Sore throats are a common occurrence in people of all ages and are the primary symptom of pharyngitis, which is inflammation of the throat or pharynx. Sore throats are usually the result of a viral infection; however, they may be caused by a bacterial infection. Bacterial infections are commonly treated by antibiotics, but sore throats due to viral infections may be treated at home. Herbal remedies such as peppermint tea may soothe your sore throat, but get your doctor's OK before using herbs to treat health conditions.
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Sore Throat Symptoms
Symptoms of a sore throat may range from mild to moderate depending on the cause. Common symptoms can include red swollen tonsils, difficulty swallowing, scratchy throat, pain that seems worse when talking or swallowing, dry throat, pus pockets or white patches on the throat. and swollen glands in the neck area. Sore throats due to a cold and flu may cause other symptoms, including fever, achy body and cough.
Peppermint is an herb that is commonly used as a flavoring agent in consumer products like gum and toothpastes. In addition, it has been used for many years to treat conditions such as digestive disorders, anxiety and menstrual cramps. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, menthol, the main ingredient in peppermint, is an effective decongestant and expectorant. Peppermint is also good for calming and soothing pharyngitis, or sore throats.
Forms of Peppermint
Peppermint is available in the form of capsules, tinctures, creams and dried herbal leaves. To make peppermint tea to soothe and cool a sore throat, UMMC suggests adding 1 tsp. of dried peppermint leaves to a cup of boiling water and allow it to steep for 10 minutes. Strain the mixture, cool and drink. This mixture may be drunk up to five times per day, as needed.
Warnings and Uses
Peppermint is not recommended for use in infants or small children. If you suffer from gastrointestinal reflux, commonly known as GERD, you should not use this remedy. Peppermint may reduce the efficacy of certain medications such as stomach acid drugs, diabetic medications and blood pressure medications. Additionally, peppermint oils should not be used if you suffer from gallbladder disease or gallstones, as it may make them worse. This herb is not recommended for use by women who may be pregnant or breastfeeding.