You wake up and there it is: That itchy irritation in the back of your throat.
For minor throat discomfort, try the following simple remedies. (Throat pain, especially when accompanied by signs and symptoms of illness, should be brought to your practitioner’s attention.)†
Creating Homemade Gargles (Including One with a Kick)
Gargling with warm salt water is a classic go-to for uncomfortable throats and for a good reason: It really does help. Use a half-teaspoon of salt in a full glass of warm water, about every three hours. You can add in baking soda if you like, 1/8 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to a full cup of warm water.
Many people swear by gargling with apple cider vinegar, one or two tablespoons in a cup of warm water, once or twice every hour. Just be sure to rinse your mouth out afterwards, as vinegar can be tough on the teeth, and drink lots of water between gargles.
And while it appears counterintuitive, the burn of capsaicin, the stuff that gives hot sauce its pungency, may help ease discomfort. You can add a couple of drops to your saltwater gargle.
Turning to the Dynamic Duo: Honey and Lemon
Honey’s sweet taste hides its powerful healthy punch. You can take it right off the spoon or mix two tablespoons with tea or hot water (just don’t give it to children less than a year old).
Lemons help ease throat irritation by assisting in mucus breakup. You can add a teaspoon of lemon juice to your honey mixture; for a capsaicin kick, add a couple of drops of hot sauce or a sprinkle of cayenne.
Having Hot Tea (or a Cold Drink)
Brewing a cup of tea may be just the thing for a scratchy throat (and may help ease mild nasal stuffiness as well). Green tea is a helpful option as is chamomile, a traditional bedtime beverage.
Have you ever eased the pain of a twisted ankle with an ice pack? The same principle applies when easing a discomforted throat; try drinking extra-cold water or tea and see if that helps.
Humidifying Dry Air
Throat issues can be aggravated, or even caused by, overly dry air. On the other hand, “the mucus membranes of the nose and throat love moisture,” says Jason Abramowitz, MD, an ear, nose, and throat specialist at ENT and Allergy Associates. “Steam provides moisture and warmth, which helps the vocal cords calm down.”
If you suffer from frequent minor throat irritation, especially if it’s accompanied by minor nasal or sinus congestion, consider investing in a humidifier. If you do, clean it regularly to avoid bacterial buildup.
For more concentrated humidification, try taking a long, hot shower. Or you can resort to the old-time remedy of pouring hot water into a bowl and breathing in the steam with a towel over your head.
Making Sleep More Comfortable
Nasal congestion can often lead you to breathe through your nose while you sleep, which can dry out your throat.
If you often have nighttime congestion, try using a wedge to raise your mattress; elevating your head might not only make it easier to breathe at night but may also reduce pressure on your neck, allowing you to maintain a more open throat as you sleep.
†The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described.
The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.
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**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.