Sore throat! Literally, everyone has had one – multiple times! Sore throats are one of the most common health complaints. Think about it, everything that enters your nose goes down your throat. Everything that goes in your mouth goes down your throat. We live in a toxic world, so that’s a lot of “stuff” that we allow down our throats.
Symptoms of a sore throat are generally a raw, burning, scratchy feeling (or a combination of them) at the back of the throat. They are often caused by viral or bacterial infections like colds, the flu, or the Streptococcus bacteria. Phyllis Balch, in her book Prescription for Nutritional Healing, states that “a sore throat can be caused by anything that irritates the sensitive mucous membranes at the back of the throat and mouth.” She lists irritants such as medications, surgery, radiation therapy, dust, smoke, fumes, extremely hot foods and drinks, tooth or gum infections, dental work, and abrasions. Even excessive coughing or loud talking can irritate the throat. Think about you hoarseness after a great football game!
This discomfort may not last long. Most disappear in a few days. But it may be a symptom of a different disorder and should not be left untreated if the duration is longer than a few days. It may be a precursor of ailments such as tonsillitis or sinusitis, or even more serious diseases like upper respiratory infections.
Common sore throats are often treated with lozenges containing many of the minerals and vitamins we have previously mentioned used to boost the immune system and relieve viral or bacterial infections. Common herbal aids include calendula, Echinacea, elderberry and cayenne.
Slippery elm or marshmallow lozenges are very soothing to the mucous tissues, and bee pollen is often used to both soothe and heal a sore throat so long as you do not have a common allergic reaction to it. If you aren’t sure of an allergy, start with a very small amount and watch for any allergic symptoms. In our store, we carry a number of soothing herbal combinations that allow throat relief while it has time to heal itself.
Ms. Balch in her book lists over a dozen recommendations to help with throat relief and to aid in healing. A few of them are:
- Sip vitamin C powder dissolved in warm liquid and allow it to drip slowly down the throat. This will boost the immune system and calm the inflammation.
- Use a mixture of raw honey and lemon juice to coat and soothe the throat.
- Avoid eating foods that are spicy, hot, salty, or acidic. These can be irritating to the throat.
- Cut food into small pieces or puree it so it doesn’t add to the irritation as you swallow it.
- If you smoke, stop smoking. Smoking is a major cause of sore throats.
- Gargle alternatively with chlorophyll liquid and sea salt (1/2 teaspoon in a glass of warm water) every few hours.
And we’ve all heard of chicken soup for a cold. Well, chicken broth or vegetable broth will help to keep the throat lubricated while it heals. A dry throat can be added irritation for you.
Other daily activities that may help you would be replacing old toothbrushes – they contain bacteria. And vaporizers, humidifiers, and diffusers containing essential oils may help rid your environment of toxins, bacteria, and viruses while adding soothing moistures to your surroundings. Consider eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, chamomile, or one of the popular combination blends for this purpose.
Sore throats are common and they are usually just a nuisance, but treat them immediately for health and comfort, and watch that they go away promptly and don’t develop into something more serious.
For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail [email protected] or visit TheHeathPatch.com.