May 26, 2016

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Kids Sore Throat Remedies

Sore Throat Remedy: Echinacea Throat Spray

Sore throat ranks right up there with earache as one of the most common reasons parents take their children to the doctor. Parents make the trip for two main reasons: to seek a way to ease their child’s pain and to find out if the cause is strep. If the sore throat ­arrived with other symptoms of a cold or the flu, that usually means it’s viral. The discomfort typically will last three or four days and go away without any medical treatment-and antibiotics won’t do a lick of good. But if strep (or one of the rarer bacteria) has caused the illness, your child probably needs antibiotics.

Sore throats of both kinds are quite contagious. The incubation period (the time between exposure and onset of symptoms) takes two to five days, so kids who seem healthy can spread infection.

Types of sore throats

Viral sore throats are often part of the package of a viral respiratory infection. With a cold, a child sniffles, sneezes, coughs, and may complain of a scratchy throat. Hoarseness or laryngitis develops when the voice box, or larynx, becomes inflamed. The sore throat your child may suffer when he has the flu goes along with other hallmarks of that syndrome: muscle aches, cough, headache, fever, and chills. Adenovirus causes flu-like symptoms with sore throat and pinkeye. Infectious mononucleosis-the ‘mono’ that mainly ­afflicts teens and young adults-causes sore throats with fever, extreme malaise, fatigue, poor appetite, and enlarged lymph nodes.

So how do you tell-or at least hazard a guess-whether the cause of a sore throat is viral or bacterial? Runny nose and cough along with a sore throat usually indicate a viral respiratory tract infection. Strep throat, however, is rarely accompanied by these symptoms.

About strep throat

Strep throat, or infection with the Streptococcus pyogenes bacterium, accounts for about 15 percent of all sore throats. During some times of the year, however, up to half of kids’ sore throats may be due to strep. The prime symptoms are sore throat pain that worsens with chewing or swallowing and a fever above 101.3°F. Your child may also complain of headache and stomachache, sometimes with vomiting. An infected throat looks fiery red, and often-but not always-has a whitish crud resembling cottage cheese on the tonsils and back of the throat. The lymph nodes in the sides of the neck are enlarged and tender.

Some strep bacteria occasionally produce toxins that cause other diseases. For instance, scarlet fever or scarlatina can develop after a day or two of fever and sore throat. The tongue at first looks white and furry, then very red. Tiny red dots appear in the throat, usually on the soft part above the uvula (the waggly part that hangs down). Small bumps that feel like sandpaper appear on the base of the neck, face, and upper trunk, then spread. The rash is most noticeable in the skin folds, but may affect the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Later, the skin peels. This illness usually afflicts children between four and eight years old; by the age of ten, most kids have developed lifelong antibodies against this strep toxin, but not future strep infections.

Diagnosing and treating strep throat

Distinguishing between viral sore throats and strep can be tricky. The main strep symptoms predict a positive throat culture only half of the time. Definitive diagnosis requires a positive result on one of two tests: a rapid strep test (based on recognition of strep antigens, substances that stimulate an immune response) or a throat culture. The rapid test gives results within fifteen to thirty minutes. Although you can trust a positive result to be correct, occasionally the result is falsely negative. This is why health practitioners ­usually follow the rapid test with cultures that give results within one to two days. While these tests may add a few dollars to your bill, they’re important for determining appropriate treatment.

If viral infection has caused your child’s sore throat, antibiotics will only wipe out the beneficial bacteria normally present in the body, thus eradicating one natural ­defense against infection. But if lab tests reveal strep, antibiotics can quickly improve your child’s symptoms-often within twenty-four to forty-eight hours. Doctors usually prescribe a ten-day course of penicillin, a relatively inexpensive antibiotic, for strep infections, but some newer drugs work just as effectively within five days. In addition to helping your child feel better sooner, the antibiotics can prevent complications such as scarlet or rheumatic fever. After twenty-four hours on antibiotics, your child is no longer contagious and can return to school if he feels up to it and if you feel it’s wise.

When antibiotic treatment for strep fails, it’s often because the patient didn’t take the antibiotic as prescribed. Because antibiotics-and antibacterial herbs-reduce symptoms within a day or two, it’s easy to forget about taking the rest of the medication or to think it’s no longer needed. Not completing the course of treatment, however, may contribute to developing antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the throat and perhaps a rebound infection with similar or worse symptoms. Be sure to give your child all of the antibiotic his doctor has prescribed. The same guideline holds for antimicrobial herbs such as echinacea, Oregon grape root, thyme, and others: Keep taking them for several days after symptoms disappear.

Strep complications

Kids with strep need antibiotics because the infection can spread from the throat to the tissues behind the throat, middle ears, sinuses, lymph nodes, and lungs. Two complications, rheumatic fever or glomerulonephritis, may occur one to three weeks after infection.

Rheumatic fever produces a variety of symptoms, including some combinations of fever, painful and swollen joints, a jerking movement known as chorea, heart inflammation, and skin rash. Sometimes it permanently damages the heart valves. Antibiotic treatment within a week of the onset of strep throat prevents it. Rheumatic fever is sneaky, though; sometimes it can appear after full treatment of strep, and in one-third of its cases, after very mild strep infections.

Glomerulonephritis is an inflammation of the kidneys that follows infection of the throat or skin by certain strains of strep bacteria. Signs include elevated blood pressure, blood and protein in the urine, and swollen eyelids, scrotum, feet, and legs. Antibiotic treatment of the initial strep infection has only a small preventive effect, but antibiotics play an important role in treating glomerulonephritis. Most children who develop this complication recover fully.

Herbal therapies for sore throats

Most studies of the infection-fighting power of herbs are testtube studies, meaning that researchers drop some of the herb or some of its chemical constituents on the bugs in a test tube and see whether they die. Positive results tell nothing about whether the herb gets from the stomach to the site of infection in sufficient con­centrations to kill microbes there, or in an ­effective form.

Such studies do suggest that applying particular herbal prep­arations to the in­fection site may do some good. With strep throat, you can do this by spraying the preparation onto the back of the throat or by gargling with herbal tea.

Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) is the best-researched herb for the colds and viruses that can cause sore throats. It enhances immunity by stimulating a type of cell called a macrophage to engulf and destroy invading microbes and to produce chemicals such as interferon that work against ­viruses. Echinacea helps activate our natural killer cells to combat viruses, bacteria, and other threats to our natural immunity.

Echinacea is best taken at the very first sign of a child’s cold, the early scratchy-throat and runny-nose stage. At that point, we give our children three to four cups of tea or the same number of doses of liquid echinacea per day, following label instructions for weight and age to calculate dose amounts. We continue to give that dose for several days, until all symptoms are gone.

The nice thing about echinacea is that it’s non-toxic and safe for children, though a rare child may be allergic to it. We find that echinacea glycerites have the best flavor, but capsules, tinctures, and tea can be used. Commercial sore-throat sprays with echinacea sometimes have a tingly, numbing effect that your child may find soothing.

Garlic ( Allium sativum) and onions both show lots of antiviral and antibacterial activity, including action against strep bacteria. Raw garlic has the strongest medicinal effect, but let’s get real: all but the most hardy kids will want their garlic cooked. Both garlic and onions make a good addition to broths and soups.

Elecampane ( Inula helenium) is antibacterial, relieves coughs, and soothes the inflammation of laryngitis; it also destroys herpes simplex II virus, and herbalists suspect that it may act against other viruses as well. It’s used as an expectorant for dry, irritable coughs and asthma. Elecampane is generally sold in root form, so you can decoct it by boiling and disguise its bitter taste with honey, unless your kids prefer capsules. Don’t take ele­­cam­pane during preg­­­­nancy; those with diabetes should avoid it as well.

Shiitake mushrooms ( Lentinula ed­­odes) are a powerful and tasty medicinal food. Just a small amount is effective; one to three lightly sauteed mushrooms per person, per meal, is an adequate dose. Shiitakes have enjoyed a tremendous resurgence since research confirmed their antiviral and immune-stimulating effects. Unless your kids hate mushrooms, shiitakes are an excellent addition to vegetable soups and stir-fry meals during sore-throat season.

Oregon grape root ( Mahonia aqui­folium) contains a main constituent, ber­berine, that specifically destroys many types of bacteria, ­including strep. Its taste is bitter, so your children will pro­­bably prefer it in capsules or glycerite form.

Usnea ( Usnea spp.) is the green-gray lichen that hangs from tree branches. Besides making great costumes, this strange-looking lichen works against strep throat and other upper respiratory infections. Usnea also serves as a broad-spectrum antibiotic, reduces inflammation, and stimulates the immune system. The strongest usnea products use alcohol to extract the herb’s constituents into a tincture, although traditionally it was decocted, or simmered, into a tea.

Lemon balm ( Mel­­­­­i­ssa officinalis) acts again­st a broad spectrum of disease-­causing microbes. In test-tube studies, its volatile oils destroy bacteria, including strep, plus a variety of viruses, including some that cause flu symptoms. You can add this sweet-tasting herb to any ­healing tea, or purchase it in a glycerite.

Adapted with permission from Kids, Herbs, & Health by Linda B. White, M.D. and Sunny Mavor, A.H.G. (Interweave Press, 1999).

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May 11, 2016

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The Best Natural Sore Throat Remedies for Your Kids \ Kimberly Snyder

When your kid’s complaining of a scratchy or sore throat, you don’t have to immediately run for the medicine cabinet or the pharmacy. Here are some of the best natural sore throat remedies for kids.

Why And When You Should Use Natural Remedies

Sure, medications may help your kid’s sore throat feel a little better. In some cases, it may even be necessary. If it’s nothing serious, you can use some of the best natural sore throat remedies for kids instead of giving them over-the-counter medications that can come with unappealing side effects.

Some of the medications available promise to fight sore throats and other cold symptoms to bring your child some relief, but some of the over-the-counter options include:

A lot of sore throat medications shouldn’t be given to children under a certain age (often it’s 4, 6, or 12), and accidental overdoses are possible and very dangerous. Even with the right dosage, there are potentially artificial dyes, corn syrup, and other ingredients you don’t want your child to consume. It’s pretty difficult to endanger your child with a natural solution. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind a little extra hot chocolate!

9 Natural Ways to Relieve Sore Throat Pain

Honey and Lemon

Don’t give this one to a child under one year old simply because they’re not supposed to have honey at that age. In a child under 12 months old, bacteria spores found in honey could cause infant botulism.

After the one-year mark, honey isn’t really a concern, and a drink made up of warm water, honey, and a splash of fresh lemon juice can do the trick. Try:

  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey
  • ½ Tbsp lemon juice

Honey is sweet, so kids love it. It’s there for more than the flavor, though. It’s antibacterial, contains antioxidants, and can coat the throat to offer some relief. The lemon’s there to break up mucus, and the warmth of the water will feel good on a scratchy throat.

Detox Tea

The detox tea may not go down as easily as lemon and honey for younger kids, but you can give it a try (maybe even add a little honey to sweeten it and take out the cayenne). Older kids may love it-either for the taste or because it makes them feel grown up to sit around drinking spicy tea. You can even give your kids this tea before they complain of a sore throat. If something’s going around at school but they haven’t caught it yet, use this tea to boost their immune system.

Gargling with Salt Water

Simple enough for kids around age 5 or 6 and up, right? You only need about ½ tsp of salt for a cup of warm water. Make sure the salt’s dissolved and have your child gargle with it and spit it out. If you often catch your kid goofing off in front of the sink, gargling when they should’ve been done brushing their teeth minutes ago, they’ll probably love the opportunity to try this natural sore throat remedy.

Peppermint (or Peppermint Tea)

Giving peppermint oil to a child or applying it directly to their skin can be harmful, but adding a little to a diffuser or steam (discussed below) could help relieve sore throat pain. Another option is peppermint tea, like Two Leaves Tea’s organic one. The peppermint has a soothing effect on the throat, the menthol works as an expectorant to break up mucus, and the warmth of the tea itself feels amazing on a scratchy throat. You can even sweeten it up with honey and increase the benefits in the cup.

Marshmallow Root

Marshmallow root, or althaea, has been used as food and medicinally for centuries. Though this is far from a quick fix (ideally, you steep it overnight, then strain and drink it) it coats the throat and reduces irritation. Use 1 Tbps of dry marshmallow root in a cup of boiling water.

Marshmallow root is generally accepted as safe for children, but it can interfere with some medications and affect blood sugar, so you should check with a health practitioner before going this route.

Echinacea and Sage

A mix of Echinacea and sage (in spray form) has been shown to be as good at relieving sore throats as a mix of chlorhexidine/lidocaine after three days of use. Both herbs have been used for warding off sickness for centuries. Echinacea boosts the immune system and helps fight off colds while sage helps break up mucus and acts as an antiseptic.

Only children 12 and over should use Echinacea, since it’s been linked to the risk of severe allergic reaction. If your kids are old enough, you can pick up the spray at the health food store or online.

Steam with Essential Oils

Add a little essential oil to hot water and let your child breathe in the steam. For best results, drape a towel over his or her head and the bowl. Try:

Of course this isn’t the best choice for younger children because of the proximity to very hot water and the risk of an accident. For more information about steam inhalations with essential oils, take a look at Untrained Housewife’s guide.

Lots of Water

Getting your child to drink enough water is always important, but that hydration is especially critical when they’re ill. Staying hydrated will help fight off the bacteria or wash away allergens that are causing the sore throat. The amount of water a child needs varies just like the amount for adults. It depends on activity level, temperature, and climate, and it’s also affected by the amount of watery fruits and vegetables in his or her diet. If the urine is mostly clear or light yellow, they’re probably getting enough water.

If your kid’s not a fan of plain water, you can always add a little flavor with crushed berries, cucumbers, lemon, orange, etc. Fill a pitcher with fresh water and add your fruit, then keep it in the refrigerator. The longer it’s there, the more flavorful it will become.

Vegan Hot Chocolate

What kid doesn’t like hot chocolate? The warmth from our mostly raw vegan hot chocolate recipe will soothe a sore throat without increasing mucus production.

Ending Sore Throats at Home

When the sore throat is just because of a cold or allergies, it’s usually okay to try some of the best natural sore throat remedies for kids before going any further. However, if there are additional symptoms or the sore throat persists, additional care may be needed.

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May 6, 2016

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Sore Throat and Other Throat Problems-Home Treatment

Sore Throat and Other Throat Problems – Home Treatment

Sore Throat and Other Throat Problems Guide

Home treatment is usually all that is needed for a sore throat caused by a virus. These tips may help you feel better.

  • Gargle with warm salt water to help reduce swelling and relieve discomfort:
    • Gargle at least once each hour with 1 tsp (5 g) of salt dissolved in 8 fl oz (240 mL) of warm water.
    • If you have postnasal drip, gargle often to prevent more throat irritation.
  • Prevent dehydration. Fluids may help thin secretions and soothe an irritated throat. Hot fluids, such as tea or soup, may help decrease throat irritation.
  • Use a vaporizer or humidifier in your bedroom.
    • Warm or cool mist may help you feel more comfortable by soothing the swollen air passages. It may also relieve hoarseness. But don’t let your room become uncomfortably cold or very damp.
    • Use a shallow pan of water to provide moisture in the air through evaporation if you don’t have a humidifier. Place the pan in a safe location where no one will trip on it or fall into it.
  • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products and avoid secondhand smoke. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
  • If you suspect that problems with stomach acid may be causing your sore throat, see the topic Heartburn.

Consider taking nonprescription medicine for your symptoms. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label .

  • Use nonprescription throat lozenges.
    • Medicated throat lozenges or sprays have medicine (local anesthetic) that numbs the throat to soothe pain.
    • Hard candy may also help.
    • Think about buying the sugar-free kind.
  • Use a decongestant or a steroid nasal spray if you have a stuffy nose (congestion).
Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
  • Carefully read and follow all directions on the medicine bottle and box.
  • Do not take more than the recommended dose.
  • Do not take a medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past.
  • If you have been told to avoid a medicine, call your doctor before you take it.
  • If you are or could be pregnant, do not take any medicine other than acetaminophen unless your doctor has told you to.
  • Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 unless your doctor tells you to.

More home treatment can be found in topics related to sore throat.

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May 5, 2016

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Home Remedies for Sore Throat and Cough

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By Dr. Mercola

Millions of people suffer from sore throat and strep throat each year. In the U.S., sore throat is often one of the first signs that you’re coming down with a cold, especially if a runny nose and cough soon follow.

In most cases you don’t need to see your physician for a sore throat, and fewer than 1 in 10 people actually do. Even so, sore throat is the second most common acute infection seen by family practitioners.

In 85 percent to 95 percent of cases, sore throats in adults are caused by viruses.

Only about 10 percent are due to bacteria, including group A β-hemolytic streptococcus, while allergies, acid reflux, and even dry weather can also cause a sore throat. If you feel a sore throat coming on, you needn’t suffer through it.

There are many natural remedies that can not only take the edge off but also help with healing. As a bonus, many of the remedies that follow work for both coughs and sore throats because they tackle the underlying viral infection.

11 Sore Throat and Cough Remedies

  1. Hydrogen Peroxide
  2. At the first sign of a cold, which is often behind a sore throat, pour a capful of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide in each ear. This works remarkably well at resolving respiratory infections, like colds and flu.

    You will hear some bubbling, which is completely normal, and possibly feel a slight stinging sensation. Wait until the bubbling and stinging subside (usually 5 to 10 minutes), then drain onto a tissue and repeat with the other ear.

  3. Vitamin C
  4. Vitamin C is best known for its benefits for infectious diseases. Research published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that regular supplementation with vitamin C had a ‘modest but consistent effect in reducing the duration of common cold symptoms.’

    Kiwi fruits are exceptionally high in vitamin C, along with vitamin E, folate, polyphenols, and carotenoids. Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that a kiwi-packed diet reduced the duration and severity of upper respiratory tract infections symptoms in older individuals.

    Other foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, red bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, papaya, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.

  5. Apple Cider Vinegar
  6. The antibacterial properties in apple cider vinegar may be useful for sore throats. Gargle with a mixture of about one-third cup of apple cider vinegar mixed with warm water, as needed.

  7. Raw Garlic and Oil of Oregano
  8. Garlic is packed with immune-boosting, anti-microbial compounds that may fight off viruses. Take a clove or two and chew them, letting the juice get into the back of your throat, then swallow. You can do the same with oil of oregano.

  9. Lemons
  10. You can use lemons multiple ways to soothe a sore throat. Try cutting a lemon in half and sprinkling it with natural unprocessed salt and black pepper, then sucking it.

    You can also make a potent ‘lemonade’ out of fresh lemon juice, water, stevia, and cayenne pepper (this will help promote detoxification too).

  11. Herbal Remedies
  12. Herbs such as eucalyptus, peppermint, anise, slippery elm, and fennel (and their oils) act as cough suppressants. Sipping an herbal tea or using the essential oils (in a diffuser or hot compress for instance) may help relieve your cough, while Echinacea and sage may relieve a sore throat.

    One study found an echinacea/sage throat spray worked just as well as a chlorhexidine/lidocaine spray in relieving sore throats among children.

  13. Licorice Root
  14. Gargling with licorice root, a traditional sore throat remedy, may soothe your throat. Look for it in liquid extract form, which has been shown to lead to less severe post-operative sore throat.

  15. Raw Honey
  16. Raw honey has antiviral and antibacterial properties, and may also boost your immune system. It has also been found to relieve symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection in children.

  17. Chicken Soup
  18. Chicken soup made with homemade bone broth is excellent for speeding healing and recuperation from illness. You’ve undoubtedly heard the old adage that chicken soup will help cure a cold, and there’s scientific support for such a statement.

    For instance, it contains immune-stimulating carnosine to help fight off infection.

    In addition to the anti-inflammatory benefits of bone broth, chicken contains a natural amino acid called cysteine, which can thin the mucus in your lungs and make it less sticky so you can expel it more easily.

    Keep in mind that processed, canned soups will not work as well as the homemade version made from slow-cooked bone broth. If combating a cold, make the soup hot and spicy with plenty of pepper.

    The spices will trigger a sudden release of watery fluids in your mouth, throat, and lungs, which will help thin down the respiratory mucus so it’s easier to expel. Black peppercorns also contain high amounts of piperine, a compound with fever-reducing and pain-relieving properties.

  19. Salt Water Gargle
  20. One of the simplest ways to soothe a sore throat is to gargle with natural salt, which helps kill bacteria, ease sore throat pain, and prevents upper respiratory tract infections. Try a solution of one-half teaspoon salt in one-half cup of warm water.

  21. Colloidal Silver
  22. Last but not least, colloidal silver (silver that’s suspended in a small amount of liquid) has long been used as an antimicrobial agent.

    Researchers from Brigham Young University tested colloidal silver against five pathogens, including streptococci, and found it worked as well as commonly used antibiotics.

    The researchers noted the silver solution ‘exhibits an equal or broader spectrum of activity than any one antibiotic tested’ and could be ‘effectively used as an alternative to antibiotics.’ In this case, the silver could be especially useful for cases of strep throat.

Herbal Snuff Recipe (If You Dare)

The Epoch Times recently shared a bold ‘herbal snuff’ recipe that is meant to be snorted, and can also be applied directly to your tonsils. It’s not for the faint of heart, but the collection of ingredients just may send your infection packing:

Herbal Snuff RecipeIngredients

  • 7 parts goldenseal root powder
  • 7 parts bayberry bark powder
  • 1 part cayenne pepper powder
  • 1 part garlic powder

Method:

Grind up finely, mix well, and snort.

If you prefer an option you can drink instead, try the Epoch Times’ Total Tonic recipe. For best results, swish it around your mouth and gargle with it before swallowing.

Total Tonic RecipeIngredients

  • 1 handful of garlic cloves
  • 1 handful of chopped onions
  • 1 handful of chopped ginger
  • 1 handful of chopped horseradish
  • ½ handful of chopped habanero peppers
  • Raw apple cider vinegar

Method

  1. Put all of the ingredients in a blender, cover with an inch or two of organic raw apple cider vinegar, and blend.
  2. Consume the mash right away, or wait two weeks and use it as a tincture.

Have You Tried a Neti Pot?

Using a neti pot (a small, teapot-like pot) is a simple technique to safely cleanse your sinuses of irritants. It may help with nasal congestion and may also be useful for relieving cold symptoms. The technique itself is very simple. To start, you’ll need:

  • All-natural Himalayan salt or sea salt (avoid using processed salt)
  • Sterilized water
  • Neti pot or bulb syringe
  • Towel or washcloth

Be sure that you avoid tap water, as it could potentially be contaminated with brain-eating amoeba or other contaminants. Only use water that is:

  • Distilled
  • Sterilized
  • Previously boiled for one minute (at elevations above 6,500 feet, boil for three minutes) and left to cool
  • Filtered using a filter with an absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller

The technique, outlined below, may seem unusual at first. However, once learned, you will quickly realize how beneficial it can be for sinus problems.

  1. Locate a workable container. The neti pot is specially designed with a spout that fits comfortably in one nostril. Alternatives you can use include a bulb syringe, a small flower watering pot, a turkey baster, or just a teacup (though the latter will be messier).
  2. Fill the container with lukewarm sterile salt water. The salt-to-water ratio is 1 teaspoon sea salt to 1 pint (2 cups) water.
  3. Have some tissues within reach for this next part. Over a sink, tilt your head forward so you are looking directly down toward the sink. Insert the spout into your right nostril. It is important that you breathe through your mouth. Turn your head to the right and let water move into the right nostril and exit the left nostril.
  4. Normally, you will feel the water as it passes through your sinuses. It is fine if some of the water drains into your mouth. Simply spit it out and adjust the tilt of your head.

  5. After using a cup of water, repeat the above procedure for the other nostril.
  6. To finish, expel any remaining water by quickly blowing air out in both open nostrils 15 times over the sink. Avoid the temptation to block off one nostril, as doing so may force water into your eustachian tube.
  7. When you’re finished, rinse the neti pot (or other device) thoroughly with sterile water (the same water you used to fill the pot), then leave it to air dry completely.

You can perform this nasal irrigation up to four times a day until your symptoms improve, which may take three to six months if you’re facing a chronic sinus infection. Generally, however, if you follow the instructions carefully and continue the routine until all your symptoms resolve, it is a very effective, and safe, technique.

A Healthy Immune System Will Cut Your Risk of Sore Throats and Cough

The key to preventing colds, sore throats, and coughs – and recovering from them quickly – is to maintain a strong immune system. This includes optimizing your diet, avoiding sugar, optimizing your vitamin D level, getting enough sleep and exercise, managing your stress, and practicing proper hand-washing technique.

Detailed instructions that will help set you the right path can be found in my optimized nutrition plan, which is focused around real food. Importantly, if you feel yourself coming down with a cold or flu, avoid all sugar, grains, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods.

Sugar is particularly damaging to your immune system, which needs to be ramped up, not suppressed, in order to combat an emerging infection. Foods that may help fight strep throat, sore throat, and even coughs which strengthens your immune response include the following:

Fermented foods help ‘reseed’ your gut with beneficial bacteria (examples include raw kefir, kimchi, miso, pickles, and sauerkraut)

Coconut oil contains lauric acid that your body converts into monolaurin, a monoglyceride with the ability to destroy lipid-coated viruses, including influenza, HIV, herpes, and measles, as well as gram-negative bacteria

Raw organic eggs from pastured chickens

Apple cider vinegar has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties. It may also help boost your immune function by raising alkalinity in your body.

Organic grass-fed beef is high in vitamins A and E, omega-3 fatty acids, beta-carotene, zinc, and CLA. CLA (conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid), an immune enhancer, is three to five times higher in grass-fed animals than grain-fed animals.

Garlic is a potent antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal agent. As mentioned, ideally consume it raw, and crush it just before eating.

Raw, grass-fed organic milk contains beneficial bacteria and fats that prime your immune system. It’s also a good source of vitamin A and zinc. Pasteurized dairy products are best avoided, as they may actually promote respiratory problems such a recurring colds, congestion, and bronchitis.

Organic vegetables. Dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, collard greens, and Swiss chard contain powerful antioxidants, flavonoids, carotenoids, and vitamin C – all of which help protect against infections.

Ideally, opt for organic locally grown veggies that are in season, and consider eating a fair amount of them raw. Juicing is an excellent way to get more greens into your diet.

Herbal Remedies for Coughs, Colds, and Sore Throat

At first signs of a cold, you could also boost your immune function by taking a supplement or extract. The following are examples of immune-boosting herbs and supplements that may be helpful:

Zinc: Research on zinc has shown that when taken within one day of the first symptoms, zinc can cut down the time you have a cold by about 24 hours. Zinc was also found to greatly reduce the severity of symptoms.

Suggested dosage is up to 50 mg/day. Zinc was not recommended for anyone with an underlying health condition, like lowered immune function, asthma, or chronic illness.

Curcumin, the pigment that gives turmeric its yellow-orange color, is known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties.

Olive leaf extract: Ancient Egyptians and Mediterranean cultures used it for a variety of health-promoting uses and it is widely known as a natural, non-toxic immune system builder.

Propolis: A bee resin and one of the most broad-spectrum antimicrobial compounds in the world; propolis is also the richest source of caffeic acid and apigenin, two very important compounds that aid in immune response.

Oregano Oil: The higher the carvacrol concentration, the more effective it is. Carvacrol is the most active antimicrobial agent in oregano oil.

Medicinal mushrooms, such as shiitake, reishi, and turkey tail have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.

A tea made from a combination of elderflower, yarrow, boneset, linden, peppermint, and ginger; drink it hot and often for combating a cold or flu. It causes you to sweat, which is helpful for eradicating a virus from your system.

Echinacea is one of the most widely used herbal medications in Europe to combat colds and infections. One review of more than 700 studies found that using Echinacea can reduce your risk of catching cold by as much as 58 percent.

Elder flower extract: Rich in vitamin C and a wide range of valuable flavonoids, including anthocyanins and quercetin, elder flower has been traditionally used as a tonic to boost immunity.

It is also widely known to promote lung and bronchial tract health.

Elderberry: In one study, elderberry syrup reduced the severity of flu symptoms, and shortened their duration by about four days. Elderberry extract is also known for inducing sweating, and helps relieve congestion.

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Apr 4, 2016

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Soothing Your Child’s Cold

How to Soothe Your Child’s Cold

There isn’t a cure, but there’s still a lot you can do to make your child feel better when he’s in the grips of a sneezy, drippy, and all-round miserable cold.

First Steps for Relief

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. Make sure he rests and gets plenty to drink.

When your child drinks extra fluids, it thins his mucus, which helps it to drain. Drinking can also ease his sore throat. Try a variety of fluids, such as warm water or tea with lemon and honey, ice pops, or chicken soup.

Also try a humidifier in his room. Moist, warm air improves breathing and can ease a dry, sore throat.

If your kid still isn’t comfortable, especially at night, should you try children’s cold medicine? It depends how old he is. Don’t give them to your child if he’s under age 4.

Many over-the-counter (OTC) cold medicines have more than one ingredient, including some that your child may not need. And some may include a pain reliever, too. If you don’t read labels carefully, you may give your child too much medicine.

Always ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about cold medicine for your child. Read the packaging label carefully before giving your child OTC medicine.

Decongestants

You’ve got several choices. Nose drops such as Afrin are approved by the FDA for children age 6 and older. Neo-Synephrine is OK’d by the FDA kids 12 and older.

They can improve your child’s stuffy nose. But don’t use them for more than 2 to 3 days. If you do, it can make your child more congested.

Decongestants that your child takes by mouth include drugs such as pseudoephedrine. He may have side effects such as being hyper or trouble falling asleep, so don’t give them at bedtime. Unfortunately, these medications rarely work for more than an hour or two.

Saltwater nose drops and sprays, which you can buy at a drugstore or supermarket, are just as effective as decongestants. They don’t have any side effects, and you can give them to young children.

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Feb 18, 2016

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Natural Remedies for Sore Throats

A sore throat refers to pain, itchiness, or irritation of the throat. You may have difficulty swallowing food and liquids, and the pain may get worse when you try to swallow. Throat pain is the primary symptom of a sore throat.

Even if a sore throat isn’t serious enough to warrant a trip to the doctor, it’s still painful and may interfere with a good night’s sleep. Fortunately, there are a number of at-home remedies you can use to soothe the pain and irritation. These include:

Allergies, dry air, and outdoor pollution, as well as illnesses like the common cold, flu, measles, chickenpox, mononucleosis (mono), and the croup, can all cause sore throats. These illnesses are all viral infections that will not respond to antibiotics.

Bacterial infections are responsible for only a small percentage of sore throats, including those linked with strep throat, whooping cough, and diphtheria. Most doctors recommend calling a doctor only in cases of severe sore throat accompanied by a fever, or when swollen tonsils block the throat.

Licorice root has long been used to treat sore throats, and recent research shows it is effective when mixed with water to create a gargle solution. A 2009 study, for instance, found that it soothed throats and diminished coughing after surgery.

More research is needed on slippery elm, but it has long been a traditional remedy for sore throat.

Slippery elm has a mucus-like substance in it. When mixed with water, this substance forms a slick gel that coats and soothes. To use, pour boiling water over powdered bark, stir, and drink. You may also find that slippery elm lozenges help.

Honey mixed in tea or simply taken straight up is a common household remedy for a sore throat. One study found that honey was even more effective at taming nighttime coughs than common cough suppressants.

Other studies have also shown that honey is an effective wound healer, which means it may help speed healing for sore throats.

Gargling salt water is a known treatment for sore throats. According to the University of Connecticut, gargling with warm salt water can help soothe a sore throat and break down secretions. It’s also known to help kill bacteria in the throat.

A salt water solution consisting of 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water can help reduce swelling and keep the throat clean. This should be done every three hours or so.

Like slippery elm, marshmallow root contains a mucus-like substance that coats and soothes a sore throat. Simply add some of the dried root to a cup of boiling water to make tea. Sipping the tea two to three times a day may help ease throat pain.

Peppermint is known for its ability to freshen breath. However, sprays containing peppermint oil may also relieve sore throats. Peppermint has menthol, which helps thin mucus and calm sore throats and coughs.

A 2008 study reported that peppermint contains anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, which may help encourage healing.

While the salt water gargle is more commonly used, gargling baking soda mixed with salt water can help to relieve a sore throat as well. Gargling this solution can kill bacteria and prevent both yeast and fungi growth.

The National Cancer Institute recommends gargling and gently swishing a combination of 1 cup warm water, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. They recommend repeating this every three hours as needed.

Fenugreek has a large number of health benefits, and it comes in a variety of forms. You can eat fenugreek seeds, use the oil topically, or drink fenugreek tea. Fenugreek tea is a natural remedy for sore throats.

Studies have demonstrated the healing powers of fenugreek. Its anti-inflammatory effects can relieve pain, and its antibacterial properties can kill off bacteria that cause irritation or inflammation. Fenugreek is also an effective antifungal.

Chamomile tea is naturally soothing, and is one of the oldest herbs to be used medicinally for conditions like sore throats. It’s often used for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and astringent properties.

Some studies have shown that inhaling chamomile steam can help relieve symptoms of a cold, including a sore throat. Drinking chamomile tea can offer these same benefits. It can also stimulate the immune system, aiding your body in fighting off whatever caused your sore throat in the first place.

While sore throats in infants and young children definitely aren’t fun, the good news is that they’re rarely the sign of a medical emergency on their own. However, treating sore throats may be different for infants and children. Some tips and remedies for sore throats in young children include:

  • Adding cool mist or a humidifier to your child’s room can help to relieve pain, thanks to moisture in the air.
  • Honey shouldn’t be given to children under 1 year old.
  • Keep children hydrated by encouraging them to drink as much as possible. Avoid juices or popsicles with lots of citrus.

Preventing a sore throat involves staying away from those who are sick with an infectious illness like the flu or strep throat, and washing your hands frequently. You can also avoid spicy or particularly acidic foods, and stay away from chemical fumes or smoke that could cause inflammation.

When natural remedies just aren’t cutting it, there are several over-the-counter treatment options. Ibuprofen can be an effective pain reliever. Follow it with a full glass of water while sitting or standing up so it doesn’t stay in the throat and cause irritation. Acetaminophen can also be effective, and can be given to young children.

In addition to pain-relieving oral treatments, over-the-counter options like lozenges or numbing sprays can provide relief.

Other potential options

Other potential sore throat soothers include eucalyptus, which you’ll likely find in natural throat lozenges and cough syrups. Trying out these various natural remedies – while making sure to drink lots of fluids and get your rest – may help you feel better more quickly, and save you a trip to the doctor’s office.

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Feb 18, 2016

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22 Natural Sore Throat Remedies to Help Soothe the Pain

A sore throat can be a royal pain in the uh…throat. Like blinking, we never notice how much we swallow until we start paying attention to it, and when it hurts like nobody’s business, it’s kind of difficult not to pay attention. But before you go getting down about how long you’re going to have to suffer with it, consider taking some action-relief may be close than you think. Below are 22 simple at home sore throat remedies that will help you get started on naturally soothing the ache.


Note: Do not give honey on its own or otherwise to children under the age of 1 year.

1. Gargle With Warm Salt Water

When your Grandmother told you to gargle with salt water, she knew what she was talking about. Gargling with salt water isn’t an old wives tale-it’s about one of the closest to a cures for a sore throat you can get.

When our throats hurt, regardless of what causes it, it’s because the cells in the mucous membranes have become swollen and inflamed. By gargling with salt water you decrease the swelling, as salts primary function is to draw out water, which in turn shrinks the swollen cell and eases the pain. It also helps wash away the excess mucous and allows your stuffy nose (if you have one) to drain properly.

Directions
Heat water until it’s warm, but not hot. Thoroughly mix in salt. Gargle. Repeat 3 throughout the day as needed.

Any more than that and you risk drying out healthy soft tissue and making things worse.


2. Make And Enjoy A Hot Toddy (or have someone make it for you.)

Typically a Hot Toddy helps a sore throat -particularly one accompanied by a cold- for 2 reasons. The honey and lemon soothes your throat, while the alcohol helps you sleep. I personally leave the alcohol out of mine as my mother did when she made her version for me growing up. Whether or not you use it is up to you, but keep in mind that steering clear of alcohol when you’re under the weather is usually best.

You will need…
-2 oz. bourbon or whiskey (optional, not recommended)
-1 tablespoon of honey, or more to taste
-4 ounces hot water
-1 teaspoon lemon juice
-1 slice fresh lemon (optional)

Directions
If you’re using it, pour the alcohol into a large mug. Add the honey, and leave the spoon in the mug. Pour the hot water into the mug, making sure it gets the last bit of honey off the spoon. Add the lemon juice and stir well. Place the mug in the microwave and heat until its nice and hot, but not boiling (about 1 minute.) Add the lemon slice, and enjoy.

3. Mix up an ACV drink

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is probably right up there with garlic (its unfortunate the things that make us better can’t taste delicious) but some people swear by it. Its high levels of acidity can kill bacteria quite efficiently, and when mixed with honey it can soothe the soreness in your throat as well.

Directions
Mix the ACV and honey into very warm water. Drink it while it’s still warm!

OR

If you don’t want to swallow it (and it does have a strong taste) try 2 tablespoons of ACV and mix with ½ cup warm water. Gargle once a day.


4. Suck on Garlic

Yup, it sounds repulsive, and you probably don’t want to go on a dinner date right afterwards, but garlic is a natural remedy that can kick a sore throat right in it’s painfully swollen tush. The reason lies in the garlic’s allicin, a compound that can kill the bacteria that causes strep and fight the germs causing pain and irritation.

You will need…
-1 fresh clove of garlic, sliced in half

Directions
Place 1 piece of garlic in each cheek, and suck on it like a cough drop. Occasionally crush your teeth against it to release the allicin- there’s no need to actually bite it. Try this once daily.


5. Have A Marshmallow

Don’t get too excited-I am referring to the herb called Marshmallow, or Marshmallow Root. It has been used with a fair amount of success for several centuries in North America and Europe as it contains mucilage, which helps coat and soothe mucus membranes in the throat.

Note that if you have diabetes, you should consult your doctor before using Marshmallow Root, as it may lower your blood sugar.

Directions
Put one tablespoon of dried root in a mug and pour boiling water over it. Cover and steep for 30-60 minutes before straining and drinking.

6. Steam It Out

Steam can ease a sore throat-particularly one that hurts due to dryness-shorten its duration, and make it easier to breathe if you’re congested. You don’t have to head to your gym’s sauna/steam room to get the treatment either-there are ways to use steam as a remedy without leaving the comfort of your home.

You will need…
-1 medium to large bowl
-Enough hot water to fill your bowl about halfway
-1 bath towel or a towel of similar size
-Eucalyptus oil (optional)

Directions
Boil a pot of water and pour it into your bowl. Lean over the bowl so that you can fully inhale the rising steam-you don’t have to stick your face right up to it. Drape the towel over your head to create a tent for the steam. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil if you’d like to make it more soothing. If you’re worried about frightening someone who walks in on a mysterious towel-draped creature snuffling and sniffling over a bowl of steaming water, taking a hot shower and letting the bathroom steam up can provide some relief as well.

7. Kick It With Cayenne

Drinking warm water with cayenne can actually make you feel better. This is another one of those really funky sounding home remedies, but again, a lot of people swear by it. Dumping something involving hot peppers in any way, shape, or form down your already searing throat seems counterintuitive to helping it, but there’s a method to the madness. Cayenne (and other hot peppers) have a chemical compound called capsaicin that temporarily relieves pain, much like Advil or aspirin does. It accomplishes this by hindering something called substance P, which is what transmits pain signals to your brain. Thus, the discomfort from your sore throat is diluted when coming in contact with the Cayenne-and quickly to boot.

Directions
Add 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper to 1 cup of boiling water. Stir in the honey, and wait until the mixture is warm-but not hot-before drinking throughout the day as needed. Make sure to stir it frequently, as the Cayenne tends to settle. If you’re sensitive to spice, reduce the pepper to as little as 1/8 of a teaspoon.


8. Drink Licorice Root Tea

By drinking licorice root tea you can naturally get some relief for your sore throat. The anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties of licorice root help reduce swelling and irritation, and soothe the mucus membranes in your throat. You can buy tea with licorice in it, or brew up your own. The recipe below has a few extra ingredients to make this at home remedy for sore throats taste extra yummy and comforting.

You will need…
-1 cup chopped dry licorice root
-1/2 cup cinnamon chips
-2 tablespoons whole cloves
-1/2 cup chamomile flowers

Directions
Mix everything in a bowl thoroughly. Store in a glass jar away from light and heat if you wish to save some for later. To prepare the tea, combine 3 heaping tablespoons of the tea mix and 2.5 cups of cold water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, than reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour into a large mug through a strainer, sip, and enjoy.

Recipe courtesy of Nourishing Days ( www.nourishingdays.com)

9. Get Your Rest & Fluids

It’s an obvious one, but its repeated so often for a reason, so don’t brush it off. Combine it with other natural remedies, and it may boost their effectiveness as well. Make sure you’re letting your body rest, and drink as much fluid as you can!

Directions
Get a good book or order your favorite movie. Get cozy, rest, and drink, drink, drink!

10. Make Baking Soda ‘Tea’

Baking soda is often times touted as a simple, straightforward, and effective home remedy for sore throats. The reason? Baking soda has antibacterial properties, which could help to kill off the nasties camping out in your throat. It also has a slightly Alkaline PH-this soothes minor skin irritations such as bug bites and rashes, and it will act similarly on the swollen tissues in your throat. Toss in some salt (see #1 for details on salt) and you have a mixture that’s set up for soothing success.

Directions
Heat the water until it is very warm, but not so warm that you can’t drink it. Mix in ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon or a little less baking soda, stir, and test the temperature. Pour some of the liquid into your throat, let it sit for a moment, then gargle. Do this twice in a row 3 times daily.

11. Hunker In With Honeysuckle

There’s a reason why there has recently been a resurgence of the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for both humans and animals alike-many of the natural remedies really work. TCM has the effects and properties of various plants down to a science, and while medical treatment has changed, those same plants remain working just as well as they did way back when they were discovered. Blessed with a name so tasty you just want to cram it into your mouth, Honeysuckle is one of those plants. It is extremely effective in easing coughs, sore throats, and flu symptoms. Thanks to its bacterial fighting properties, it can help ward off the nasty buggers in your system, and keep them from coming back. On top of that, it flushes toxins out of your bloodstream, and works as an anti-inflammatory to help reduce the swelling tissue in your throats. To enjoy its benefits, just brew yourself a fresh cup of piping hot tea.

Directions
If you’re lucky enough to live by wild Honeysuckle, pick two cups of the flowers and leaves in equal parts. If you don’t grow it or live by wild plants, get them at a store-it can be hard to come by sometimes, TCM shops are your best option. Once you have your leaves and flowers, simmer them in one quart of boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain, and add honey/lemon if you like.

12. Chomp Those Cloves

Cloves have been used for centuries, particularly in Traditional Chinese Medicine, but they aren’t used nearly as much nowadays. Still, cloves were often used to help ease pain in the mouth (such as toothaches) and throat. At one time dentists even commonly used it as an anesthetic, and some still do today. The reason they can be successful as a pain killer is because of the substance eugenol they contain. Eugenol can be a natural pain killer, and can act as an anti-bacterial as well. Chewing on whole cloves will slowly release that eugenol, and hopefully numb the pain in your throat. Just try to contain your excitement at finally having an excuse to go chow down on cloves, ok?

Note: Do not substitute clove oil for whole cloves, as it may result in stomach upset.

Directions
Pop a clove or two into your mouth and suck on it until it becomes soft, and then chew as if it were gum. Swallowing them afterwards is not harmful. Use as needed.


13. Get Help From Hydrogen

Oh yes, it was the mortal enemy of any child who fell off their bike a lot, or did anything that resulted in some nasty skinned knees. You’re hurt, you’re upset that you fell, and then your mom carries you kicking and screaming into the bathroom and dumps Hydrogen Peroxide all over your cuts. Not cool mom. Of course she was correct in her actions though-it does kill off of bacteria and clean out cuts to stave off infection. With that in mind, we can broaden its use to helping a sore throat in the form of a gargle.

Directions
Pour one cap-full of Hydrogen Peroxide into your drinking cup. Warm up some water (don’t make it hot) and dilute the Peroxide with one capful of warm water.

Gargle thoroughly before spitting the liquid back out. If you can’t stand the taste, a little honey won’t hurt.


14. Avoid Irritants

It sounds like stating the obvious to say ‘avoid irritants,’ but many of us are stoic creatures, and we’ll fight whatever ails us and crawl to work, soccer practice, class, or whatever it is to keep life on track. If you truly must go out, make a very conscious effort steer clear of fumes, smog, and smoke-more than usual. Breathing that stuff in will irritate the soft tissues at the back of your throat that already have enough to deal with. While lozenges can help stimulate saliva, avoid those with lots of sugar-same goes for hard candies. Caffeine and alcohol can hinder our body’s ability to fight off infection, and prolong your sore throat, so avoid them if you can. Do your best to rest up, and remember to take care of yourself (or have someone take care of you!)

Directions
Ring thy bell!

15. Do Pomegranate Power-Ups

The list of all the beneficial stuff contained in pomegranates is off the charts-it has something to help just about anything. Focusing in on sore throats, pomegranates can help fight off infection with anti-oxidants, while they also contain astringents. An astringent is a substance that causes contraction of body tissue, so they will help the swelling in your throat go down, in turn diminishing the pain. You can utilize these properties in a few ways, either by making tea and gargling or drinking it, or gargling/drinking juice. The tea takes a bit more work to make, so I suggest getting the ingredients prepared ahead of time so you don’t have to do much when you’re ill.

OR

-1 (or more) bottles of pomegranate juice-try to find organic/ones with less sugar

Directions
To make tea, peel the pomegranate and collect its rinds. Boil the rinds for 15 minutes or so in 3-4 cups of water (time and water amount can be adjusted to your preferences.) Drink the tea, or gargle for at least 30 seconds. You can get the rinds in advance, and then dry them in an airtight jar away from direct sunlight. That way, you have them on hand for when you get sick. If you don’t want to make the tea, gargling or drinking pomegranate juice at least 3 times a day can help as well.


16. Make Cozy Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is a natural remedy for sore throats. Its components kill off bacteria, while it works as a natural pain-killer. It also has anti-spasmodic properties (aka it helps the muscles relax) which can help you rest. Overall, it’s one soothing wonder herb.

Directions
When the water has boiled, pour into your mug and add the tea bag. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Add a bit of honey and lemon if you like. Drink as needed.


17. Drink That Ginger

Ginger has a pretty intense-even spicy- flavor, so why would you want to ingest it when your throat is already tender and sore? It just so happens that ginger is packed with properties that will chase away the pain. It works brilliantly as a cold remedy as well, and colds and sore throats often go hand in hand. It’s an expectorant, which means it helps loosen and expel mucus from your respiratory system (including the extra mucus in your throat.) It does this in part because its aroma opens up your sinuses. It also boosts your circulation, increasing oxygen to your cells, flushing out toxins, and speeding up the healing process. To top it off it acts as an anti-inflammatory, and fights off bad bacteria too. To top the top off, you can enjoy all of ginger’s benefits in a warm, soothing, cup of tea.

You will need…

-Fresh ginger root, 2 inches long
-Honey
-A sharp knife or vegetable peeler
-A cutting board
-2-3 cups of water
-Wax paper

Directions
Wash ginger root thoroughly, then peel. Slice into small pieces, place on a cutting board, and cover it with a piece of wax paper. Crush it using a mallet, the flat side of the knife, anything-it’s not a science, a rock from your garden would probably do if it suits your fancy. If you don’t want to bother crushing, you can slice it into very small chunks after peeling. Boil your water over medium heat and then add the ginger. Let it boil for 3-5 minutes, then take a cup and enjoy it piping hot-add some honey or other flavorings if you like. You can strain it before drinking if you don’t want little bits of ginger at the bottom of your cup. Just make sure you enjoy it while it’s nice and warm!


18. Gargle Sage

Sage was used medicinally for a long, long, time well before it entered the culinary scene. Some people say it has something to cure a little bit of everything, but we’re just focusing on how to use it as an effective natural remedy for your sore throat. Sage is an astringent, meaning it causes body tissues to contract, which means that it can help with swelling. Since the tissues at the back of your throat get swollen when you’re ill, you can see why sage could be of use. The phenolic acids in sage are also known to fight and kill off the bad bacteria that could be the culprit or a contributor to your symptoms. In this case, a good way to use the sage is in the form of a gargle.

Directions
Boil your water, and then pour it over the sage in a mug. Cover and steep for 20 minutes. Strain, add salt, and gargle as needed.


19. Avoid Milk, Or Drink It

Warm milk might seem like the perfect thing to ease your throat. It’s soothing, non-irritating, and relaxing-plus, it’s getting fluid into your body. While not true for all sore throats, if your pain comes along with congestion, it may be best to steer clear of milk. The reason is because milk coats the throat, which already has excess mucus thanks to your illness. It may also increase mucus production which, like coating the throat, would not help at all. On the other hand, if you have a very dry or raw sore throat, some milk and honey may be just the thing to help soothe it.

20. Keep Food And Drink Temperatures Moderate

A huge glass of ice water might sound fabulous, but in reality, the temperature can sometimes make the throat ache more. Same thing goes for hot-while teas and soups are often called for ‘hot,’ err more on the side of ‘warm.’ Liquid that is too hot will just burn and cause more pain. By letting things come to room temperature or keeping them cool rather than cold, or warm rather than hot, you can avoid aggravating your throat further (sadly, this means popsicles and ice cream may be best avoided.)

21. Spice Things Up

Truly spicy foods should be avoided when your throat hurts, but one ‘spicy’ home remedy that helps relieve some of the pain of a sore throat (one that is the result of a cold) is cinnamon. It’s extremely high in anti-oxidants, and its aroma often times helps to open up the sinuses, which lessens the production of mucus and helps you breathe a little easier. There are some pretty straightforward remedies using cinnamon out there, including ones that involve mixing cinnamon powder straight into water. To get the best of both taste and health benefits, using ‘cinnamon water’ is a great way to go about achieving a yummy drink that will also help you feel better.

Directions
Bring water to a boil and add the cinnamon. Boil for about 2-3 minutes, and then remove the cinnamon. Steep your choice of herbal or green tea in the cinnamon water, drink, and enjoy.

*Chamomile tea steeped in cinnamon water with honey to taste would be a fabulous combo to beat off the sickness.*


22. Mix & Match

There is obviously a theme to the kinds of ingredients used in the home remedies for sore throats. If what they are, and know what’s causing the sore throat, you can try different combinations to see what works for you. There’s a surprising amount of variation, even on things as simple as salt water gargles! Some examples- some people will suggest simply lemon juice and honey, while some say honey and warm water, or others say combine all three and then add a pinch of cayenne.

If none of the remedies above seem to do it for you, below are 5 ingredients that we found to be the most prevalent in helping a sore throat, be it on their own, combined, or in another form.

1. Salt: It draws the water out of your swollen mucus membranes, reducing swelling and pain.

2. Honey: Comforting and soothing honey helps coat the throat when it is dry, scratchy and painful. It also kills bacteria. It should not be given to children under 2 years of age.

3. Lemon: Cuts through unwanted mucus, kills bacteria, and can help dull the pain in sore spots. Often used with honey.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar: It’s a major germ-buster, and while it may seem counter-intuitive, ACV can really help relieve your sore throat.

5. Baking Soda: Due to its PH levels it can help soothe minor skin irritations, and also helps rid your body of bad bacteria that could be lurking about and making things worse.

Knowing what causes the sore throat can allow you to know how to treat it. Below are a few of the biggest culprits.

* Swelling: The swelling of the tissues in your throat cause pain-look for something that works as an anti-inflammatory or astringent.

* Dryness: Find something that will coat your throat, but NOT create more mucus.

* Bacteria: Sore throats can be cause by bacteria. Find something that naturally kills off the germs.

The next time you feel your throat starting to get painful, use any of the above as soon as possible. In the middle of the worst sore throat you’ve ever had, drinking tea probably won’t feel like much in comparison to the effect of over-the counter pain medication, but home remedies can stop it before it has much chance to get worse.

While there is no miracle cure, natural home remedies have also been shown to shorten the duration of cold and flu symptoms (ahem, sore throat) and lessen the severity of the symptoms throughout the time you’re ill. When taking a more natural route for treatment, you’re body feels better than when you’re taking OTC drugs (even if you don’t feel it right away) and a healthy body means a healthy recovery.

You may also like our list of 22 Acne Remedies

P.S. Click here to download my free Coconut Oil eBook. It has over 107 everyday coconut oil uses, including uses for- weight loss, pet health, hair, skin, house cleaning, pests, DIY beauty products and so much more. + Make sure to claim your free jar of organic coconut oil (while supplies last)

By Claire Goodall

Claire is a lover of life, the natural world, and wild blueberries. On the weekend you can find her fiddling in the garden, playing with her dogs, and enjoying the great outdoors with her horse. Claire is very open-minded, ask her anything 🙂 Meet Claire

We Want to Hear from You! Let us know which remedies work and do not work for you, ask a question or leave a comment:

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