Sore throats are abundant during the winter months, as the National Health Service warns‚ and they're usually caused by viral infections. To ease the pain and scratchiness in your throat, you might choose to try some common home remedies, such as sipping a comforting cup of hot tea. Of course, there are many types of tea to choose from, including green tea, black tea, herbal tea and tea with lemon and honey. But among these many options, which one is the best tea for a sore throat?
Herbal teas are made of various herbs and spices‚ not true tea leaves. There are many types of herbal teas available, such as peppermint, clove, echinacea, ginger, licorice, oregano, sage, thyme and barberry root. Some studies have investigated the best herbal tea for sore throat relief. One such study, published in Biomedicines, examined the effect of 13 different herbal teas on Streptococcus, the bacteria responsible for strep throat. In the study, researchers found that licorice, oregano, thyme and barberry root teas were the most effective against the bacteria.
You might also consider trying green tea for sore throat relief. This drink has been consumed for thousands of years, and a study published in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine reports that gargling this tea could ease some sore throat symptoms. In the study, people who had sore throats after surgery were asked to gargle either distilled water or green tea. The latter group was found to have less throat pain than the former. The researchers attributed these results to the glycoproteins and catechins in green tea, which contribute to its anti-inflammatory effects.
Black tea comes from the same plant as green tea‚ Camellia sinensis, but it's processed differently. No recent studies have specifically examined the use of black tea for sore throat relief, but researchers have studied the beverage's antimicrobial properties. As a study published in PeerJ reports, black tea has shown to be effective against several strains of bacteria.
Tea With Lemon and Honey
There are many ways to sweeten tea, but when you have a sore throat, you may want to reach for some honey. A study published in International Dentistry, African Edition tested the effectiveness of drinking tea with lemon and honey to ease sore throat discomfort after third-molar surgery involving an endotracheal tube. The study found that drinking this tea did provide some symptom relief; however, it wasn't as effective as using medicated lozenges. That said, the honey and lemon juice are thought to coat the tissues that line your throat, which can help to reduce irritation.
Other Home Remedies for Sore Throats
Hot tea isn't the only home remedy that may help soothe a sore throat. The Mayo Clinic notes that other warm liquids, such as broth, may help ease your symptoms. Gargling with salt water, using a cool-air humidifier and sucking on lozenges can also provide some relief.
It's important to note that not all sore throats can be treated with home remedies alone. If your sore throat is severe, lasts longer than a week or comes back frequently, you should see your doctor right away. The Mayo Clinic also recommends seeing a doctor if your sore throat is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, such as joint pain, earache, facial swelling or difficulty swallowing or breathing.
When you don't feel well, home remedies such as drinking hot tea for a sore throat may help you feel better. Herbal tea, green tea, black tea and tea with lemon and honey are all good options. If these home remedies don't seem to work, or if your sore throat gets worse, see your doctor.