Calm A Sore Throat With These Simple & Natural Remedies

Is a nagging sore throat dragging you down? I’ve put together more than 15 home remedies that I’ve organized from years of note taking, personal experience and research…each promises to soothe and help get rid of things fast!

These are simple to whip up–nothing too fancy, most are all-natural ingredients and Bonus! you likely have many of these curatives in stock right now.

Before listing the home remedies, here are a few standard self-care tips to note. Implement them as soon as that “suspicious ache” arises to get a head start on healing:

  • Try to stay quiet and speak as little as possible.
  • Get lots of rest but prop yourself up against a stack of pillows so there’s no pressure at the back of throat.
  • Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to keep the mucous membranes well hydrated.
  • A hot, steamy shower is beneficial in opening things up and promotes deep breathing.
  • Keep a humidifier running so the air isn’t so dry and irritating with each breath.

Home Treatments & Remedies

Items noted * are suggested as a gargle every three hours throughout the day (unless directed otherwise).

Quick & Easy: Combine one of the following with 1 cup of warm water:

  • *Cayenne Pepper: 1/4 tsp (or 1 tsp Sriracha sauce).
  • *Salt: 1 tsp.
  • *Apple Cider Vinegar: 2 tsp.
  • *Baking Soda & Salt: 1 tsp of each.
  • *Cloves: 1 tsp powered (or chew on a few raw cloves).

Hot & Comforting Brews: Steep for about 5 minutes before sipping.

Add a single recommendation below to one cup of boiling water:

  • Ginger: 3 tsp freshly grated ginger. Stir in a spoonful of honey once brewing is done.
  • *Thyme: 1 tablespoon dried thyme (for gargle) or 1 tsp (for tea to sip). Strain first.
  • Sage: 1 tsp dried. Strain first.
  • 2 tsp honey and 1 tsp lemon juice (or a wedge squeezed & dumped in the cup).
  • Licorice Root: 1 or 2 pieces. Another option is to brew licorice tea bags or chew on a piece of licorice root to help relieve the pain. *May affect blood pressure if too much is consumed, not recommended for those who are pregnant or have high blood pressure.
  • Green Tea: Sipping this can be soothing, but gargling is also recommended since it naturally fights infections. See here for more info on its health benefits.
  • Chamomile: Very effective! Start drinking this tea as soon as you feel soreness coming on.

Classic Hot Toddy Drink:

2 ounces of either brandy, whiskey, scotch, bourbon or dark rum
1 TBS honey
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 C. boiling water
*pinch of cinnamon (or cinnamon stick)–optional


  • Garlic: Slowly suck on a large, raw clove (or chew it). Not pleasant? Try mincing a clove then add to a tablespoon of olive oil (to help it go down).
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: Gargle 3% hydrogen peroxide to fight the infection. If the taste is too nasty, add some water to dilute (about 50/50). Don’t swallow!
  • Popsicles: The cold can be just as soothing to a rough, scratchy throat (Finally! A treatment the kiddos will be happy to take!).

From The Garden:

Organic Bee Balm Flowers (Monarda) & Leaves

  • Wash the bee balm, gently pat dry then strip the flowers and leaves from the stem. Roughly chop, measure the amount then pack the pieces into a small jar.
  • Pour over an equal amount of honey and an equal amount of Apple Cider Vinegar.
  • Stir well and seal the jar (ensure all plant matter is submerged in the liquid).
  • Place the vessel in a small box or brown paper bag (so it’s dark) then store in a sunny location (for some warmth to assist the infusion process).
  • Shake occasionally, periodically flip jar on the other side.
  • Strain after 4 weeks.

Directions for use: Add a spoonful of infusion/mixture to hot beverage or take it straight.

More Tips

  • Run a humidifier in the bedroom at night to keep the air moist. A Herbal Decongestant Steam can also help.
  • Sucking on hard candies or lozenges brings some relief.
  • Throw out the current toothbrush and start a fresh one to avoid reinfection.
  • If coughing is the problem, see advice found here.

Sore throats are a common symptom of a cold or flu developing but they could also be a sign of bacterial infection that can lead to problems if untreated (strep, tonsillitis, etc.). If it doesn’t seem to be getting better within the week or white spots appear back by the tonsils, make sure to see a doctor since antibiotics may be required to fight the infection.

Note: These are simply tips I’ve collected, they’re not professional medical advice. Be aware that some spices and herbs may conflict with prescribed medicines, always check with a doctor before self-treating.

Do you have a tried and true I missed? Feel free to share it below!

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    • Lenetta @ Nettacow

    Have to say I’m personally a bit skeptical of gargles for sore throat . . . it’s been my feeling (and I’ve read something somewhere, though can’t recall where now) that when you gargle, you kind of close off your throat so the gargling doesn’t actually reach the part that is actually sore. But it doesn’t hurt to try, either!

      • Lisa

      What is a good sore throat gargle for a child with strong gag reflexes? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

        • Jacqui

        Instead of using a gargle for sore throat you can use honey. What I have found most effective is ‘spun’ honey. You can get a spoonful and put a little in you mouth at a time, let it melt on your tongue then swallow gently, to let it sort of trickle down your throat. The best honey for this is ‘organic’ and if possible produced within 100 miles of where you live.

          • Jason

          There is no such thing as organic honey. If you are told the honey is organic you are being lied to. Bees can travel really long distances, farther than the confinds of an organic field or orchard. It may have some organic honey in the jar but it can’t be 100%.

            • Beemanly

            where I live there are organic farms. At times they plant long rows of a specific crop they are growing for seed. They then cover the rows completely with fine mesh wrap (very expensive proces) They then place bee hives inside the enclosure and the bees polinate (ONLY) those plants on a specific FDA certified organic farm. These bees are constantly contained year round and are only used for organic farming.

            So basically Jacqui is correct and you are correct. In the end, there is Organic Honey to be purchased, It is up to the consumer to investigate the farmer who sold the honey.

            I see the same thing with so called “ORGANIC EGGS” the thing to keep in mind here is that “Organic” is a certification. If a product is grown without the use of pesticides or herbicide it can be called “Naturally Grown”

    • Michael

    Thanks for the suggestions!

    I definitely like the idea of coating the throat using any variety of lozenge. They do help.

    I also suggest, as simple as it sounds, water. Drink plenty of it to make sure you are well-hydrated. Often, sore throats can be caused when it’s just dry in there, and drinking more water can help that.

    I’d also add to maybe avoid dairy products for a while, as they can increase mucus production which may stick in your throat. Then, when this dries out because of too little water…

    For me, teas, of all varieties, are so nice in such a situation.

    • alexandra

    The best remedy for a soar throat is a strong tea of Sage (Salvia Officinalis) with some honey. The Sage is a strong antisceptic so it solves any problem right away. It is nasty and bitter to drink, though, that is probably why the honey is put in it. But honey is also antisceptic, so it doesn’t harm in any way.

      • Katelyn M.

      How long untill the warm salt water works?plz reply!

      • Seattlesoymom

      Oh, sage, thank you, I have some in the garden. I wonder if it will be better fresh vs dried.

    • Rose

    I can vouch for the hydrogen peroxide. Swear by it in fact.
    I dilute it with water and gargle. I understand bout the solution maybe not getting to throat, but the fact remains, your sore throat will be GONE in 15 minutes.
    A 50 cent bottle will keep you ready at the first hint of soreness.
    It is also great for removing bodily fluids from clothing. I keep a bottle with a spray by the laundry. When my dog had pups in a pillow bed, got every last dab, of whatever that green stuff was, out.

    • belami

    i use white vinegar for a sore throat. i gargle with it. it works for me.

    • M

    I read online and found that a tablespoon of creamy peanut butter works. I tried it and its a great help. It lines the throat kinda like a lozenge does.

    • Kevin

    When attending boarding school, and in grade 8, I had been given the suggestion to use 1 teaspoon of honey 3 times a day for my sore throat. It worked!

    • P

    Equal amounts of honey and vinegar! mix the two together and have it! it seriously helps the throat! TRY it: 1tsp Honey and 1tsp Vinegar(of any type) in a bowl, mix them and have it!
    *Please note, every person is different, so the results might differ for you as an individual*


    • MNM

    The peroxide and water 50/50 mixture worked best for me but I found that I could not tolerate the peroxide taste even when diluted, so I added just a little honey didn’t think it would hurt since honey is used in many sore throat remedies! Tasted better and worked well! Hope you feel better soon!

    • andoola

    the best gargle I tried was hot tea salt and lemon..let it steep .you will see if you have an infection the tea will become unclear and if you are ok the gargaled tea becomes clear. I used the same treatment for urinary tract infections ,I just washed with it every time I went to the bathroom.

      • jenny

      Do you have to use a certain type of tea?

    • John Boy

    If you won’t to put an end to this nonsense of sore throat concoctions, try the only cure my little wooden head came up with years ago, out of screaming desperation. Take two Nature’s Own (or equivalent) chewable vitamin C tablets and put them on each side of your mouth in the pouches behind the teeth and close your trap. That seals them in for a slow melt, even over night while sleeping, if your not afraid to do so. This remedy has killed even the throat wars from hell. It is not a miracle cure by any means; it still takes time, but far less time than any other remedy out there. Unless you get stone drunk for four days. Good luck. Most remedies insure your going to have a lot of pain, this C tab remedy limits that threshold from a 10 to a 2.

    • Tyler

    Don’t substitute clove oil for clove buds. I did it. It was a mistake. I spent half an hour puking… o.o

    • Marcela Mexia

    Be careful with your teeth while making gargles with hydroxen peroxide, the doctor once told me this could damage the teeth enamel.

      • mars

      Your doctor lied hydrogen peroxide is a powerful antiseptic. It does not destroy teeth enamel. It kills bacteria, clears infections and is well known for many beneficial uses ouside of medicinal purposes. It’s even included in namebrand mouthwash and toothpaste for those reasons. Your doctor doesn’t want you too use it because your usage would actually cause him to lose a lot of money.

        • Richard

        If you have cavities the peroxide will cause sever pain. The Dentist is correct. Trust a man who went to med school and not someone behind a keyboard, lol!

          • M

          You are both technically correct. In excessive or undiluted amounts, H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) can in fact cause damage to the enamel of the teeth, and if swallowed can make you very sick. But in small, dilute amounts, it does kill infection in the mouth, and it whitens teeth. Many DIY teeth whitening strips list hydrogen peroxide as their main active ingredient. I use Hydrogen peroxide as a fix for canker sores, as it disinfects and cauterizes them at the same time. Bottom line, it’s perfectly safe- just make sure to dilute it, and don’t swallow it.

        • Steve

        you are 100% correct! Hydrogen peroxide is wonderful, and cheap. 🙂

    • Kadee

    Hydrogen is actually a good cleaner for your teeth and it does kill bacteria, but my doctor told me not to gargle with it when I had strep throat because it not only kills the bad bacteria and infectious cells but it kills the good bacteria and good cells. He advised to just use warm salt water.

    • Kristy

    My mom got a recipe from an older lady when we were kids & we still use & swear by it. 1/3 hydrogen peroxide, 1/3 Listerine, & 1/3 water. I keep a glass by the bathroom sink & gargle every time I walk by or go to the bathroom. I’ve never had strep, so I’m not sure if it will help with that but it may also be why we’ve never had strep. (As a side note, spritzing Listerine on a sunburn works better than anything else I’ve ever tried. It cools & reduces the pain.)

    • pete

    I am drinking green tea with mint whilst sucking on hard licorice.
    I don’t know how well it cures, but it relieves well and tastes lovely.
    a remedy I swear by is fresh pineapple. (not tinned or processed) A homeopathic doctor on tv said thee enzymes in it fight the sore throat.

    • Gina

    Desperately searched for relief from the worst sore throat of my life. Severe strep and an abcessed tonsil, everything felt like ground glass or razor blades. Tried the hydrogen peroxide first, the taste is awful and induced some gagging which probably took away any positive benefit. Next I tried the baking soda/ salt mixture and I have to say Hallelujah!! The swelling decreased and my throat felt better for quite awhile. I can successfully drink more than ice water now! Things are looking up! =)

    • MichaelBubleLover

    I tried the lemon and honey one. AND WOW, THEY DON’T LIE, IT WORKS!!!!!!!!!! Really useful ideas, thanks guys….

    • Veronica

    A really simple method for a really lazy sick person (such as myself) is just to squirt the lemon juice right into your mouth. You can aim it to hit the back of your throat and coat the whole sore area. I swear you can feel the lemon juice working its magic, makes the pain much more bearable and no chemicals are needed 🙂

    • Mya

    I have a terrible sore throat, and it hurts to swallow. What is a remedy you only do once, bit immediately works!

    • melanie

    Sitting with child dRy cough that doesn’t go away no honey or lemon in house any other suggestions

    • Nonnos

    Look Mya, go grab 1/4 of a teaspoon of salt, put it in a 1/2 a cup of water, mix well, gargle it. It will feel a hundred times better for you, then keep your throat constantly hidrated. Always drinking teas and such, just watch for cold wind and cold drinks. Take care.

    • Skyler Allan

    I was told of a rememdy that I have only tried once but it worked great, for a temporary moment anyway, but try chewing up marshmallows, and chew them real well to the point where they are nothing but mush in your mouth and lightly swallow small ammounts at a time, this should southe just about any sore throat out there

    • Cody

    I use a cotton swab with iodine on it rub it on the sore throat being careful not to Taste it cause it is quite disgusting tasting otherwise but it does work

    • Lily

    Should I drink the Honey and Lemon water? Or just gargle it?

    • BT

    These all seem like great remedies, alas. I cannot gargle without gagging and swallowing whatever I’m gargling. If I swallow some lemon juice and honey, would that relieve my sore throat?

      • Elizabeth

      try taking two teaspoons of lemon juice and two teaspoons of honey 3 to 4 times a day…it works wonders. Feel better!

    • commanderpuddles

    Don’t throw away the toothbrush, run it in the dishwasher on a sanitary mode or sink it in boiling water (remove from burner when reaches boiling) for 5 minutes to kill germs. this should be done before using a new brush as well. ever notice they don’t label tooth brushes as “sterylized” but most people open and stick in their mouths right away? just sayin’.

    • caroline hollister

    I work in a nursing home and a lot of the mature and seasoned ladies suggestions are salt and water mix, honey and water, etc. but my personal favorite was from Ms. Katherine – she suggested to gargle with scotch whiskey as long as you can and spit it out … got to say, the relief was immediate … she lived to 107 yrs until her passing, i miss her still but i remember a lot of her advise 🙂

    • Teresa

    For me Unsulphured Blackstrap Molasses! You heat like 1/2 cup of molasses with 2 T of water; when warm but not boiling, take it out of the heat and add the juice of a lemon and do gargles with it…! It always works wonders!

    • Julie Caple

    1 cup boiled water, juice of one lemon, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon then add honey to taste.
    Drink it straight away. This used to cure my smoker’s cough – ex smoker!

    Alternatvely, munch walnuts. They seem to break up mucous.

    • Seattlesoymom

    I used the hydrogen peroxide. My tongue looked like I had rabies. The taste wasn’t as unpleasant as I predicted. It coated my throat in an ok way till I made the tea with dried thyme adding chopped ginger. It is helping so far. Looking forward to trying the sage remedy.

    By the way, honey has never soothed my throat. Apparently, if you have nut allergies, you can have a reaction due to a lot of honey coming from almond flower pollination and the like. So I use organic agave to sweeten with nice results.

    • Eric Meddaugh

    I’ve been suffering w/ a nasty sore throat for 3 days now..tried a lot of remedies, nothing seemed to work……..then I tried some warm tea w/ about a teaspoon or more of ceyenne pepper in it. first drink just about blew me head off, I wasn’t ready for the spicy hot taste!!!! but I’ll be darned if it isn’t working, I can breath easier, swollow, and drink ice water now. only took 3 drinks so far but it is working and that’s all that matters to me right now.

    • Jessica

    I found that eating a marshmellow soothes the pain someone else had said that

    • Cheryl

    People have told me this is strange but I have found it helps me quite a bit when I have a sore throat. I mix a cup of warm water, a bag of black tea, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp honey, and a Ricola lozenge. Give the tea a few minutes to cool and the lozenge to melt (if you prefer a different flavor, the honey lemon with echinacea lozenges work well also) and sip the tea. You can also try honey lemon herbal tea, (sometimes it comes with chamomile) to eliminate a few steps, but the Ricola is a must! This soothes the throat and opens up the sinuses so you can breathe better.

    • Elizabeth

    At the first sign of any kind of sickness, two teaspoons of lemon juice will kill all the bacteria in your throat instantly. This should be done a few times a day.

    Follow with two teaspoons of lemon juice with two teaspoons of raw honey mixed together, just eat it with a spoon three to four times a day. I have used this for many years with children and it cures sore throat within 24 hours. This is also good for colds and flu if you can tolerate it. The lemon juice is powerful with lots of vitamin c and the raw honey is wonderful for your stomach. (use only raw honey as processed honey does not have the beneficial bacteria.)

    • Amanda

    Hydrogen peroxide has worked for me many times. You need to rinse it out good or it can gag you and be careful not to swallow it.

    • Mark

    I was skeptical but the salt water gargle had immediate results. It also loosened up some nasty stuff from the back of my throat. Nasty….capital N! I will try the peroxide mix later today after drinking water and warm herb teas the whole morning.

    • hannah

    honey and lemon worked for my sore throat real quick too just the day b4 easter i got it soreness was gone by 2:00 easter just in time!

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