but eating oranges may not be enough to protect you from a sore throat. Studies have shown that megadose doses of 1,000 mg (the equivalent of about 20 oranges) can decrease the severity and duration of the common cold. So in this case, taking a supplement might serve you better than relying on whole foods for your vitamin C dose. Although, who can say no to delicious orange juice, it is undoubtedly excellent as a preventative.

Final notes

Untreated throat infection can lead to a large number of complications, so it is better to prevent ourselves and consult a specialist if you have observable inflammation, black or white specks in the throat or tonsils or in the case of irritation lasts beyond 2 or 3 days. In the meantime, the treatments we’ve shared with you may offer some pain relief.

Trying these different treatments can help you feel better faster. Give yourself the opportunity to see how beneficial it can be, but in severe cases, do not forget to visit a specialist.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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