Having a sore throat can be debilitating. It's hard to swallow and the pain can be constant in severe cases, making it difficult to rest and sleep. Fortunately, you don't have to head out to a doctor to get prescription medication to treat your sore throat. Drinking a warm cup of tea may be all you need to start feeling better fast.
We've put together a list of eight different teas you can sip to soothe a sore throat. With these best teas for a sore throat, you're guaranteed to feel better fast and enjoy the taste during the process. Looking to get your hands on sore throat tea? Check out our collection of the best sore throat teas right here to get you back on your feet in no time.
Chamomile tea is one of the most famous cups of tea for when you're feeling under the weather. It's also one of the longest researched Chinese home remedies. It boasts antibacterial properties that fight off bacterial infections while offering a calming effect that helps you relax and eases pain. Three are two types of chamomile tea: Roman chamomile and German chamomile. Both work by coating your throat and increasing lubrication, which decreases pain (1). It's one of the main ingredients in throat coat teas for that reason.
Chamomile tea also boasts anti-inflammatory capabilities, which help to soothe sore throat pain and redness. It's naturally caffeine-free so you can drink it all day long. The tea's soothing properties can also help you sleep better so it's the perfect nighttime tea when you're feeling sick.
Use two tablespoons of dried chamomile flowers for every eight ounces of water. Steep in boiling water for five to ten minutes depending on desired flavor. The longer the tea steeps, the stronger the flavor will be. Add a dash of raw honey to further soothe throat inflammation or if you have a bad case of strep throat.
Licorice root tea is an herbal tea made by steeping the root of the licorice plant in boiling water. Licorice tea can help eliminate symptoms of the cold and flu by targeting the viruses and bacteria that cause the illness, to begin with.
According to one study in Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B, the herb has been a staple of Chinese medicine for centuries and it contains more than 300 flavonoids that boost overall health. Researchers found that licorice tea boasts anti-inflammatory properties and antibacterial powers that help to induce death of viral cells (2).
Bring water to a boil and add in two teaspoons of dried licorice root tea for every eight ounces of water. Steep for five minutes before serving in a teacup. Add a dash of lemon juice to boost vitamin C content and increase immunity.
You can also use licorice root tea to mimic a warm salt water gargle. Simply allow the tea concentrate to cool slightly, then gargle for 30 seconds.
Licorice root tea can have dangerous side effects when consumed in excess. Make sure to drink the tea sparingly—no more than once per day for a maximum of three days.
Green tea is renowned for its extensive health benefits. Studies show that it can help accelerate weight loss and decrease the risk of heart disease (3)(4). It's also packed with healthy antioxidants that can boost immunity and help you defeat a cold faster. One of these antioxidants is known as EGCG or epigallocatechin gallate. It's been shown to have antiviral activities on diseases including influenza A and adenovirus—a virus that causes cold-like symptoms including a sore throat and bronchitis (5).
A study published in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine found that green tea helped soothe sore throat pain associated with tracheal intubation. The green tea was used as a gargle and showed significant effects 12 to 24 hours after intubation (6).
Green tea may become bitter if brewed at high temperatures or steeped too long. Brew green tea using water between 160 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Steep for one to three minutes for the best flavor.
To gargle with green tea, brew with hot water, not warm water. Allow the tea to cool for a minute or two before gargling for 30 seconds to one minute.
This herbal tea is made by infusing the inner bark of the slippery elm tree—also known as the Red Elm or Indian Elm tree—in hot water. Slipper elm bark tea is a traditional medicinal that has long been used in natural remedies and holistic healthcare. Slippery elm can also be found in cough drop lozenges to soothe sore throat pain (7).
Slippery elm bark tea contains biochemical components known as mucilage and tannins. Mucilage is made up of various carbohydrates and produces a sticky substance when mixed with water. This gel-like substance coats the mucous membranes, helping to ease throat pain and lessen coughing episodes. Tannins produce anti-inflammatory effects to lessen throat irritation and boost the immune system by encouraging the production of cytokines (8).
Bring water to a rapid boil. Pour boiling water into a teacup and add two tablespoons of powdered slippery elm tea bark. Steep the tea for three to five minutes. Sweeten with honey or maple syrup if desired.
This tea is made using marshmallow root—an herb native to Europe and Africa. Like slippery elm tea, it contains mucilage, offering throat pain relief by coating the mucous membranes (9). Additional research shows that marshmallow root tea may also help alleviate cough—a cold symptom that can worsen sore throat pain (10).
Use one teaspoon of marshmallow root for every eight ounces of water. Bring water to a rapid boil, add the marshmallow root and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain the root from the tea concentrate and enjoy with a dash of agave.
Ginger is one of the most renowned herbs when it comes to traditional medicine. The essential oil is used to alleviate symptoms of nausea and the tea can be used to soothe an irritated throat. Ginger tea contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory compounds known as gingerol and shogaol. These compounds help to fight off infections by targeting the bacteria and viruses that make you sick.
A study published in the Indian Journal of Dental research found that ginger is effective in treating disease including Streptococcus mutans and Candida albicans (11). Drinking ginger tea can help heal by eliminating the harmful pathogens that cause sore throat symptoms.
We recommend using fresh ginger or dried ginger instead of tea bags. Tea bags don't always contain all the healthy compounds of the ginger root and may contain fillers. Start with a one-inch piece of fresh ginger or one teaspoon of dried ginger. Add it to boiling water and steep for about ten minutes. Drink with a dash of honey, a slice of lemon, and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to boost the throat soothing properties.
The turmeric root comes from the same family of plants as ginger tea. Turmeric tea also offers similar health benefits as ginger tea when it comes to fighting cold symptoms. The tea is usually made using the whole or ground root of the turmeric plant. It is vibrant yellow in color and can stain, so be careful when brewing this healthy sore throat tea.
Studies show that turmeric boats antibacterial and antiviral properties that help to treat a sore throat at the cause. It may also increase the efficacy of certain antimicrobial medications by enhancing synergism (12).
Use a one-inch piece of fresh turmeric root or one teaspoon of turmeric powder for every eight ounces of hot water. Simmer in a pot for 20 minutes and strain out the root. Serve with a dash of honey.
Like green tea, black tea contains tannins and antioxidants that boost immune health and help your body fight off infections faster. One study showed that drinking five cups of tea per day helped boost the production of T cells—a potent immune response to pathogens and infections—ten fold (13). Essentially, the tea works by boosting the body's natural defenses, helping you defeat cold symptoms like a sore throat faster.
Brew black tea using boiling water between 200 and 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Steep for one to three minutes. You can also opt for a flavored black tea such as Earl Grey, which contains bergamot orange and a touch of immune-boosting vitamin C.
Drinking tea is one of the best home remedies for soothing a sore throat. It's easy to make and delicious to boot. When it comes to sore throat remedies, you don't have to choke down nasty tasting syrups or medications. Pour yourself a cup of tea and sip to better health.
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