Drinking tea is one of the most commonly dispensed home remedies for sore throat. Even doctors recommend drinking warm drinks when you have a sore throat. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a cup of tea when they have an irritated pharynx?
 
A warm drink like tea can be a good option for sore throat pain relief as tea contains numerous antioxidants, and the warmness of the beverage can dilate the blood vessels in the throat, thereby lessening pain.
 
Science aside, there is something so soothing about tea and herbal infusions. Maybe it is the warmth, flavor, and aroma that makes me feel just a bit better. This article shares tips to choose the right tea blend to help relieve your sore throat symptoms and why it works.

The Science Behind How Tea Helps With a Sore Throat

Many teas contain antioxidants that can help your body fight off illnesses like colds and other viruses. For this reason, tea is often used as a home remedy for cold. I am sure by now you have first-hand experiences of people swearing by this beverage and how it staved off their cold, flu, or sore throat.

Sore throat occurs when there is inflammation in an area in your throat. It is typically caused by bacteria, dry air, or other environmental factors. A common symptom of sore throat is a painful, irritated, or scratchy throat. If that is not bad enough, it can be accompanied or even caused by coughs, colds, or a fever!

To state the obvious, a bad sore throat can be a harrowing and discomforting experience. No one likes pain when swallowing their saliva, let alone their food. 

But this is where the beauty of a good cup of tea can come in.

  • First, tea is an excellent antioxidant and can help reduce inflammation.
  • Second, the warmth of the tea soothes the throat, loosens up, and breaks up the mucus, thereby reducing cough and irritation in the throat.
  • Third, a sore throat can indirectly lead to dehydration as it is not comfortable drinking juices and cold beverages. Drinking tea can be just as hydrating as water, so dehydration is a thing of the past.
  • Lastly, warm liquids dilate the blood vessels of the throat. A Dilated blood vessel means an increased blood supply, which in turn means faster healing.

So there you have it, the reasons why drinking tea is not just an old wives tale. If we have convinced you to give tea a try, here are our recommendations on the best teas for a sore throat!

Best Teas To Treat Your Sore Throat

1. Tea with Honey

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No need to get super fancy; look in the cupboard and select whatever kind of tea you have right now. Feel free to use either green tea, black tea, and or Oolong tea as the base. Add a tablespoon of honey. This is the special ingredient that takes this up a notch. 

Honey has anti-inflammatory action and is proven to reduce cough. Some studies even suggest that honey might be better than a drug called diphenhydramine (Benadryl) when treating cough.

2. Ginger Tea Or Tea With Ginger

Ginger is well known for helping with a sore throat as it is not only anti-inflammatory but anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal too!

Studies suggest that it can help with the symptoms of both pharyngitis and acute tonsillitis. If you have ginger on your counter, add it to your favorite tea. Doing so is simple and just a matter of chopping up a piece of ginger and steeping it with your tea.

If you rather buy your tea than bother making it, we suggest the following:

Best loose leaf: Rishi Loose Leaf Turmeric Ginger tea

Rishi has many other blends with ginger, but this one has that combination that improves our spirit! It’s one of the best loose leaf varieties out there and has a spicy ginger taste and a zesty note. 

Best tea bag: Prince of Peace Ginger tea

If you prefer a more toned-down flavor, this is more balanced with the perfect blend of sweet and spicy making it more suitable for most tea drinkers.

3. Chamomile Tea

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Chamomile tea has a natural anti-inflammatory component called Sodium azulene sulfonate. This component is clinically in treating pharyngitis and tonsillitis.

Chamomile is also known to improve immunity and fight off the infection that caused your sore throat. If you have an associated cold, a steam inhalation with a drop or two of chamomile extract can help improve overall symptoms.

We recommend keeping Chamomile in your cabinet, especially during flu season. Here are our top recommendations:

Best loose leaf: The Tea Company Organic Chamomile Tea with Whole Dried Flowers

The chamomile flowers in this brand are organic, non-GMO, with no additives. It has an earthy and natural taste to it.  This particular package can make an average of 60 cups, but you can further extend that depending on your use. As a bonus, this is one of the more affordable loose tea you can get!

Best tea bag: Traditional Medicinals Organic Chamomile Herbal Tea

This brand is best for newcomers to tea drinking. It’s got a fragrant, floral taste with traces of honey. For those of you who like to know where your food comes from, here is a fun fact: They use fresh flowers for your tea sourced from Egypt. 

4. Elderberry tea

Elderberry is a deep purple-colored berry that is derived from the European Elder Tree. It is yet another plant that has been a part of traditional medicine for generations. Studies demonstrate that Elderberry effectively reduces the severity of symptoms of the common cold, which includes sore throat and cough. It also significantly reduces the duration of the cold.

If the common cold accompanies your sore throat, elderberry tea might be a good solution. It will reduce other associated symptoms like headaches, chills, nasal discharge, nasal obstruction, etc.

For the shoppers that are down with the Elderberry, here are our recommendations:

Best loose leaf: Rishi Elderberry Healer

This blend mixes many other sore throat soothing herbs, such as ginger root, hibiscus flowers, licorice root, and grapefruit oil. As for the taste, the tea doesn’t taste too strongly of Elderberry but has a hint of sweetness.

Best tea bag: Budhha Teas Organic Elderberry Tea

Unlike its loose-leaf counterpart, this organic tea only has Elderberry as an ingredient. So that flavor comes off heavy with this one. It has an earthy smell, a strong elderberry taste, but a subtly sweet finish. If you love Elderberry, try this!

5. Cinnamon Tea

Cinnamon is a delicious spice with health benefits ranging from protecting against certain cancers to helping protect against Alzheimer’s.

That said, there are a limited number of studies on cinnamon, specifically for sore throat or coughs and colds. But its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties might prove beneficial for relieving throat pain.

If you want to buy your tea instead of just adding cinnamon to your tea, we suggest grabbing a box of the following cinnamon tea blends:

Best loose leaf: Vahdam Sweet Cinnamon Masala Chai

This blend based on India’s Masala Chai is a combination of Assam tea with cinnamon and cardamom. The spiced black tea is sealed fresh 72 hours from harvest to ensure maximum freshness.

Best tea bag: Harney & Sons Classic Hot Cinnamon Spice

Harney & Sons’ Cinnamon tea is one of their bestselling products, and for a good reason. Their Classic Hot Cinnamon Spice is a blend of black tea, orange peel, cloves, and three different types of cinnamon. It’s sugar-free and has a strong scent of citrus and spices. Its tastes like black tea, with a hint of sweetness and spice.

6. Peppermint or Mint Tea

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Both mint and peppermint are superb if you’re looking for something to soothe your throat. Peppermint is a hybrid mint herb, so it has a similar effect to mint. Both contain menthol, an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal agent. Menthol also has some analgesic properties that might come in handy to reduce throat pain.

If you are in search of minty teas we suggest the following:

Best loose leaf: Frontier Co-op Peppermint Leaf

This loose leaf tea is all organic, natural, and sourced from the US. Their products are top-quality, and they ensure their process is entirely environmentally friendly. 

Teabag variety: Traditional Medicinals Organic Peppermint Herbal Leaf

Again this is all organic, with no additive or other flavors. It is simply organic peppermint leaves in the tea bags. Consequently, the aroma and taste is a pretty strong minty flavor. If you looove mint then this might be for you!

7. Oregano Tea:

This herb is observed to significantly improve sore throat symptoms of patients with Upper Respiratory Tract Infections. It has an analgesic effect that can help relieve your sore throat pain.

study asserted that herbs like licorice root, thyme, and Oregano, can be good home remedies to combat strep throat. Although Oregano has been associated with helping relieve pain, most studies are concerned with Oregano leaves or Oregano oil. There are few direct studies on Oregano tea’s effect on a sore throat. 

That said, if you want to give it a try anyway, we suggest buying Buddha Teas Organic Oregano Tea. This particular tea has a robust and distinct scent that is, well, very oregano-y. As an oregano fanatic, I find the flavor well-rounded and appealing. It is overall a light non-caffeinated tea with high thymol content. 

Precautions to Take When Consuming Tea For Sore Throat

In general, tea and herbal teas are pretty safe, but some herbs possess underlying side effects and drug interactions. These side effects are not usually apparent when consumed in moderate amounts. However, they can cause serious injury to your health if consumed in higher doses. Be careful before using any herb at a very high dose to prevent complications like treatment failure.

Drinking too much tea can have side effects like anxiety or insomnia, which are symptoms attributed to excess caffeine. If you are sensitive to caffeine or have had too much for the day, go for a decaffeinated blend.

Keep in mind that herbs may cause allergic reactions in some people. If you have a known allergy to any herbs, or if consuming even a tiny amount of a specific herbal tea causes discomfort, discontinue immediately.

Conclusion

Sore throat is something that all of us experience, especially as the seasons and climate change. Thankfully a sore throat, for the most part, is not life-threatening. Our bodies usually can clear it up without any medications.
 
If we had to choose one of the teas mentioned, we would just add honey to a cup of tea. It is simple enough with good taste. For the fancy tea drinkers amongst us, they might better suit the other options.
 
At the very least, drinking tea when you have a sore throat will make you stay hydrated. That said, do seek expert treatment if your cough doesn’t improve in a week or you develop other symptoms like high fever, chills, difficulty breathing, ear pain, among others.

Do seek professional treatment if symptoms persist. Don’t forget that teas make a good supplmentary treatment for sore throat not a primary treatment for it.