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23rd December, 20193 min read

Natural treatments for a sore throat: What works?

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Most sore throats get better on their own, but patiently waiting for the pain to go away is sometimes easier said than done. If you’ve had a sore throat for several days, you may be tempted to search online for popular natural remedies to help ease symptoms.

But before you do so, it’s worth considering if common natural remedies actually work?

To help you decide which, if any, are worth trying, here are the scientific facts behind 5 of the most common natural sore throat remedies.

Sore throat remedies

Liquorice root

Liquorice root is a natural remedy that’s supposed to help ease some of the pain and discomfort caused by a sore throat. It can encourage the body to make healthy mucus, a natural substance that helps to keep your airways clean and free from infection.

However, there isn’t much proof that liquorice root can help to ease the symptoms of a sore throat. It’s also important to note that eating too much liquorice can be dangerous. Black liquorice can interact with some medicines, and eating more than 57g per day for at least 2 weeks can increase your risk of developing conditions like high blood pressure.

Marshmallow root

Marshmallow root is a herbal extract that’s used in a number of traditional sore throat remedies. Drinks made with marshmallow root are said to have soothing properties. Marshmallow root is also thought to contain natural chemicals that help to fight bugs and reduce inflammation.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) says that marshmallow root is an approved remedy because of its traditional use. However, there isn’t much scientific evidence to support these claims, and studies have showed mixed results.


Sleep helps to boost your immune system and improve your mood, so try to get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of good-quality sleep each night.

Don’t feel that you need to stay in bed all day, however. Research shows there’s no real benefit in taking time off work for a minor cold or sore throat, and it’s recommended that you carry on with your normal activities as best as you can.

Herbal teas

Herbal teas are a popular remedy for sore throats. Common examples include teas made with ginger root, chamomile or peppermint.

There isn’t much evidence that herbal teas can treat a sore throat, but drinking warm drinks can be soothing. Tea, warm fruit drinks and other beverages can all help to soothe your throat and keep you hydrated.

Important: Some herbs are known to interact with prescription medications. If you have a health condition, you may want to consult a doctor before taking herbal tea.

Lemon and honey drinks

Some people find homemade lemon and honey drinks useful in easing the symptoms of a sore throat. Honey is known to have some antimicrobial (germ killing) properties, but the main benefit of a lemon and honey drink comes from its ability to soothe inflammation and keep your body hydrated.

What else can you try?

Try a combination of the natural remedies listed above to see what works best for you. If you’re still looking for good ways to manage a sore throat, have a look at this article on managing a sore throat at home.

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Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.