Cure a sore throat with these four healing herbs.
If you have ever heared the phrase “a frog in your throat”, you should know that it comes from medieval England when the physicians used to treat inflamed, croaky throats by placing a live frog into a patient’s mouth. Fortunately, nowadays the remedies are less cumbersome and much more effective. Paul Anderson, ND, chair of clinical sciences at Bastyr’s School of Naturopathic Medicine, likes to use herbs. In this article we will present you the best 4 herbs he picks to soothe your throat.
Editor’s Note: Anderson prefers tinctures to capsules for delivery because they come into direct contact with affected throat tissues.
Black elder (Sambucus nigra)
The best remedy for kids is this herb because it tastes fruity and also packs a triple punch against sore throats. It contains an amazing compound called ursolic acid which fights inflammation, while the other components expel mucus and stimulate circulation. Moreover, the US Department of Agriculture discovered that elderberries are up to 50% higher in antioxidants than other berries such as cranberries or blueberries.
Oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium)
Its root is rich in alkaloid compounds called berberines. Anderson says that they have been shown to be antiviral and antibacterial which is why they are able to kill pathogens that have infected throat cells and rallying immune defenses. They taste bitter so if you want to use them for children, use a glycerite from because it will be sweeter and many are flavored to mute the bitterness.
Contraindications: Pregnant women should avoid Oregon grapes due to some animal studies that indicate possible increases in uterine contractions.
Coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia)
In 2007 meta analysis published in The Lancet Infectious Disease discovered that echinacea reduces the chances of catching the common cold by 58% and cuts the cold’s duration by 1.4 days. Anderson says that it contains compounds which directly stimulate local immune activity, thus recruting defense cells to the area, while also inhibiting the action of bacteria and viruses through substances called polysaccharides. You should also opt for a glycerite from for kids because it can taste bitter.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Peppermint is fragrant, dark-green plant which contains menthol, a volatile oil that thins mucus (breaking up phlegm) and gives you that sensation of your sinuses opening up. Moreover, mentol has a calming, numbing effect on sore throats and test-tube studies discovered that peppermint has the ability to kill some types of viruses and bacteria. “Peppermint is directly antiseptic and soothing,” Anderson says. “I use it with echinacea or berberis because it makes them palatable orally.”
Contraindi-cations: Never use peppermint if you have a heartburn because it can worsen symptoms by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter muscle.
How to Blend Tinctures
For Adults: Make a combination with 1 ounce peppermint and 1 ounce echinacea. (Use tincture or fluid-extract forms.) Next, stir about 1 teaspoon of the solution into about 2 ounces of water and drink it. If you suffer from a sore throat, drink this solution 4 to 6 times per day. Anderson suggests to drink some acidic juice after drinking the solution if you find the aftertaste unpleasent. However, “the longer the herbs sit on the throat tissues, the better,” says Anderson.
For kids: Prepare a combination with 2 ounces of black elder, 1/2 ounce peppermint, and 1/2 ounce of either echinacea or berberis. (Use glycerite or syrup forms.) Give the child 1/2 to 1 teaspoon three to five times daily.
Tip: Beside drinking this solution, you should give the child to gargle with salt water at least 3 times per day. According to Anderson, this soothes and shrinks swollen tissues. Stir 1 teaspoon of salt into 4 ounces of warm water, gargle, and spit out.