Home Remedies From the Cupboard
Salt. A saltwater gargle helps heal infected and inflamed vocal cords and sore throats. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to 1 cup warm water and gargle several times a day as needed. Be careful to use the correct amount of salt. Gargling with a solution as salty as the sea will only increase the irritation.
Vinegar. Viruses and bacteria dread an acidic environment, so why not make your mouth one big, albeit weak, acid bath? Gargling with vinegar, a weak acid, can help wipe out many infectious organisms. Pour equal amounts of vinegar and water into a cup, mix, and gargle two to four times a day. You can also gargle with straight vinegar, but some people find it too strong, especially at first.
Home Remedies From the Refrigerator
Lemon. Some folk remedies require you to suck on a lemon to cure a sore throat. An impossible task, indeed! Spare yourself the face-contorting agony and try a lemon juice and salt gargle instead. Lemon is naturally acidic and helps stimulate saliva flow. The salt increases the lemon's acidity, which in turn helps kill many microorganisms prone to weak acids. To make this gargle, juice a whole lemon into a bowl and add a pinch of sea salt (or regular salt). Mix well. Add 1 teaspoon of the concentrated lemon/salt mixture to 1 cup warm water. Gargle three to four times a day as needed. Also try hot tea with lemon, or even lemon drops, to keep your throat moist.
Home Remedies From the Sink
Soap and water. Laryngitis can be caused by a viral infection and is easily spread by hand-to-hand contact or by touching contaminated surfaces. Avoiding such germs is one of the best ways to prevent laryngitis. If you or someone around you has a cold, be extra vigilant about washing your hands with warm water and soap. Clean common surfaces, such as the telephone and door handles, with vinegar and a clean cloth.
Water. Keep the throat moistened and stay hydrated by drinking your daily amount of water (eight 8-ounce glasses per day). Fruit juices also fit the bill, as do warm, noncaffeinated drinks, which may feel extra-soothing on sore throat tissues.
Home Remedies From the Spice Rack
Garlic. Should you have a strong stomach and no social events to attend, try what the Amish and Seventh Day Adventists suggest for treating sore throats and viral infections: Suck on a slice of garlic. Garlic, when sliced or crushed, releases the antimicrobial substance allicin. Allicin kills bacteria, including strep and some viruses. Slice a garlic clove down the middle and place half a clove on each side of the mouth. Pretend the cloves are lozenges and suck on them. Use as often as necessary, or as often as you can handle garlic breath.
Ginger. Fragrant, fresh ginger can help soothe inflamed mucous membranes of the larynx. Try sucking on candied ginger if available or drink a cup of ginger tea. To prepare the tea, cut a fresh 1- to 2-inch gingerroot into thin slices and place in 1 quart boiling water. Cover the pot and simmer on the lowest heat for 30 minutes. Let cool for 30 more minutes, strain, and drink 1/2 to 1 cup three to five times a day. Sweeten with honey if needed.
Home Remedies From the Stove
Steam. Dry indoor air, so common in the wintertime, combined with an irritated throat can make you extra miserable. Start the day off steamy. Bring half a pot of water to boil, remove from stove, and place on a protected surface. Drape a towel over your head, lean forward over the pot, and breathe gently for 10 to 15 minutes. Be careful not to stick your face too close. Repeat in the evening before bedtime.
While laryngitis typically isn't a sign of any serious medical problem, you'll be better off taking care of it sooner than later, with help from the home remedies in this article.
For more information about conditions that affect the throat, try the following links:
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.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.