When you feel the hopeless scratchiness of a sore throat and cold coming on, your first instinct is probably to intake something hot, more like a big cup of tea. And your gut feelings are suitable as a warm tea or other emulsifiers can help calm the inflammation, clear nasal airways, and limit the amount of mucus in the nasal passages that can further irritate the passage or larynx. Even if you’re not usually a tea drinker, a warm cup of tea might make a welcome addition to your day when you have a terrible sore throat. It also has several useful benefits.
For example, many teas are a powerhouse of antioxidants. These compounds can help the body fight off illnesses, such as colds and other viruses. They may uphold your immune system and enhance healing. Antioxidants also help with healing muscles and ligaments. Some teas and natural blends provide anti-inflammatory outputs that may help reduce swelling and pain.
Drinking fluids can keep your throat moist and reduce your risk of dehydration. This may help reduce irritation and pain in your throat. According to the Mayo Clinic, warm liquids, in particular, can help soothe a sore throat. Tea also provides a perfect vehicle for honey, a natural antibacterial and soothing sore throat agent. According to information published in Canadian Family Physician, honey might help ease the symptoms of a cold. It might even work better than diphenhydramine (Benadryl), an antihistamine used to treat cold and allergy symptoms. Honey should not be given to children under a year because of the danger of infantile botulism.
10 Best Tea for Sore Throat: 2021
What types of teas and herbal infusions are the best to drink when you’re trying to soothe that sore throat? Many varieties may provide relief and comfort. That means if you’re struggling to drink one cup of green tea when you can easily glug down a few cups of black just because you think it’s healthier, you may be missing out on all that your drink has to offer during cold and flu season. So, give the following teas a try and sip on the one you like the most—we promise they’ll soothe your sore throat in no time. Consider trying one of these 14 options.
1. Slippery Elm Tea for Sore Throat
Slippery elm is an herb that’s been used as a natural remedy for centuries. It contains a substance called mucilage, which turns into a gel-like matter when mixed with water. When you drink slippery elm tea, that gel can help coat your throat, which may soothe and protect it when it’s sore. One small study reported in the Journal of Investigational Biochemistry found that participants rated slippery elm tea as more soothing than decaffeinated orange pekoe tea. This herbal tea comes from the inner bark of the Ulmus rubra—or slippery elm—tree of North America. Like marshmallow root, slippery elm is high in mucilage, creating a gel that can coat and soothe the throat. According to the National Institutes of Health, it’s used in some oral lozenges to ease throat pain.
2. Licorice Root Tea for Cold Sore
Like slippery elm tea, licorice root tea is a common alternative remedy for sore throats, reports the Mayo Clinic. You can sip a cup or try gargling it. To gargle licorice tea, prepare a cup following the package directions. Let it cool to a comfortable temperature. Then gargle it for several seconds before spitting it out.
Slightly sweet licorice root, which stems from Glycyrrhiza glabra, is a staple in traditional Chinese medicine. While it may be best known for soothing gastrointestinal problems like heartburn, a 2015 paper by the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences highlighted its antimicrobial and antiviral properties, which can be key in fighting the bacteria and viruses that cause infectious sore throats. Licorice root can be dangerous in large quantities, especially if you have certain health conditions. Talk to your doctor before trying licorice root tea.
One of the sweetest teas in the world, licorice root tea, may help to soothe a sore throat, “cough, asthma, and other breathing problems.” 50 times sweeter than sugar, licorice is one of the tastiest home remedies too. Research showed it might be helpful in treating postoperative sore throat, a throat condition, and cough caused by intubation. Licorice has an anti-depressant effect too, so consult your doctor if you are taking medicine that may interact with licorice root.
3. Horehound Tea for Sore Throat
Horehound is an antioxidant-rich herb with anti-inflammatory properties. It’s traditionally been used as a remedy for sore throats and colds. It also works as a mild cough expectorant, so if you’re having issues with mucus buildup, horehound tea might be helpful. Look for horehound tea at your local pharmacy or health food store. There are no current studies on the medicinal use of horehound.
4. Chamomile Tea for Sore Gums and Throat
Chamomile tea is a fan favorite among many tea lovers. Not only is it one of the most widely available herbal teas, but it’s also one of the oldest known herbal remedies. If you want a more classic herbal tea, we recommend chamomile with a touch of honey. The tea is very calming, and the honey offers a smooth sweetness to help coat the throat. Specifically, antioxidant-rich chamomile has been shown to lubricate the throat to improve soreness and hoarseness.
Many studies have examined the potential benefits of chamomile for treating a variety of conditions. According to the authors of a review article in Molecular Medicine Reports, evidence suggests it may help lubricate your throat, which may be useful in warding off hoarseness and pain. Chamomile tea is known to have anti-inflammatory properties to reduce swelling and redness. Chamomile also has antioxidant properties, which are helpful for tissue repair and health. The antispasmodic action of chamomile might also reduce cough.
If your sore throat is caused by a cold, chamomile may relieve some of your other cold symptoms as well. Even if you’re not up for drinking it, inhaling chamomile steam might be helpful.
5. Turmeric tea for Sore Throat
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family. It’s often sold as a spice, dried, and ground into a bright yellow powder. You can also prepare and drink it as tea. Look for turmeric tea bags or add ground turmeric to boiling water, simmer it for several minutes, and strain it into a cup. Feel free to add honey to sweeten it.
Turmeric has long been used as an infection-fighting antiseptic in South Asian countries. While you traditionally find the vibrant ingredient in curries, stir-fries, or soups, sipping the spice as a tea may have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, research shows. It’s also known to soothe an upset stomach. According to research published in the Indian Journal of Research in Homoeopathy, turmeric has potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties. It might help provide relief from throat pain or irritation.
6. Green tea for Sore Throat
You’ve likely heard about all of the beautiful benefits of classic green tea, but allow us to refresh your memory. The popular drink is packed with amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, but the show’s real star is its antioxidant content, which may account for up to 30 percent of its dry weight.
That’s why green tea has been linked to disease prevention and better heart health—its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties do wonders for your body, especially when you’re feeling under the weather. The best part? Green tea has a light taste, so you can add a pinch of honey or cinnamon to adjust the flavor as you like.
Green tea is a rich source of antioxidants. It also has natural anti-inflammatory properties. Some believe that gargling green tea can help relieve a sore throat. In a study reported in Anesthesiology and Pain MedicineTrusted Source, scientists found that gargling green tea helped ward off sore throat symptoms in postoperative patients. Green tea has numerous other health benefits that may improve overall functioning and healing.
If you want to give this method a try, brew up a cup of green tea. Let it cool to a comfortable temperature. Then gargle it for several seconds before spitting it out. You can repeat this process 2–3 times as needed.
7. Marshmallow Root Tea for Sore Throat
Althaea Officinalis, an herb better known as marshmallow root, secretes a sticky, gel-like substance called mucilage, which can coat the throat for a soothing effect. A small 2014 study noted it also has pain-relieving properties, especially when it comes to inflammation, a hallmark of sore throats. Don’t let the name excite you too much; this is still a green tea—just with a mild taste.
McDonald also suggests combining licorice root and marshmallow root into one herbal tea, like an Ayurvedic Vata blend. “The tea is naturally quite sweet and has a smooth finish, which coats the throat,” she says. Marshmallow root has a long tradition of in-home treatments of coughs. One German study showed that this traditional medicinal plant has soothing properties and may reduce the irritation caused by dry cough, asthma, bronchitis, common cold, and sore throat. For soothing properties, it’s safe to drink several cups per day. It contains a substance called mucilage that may have mild effects on the respiratory system. Mucilage may interact with other oral medicine, so be cautious.
8. Ginger Tea for Sore Throat
Both ginger and galangal (a similar root) are well-known for their anti-inflammatory effects. While treating the inflammation and possible infection associated with a sore throat is excellent, adding a dash of cinnamon to this tea can make its effect even greater, notes McDonald, thanks to its antibacterial properties. Plus, it adds a nice flavor. Lemon, ginger root, and honey might be among the most popular home remedies for treating the common cold, including soothing sore throat and cough. Ginger may help with lowering body temperature, thus reducing fever. Fresh ginger root, lemon juice, and honey mixed with water make a tasty common cold-fighting drink too. Avoid large doses of fresh ginger as it may cause some side effects such as diarrhea or irritation.
9. Peppermint Tea for Sore Throat
If you’re looking specifically for cooling relief, peppermint can get the job done. Peppermint is rich in menthol, which is responsible for the cooling sensation you associate with mint. Both peppermint and menthol have antibacterial properties—a plus if your sore throat results from a bacterial infection, like strep.
Antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects of refreshing peppermint may help in dealing with a common cold. Research showed that L-menthol, a compound in peppermint, could be beneficial in treating “chronic inflammatory disorders such as bronchial asthma, colitis, and allergic rhinitis.”
10. Iceland Moss Tea for Sore Throat
One of the best herbal teas for sore throat is Iceland moss. Iceland moss contains mucilage, and a cup of warm Iceland moss tea might even provide instant relief. A study on 61 patients showed that Iceland moss is an “advisable therapeutic opportunity without interactions and side effects”. Brew one teaspoon of this tea for 10-15 minutes in boiling water and strain. Iceland moss has a naturally bitter flavor, so add honey if needed.
11. Rooibos Tea for Sore Throat
Rooibos is a herbal tea made from a South African plant called a red bush. Although not as famous for treating the symptoms of the common cold, this tea may be beneficial. Packed with antioxidants and naturally caffeine-free, rooibos may help with soothing the throat and cough. Unlike most other herbal teas, it may provide relief for children too. Brew one teaspoon of rooibos tea in a cup of boiling water for 5-10 minutes.
12. Honeybush Tea for Sore Throat
Honeybush is another caffeine-free tea with a flavor similar to rooibos tea. It has been traditionally used as a “medicinal concoction for soothing coughs, alleviating bronchial complaints.” Honeybush is naturally sweet, with leaves resembling yerba mate leaves. Brew one teaspoon of honeybush tea in a cup of boiling water for 5-10 minutes.
13. Sage Tea for Sore Throat
Traditionally, sage has been used for a whole range of respiratory problems, including bronchitis, cough, asthma, angina, mouth and throat inflammations. Not only can you use this bitter and sweet herb for making tea, but for cooking as well. To maximize the benefits, try using it with rosemary.
14. Thyme Tea for Sore Throat
Thyme, a herb most commonly used for cooking rather than drinking, may be a firm companion in dealing with cough symptoms. You may drink the dry leaves alone prepared in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes or mixed with other throat and cough soothing herbs like ivy and primrose.
Summing Up: Best Tea for Sore Throat
A sore throat can be very annoying; the itchy feeling that refuses to go away and the constant irritation makes you highly uncomfortable. A sore and scratchy throat occurs as a part of your body’s immune response to viral or bacterial infections. Your immune response leads to inflammation and swelling of the mucous membranes in the throat, resulting in soreness. Some of the factors causing sore throat are the common cold, flu, allergies, pollutants, smoke, dryness, and muscle strain by yelling or talking loudly. Some of the symptoms of scratchy and sore throat may include pain, difficulty swallowing, swollen glands, hoarse voice, and swollen, red tonsils. While sore throat can be treated with a few home remedies; however, if it persists for more than a few days, seek medical help, considering it may be an indicator of an underlying health condition.