Sore throat is often the first sign of an upper respiratory infection (URI).
With the scratchy, irritating sensation, soon comes difficulty in swallowing and excessive mucus and often secondary infections of the sinuses and bronchi.
Herbal remedies for a sore throat can be fast acting and often effective in treating this type of infection, regardless of whether the infection is of viral or bacterial origin.
Medicinal herbs for a sore throat should be applied with the intent to soothe the affected area as well as work to fight infection, boost the immune system and decrease the chances of reinfection.
A good herbal remedy for a sore throat will act to reduce catarrh and soothe inflamed mucosa.
Medicinal herbs that have antitussives properties (sooth coughs) can also be added to form a preparation that is specific to the individual condition and used along with vitamin supplements that contain zinc and vitamin C.
Commonly Prescribed Herbs for Sore Throat
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
The herb is used either as a fluid extract or as an essential oil that soothes an irritable dry cough and relief sore throat. It has also been used in the treatment of bronchitis.
It is the essential oil, which is responsible for the antispasmodic action of the thyme leaf. The main constituent of thyme oil is thymol which is a powerful antiseptic, which helps to treat infection associated with a sore throat.
Cayenne (Capsicum annum)
Cayenne, one of the oldest domesticated plants on earth, and was grown by the native tribes of South and Central America as far back as 7000 BC.
Cayenne was introduced into Europe and other parts of the world by Christopher Columbus upon his return from the Americas. Columbus named cayenne a ‘pepper’ because of its pungent aroma; however, it is not related to the pepper family.
Capsicum annum has also been used medicinally for acute colds, catarrh, and sore throat and as a circulatory stimulant.
In Mexico, cayenne is a traditional herbal remedy for colds, earache and tonsillitis.
Cayenne works best in low doses, for example in a 100 ml mixture for a sore throat, it is best to use only 6-12 drops of cayenne fluid extract.
Great Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus)
The leaf of this herb has calming and soothing properties.
It helps dispel mucus in the airways and is used particularly for chest conditions where irritation and inflammation are present such as tracheitis, where there is a dry, hard cough.
Mullein is great where there is not only a sore throat but chest symptoms as well.
It is important to remember that a sore throat can become a precursor to bronchitis and chest infection.
Myrrh (Commiphora molmol)
This herb is a very effective antiseptic that also has the added benefit of being an anti-inflammatory.
Topically, myrrh is used as a gargle to treat pain and inflammation of the mouth and throat mucosa due to infection.
It is commonly used to treat gingivitis, mouth ulcers, and minor wounds and abrasions.
Thyme is also perfect for treating URIs as it has a mild analgesic and anesthetic action that helps to ease the pain associated with inflamed sore throats.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
The flowers of this herb are well-known to promote healing and to work as an anti-inflammatory, astringent and antiseptic.
In addition, calendula is useful as a topical antiviral and is used to treat enlarged lymph nodes and sore throats. When combining herbs to fight infection, calendula is usually one of the first herbs to consider.
Echinacea (Echinacea spp.)
Native Americans used echinacea root to relieve a toothache, sore throat, neck pain, enlarged lymph glands and as an anesthetic for the throat.
When taken internally, echinacea builds resistance to infections, acting mainly on the immune system to boost resistance to infection.
The preventative dose range for echinacea is 1000mg three times daily for adults and children over twelve.
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
Fenugreek is a useful remedy for sore throats where there are enlarged lymph nodes.
This herb will help the lymph nodes to drain and is also considered a key herb in clearing congestion in the head associated with sinus infection.
As a tea, it is also recommended as a gargle to soothe an inflamed sore throat.
Some other natural herbs that have been used for sore throat.
- Bitter Orange – (Citrus aurantium)
- Marshmallow Root – (Althea officinalis)
- Elderberry – (Sambucus nigra)
- Witch Hazel – (Hamamelis virginiana)
- Slippery Elm – (Ulmus rubra)
- Fennel – (Foeniculum vulgare)
- Wild Indigo – (Baptisia tinctoria)
- Gentian – (Gentiana lutea)
- Agrimony – (Agrimonia eupatoria)
- Lovage – (Levisticum officinale)
- Andrographis – (Andrographis paniculata)
- Self Heal – (Prunella vulgaris)
- Sweet Grass – (Hierochloe odorata)
- Borage – (Borago officinalis)
- Sweet Basil – (Ocimum basilicum)
- Styrax Benzoin – (Styrax benzoin)
- Devil’s Bit Scabious – ( Succisa pratensis)
- Blackberry – (Rubus fruticosus)
- Balloon Flower – (Platycodon grandiflorus)
- Cranesbill – (Geranium maculatum)
- Burnet Saxifrage – (Pimpinella saxifraga)
- Wild Strawberry – (Fragaria vesca)
- Polypody Root – (Polypodium vulgare)
- Summer Savory – (Satureja hortensis)