From the Spice Rack
Suck on garlic. This Amish remedy can treat or prevent sore throats. Peel a fresh clove, slice it in half, and place 1 piece in each cheek. Suck on the garlic like a cough drop. Occasionally, crush your teeth against the garlic, not to bite it in half, but to release its allicin, a chemical that can kill the bacteria that causes strep.
Make a marjoram drink. Make a soothing tea with a spoonful of marjoram steeped in a cup of boiling water for ten minutes. Strain, then sweeten to taste with honey.
Gargle with sage. This curative herb is a great sore-throat gargle. Mix 1 teaspoon in 1 cup boiling water. Steep for ten minutes, then strain. Add 1 teaspoon each cider vinegar and honey, then gargle four times a day.
Gargle turmeric. Try this gargle to calm a cranky throat. Mix together 1 cup hot water, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Gargle with the mixture twice a day. If you're not good with the gargle, mix 1/2 teaspoon turmeric in 1 cup hot milk and drink. Turmeric stains clothing, so be careful when mixing and gargling.
Home Remedies from the Medicine Cabinet
Gargle with Listerine. Another good gargling fluid is Listerine mouthwash. If you share the product with anyone else in your household, don't drink straight from the bottle; instead, pour a small amount into a cup (and don't share that, either).
Take an analgesic. Plain old aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen can do wonders for sore-throat pain. However, aspirin should not be given to children under the age of 19 because of the risk of Reye's syndrome, a potentially fatal condition. Pregnant and nursing women should check with their doctor before taking any medication. For a list of precautions to take when using over-the-counter analgesics, click here.
Spray it. Analgesic sprays, such as Chloraseptic, may be effective in temporarily relieving sore-throat pain. The only problem is that the effect doesn't last long. You may have to spray several times an hour. However, the sprays won't harm you and may take the edge off an extremely painful throat.
Also, when treating a sore throat, nix the colas and scratchy foods, such as chips and pretzels. They'll irritate an already irritated throat -- which hopefully one of the above treatments will cure!
For more information about simple treatments for nasal, throat and other ailments, check out the following articles:
Linnea Lundgren has more than 12 years experience researching, writing, and editing for newspapers and magazines. She is the author of four books, including Living Well With Allergies.
Michele Price Mann is a freelance writer who has written for such publications as Weight Watchers and Southern Living magazines. Formerly assistant health and fitness editor at Cooking Light magazine, her professional passion is learning and writing about health.
ABOUT THE CONSULTANTS:
Ivan Oransky, M.D., is the deputy editor of The Scientist. He is author or co-author of four books, including The Common Symptom Answer Guide, and has written for publications including the Boston Globe, The Lancet, and USA Today. He holds appointments as a clinical assistant professor of medicine and as adjunct professor of journalism at New York University.
David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.
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