I was recently asked, “What are the best alternatives to honey to aid in healing a sore throat?” This question took me by surprise because I forgot that honey is used a lot as a remedy when having a cold. While some forms of honey have antibacterial properties, I know some vegans do not wish to keep honey in their diet. That is perfectly okay. As a vegan, I choose to eat honey for it’s antibacterial properties (Manuka Honey) and to help with my seasonal allergies (local honey and bee pollen). For those of you who are looking for other alternatives to honey, I’ve got you covered.
1. Salt Water – A warm salt water gargle rinse is naturally cleansing (kills bacteria in the mouth/throat) and breaks down secretions in the throat. Make a salt water solution by adding one tablespoon of salt in a tall glass of warm water. Gargle a salt water solution morning and night until your sore throat symptoms subside. If your throat get’s worse, call an advice nurse or go to your doctor and/or local walk-in clinic.
2. Chamomile Tea – This one was new for me. Chamomile Tea is anti-inflammatory. Studies have shown that breathing in the steam from chamomile tea can help aid in cold-like symptoms and relieve a sore throat. Who would have thought?
3. Peppermint – We all love peppermint as the most popular way to freshen your breath. We also love it in the winter in the form of Peppermint Mochas and Peppermint Bark at Starbucks. But did you know that diluted peppermint oil sprays may also relieve sore throats?
4. Thieves – this amazing blend of essential oils (Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary) naturally kills germs! You can also make hand sanitizer by blending it with some alcohol and lemon. I recommend the thieves essential oil from Young Living. This is what I use on a regular basis. I love it!
5. Baking Soda Gargle – Adding baking soda to a salt water rinse can help kill bacteria and prevent yeast and fungi from growing. Recommended application: 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/8 teaspoon salt to a cup of warm water.
6. Marshmallow Root – It contains a mucus-like substance called Mucilage that coats and soothes the throat. Consult your doctor before consuming marshmallow root.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar – Germs cannot live in the acidity of vinegar, which makes vinegar a natural disinfectant. If you have a sore throat due to cold or cough, mix one tablespoon apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon salt. Mix and dissolve in a glass of warm water and gargle gradually until solution is gone.
8. Garlic – Garlic also has natural antibacterial properties. You may have heard of friends or family taking a teaspoon of garlic every day and rarely getting sick. That’s because whole garlic contains an amino acid called alliin. When the garlic clove is chopped or crushed, an enzyme, alliinase, is released. These compounds are anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Taking a garlic supplement regularly can help increase your immune system to fight off contracting the common cold virus (or even the flu). Garlic has many antimicrobial properties as well. I personally have several friends who take a teaspoon of garlic a day and they RARELY get sick. They swear by it.
9. Licorice Root – Licorice was new to me as well. Apparently, it has similar properties to Aspirin, which is wild! Either gargle or steep licorice root and experience some throat relief. If you are pregnant, consult your doctor before consuming licorice root.
10. Lemon Water – I’ve always known drinking lemon water was good as a cleansing agent to clean your system of any toxins or impurities. But it can also be used to aid in alleviating a cold. Lemons contain vitamin C and other antioxidants that can help aid in reducing sore throat pain. It also increases the amount of saliva you produce which will help moisten your mucous membranes.