25 Sore Throat Home Remedies

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Can You "Catch" a Sore Throat Through Kissing?

Yes, pharyngitis (viral and bacterial) is contagious, and can be transmitted from one person to another. Mucus (nasal discharge and saliva) can contain the viruses and/or bacteria that can cause sore throat. Consequently, even kissing can cause transfer of these contagious organisms.

What home remedies help to soothe a sore throat?

There are various sore throat remedies that can be used at home to help soothe a sore throat. Listed are 25 home remedies ; some of these may be familiar, like drinking warm liquids with honey and lemon or gargling with salt water. Check out the other remedies to soothe a sore throat including using roots and leaves like marshmallow slippery elm, or eating frozen foods.

Warm saltwater gargle

Rinse the mouth with a warm saltwater gargle (1 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water) and then spit it out. Don't swallow the salt, and don't use too much salt, as this could further dry out the sensitive throat membranes. Gargling with saltwater is an easy and economical way to help cleanse the throat and loosen phlegm. Gargle frequently to relieve symptoms of throat irritation caused by postnasal drip. A 2005 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that gargling with saltwater may even help prevent upper respiratory tract infections.

Drink warm liquids

  • Drinking warm liquids such as caffeine-free tea with lemon and honey; warm water with lemon and honey; or warm soup broth can be soothing on a sore throat.
  • Hot fluids also help thin sinus mucus, which allows for better drainage and decreased stuffiness, according to the American Osteopathic Association.
  • Warm beverages also help keep you hydrated, which is important when you are feeling sick.

Sage/Echinacea throat spray

A 2009 study showed an Echinacea/sage throat spray was as effective as a spray using typical numbing agents chlorhexidine/lidocaine. Sage is antibacterial and antiseptic, and Echinacea can have immune-boosting effects. Combined, these herbs can make for an effective throat spray that can provide fast pain relief.

Apple cider vinegar

Vinegar is acidic and can kill bacteria in the throat, and also coat and soothe a sore throat. It may also loosen phlegm that may be irritating the throat. Use as a gargle - mix 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with 8 ounces of water. This also can be combined with 1 teaspoon of salt for a saltwater vinegar gargle (gargling with warm salt water remedy). You also can add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 tablespoon of honey to your tea (see gargling with warm water remedy).

Raw garlic

Garlic has antiseptic properties, and it may help relieve sore throat pain. When crushed, raw garlic releases a compound called allicin that has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. The best way to use garlic for sore throats is simply to chew on a raw clove, or take a slice and suck on it for 15 minutes. This may be hard for most people to handle. To make the raw garlic easier to ingest, you can mince it and add some honey or olive oil. Blend some with other veggies and make vegetable juice. Add it to a little salsa. The key is to eat it raw and as soon as possible after crushing for the allicin to be effective.


Honey may be added to hot water or tea and lemon to help sooth a sore throat. Honey has some antibacterial properties and may help ease sore throat due to infection. There are also studies that show it may help ease a cough, which can contribute to sore throat pain. Do not give honey to children and toddlers under 1 year of age, as it may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum spores that may cause infantile botulism.

Throat Coat tea

Throat Coat is an herbal tea that contains licorice root, elm inner bark, marshmallow root, and licorice root aqueous dry extract and is sold to help relieve sore throat. A small study showed it helped reduce sore throat pain for 30 minutes after drinking it.

Suck on ice chips

Sucking on ice chips can help cool the throat, easing pain and inflammation. When the ice melts it helps hydrate you, which can also reduce congestion and keep the throat moist.

Before using any herbal or alternative remedy, consult your doctor as some supplements can interact with prescription medications.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/12/2016

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