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How to soothe a sore throat

Although usually harmless, a scratchy throat or discomfort while swallowing is still unpleasant. We’ve found a few home remedies to help.

Text: Michael Suter; photo: Unsplash

Sore throats are usually nothing serious and tend to disappear after a few days, but they are still annoying. Some home remedies can help soothe the pain and speed up the recovery process. And you’ll find most ingredients in your cupboards at home.

Potato or quark compress

For extra warmth, cook and mash potatoes. Then put them in a clean cloth and secure in place around your neck with a scarf. For a cooling compress, simply put quark in the cloth instead.

Tea

Camomile and sage have anti-inflammatory properties and help soothe the mucous membrane. Thyme stimulates the cilia, which helps with expectoration.

Honey

Tea tastes even better with honey. Or drink a mug of hot water with honey. Honey has been used since ancient times as a healing remedy.

Ginger

Warms wonderfully from the inside. The gingerol it contains helps to combat inflammation in the throat and can loosen mucus in the bronchial tubes and sinuses.

Inhalation

Add a few drops of essential oils to hot water, lean over the bowl with a towel over your head and breathe deeply for a few minutes. This helps unblock your airways.

Keep warm

Our bodies use a lot of energy fighting pathogens, which is why we shiver easily when we have a cold. Thick socks, warm clothes or a cosy blanket stimulate the blood circulation, which helps get rid of bacteria and viruses faster.

Chicken soup

A tried-and-tested remedy for sore throats. Chicken soup contains cysteine, which is an anti-inflammatory protein. It also helps replenish any water and minerals you may have lost.

Gargling

If you have a tickle in your throat, it can help to gargle with sage, chamomile or thyme.

Prevention

Talking loudly, singing or cheering on your favourite team puts a strain on your vocal cords and can cause hoarseness and pain in the throat just as much as viruses, bacteria, pollen or tobacco smoke. So if you want to prevent a sore throat, you should take it easy on your voice and drink plenty of water so that your mucous membranes don’t dry out. You can prevent bacterial or viral infections by washing your hands regularly. Desensitisation can help against pollen, but only giving up tobacco products can help against smoke.