Winter can be harsh! The dropping temperatures, the snow, and shorter days. Not to mention those pesky flu and cold symptoms that seem to creep in unexpectedly, especially when we have a deadline at work or a planned event! Our immune system takes a knock during cold and flu season, and a sore throat is one of the irritations we suffer the most during this season.
Many people look for comfort food and drinks to help them through the icky feelings that come with a cold or flu. The most popular drink to soothe a sore throat and warm us up from the inside is tea. Many teas relieve sore throats, but can these teas do more and help you feel better in other ways? Let's look at the top teas and tea blends you can take to soothe a sore throat and investigate if they can help fight off other symptoms.
Drinking Tea For Sore Throat Symptoms
Almost every doctor's advice for a cold or flu is to stay in bed, get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. Drinking warm liquids like tea and broth is vital to keep a person hydrated through a fever, but drinking fluids also keep the throat moist, reducing the pain of inflammation during a cold or flu.
Warm liquids like tea and broth will help soothe sore throat symptoms. In some cases, the warmth of the liquid is good for increasing blood flow to the infected area like the throat, nose, or joints, speeding up the healing process. But tea also contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties, which help fight illnesses and viral infections. The anti-inflammatory effects of tea can reduce pain and swelling that typically come with the common cold or flu.
In addition to herbal teas and herbal tea blends, many people add honey, lemon juice, or fresh lemon slices to their tea. These added ingredients help soothe a sore throat and provide natural antibacterial properties for the body.
What Are the Best Herbal Teas for a Sore Throat?
We can all agree that drinking a steaming cup of tea will do wonders for your sore throat, but some teas contain many more health benefits. The teas on our list are easy to find and make, even if your head feels like a lead balloon!
Always talk to a health professional before you take a herbal remedy such as tea for any medical condition. Some herbal remedies and herbal medicine may affect regular medicine prescriptions.
#1. Slippery Elm Tea
Slippery elm has been a popular natural remedy for centuries and is one of the top teas to soothe a sore throat. This tree contains a substance called mucilage, which becomes gel-like when mixed with water. Drinking tea made of slippery elm will coat the inside of your throat, easing the pain and protecting it from becoming more inflamed and sore.
#2. Licorice Root Tea
The second most popular tea on our list is licorice root tea. This is a versatile tea that you can use as a warm cup of tea to drink and a licorice gargle. To relieve sore throats with a gargle, let the licorice tea cool to a comfortable temperature, gargle the liquid for a few seconds, then spit it out. Patients who have had attenuating postoperative sore throat found relief after doing a throat gargle with licorice.
#3. Chamomile Tea
What tea drinker doesn't like a hot cup of chamomile tea? Loved for its delicate floral notes, you'll find this popular tea in most grocery and health food stores. You can even order it at most restaurants. Even though it's a common drink, not all tea drinkers know the many added health benefits of this tea.
Chamomile tea can help lubricate your throat, reducing the hoarseness and pain associated with an irritated throat. Chamomile contains anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce swelling and redness in the body, especially the throat.
This tea also has antioxidant properties, which may help repair tissues, and the antispasmodic action of chamomile might also reduce coughing fits.
If your throat pain is too intense, you might consider inhaling chamomile steam since it will help clear sinuses and relieve sore throat pain. Chamomile can help lower blood sugar levels making it a herbal hypoglycemic alternative.
#4. Turmeric Tea
Turmeric is part of the ginger family. You'll see it sold more commonly as a bright yellow spice powder, but you can also make a spicy tea with it. Simply add ground turmeric to a pot of boiling water, simmer for several minutes and strain the liquid into a cup. You can add honey to give it a sweeter taste.
Turmeric tea is loaded with antioxidants and contains antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties have been used in South Asian countries for centuries to help reduce swelling and soreness in the body. If you're battling an inflamed sore throat, this tea is an excellent remedy to alleviate it.
#5. Green Tea
Green tea and black tea both come from the Camellia Sinensis plant. Green tea is packed full of antioxidants and contains natural anti-inflammatory properties. Some believe gargling a green tea solution may help relieve a sore throat.
In a study, scientists discovered that people who used a green tea gargle solution helped ward off sore throat symptoms. Gargling with green tea is easy. Simply brew a cup, let it cool until it is at a comfortable temperature, gargle for several seconds, then spit out the solution. Repeat this process a few times until your throat starts to feel better.
#6. Peppermint Tea
The cooling and refreshing flavors of peppermint tea are all thanks to menthol. Menthol is an effective decongestant and soothing agent. No wonder it's used in many cold relief products. Since the tea is naturally decaffeinated, you can drink it just before bed, and it will even help aid in digestion.
#7. Marshmallow Root Tea
It may sound like you are about to pour yourself a cup of s'mores tea, but this beneficial tea tastes earthy and woody instead! Made from marshmallow root, this plant secretes a substance known as "mucilage." Mucilage can naturally coat the mucous membranes of the throat and provide a soothing effect.
#8. Lemon Tea
Soothing sore throats is easy with lemon tea. Unlike black tea or herbal tea, which requires tea leaves, you make lemon tea with either lemon juice or slices of fresh lemon and hot water. Loaded with vitamin C, lemon tea will boost your immune system and help you fight off cold symptoms. You can sweeten up the flavor with the antimicrobial properties of honey to help give that cold the boot!
#9. Black Tea
Like herbal tea, black tea may also make you feel better when battling a cold or flu. Black tea contains compounds called tannins that help reduce inflammation and relieve sore throat pain. Caffeinated teas like black tea are also an excellent substitute for coffee when you feel under the weather but still need a little boost in the morning.
#10. Ginger Tea
Ginger root is packed with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which may help fight off sickness. Studies show that ginger tea may contain medicinal properties that help lower body temperature and reduce fever. Add a generous sprinkle of cinnamon to give the tea an extra spicy boost and increase the antibacterial effects.
Possible Risks of Drinking Herbal Teas For Sore Throats?
The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate herbal blends, herbal infusions, or traditional medicine. This means that the herbs you purchase may be mislabeled or the contents contaminated. Always choose the best teas that use the most reputable and reliable sources for herbal tea blends. When choosing teas and tea blends, look for organic and all-natural ones.
Before you try a herbal remedy, either alone or in conjunction with conventional medicine, talk to a health professional. Some herbs may be dangerous to consume if you have certain health conditions. For example, consuming large quantities of licorice root tea might be toxic. When it comes to a sore throat, you should seek professional medical attention if you notice the following:
If the symptoms of your sore throat last more than a week.
If your sore throat starts getting worse.
If the symptoms of your sore throat are accompanied by other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, fever, or chills.
In most cases, if you have a sore throat, sipping a cup of tea might be the best thing you need to do to soothe it and feel better overall. You can also gargle with some cooler tea blends to get some relief.
Create your own soothing and warming tea blends, or take a look at these blends. Whatever you decide, take your doctor's advice, stay in that bed, and get some rest. And don't forget to drink some delicious and healthy throat-soothing tea!