10 Best Sore Throat Remedies Fully Reviewed

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Having a sore throat is no fun. Some people may find a hoarse voice sexy but that sandpaper feeling every time you swallow is not. Often times when your throat hurts you want to avoid eating and drinking due to the pain. This is detrimental to your recovery so addressing the pain and its source is essential for getting better. There are a plethora of home remedies, natural solutions and over-the-counter medicines that can all assist with a sore throat. We looked for the best options that not only numb the pain but also have added benefits that will have you on the road to recovery more quickly.

Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat Tea
  • Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat Tea
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Pleasant Taste
  • Price: See Here
Strepsils Sore Throat Lozenges
  • Strepsils Sore Throat Lozenges
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Numbs Throat Pain
  • Price: See Here
Barlean’s Organic Oils Olive Leaf Spray
  • Barlean’s Organic Oils Olive Leaf Spray
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Powerful Antioxidant
  • Price: See Here

 

10 Best Sore Throat Remedies

 

1. Traditional Medicinals Organic Throat Coat Tea

A favorite among singers and performers, Throat Coat tea is made with licorice root, slippery elm, and marshmallow root. These key ingredients work together to reduce inflammation, break up mucus and create a protective barrier that gets you back to using your throat. Users enjoy the pleasantly sweet taste and notice a significant difference in the feeling of their throat after drinking this tea.
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Why it works:
This herbal tea blend was created with sore throats in mind. Key ingredients include slippery elm and marshmallow root that help break up mucus and coat the throat with a protective film; licorice root soothes, loosens congestion and reduces inflammation. Users can feel the throat-coating effects immediately after drinking it.

Taste:
The taste is sweet and earthy with a silky texture. The licorice flavor is notable but most users enjoy it with a bit of honey and lemon which can also benefit your throat.

Recommended Use:
Steep this tea in 8 ounces of water for 10-15 minutes and enjoy the throat coating effects up to 6 times daily.

Ingredients:
The ingredients in this tea are organic. Some of the ingredients are licorice root, slippery elm bark, marshmallow root, wild cherry bark and more.

Value:
The price for 16 tea bags is a bit steep, coming to over 3 dollars a bag. The organic ingredients and protective throat feel are worth for those needing to use their voice despite the sore throat.
Pros

Pleasantly sweet taste

Slippery elm & marshmallow root break up mucus and coat throat

Licorice root soothes and reduced inflammation

Great for singers and performers

Cons

Pricey

2. Strepsils Sore Throat Lozenges

In addition to the numbing menthol of typical cough drops, Strepsils have 2 antiseptic ingredients to help fight infection and prevent strep throat. These throat lozenges from the UK were previously unavailable in the US. Users who tried them out traveling found them to be the very best to the point where they would stock up while abroad. Fortunately, they can now be ordered on Amazon.
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Why it works:
Strepsils lozenges work just like your standard cough drop to soothe the throat and numb pain. They also have 2 active ingredients, 2,4 Dichlorobenzyl alcohol and Amylmetacresol, that act as antiseptics. This can help you prevent infection when the symptoms are just starting. Users report a noticeable difference between these and menthol-only cough drops.

Taste:
The lemon honey flavor has a pleasantly sweet taste that many users actually enjoy.

Recommended Use:
Allow one lozenge to dissolve slowly in mouth every 2-3 hours as needed.

Ingredients:
Each lozenge contains 1.2 mg of 2,4 Dichlorobenzyl alcohol and 0.6 mg of Amylmetacresol. They also contain sucrose and glucose as sweeteners.

Value:
Price may range but these drops are typically less than 10 dollars for a 24 pack.
Pros

Antiseptic properties to prevent infection

Numbs throat pain

Pleasant lemon-honey taste

Cons

Antiseptic properties may be unnecessary if sore throat is not caused by infection

Sugary

 

3. Barlean’s Organic Oils Olive Leaf Spray

This organic throat spray features Olive Leaf extract which has strong antioxidants as well as antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties. Peppermint and menthol help to thin mucus and numb the throat but they also provide this spray with a very strong taste. This spray provides immediate relief and can be used every 30 minutes as needed.
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Why it works:
Olive leaf has been studied for antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties to help target any cause of a sore throat. The powerful antioxidant Oleuropein helps to boost the immune system while peppermint works as a decongestant to thin mucus and soothe irritation.

Taste:
The peppermint in this spray produces a strong flavor. While a few reviewers do find it pleasant, most find it too strong to be enjoyable. That being said, most people find they can deal with the bad taste by sucking on a cough drop after.

Recommended Use:
This spray can be used by spraying directly in the throat 2-5 times and is safe for use every 30 minutes as needed.

Ingredients:
Glycerine, water, olea europaea leaf extract, natural lemon flavor, sage leaf extract, peppermint oil, and menthol.

Value:
At just over 10 dollars a bottle, this spray is a good value and lasts a long time.
Pros

Antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties

Powerful antioxidant

Antiseptic Sage

Peppermint works as a decongestant

Cons

Strong peppermint taste

4. Zand HerbaLozenges Echinacea Zinc

These cherry flavored lozenges are sweetened with brown rice syrup and do not have any artificial sweeteners, cane sugar or fructose. The echinacea and 5 mg of zinc in each tablet boost the immune system and have been shown to shorten the duration of a cold. The packages are quite small and can be a bit pricey but users enjoy the sugar-free formula and benefits of the zinc.
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Why it works:
These lozenges contain 5 mg of zinc in each which has been shown to reduce the length of colds. Additional ingredients such as echinacea have added benefits for boosting the immune system.

Taste:
The Echinacea Zinc lozenges have a nice cherry flavor and are sweetened lightly with brown rice syrup.

Recommended Use:
Take as needed and allow these lozenges to dissolve slowly in mouth.

Ingredients:
Brown rice syrup, orange juice, orange oil in an herbal base of hibiscus flower, orange peel, lemon peel, Rosehips, Lemongrass Herb, Perilla leaf and Schizonepeta herb.

Value:
These lozenges are sold in packs of 15 and come to about 35 cents per candy. They are a bit expensive but users find the cost worth it for the natural sweetener and quality ingredients.
Pros

5 mg zinc shortens cold duration

Immune-boosting echinacea

Pleasant cherry flavor

No artificial sweeteners

No cane sugar

Cons

Pricey

5. Bee Propolis Sore Throat Spray

This all-natural throat spray features just 3 ingredients and is made up of 95% bee propolis. Propolis is a substance collected from plants that has natural antiviral and antibacterial properties. Users enjoy the slightly sweet taste and report immediate improvement in throat pain and more rapid recovery when using this product. It is not the cheapest option but you can feel good knowing that the propolis is responsibly sourced from remote apiaries in the mountains of Canada.
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Why it works:
This natural throat spray is made up of 95% Propolis. Propolis is a plant-based substance that bees collect and line their hive with to protect it from bacteria and viruses. Users report that this spray soothes the throat immediately and seems to help them recover faster from infection. Some users also feel this spray is helpful when used prophylactically for allergies.

Taste:
Despite having no added alcohol, sweeteners, flavors or refined sugars, this spray has a slightly sweet and subtle taste that most users enjoy.

Recommended Use:
Apply this spray directly to the throat as needed.

Ingredients:
This spray is 95% Propolis extract with non-GMO vegetable glycerin and purified water.

Value:
At just under 15 dollars for a small bottle, this spray is a bit more expensive. However, you can feel comfort in knowing that it is all natural and made from just 3 ingredients. The propolis is also sourced responsibly from remote apiaries in Canada.
Pros

Propolis works as a natural defense against bacteria and viruses

Soothes throat

May benefit allergies

Subtle sweet taste

Responsibly sourced

All natural

No artificial sweeteners, flavors or refined sugars

Cons

Not cheap

6. Herb Pharm Soothing Throat Spray

Users report immediate relief with this herbal throat soothing spray. The combination of sage and echinacea numbs the throat, kills bacteria and boosts your immune system to help you recover faster. The slightly bitter and spicy taste is a bit of a turn-off but most users find it palatable enough and worth it for the natural numbing qualities.
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Why it works:
This spray is packed with herbs to help fight infection and numb discomfort. The combination of echinacea and sage helps to kill off bacteria and boost your immune system. Users report instant relief after a few sprays.

Taste:
The spray has a strong herbal flavor that is slightly spicy and bitter. It is not a pleasant taste but it is manageable.


Recommended Use:
Herb Pharm recommends spraying 2-3 times directly on throat and swallowing. Use this spray as needed to numb your throat but do not exceed using 5 times a day.

Ingredients:
Hyssop, Echinacea, Propolis, Sage, St. John's Wort, Organic Cane Alcohol, Distilled Water, Organic Vegetable Glycerin

Value:
At around 12 dollars for a small bottle, the price is on par with other natural sprays and does last a long time.
Pros

Instant numbing relief

Antiseptic Sage

Immune boosting echinacea

Natural ingredients

Cons

Bitter taste

7. Yogi Honey Lemon Throat Comfort Tea

This organic herbal tea blend is filled with herbs to soothe, coat and protect your throat. Standard throat soothing ingredients such as slippery elm, licorice root, peppermint, and echinacea are met with wild cherry bark that provides natural sweetness and reduces irritation. The sweet and spiced taste is not for everyone but most users acquire a taste for this tea quickly and drink it regularly.
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Why it works:
This herbal formula is filled with throat soothing and coating ingredients such as honey, slippery elm bark, and wild cherry bark. Peppermint adds a cooling refreshment and echinacea root boosts the immune system.

Taste:
This tea has a slightly fruity taste flavored from the cherry with hints of warmth and spice from the peppermint, echinacea and slippery elm.

Recommended Use:
Steep tea for 5-10 minutes and drink as needed.

Ingredients:
This tea consists of organic ingredients such as honeybush leaf, lemongrass, lemon myrtle leaf, licorice root, peppermint leaf, wild cherry bark, stevia leaf and more.

Value:
This organic tea can be bought in bulk and comes in around 25 cents a bag.
Pros

Soothes pain

Coats throat

Echinacea boosts the immune system

Pleasant sweet and slightly spicy taste

Organic herbal blend

Cons

Some find the licorice flavoring overpowering

 

8. The Republic of Tea Organic Turmeric Ginger Green Tea

Tea is a comforting part of any sore throat recovery. This blend from The Republic of Tea features anti-inflammatory turmeric and antioxidant-rich green tea to help boost the immune system and expedite healing. The strong flavor of turmeric is not for everyone, but many users find this tea is a great way to take advantage of its anti-inflammatory properties.
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Why it works:
Hot tea is soothing for a sore throat as the hot water itself can help thin mucus. The turmeric in this blend works to reduce inflammation and speed recovery. Green tea also has plenty of antioxidants to boost your immune system in fighting a viral infection.

Taste:
Most users enjoy the pleasant taste of this tea and find that the flavor is not too strong. Some add honey for its throat soothing properties but many find the natural sweetness does not require any added sugar.

Recommended Use:
Tea can be a helpful tool in your recovery and there is no danger in having too much. This Tumeric Ginger Green Tea should be steeped for 1-3 minutes.

Ingredients:
This tea contains organic ingredients including turmeric, green tea, ginger, and cinnamon. It also contains natural honey flavor.

Value:
Tea is a relatively cheap way to recover from a sore throat. This blend can be bought in bulk for less than 30 cents a bag.
Pros

Hot liquid soothes throat and thins mucus

Pleasant taste

Turmeric reduces inflammation

Green tea is rich in antioxidants

Relatively inexpensive

Cons

Taste of turmeric is not for everyone

9. Up Nature Wild Oregano Oil

Oregano oil is a versatile essential oil known for its antimicrobial properties and immune boosting effects. Users find adding a few drops of this oil to steaming water and inhaling the steam soothes sore throats caused by allergies or infection and boosts the immune system.
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Why it works:
Oregano oil has strong antimicrobial properties. Using this oil as a steam treatment breaks up mucus and clears the throat to soothe and boost the immune system.

Taste:
When using this product as aromatherapy or steam treatment, it has a strong oregano scent. This oil is not intended for internal use, users who place it under their tongue or add it to water report a very strong and unpleasant taste.

Recommended Use:
Place a few drops of oil in steaming water and inhale the steam. This oil is not recommended for internal use.

Ingredients:
100% pure oregano oil.

Value:
Around 20 dollars a bottle, this essential oil is not cheap. However, when using drops at a time, a little goes a long way.
Pros

Great for steam treatments

Antimicrobial properties

Works for infection as well as allergies

Cons

Not intended for internal use

10. Chloraseptic Warming Throat Spray

This Chloraseptic spray features the numbing agent phenol for an immediate warming and soothing sensation. Users report the spray works well and tastes pretty good compared to other over-the-counter sprays. This spray does not provide any healing properties but the relief from pain is important for staying hydrated and well-fed during your recovery.
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Why it works:
Chloraseptic spray contains the numbing agent Phenol to help numb your sore throat. The spray itself will not reduce the recovery time from your sore throat but it can help to reduce pain so you can stay hydrated and well-nourished. This spray provides a warming sensation and immediate pain relief.

Taste:
The Warming version of this spray has a lemon-honey taste that is not as medicinal or chemical as some of the other flavors.

Recommended Use:
This spray can be applied directly to the painful area and should be left in place for 15 seconds before being spit out.

Ingredients:
Active Ingredients: Phenol 1.4% Inactive Ingredients: caramel color, citric acid, FD&C yellow no. 5, FD&C yellow no. 6, glycerin, flavors, saccharin sodium, sodium citrate, sucralose, purified water

Value:
For less than 10 dollars you can get this effective spray that provides immediate relief for throat pain.
Pros

Immediate warming relief

Numbing phenol

Sweet honey-lemon taste

Inexpensive

Cons

Does not do much to heal or speed recovery

 

The Metrics We Used To Determine the Best Sore Throat Remedies

It is difficult to choose the best sore throat remedy as there are many different products that can be beneficial. Many remedies can be used in conjunction with each other as well as some of the other recommendations below. To determine the best options for healing a sore throat, we broke it down into the following criteria.

Why It Works

Sore throat remedies available over-the-counter are typically divided into 4 categories: lozenges, sprays, teas and essential oils.

LozengesSucking on lozenges, cough drops or hard candy can help keep the throat moist. Lozenges are also an easy and typically tasty way to incorporate throat soothing or immune boosting ingredients such as menthol or zinc.

SpraysThroat sprays are available with a wide variety of ingredients to help soothe throat pain and fight infection. Most sprays will have some numbing ingredients as well as antiseptics and immune boosting ingredients. Sprays are easy to apply directly to your throat but often have an unpleasant taste associated. Especially those that are alcohol based.

TeasTea is a great option for staying hydrated and warming your throat. There are a wide variety of teas with herbal blends that are specially chosen to soothe the throat and add an emulsifying coating to help it heal.

Essential oilsEssential oils are not as popular as a sore throat remedy but they can be very beneficial and are great for adding to a steam shower or steam treatment.

Taste

Many of the ingredients used to treat sore throats are not the tastiest. We looked for remedies that have, if not a pleasant taste, at least a palatable one.

Ingredients

Although there are many ingredients that can help with a sore throat, here are some of the most commonly found in these remedies:

  • Echinacea is an herb that is commonly found in sore throat remedies. It has immune boosting effects that can help support your body as it heals itself.
  • Peppermint Oil has large amounts of menthol which works to numb and provides a cooling relief. It also is good for breaking up mucus and acting as a decongestant.
  • Marshmallow Root has soothing properties and is great for breaking up mucus and coating the throat.
  • Slippery Elm is another throat coating ingredient that provides a protective barrier along the throat. Taking slippery elm after applying a numbing treatment may prolong the effects of pain relief.
  • The Licorice Herb is very effective in reducing throat pain, reducing inflammation and it can also loosen congestion. This ingredient is frequently found in teas. It does have a strong flavor that some people are averse to but its benefits for the throat may be worth testing out.
  • Sage is not as common but works well as an antimicrobial agent to help fight infection.

 

Other Things to Consider When You Have a Sore Throat

Sore Throat Causes

In order to best treat your sore throat, it is helpful to understand what is causing the discomfort. Most sore throats caused by infection are viral with the exception of strep throat. Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the Streptococcal bacteria and should be treated with a prescription of antibiotics from your doctor. Antibiotics do not do any good in killing viruses so, for most other throat infections, you will need to wait for your body to fight off the virus. Support your immune system by staying hydrated and looking for immune-boosting ingredients.  

If you have a perpetual sore throat without other cold symptoms, the cause may be irritation rather than infection. Acid reflux is a common cause of throat irritation and does not always feel like heartburn. Reducing your intake of acidic foods and taking antacids, such as TUMs, may improve your throat symptoms. Chronic acid reflux can do damage over time so, consult a doctor if symptoms persist. Allergies are another common cause of throat irritation due to post nasal drip. Allergy symptoms may be alleviated with antihistamines and decongestants. Many people also find seasonal allergies can be improved by eating local honey or trying products with propolis.

Additional Factors to Improve Your Sore Throat

Sore throats can be tricky to heal because you are constantly irritating your throat with talking, eating, drinking or even just breathing dry air. In addition to the above remedies, there are a number of changes you can make to help care for your throat and get better sooner.

Rest your voice

Although this is much easier said than done, resting your voice can improve your healing time. If it is not possible to stop talking at least try speaking in a quieter voice and avoid straining your voice as much as possible. Performers who rely heavily on their voice may consider drinking tea and using throat coating ingredients to make things easier on their throat.

Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is important whenever you are sick but drinking water or tea regularly can have added benefit for a sore throat as it keeps your throat moist and helps to break up mucus. Although it may be difficult when your throat hurts, take constant sips and make sure you are keeping up with fluids. Additionally, avoid dehydrating beverages such as coffee or cola as this may set you back.

Humidifiers

Cold and dry air can increase throat irritation. Humidifiers and steam treatments can moisten the air and, in turn, moisten the throat. Try placing a humidifier in the room where you sleep, sit in a steam room or hot shower or add some essential oils to hot water and inhale the steam.

Anti-inflammatories

When your throat is irritated by infection or external factors there is inflammation and swelling. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, such as Ibuprofen, or natural anti-inflammatories, such as turmeric, taken regularly can help reduce the inflammation and help your throat heal sooner.

Salt or Apple Cider Vinegar gargles

Warm salt water gargles can help cleanse the throat and can break up mucus. This can particularly be beneficial if you are suffering from post nasal drip. As an alternative to salt, or as an addition, you can add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to water and gargle with that. The acidic nature of apple cider vinegar helps to kill bacteria in your throat. Do not swallow either solution.

Ice and Heat

Just as you would for any other injury, applying ice and heat can help reduce swelling and inflammation in your throat. Sucking on ice chips and frozen chips can help keep your throat moist and provide soothing coolness. Drinking warm beverages and eating warm soup can also be beneficial for warming and soothing the throat.

Avoid acidic foods

As mentioned above, acid reflux can exacerbate or be the cause of a sore throat so avoiding acidic foods and beverages may be beneficial when treating your sore throat.

FAQs

Q: What about colloidal silver in cough drops?

A: You may see various cough drops that feature silver as one the ingredients. Colloidal silver is a trending supplement that claims to boost the immune system. Silver was used as an antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal before antibiotics but its use was discontinued. Now it is not recognized as a safe ingredient by the FDA and the NIH does not recommend taking it as a supplement.

Q: How do I know if I have strep throat?

A: Strep throat may present with various symptoms so you should see a doctor for testing and diagnosis if you have a persistent sore throat. Typically Strep is associated with a fever and enlarged tonsils with pustules forming on them. Strep throat is not typically associated with coughing and nasal congestion. These symptoms are more likely related to a viral infection or allergies.

Sources

  1. Cunha, John P., DO, FACOEP, Natural and Home Remedies That Soothe and Get Rid of a Sore Throat, Web Article,
  2. Heid, Markham , 1 Sore Throat Remedies Guaranteed To Make You Feel Better Fast, Web Article, Mar 09, 2018
  3. Burhop Fallon, Brittany, You Won't Believe the Supplement People Are Now Taking to Stay 'Healthy', Web Article, Mar 17, 2017

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