The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends taking honey for sore throat along with a cough. However, they don’t recommend giving honey to infants under 1 year of age. The reason being that honey contains a bacteria, Clostridium botulinum, that can be potentially fatal for babies.
Is honey good for a sore throat?
According to a study, “Phenolic Compounds in Honey and Their Associated Health Benefits: A Review”, there are several therapeutic benefits that honey exerts-
- High antioxidant properties
- Rich in anti-inflammatory benefits
- Helpful in antidiabetic activity
- Possesses antimicrobial capabilities
- Possesses anticancer activity against different types of tumors
- Protective effect on the cardiovascular system
- Prevents oxidation of lipoprotein in nervous as well as the respiratory system
- Prevents bacterial infections in the gastrointestinal system
Benefits of honey tea for sore throat
Regularly consuming tea with honey and lemon can surely help in getting relief from a sore throat. The honey works in three ways-
Boosts up immunity
Rather than taking medicated lozenges for a sore throat, it is better to try an alternative treatment method for getting relief. Honey is a natural cough and scratchy throat suppressant. Moreover, it also boosts the ability of the immune system required to fight off the infection in the throat.
Provides immediate relief
Honey not only prepares the body to fight off the infection but also soothes out throat pain in a jiffy. In addition to getting relief from a sore throat, honey also helps in curing other flu or common cold symptoms.
When suffering from a common cold or an episode of infection, taste buds tend to get dormant. A cup of hot tea with a spoonful of honey with some ginger or cinnamon can awaken the taste buds.
Which honey to take for a sore throat- Pasteurized or raw honey?
The most natural sweetener on Earth is honey. Used widely as a natural sweetener in meals, honey is also famous for its medicinal properties. Honey is now available in various forms, which makes it difficult to choose the right one.
Pasteurized or raw honey do not offer the same benefits nor do these exert the same anti-inflammatory/ antioxidant properties. Although the high heat of pasteurization improves the color and texture, kills unwanted yeast, and extends shelf life, raw honey is pure in its form without its nutritional value unchanged.
Home Remedies That Can Treat Throat Infection
Gargle with saltwater
Salt is rich in anti-bacterial properties, hence gargling with salt water can cure a bacterial infection in the throat. This is one of the most ancient and easiest home remedies to treat an infection.
According to Ayurveda, turmeric is a natural antibiotic that can treat throat infection, cold or chronic cough. As the active ingredient of turmeric is also rich in anti-inflammatory properties, it can also reduce swelling and pain.
There are a variety of herbal teas that can ease out a sore throat by alleviating pain, reducing inflammation or fighting off bacteria. Some of the herbal teas to try are-
- Peppermint tea
- Raspberry tea
- Chamomile tea
- Green tea
- Clove tea
Apple cider vinegar
The acidic nature of apple cider vinegar can kill various germs in the throat thereby curing the infection. Not only sore throat, but it can also help in easing out cold symptoms that might have developed due to excessive mucus build-up. Gargle with some apple cider vinegar to get instant relief.
Known for its antimicrobial properties, garlic can fight off germs that may have caused the infection. This works as it contains a compound known as allicin that helps in keeping off germs. Add it in your meal or just chew them raw.
Baking soda works better than salt as the former can also prevent growth of yeast and fungi in addition to bacteria. Gargle with a combination of 1 cup warm water with little baking soda and a pinch of salt for best results.
Lemon juice works by providing pain relief as well as breaking up the mucus. Moreover, lemons are also high in vitamin C that gives a boost to the immune system to fight off infections. Drink 8 ounces of warm water with one teaspoon of lemon juice mixed.
Dryness in the throat can make a sore throat worse. It leads to more irritation and discomfort in the throat. Place a humidifier to breathe in moist air to get some relief.
Also read: How to get rid of dryness of throat?
Licorice can also be mixed with water for gargling that can soothe out the soreness in the throat and reduce coughing.
Certain natural oils such as nutmeg, bergamot, and cypress contain camphene which can provide a cooling, refreshing effect on the throat.
Honey has been used since ancient times for effectively curing sore throat. Although rarely reported, some people might be allergic to honey. If any of the above-mentioned remedies are not providing you sufficient relief and in the meantime, you have developed a fever, then get in touch with an ENT specialist who can prescribe medications.