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Home Remedies For Throat Infection By Dr. Siddharth Gupta

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Throat infection is a common symptom of viral or bacterial infection. Throat infection may feel like an irritation, inflammation, eruption or a painful scratch in your throat. The pain gets worse when you swallow. The pharynx is also called the throat. It is a hollow tube inside the neck from behind the nose to the top of the windpipe and oesophagus. Hence, a throat infection is also called pharyngitis. Pharyngitis can affect the surrounding areas including the tongue, tonsils and roof of the mouth. A throat infection is called sore throat when caused by a virus. Strep throat is an infection due to bacteria. Throat infections can quickly spread from one person to another by close contact and sharing utensils and objects. These infections occur more during the colder months.1–4  

Let’s know more about the natural remedies for throat infection, which you may try at home. 

What Causes Throat Infection: 

Although the most common causes are bacterial and viral infections.1 The causes of a throat infection may include- 

  • Bacterial infection (strep throat) 
  • Parasitic infection 
  • Fungal infection 
  • Viral infection (flu or common cold) 
  • Tonsilitis (inflammation of tonsils) 
  • Cigarette smoke 
  • Allergies (pollen, mould, dust mites) 
  • Excessive dryness due to congestion.2,3,5 

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Symptoms of Throat Infection: 

The appearance of symptoms in people may vary in severity and duration. You might feel irritation and pain in the back of your mouth, tonsils and neck. You might also experience swollen lymph nodes, fever, earache and headache.2,3 The following are the most common symptoms of throat infection: 

  • Sore throat 
  • General malaise 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Vomiting 
  • Nausea 
  • Fever  
  • Painful swallowing 
  • Stomach ache 
  • Redness in the throat.3 

The symptoms of a throat infection may show similarities to other health conditions; therefore, it is always better to check with your doctors for a complete diagnosis.3 

Home Remedies for the Throat Infection: 

You may try the following throat infection home remedies to ease your pain. 

1. Honey (Shahad) 

Honey may be the best home remedy for throat infections. Honey may have antibacterial and antiviral properties that might help relieve cough and cold symptoms. In addition, it may also have a soothing effect, making it a quick remedy for throat pain. Take one teaspoon of honey mixed with half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder before bedtime. This remedy might help clear up the respiratory passage. You may also use honey and clarified butter with hot fresh ginger paste to relieve sore throat and cough. 6 

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2. Omum (Ajwain) 

Ajwain leaves and seeds have been used in Indian cooking. Ajwain has been used in Indian home remedies for colds and coughs. It may have antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal and broncho-dilating properties. In addition, it may act as an expectorant (may help decongestion and remove mucous from nasal passages). It may also provide relief from coughing and sneezing.6 

Ajwain seeds contain 2 to 4.4% thymol oil, which might be used for throat infections. Steep 2-3 teaspoons of ajwain in hot oil (coconut oil) for some time to allow all the nutrients to infuse in the oil. Upon cooling, use this oil to massage your chest, back and nose. It might help release the chest congestion.  

3. Garlic (Lahsan) 

You should consider garlic for throat infections. Garlic contains a compound called allicin which might help enhance the immunity of the body and help fight against viral infection. Some laboratory studies have suggested that garlic contains an enzyme alliinase which may be associated with the antiviral activity against various types of viruses.6 

Chewing raw cloves of garlic might be a good home remedy for throat infections. Take garlic along with vegetables and hot soup as it may be difficult to eat whole garlic. 

4. Ginger (Adrak) 

Ginger can be found in every Indian kitchen. Ginger contains unique compounds like zingerone and gingerols, which might prevent entry as well as stop the viral multiplication in the body. Fresh ginger may have antiviral activity against human respiratory viruses.6 

You can make ginger tea by boiling a few slices of fresh ginger in a cup of water. Let it simmer for 3-5 minutes, then strain the water. Drink this ginger tea 2-3 times a day for relief. 

5. Peppermint (Pudina) 

Studies have suggested that pudina may have antiviral, antioxidant, and antibacterial activities. In addition, it may enhance the immunity, which may be beneficial in combating respiratory infections.6  

To overcome the symptoms of throat infection, boil few mint leaves in one glass of water. Use this lukewarm water to gargle. You can also inhale the fumes; it might help with nasal congestion. 

6. Turmeric (Haldi) 

Studies showed turmeric (curcumin) had no toxic effects on humans. Turmeric contains a polyphenol called curcuminoid that may possess antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antifungal properties. Turmeric milk might be one of the effective throat pain remedies. Add some turmeric powder to hot milk, stir well and drink it 2-3 times a day. It might help boost the immunity to prevent and relieve symptoms of viral infection.6 

7. Black pepper (Kali Mirch) 

Black pepper is a traditional Indian spice. It contains quercetin that might act as an immunity enhancer for managing cold and cough symptoms. It may have antiviral, antibacterial and expectoration properties that might help break down the mucus and phlegm deposition in the respiratory tract. It may also provide relief from nasal and sinus congestion.6 Take some hot water and add a bit of black pepper powder. Stir well and sip it slowly. 

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8. Basil (Tulsi) 

Basil or tulsi is an aromatic Ayurvedic herb. In the Ayurvedic medicine system, tulsi is called “Mother Medicine of Nature” and “The Queen of Herbs.” Studies have confirmed that tulsi may have beneficial properties such as antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic (pain-relieving), antipyretic (reduce fever), etc. Basil leaves might increase the production of natural immune cells in the body to fight viral infection.6  

Tulsi tea might be an effective home remedy for throat infections.  To make tulsi tea, take a handful of tulsi leaves and boil them in water. Allow the leaves to simmer for about five minutes and add ginger, cinnamon or honey if required. Drink this tea twice a day to help ease the pain. 

9. Cinnamon (Dalchini) 

Cinnamon may have antiviral, antioxidant, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. It may also benefit the immune system. A regular intake of cinnamon might reduce the chances of getting throat infections.6  

Add a pinch of cinnamon and ginger powder and bit of honey to a small amount of milk. Drink this cinnamon milk couple of times a day to help with throat pain. 

10. Asafoetida (Heeng) 

According to Taiwan Medical University, the roots of asafoetida may produce natural antiviral compounds. In laboratory studies, the antiviral activity of asafoetida has been demonstrated against the influenza A virus. Asafoetida may have sedative properties (induce sleep). It may also act as an expectorant, so may benefit in whooping cough. Asafoetida has a distinct odour which might deter or inhibit germs invasion.6 

You may use asafoetida as an instant remedy for throat pain. Add a few teaspoons of asafoetida powder, ginger powder and a small quantity of honey to a glass of water. Drink this mixture twice a day to relieve sore throat. 

Though there are studies that show the benefits of the given herb and home remedies in managing throat infection, these are insufficient. Therefore, there is a need for large-scale human studies to develop the true scope of the benefits of these home remedies on human health. Thus, these should only be taken with caution and never as a substitute for medical treatment. 

When to Seek Medical Help:  

The throat infection may not cause any serious health conditions. However, you might need to consult a doctor if you have a sore throat that lasts for longer than a few weeks.2 Following signs should guide you to visit a doctor for proper treatment. 

  • Excessive drooling (in the case of children) 
  • Severe throat pain 
  • Blood in saliva or phlegm 
  • Trouble swallowing or breathing  
  • Extreme tiredness 
  • Rashes all over the body 
  • A bulge in the back of the throat 
  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • High fever (over 100.4°F) 
  • Headache, earache, stomach ache, body ache 
  • Nausea and vomiting.2 
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You must not rely on home remedies alone to treat throat infections. You should consult a qualified doctor for throat infection if the symptoms fail to improve with home remedies.  


Viruses and bacteria both may cause throat infections. The infection caused by viruses (flu or common cold) is called the sore throat, whereas the infection by bacteria is called strep throat. You might feel painful inflammation and irritation in your throat. The development of symptoms may vary depending on immunity. Usually, the throat infections ward off in a few weeks. Consult a doctor if your symptoms worsen or fail to improve. You may try certain home remedies for throat infections. Home remedies using kitchen ingredients might provide relief from throat infections. You can try turmeric, ginger, honey, black pepper, tulsi, garlic, cinnamon, mint, asafoetida, etc., as beneficial home remedies for throat infection.  

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What causes a throat infection? 

Throat infections are caused mainly by viruses (common cold or flu) and bacteria (group A Streptococcus). It may be called sore throat in case of viral infection and strep throat in case of bacterial infection.1,2 

What are the available treatments for throat infections? 

The treatment for throat infection will depend upon age, symptoms and general health of a person. A doctor might recommend drinking more fluids, gargling with warm salt water, throat lozenges and acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve pain and fever.3 However, you should consult a doctor before trying these treatments and only use them if prescribed by doctors. Otherwise, you may try simple home remedies for throat infections. 

What are the benefits of Asafoetida for throat infection? 

Asafoetida may have antiviral activities and also act as an expectorant. It might help in breaking down the mucus during whooping cough. Asafoetida may have a unique fetid odour which might act as a deterrent to germs.6 However, more research is required to know the benefits of asafoetida in humans. Therefore, you should consult a doctor before using asafoetida to manage a throat infection. 

How is honey to be used for throat infections? 

You can take a teaspoon of honey with half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder before bedtime. You can also take honey with clarified butter and hot fresh ginger paste.6 However, if the symptoms of throat infection persist even after taking honey, do not rely on honey alone. Immediately contact a doctor and get appropriate treatment for your sore throat. 

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