A sore throat can make you feel as if you've swallowed ground glass, making eating, talking and swallowing painful. Infections, smoke or strain from shouting can irritate the throat and cause pain. Home remedies for sore throat relief aim to reduce swelling and inflammation and coat sensitive tissues to ease pain.
Gargling with warm salt water shrinks inflamed tissue and relieves pain. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends dissolving ½ tsp of salt in a glass of water. The water should be warm, but not hot enough to burn already inflamed tissue. Gargle with a mouthful at a time, spitting the water out when it's cool. Don't swallow the salt water, as this could upset your stomach.
Hot liquids can soothe inflammation. The heat also increases blood flow, which can help relieve pain in irritated tissues. Drinking hot tea or soup also increases your intake of liquids, helping to keep throat tissue moist.
Honey coats the throat and soothes "on contact," according to researchers at Pennsylvania State University. In a 2007 study, they found honey was more effective than cough syrup at relieving children's nighttime coughs, partly because of its ability to soothe. Honey also has natural antimicrobial properties that can fight infection. Swallow a teaspoon of honey, or mix it with lemon and add it to hot tea.
If a congested nose forces you to breathe through your mouth, this can further irritate your throat, drying out throat tissue. Run a humidifier, especially in your bedroom while you sleep, to add humidity and ease pain caused by dry tissue.
Sipping hot lemon water, or adding lemon to honey or tea are popular sore throat remedies, but Dr. Andrea Rentea of Chicago, Illinois recommends a lemon compress. Mix a teaspoon of lemon juice with a cup of warm water and wet a strip of cotton sheet with this solution. Wrap it around the throat and cover this with a wool scarf. Leave in place for 30 minutes to an hour.