A sore throat is a common problem, which is generally the result of an infection caused by a virus or bacteria. Although the pain involved with sore throat usually goes away by itself without complications in adults, it is important to know when to seek medical intervention.
What Causes Sore Throat?
As noted above, a sore throat can be caused by both viral and bacterial infections. Keeping that in mind, here is some more information on the top 3 causes of sore throat:
1. Viral infection
Most sore throats are brought on by a viral infection. Someone suffering from flu or colds is likely to have a sore throat. A viral infection cannot be treated with antibiotics; the only way to get rid of it is to have plenty of rest supported by other natural therapies that will slowly alleviate the symptoms.
2. Bacterial infection
A bacterial infection may also cause a sore throat. Bacterium like streptococcus pyogenes, diphtheria and pertussis are generally the root cause of a sore throat.
3. Environmental factors
Not all sore throats infections are viral or bacterial in nature. If you are sensitive to mold, animal dander, pollen or other irritants, exposure to these allergens may trigger the accumulation of extra mucus in the throat, which can lead to a sore throat.
How Long Can A Sore Throat Last?
If a viral infection is the reason behind your problem of a sore throat, expect it to last for at least 5-7 days. Infections that are bacterial in nature can be cured in 3-5 days. If you are on a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids, you can get rid of a sore throat quicker with natural remedies.
When Is The Right Time To See A Doctor?
Most sore throats do not require medical attention. However, get in touch with your doctor if the problem is persistent and if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Lump in the throat
- High fever
- Swollen, red tonsils
- Joint pain
- White patches or pus on your tonsils
- A hoarse or muffled voice that lasts over a week
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Can Essential Oils Help With A Sore Throat?
Essential oils are amazingly beneficial for treating a sore throat as they not only help to alleviate the associated pain, but also battle the root cause of the ailment.
The anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties of essential oils are very effective in combating a sore throat or avoid one altogether.
With that said, here are some of the best essential oils that will guarantee sustainable results when it comes to getting rid of a sore throat:
8 Best Essential Oils For A Sore Throat
Peppermint oil is widely used to treat upper respiratory tract infections, such as colds, coughs, sinusitis and inflammation of the throat including conditions like pharyngitis.
It is also used for problems of the digestive system including nausea, vomiting, heartburn, IBS, spasms of the GI tract, morning sickness, diarrhea and gastric problems.
In addition, the menthol content in peppermint offers a relaxing and refreshing effect that is comforting both mentally and physically. Research demonstrates that the decongestant, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of the essential oil of peppermint can easily alleviate a sore throat.
Lemon essential oil is widely used to stimulate lymphatic drainage, making it one of the best oils that can cleanse toxins in the body.
Lemon oil that is derived from citrus rind is excellent for sore throat, since its anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial properties along with high Vitamin C content increases the salivation to keep the throat wet.
Nowadays, I see the essential oil of eucalyptus included in almost every over the counter product that is designed to relieve a cold or cough.
The reason why this oil is so important is its ability to boost immunity, provide antioxidant protection and regulate the respiratory system.
The presence of Eucalyptol (1,8 cineole) makes the essential oil of eucalyptus beneficial for optimal health. Eucalyptol is an organic compound that has prevalent medical effects. No surprise that this is one of the best oils you can use for ailments like sore throat.
Oregano is one of the best essential oils to counter the symptoms of a sore throat. Its antifungal, antiviral and antimicrobial properties can even help your body deal with parasitic infections.
Moreover, the most surprising of all is the fact that the antimicrobial activity of this oil is not diminished even when the oil is exposed to heat or boiling water.
The essential oil of clove is useful in stimulating the immune system. A strong immune system can be an invaluable asset when it comes to preventing sore throat.
The antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties of this oil are responsible for all the health benefits that comes with it.
The antiviral property and the ability of this oil to cleanse the blood makes it even more useful for problems like sore throat.
Hyssop essential oil was used in ancient times as a cleansing herb in holy places and temples. In ancient Greece, Hyssop was highly valued for its ability to reduce the inflammation of the throat and other parts of the upper respiratory tract.
With an extended history of medicinal use, the essential oil of this magic herb can kill bacteria and battle any kind of infection due to its antioxidant and antimicrobial activities. Whether your sore throat is bacterial or viral in nature, the essential oil of hyssop will prove to be a fantastic choice.
Thyme oil is one of the strongest known anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agents. This oil has been used as a herbal medicine since ancient times.
In addition, Thyme is known to strengthen the immune system, which in turn prevents problems like sore throat.
With a sweet and woody odor, the essential oil of juniper is excellent when it comes to relieving inflammation in the throat and upper respiratory tract. Due to its antioxidant properties, I consider this oil as one of the finest natural remedies for sore throats and respiratory infections.
Studies conducted on this oil validate that this oil contains more than 87 different compounds of active ingredients responsible for its antibacterial and antifungal effects.
12 Essential Oil Blends / Recipes For Sore Throat Relief
1. Inhalation recipe for sore throat
A blend of the essential oil of tea tree and water can be used to treat many problems of the throat including sore throat. Pour water into a large saucepan and bring to boil. Remove the pan from heat and add 5-6 drops of tea tree oil.
Put a towel over your head and bend over the pan. Be careful not to get too close to the steam to avoid possible burns. Inhale the steam for about 5 to 10 minutes each night before bed. Repeat this procedure until the symptoms disappear. If symptoms persist for 5 days or more, get in touch with your doctor.
2. Gargle recipe for sore throat
- 2-3 drops of ginger essential oil (ginger is an expectorant, which means that it works to loosen and remove mucus in the airway)
- 2 tablespoons of raw honey
- 8 ounces of hot water
- Some cayenne pepper
Combine the ginger oil with raw honey and then add hot water to it. Thereafter, add a little amount of cayenne pepper to the mixture. Gargle with this blend every 3-4 hours.
3. Recipe for runny nose and sore throat
For nasal blockages, use 8-10 drops of the essential oils of peppermint, lavender or any citrus oil such as lemon, orange or grapefruit in a diffuser.
Another recipe you can use for sore throat accompanied with runny nose can be prepared with the use of essential oil of peppermint…
Just take a drop of essential oil of peppermint with your index finger and rub the oil at the bottom of the tongue. Repeat this every 2-3 hours until the symptoms disappear. Only use edible grade therapeutic grade essential oils internally and as always contact your health care practitioner prior to using any essential oils internally.
4. Blend for sore throat accompanied with earache
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 8 drops of essential oil of tea tree
- 10 drops of lavender essential oil
Blend the above oils well and apply lightly around the ears at the first indication of an earache.
5. Recipe for sore throat accompanied with fever
Put a spoonful of carrier oils such as olive, coconut or almond in a small bowl before adding 3 drops of essential oil of peppermint. Apply the blend to your neck and bottom of feet. Expect the fever to go down by a couple of degrees in about an hour to a comfortable level; repeat as needed.
Remember that this recipe will not eliminate the fever, but will provide relief. In conjunction with this recipe, use any of the recipes for sore throat recommended in this article.
6. Muscle pain with a sore throat…try this massage oil recipe
- 2 drops of essential oil of cedarwood
- 2 drops of essential oil of tea tree
- 1 tsp of almond oil
On your palm, blend 2 drops each of the essential oil of cedarwood and tea tree with 1 tsp of almond oil. Massage the neck areas and affected pain areas 2-3 times a day for sore throat and muscle pain relief respectively.
7. Simple steam inhalation
- 2 drop of thyme
- 3 drops of chamomile
- 4 drops of lavender
Mix the above essential oils in a bowl of boiling water and inhale keeping a towel on your head and bending over the bowl. Repeat this 2-3 times a day.
8. Cedarwood relaxing massage blend
- 2 drops of cedarwood
- 1/2 teaspoon of your favorite carrier oil (almond, jojoba, etc.)
Blend the essential oil of cedarwood with the carrier oil and massage your throat 2-3 times in a day.
9. Peppermint tea for sore throat
- 1 tsp of pure honey
- 1 bag of tea (chamomile is recommended, but any will do)
- 1 drop of peppermint essential oil
Add a drop of peppermint essential oil to the tea bag you are using. Brew your tea as usual and stir in 1 tablespoon of honey. Voila!
You can read more about the benefits of peppermint tea here.
10. Mouthwash for sore throat
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1-2 drops each of sage, geranium and lavender essential oils
- 1 cup of lukewarm water
In a drinking glass, add the above-mentioned essential oils before adding half teaspoon of sea salt into it. Add 1 cup of lukewarm water. Rinse your mouth with this blend several times in a day, taking care not to ingest the mixture.
11. A simple massage recipe
- 3 drops of chamomile essential oil
- 2 drops of thyme essential oil
- 2 drops of lemon juice
- 1 tbsp of carrier oil (almond or olive)
Blend the above ingredients carefully and massage over your throat and neck area. You can also apply this blend on your feet before wearing your socks.
12. Thieves oil sore throat rub
Add 5 to 10 drops of thieves essential oil in 2 tablespoons of carrier oil. Rub this blend on your neck, chest and behind the ears for sore throat relief.
Prevention And Precaution To Take When Experiencing A Sore Throat
- After getting rid of your sore throat, make sure that you change your toothbrush. The bristles of the toothbrush can harbor bacteria.
- Do not share cutlery and drinks with others.
- Avoid touching your nose or mouth when using public telephones or taps.
- If you live in a polluted area, stay indoors as much as possible on days when pollution is really bad.
- Avoid alcohol and stay away from smoke.
- Consider the use of a humidifier in your house.
- Build your system’s natural defenses, reduce your anxiety levels, eat healthy and get lots of rest.