What’s the best thing for a sore throat?

What’s the best thing for a sore throat?

Having any kind of sore throat, whether it’s scratchy, tickly or raw, can be irritating and painful and it’s likely that you’re here because you want to soothe that pain. Luckily, there are quite a few things you can take for a sore throat, from basic medication such as paracetamol, to warm fluids and even salt water[1].

What can you take for a sore throat?

  • Lozenges

One of the best things to do for a sore throat is to take medication that’s created specifically to numb that pain, such as Chloralieve throat lozenges that contain a local anaesthetic to numb the area. You can also look out for lozenges that contain antiseptic, which could kill the bacteria that may be causing the problem. Alternatively, any sweet that you can suck, such as a mint, may help ease the pain, just be cautious about giving sweets to small children as it could be a choking hazard[1].

  • Paracetamol and ibuprofen

Other forms of medication you can take include paracetamol and ibuprofen. These can be taken together and both act in different ways. Always make sure that you read the manufacturer’s guidelines carefully and don’t take more than the recommended dose[1].

Does paracetamol help a sore throat?

According to the NHS, paracetamol is one of the best things you can take for a sore throat. This popular pain relief medication will clear any discomfort and can be bought from most supermarkets and pharmacies. If your sore throat is caused by a cold, then paracetamol will also improve other symptoms, such as a headache or fever[2].

  • Herbs and botanicals

If you would like to use some more natural remedies, there are plenty of herbs and plants that you could try. Despite being known for its inclusion in one of the nation’s favourite sweets, licorice root has properties similar to aspirin that means it may be able to relieve throat pain. It also has excellent antiviral and antibacterial properties[3]. You can incorporate this ingredient into tea by combining ground licorice with hot water or you can gargle licorice water.

Cinnamon, like licorice, is usually put into sweet treats but it also has antibacterial benefits that could potentially help to treat a sore throat[4]. You can create a drink by slowly heating milk in the microwave or on the hob and adding half a teaspoon of cinnamon with a tablespoon of honey.

Finally, lemon may help a sore throat as it contains lots of Vitamin C and antioxidants. It also increases the amount of saliva in your mouth, helping a sore, dry throat[5]. You can ingest lemon by adding a couple of slices to your water or by drinking lemon tea.

Is ginger good for a sore throat?

Ginger is an antibacterial agent and is anti-inflammatory too, making it a go-to for many people with a sore throat[6]. There are multiple ways you can take it, but it’s most popular in tea. You can also sprinkle ginger powder in your food, such as a curry, take it as a supplement or even chew the root.

  • Hot and cold fluids

Both hot and cold drinks can soothe a sore throat, and it’s thought that it’s best to switch between the two, drinking something warm followed by something very cold. And it’s not just drinks that help but liquid food too. Chicken soup has plenty of protein in it that could help you to recover faster, but the heat should have an impact on your throat, too. Cold drinks, unlike warm ones, can help to numb the throat. You could try very cold fruit smoothies or just water with ice. You must remember to stay hydrated to keep your throat moist[1].

What drink helps a sore throat?

Possibly the best drink for a sore throat is warm water with a bit of honey and lemon in it[5,7]. This is easy to make and will hydrate you too. Simply fill a mug with some warm or hot water and add one tablespoon of lemon juice and two tablespoons of honey. You can use fresh lemons or pre prepared lemon juice out of a bottle. If you want, you could add some fresh ginger too.

Does tea help a sore throat?

Tea can help a sore throat and there are lots of variations that may be beneficial, from peppermint tea to chamomile tea[8,9]. Adding a drop of honey may soothe your throat further, so no matter which tea you choose, put in a bit of the sweet stuff.


[1] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sore-throat/

[2] https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/paracetamol-for-adults/about-paracetamol-for-adults/

[3] https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/licorice-root

[4] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29702210/ Vasconcelos, N G et al. “Antibacterial mechanisms of cinnamon and its constituents: A review.” Microbial pathogenesis vol. 120 (2018): 198-203. doi:10.1016/j.micpath.2018.04.036

[5] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2590207520300010

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4106649/ Rahmani, Arshad H et al. “Active ingredients of ginger as potential candidates in the prevention and treatment of diseases via modulation of biological activities.” International journal of physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology vol. 6,2 125-36. 12 Jul. 2014

[7] https://www.nice.org.uk/news/article/antibiotics-should-not-be-issued-as-first-line-of-treatment-for-a-cough-says-nice-and-phe

[8] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16767798/ McKay, Diane L, and Jeffrey B Blumberg. “A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L.).” Phytotherapy research : PTR vol. 20,8 (2006): 619-33. doi:10.1002/ptr.1936

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/ Srivastava, Janmejai K et al. “Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future.” Molecular medicine reports vol. 3,6 (2010): 895-901. doi:10.3892/mmr.2010.377