Reader Q & A: “What Remedies Are Good for a Sore Throat”

"What's the BEST Natural Remedy for Sore Throat?"


The Question

“What’s the best way to resolve a sore throat naturally? I’ve had strep throat in the past, and this seems the same. – Regards, Luna L.*

The Issues

Without a test from a lab, you don’t know for certain that what you have is strep. Medical testing can be invaluable, even if you choose alternative methods of treatment. So my answer included four different things I do for sore throat. All can be used alongside most antibiotics if you should choose to get a prescription, but do check with your pharmacist or an herbalist about your specific drug. Unless you’ve learned all that stuff on your own and are confident, in which case, you’re awesome!

So I don’t have any idea if  Luna’s issue is due to her environment (sleeping under an air conditioner does it for me), or a virus, bacteria, or fungus that has invaded her esophagus.Once I established that she meant she was really sick, I could help out by telling her what I might choose to do. She followed the parsley method, using both foods and teas. She said she felt almost like herself again in four days. Which is about how long it takes to start feeling better from sore throat if you get antibiotics. (Don’t mess around – if this stuff doesn’t help, see a doctor, naturopath, or an herbalist familiar with you. Natural is great, but dead from stubbornness is bad.)

The Answer(s)

Using Parsley for Sore ThroatParsley

Parsley is a powerful supporter of the immune system. It contains  vitamin A, vitamin C, beta carotene, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, potassium, folic acid, sulfur, vitamin K, and B vitamins 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6.  It contains a greater concentration of vitamin C than nearly any other vegetable, and most citrus, too. Parsley has double the iron of spinach. Parsley contains high concentrations of chlorophyll, which acts to cleanse the body. It is also a pre-biotic, helping to support proper bacterial balance in your gut, essential to a healthy immune system.  Is is anti-inflammatory, which can help manage the pain of a sore throat.

Here’s a link to an article explaining the benefits of parsley. It is specific to urinary tract infections, but the methods for use and recipe included can be used for a sore throat Can be used in combination with soothing teas and remedies as well.


Sore Throat Essential Oil GargleEssential Oils Gargle

  • 1 cup chamomile tea (strong)
  • 7 drops Sacred Frankincense or Myrrh Oil
  • 4 drops Oregano Oil
  • 1 Tbsp vodka or 2 tsp tincture

Boil just over a cup of water. Remove from heat and add 3 chamomile teabags. Let steep 10 minutes, then remove bags and allow to cool. While it is cooling, add the essential oils to the vodka or tincture – this will help them disperse a little better. Once the water is cooled, add the mixture of oils and alcohol to one cup of the tea. Put a lid on it, and label that puppy! Use like a mouthwash, using 1-2 tablespoons to swish around for 30 seconds and up to one minute before you gargle. Do not swallow this. Not only would it be gross, but too much of it will send you to the doctor, which is what you’re trying to avoid in the first place, I’m guessing. A little bit that goes down because that’s just what happens is expected. You know the difference because you’re a grown-up adult, right?

On the “vodka or tincture” bit: Vodka obviously kills germs and makes a nice carrier for the essential oils. But when it is used to make a tincture, you get the benefits from the plant involved. If you have some on hand, good tinctures would include chamomile, sage, and echinacea. You can buy tinctures, or make your own. They may also be called “extracts”, but be aware that not all extracts are tinctures. You’re looking for an alcohol-based product, not a “CO2 extract” or food flavoring. You can choose to leave the alcohol out entirely, but it helps disperse the oils much better.

Shake well before using. Don’t use for more than a week without consulting someone about your situation – your liver will thank you.


Garlic, Honey, and Lemon Sore Throat RemedyGarlic, Lemon, Honey Knock-out Method

Once or twice a day, chop a clove of garlic and swallow with a glass of milk. Any milk will do, though something with some fat will help get all the volatile oils where they need to be. When I first heard this, I thought my friend Susan was a nutcase. But when I got sick, I tried it out, and it was WAY easier than I thought. It didn’t even seem to exacerbate my heartburn issues as I expected. Just chop it into pretty small pieces – no need to smash or mash – and grab a spoon

Couple with three cups per day of the Honey Lemon Soother below, or this recipe for “hot lemonade” with a few extra healthful ingredients. This method blends the immune-strengthening powers of fresh garlic, lemon, and honey while allowing each to do their job without interference. There are recipes to add garlic to the tea. I find it far more tasteful to just swallow the garlic and let my belly deal with that particular flavor combination. Salad dressing recipes don’t always translate well to tea.

This combination, plus including some parsley in my morning smoothie, allowed me to attend an important life event that I could have otherwise missed.


Honey Lemon Sore Throat SootherHoney Lemon Soother

Bring one cup of water to boiling. Remove it from heat, and stir in one teaspoon of raw, preferably local honey. Let it cool until it is just warm, and add one teaspoon of lemon juice, preferably fresh. You want to avoid beverages that are too hot, or they can create additional irritation.

Lemon creates an acidic environment, which is generally a hostile space for viruses and bacteria. It is also an astringent, which may help to shrink swollen tissues to relieve pain. You add it to the soother last, so you don’t risk breaking down the vitamin C with heat. Honey feels good on the throat, and may also have anti-microbial benefits. Most of those are only maintained in raw honey. The tiny bits of local pollen present in local, raw honey may help reduce histamine reactions over time.


Aren’t There More?

Yes. There are simple solutions, such as gargling with warm saltwater or upping your zinc intake. There are more complex recipes involving more rare herbs that you’d already need to have on hand, like slippery elm, licorice root, and marshmallow. I’ll serve up ways to use those, too, but I’ve found more people are likely to use the simpler methods with easily-attainable ingredients. Also, in my experience these are the most effective remedies for sore throat, though there are merits to using the other herbs in some circumstances. And as always, these are things I’ve tried, and that I suggest to my friends and relatives. If you have a great natural sore throat remedy, let me know in the comments!


*Name changed for privacy. I do not screw around with your information.

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