Herbs for Sore Throats
by Tatum Andrews RHN, RHP(HANB)
Medical Disclaimer: The information provided throughout this site is for educational purposes only and is not to be regarded as substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. The information provided is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the guidance of your qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.
A sore throat is often present when you have a cold or flu or may signify the beginning of an infection. The signs of a sore throat are very easy to identify; difficulty swallowing, and your throat is itchy or irritated or painful.
There are five categories of herbs that can be used to help get through a sore throat and each of these categories have a few specific herbs that work as excellent throat soothers.
ASTRINGENT herbs are used to tighten and tone the mucosa of the throat, reduce swelling and pain as well as further infection.
Sage is one of the best herbs to use to ease a soothe throat. It can be made into a simple teausing fresh (a few leaves), or dried herb (1 tsp.) per 8 ounces of water. Steep for 3-5 minutes. It is also great as an infused honey.
Rose can be used for sore throats; it is mild yet effective. The petals, leaves and twigs can be made into a tea or infuse into honey.
Rosemary is a mild astringent and is also an antimicrobial. Rosemary can be infused in honey or made into a tea with fresh (1-2 sprigs) or dried leave (1 tsp.) per 8 ounces of water. Steep for 3-5 minutes.
ANODYNE herbs help to dull pain.
Echinacea will lightly dull the pain of a sore throat. You can use the echinacea tincture to make a throat spray or gargle the tincture mixed with water.
Spilanthes boosts our immune system as well as relieves the pain from a sore throat or a toothache. The leaves can be chewed to relieve pain, or you can make a tea, take a tincture or use the tincture as a throat spray.
Ginger is also an anti-inflammatory. It is beneficial to make a warming tea and add some lemon and honey for a great throat pain reliever.
Cloves can be made into a tea by itself or combine with other herbs such as ginger, rose or sage to create an amazing sore throat relief tea.
DEMULCENT herbs soothe irritated mucous membranes especially those indicated when the throat is feeling scratchy.
Marshmallow roots, leaves, and flowers can be used to make a thick, soothing tea mixture. This should be made as a cold infusion to ensure the mucilaginous properties are extracted.
Linden is astringent, antiviral and demulcent. It soothes a sore throat when made into a tea or infused honey.
Licorice will prevent further infection. It is best to use small amounts to add to other herbs to make a soothing tea blend. Long term excessive use can raise blood pressure so use sparingly.
Plantain is anti-inflammatory, astringent and demulcent. It is a great soother to the throat when made as a warm tea.
ANTI-MICROBIAL herbs help fight infections and prevent further infections.
Honey soothes sore throats and supresses coughing. Use local, raw honey or look for untreated. Should not be used in children under two.
Propolis is another product from the bees! It is highly resinous so can be taken as an alcohol extract. It can also be made into a syrup or throat spray.
Thyme can be used for congestion and bronchial complaints. Make as a simple tea or infuse in honey.
Ginger decreases inflammation and warms the body. Prepare as a warm tea with lemon and honey.
Sage is great for laryngitis or tonsillitis. Make into a simple tea or infused honey.
LYMPHATIC herbs are used for swollen lymph glands to support the movement and removal of
Echinacea is a wonderful lymphatic. Use as a tea, tincture, gargle or spray.
Mullein can be used topically as irritant to bring circulation to the lymph glands. The leaves or a poultice can be placed on the swollen glands to encourage movement.
Violet is a nourishing, demulcent herb that relieves dryness. Use 1 ounces of dried herb to a quart of boiling water, let steep for at least 4 hours. To soothe a sore throat, warm the infusion back up.
Calendula is a mild lymphatic herb that can be made into a simple tea or combined with other throat soothing herbs.
If symptoms of a sore throat persist for more than a week, client/patient should see doctor.
Tisane/Infusion Blend Examples:
o Equals parts Sage, Thyme & Rose
o 1 pt Marshmallow Leaves, 2 pt Linden, ¼ pt Licorice
o 1 pt Violet Leaves, 1 pt Sage, 1 pt Plantain, 1 pt Rose
o 2 pt Mullein, 1 pt Plantain, 1 pt Slippery Elm, ¼ pt Licorice
To ease a sore throat, it is better to drink a tea or make lozenges. A tincture will not soothe or coat the throat.
Bellebuono, H. (2012). The Authentic Herbal Healer. Bloomington: Balboa Press, A Division of Hay House.
Bennett, R. R. (2014). The Gift of Healing Herbs. Berkley: Atlantic Books.
Edwards, G. F. (2020). Opening our Hearts to the Healing Herbs. Bertha Canterbury Rosina Press.
Gray, B. (2011). The Boreal Herbal . Whitehorse: Aroma Borealis Press.
Soule, D. (2016). Healing Herbs for Women; A Guide to Natural Remedies. New York: Skyhouse