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. I mean after all, who doesn't enjoy a cup of tea when they have an irritated pharynx?
A sore throat can be really painful and discomforting. In some cases, you may even have pain while swallowing food. So the question is: is tea really effective for a sore throat? Can a simple cup of tea deal with such issues? If yes, what are some teas that are effective for sore throat treatment?
We will deal with all these questions in this article.
The Science Behind How Tea Helps With a Sore Throat
Tea is quite frequently used as a home remedy for the treatment of sore throat and many would agree with that based on their personal experience. However, there aren't any scientific studies that directly state "tea helps with a sore throat". But we can look at the properties of a hot cup of tea and connect the dots on why it works.
- First of all, tea is a great antioxidant. This means it has the ability to reduce inflammation. Sore throat occurs when there is inflammation in our pharynx, and so the antioxidant effect of tea could be one important factor in treating sore throat.
- Secondly, the warmth of the tea soothes the throat, loosens up and clears off the mucus, thereby reducing cough and irritation in the throat.
- Lastly, warm liquids dilate the blood vessels of the throat. Dilated blood vessel means an increased blood supply, which in turn means faster healing.
So, even though we don't have any direct studies stating tea helps with sore throat and cough, these could be the possible mechanism behind why tea helps with a sore throat.
So if it works, what are the different types of teas that you can choose to relieve your sore throat.
7 Best Teas To Treat Your Sore Throat
1. Tea with Honey:
Whatever kind of tea you have right now at home would do the job. Green tea, black tea, oolong tea, or any other kind of tea; all of them have anti-inflammatory properties.
Prepare your tea and add one tablespoon of honey in it. Honey also has anti-inflammatory action. It is also proven to reduce cough. In fact, some studies suggest that honey might actually be better than a drug called diphenhydramine (Benadryl) when it comes to treating cough.
Therefore a combination of tea and honey might give you a superior result.
2. Ginger Tea:
Ginger adds to the benefits of tea too. This herb is well known to help with a sore throat. The chemical compounds of ginger are also proven to be anti-inflammatory in nature. There is even evidence that it has anti-bacterial, antiviral and antifungal effects too!
So, if you have ginger in your counter, add it to your sore throat tea recipe. Chop up a piece of ginger and boil it with the water you will use to steep the tea. Doing this will extract the ginger juice. Steep your tea in it and enjoy.
3. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile is yet another anti-inflammatory edible flower. Sodium azulene sulfonate, a natural anti-inflammatory component of Chamomile tea, is clinically used for pharyngitis and tonsillitis.
If you have an associated cold, then steam inhalation of chamomile extract can help reduce overall common cold symptoms.
All of these make chamomile tea a perfect tea for the flu season.
4. Elderberry tea
Elderberry tea is another great option. 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 have shown that Elderberry is effective in reducing the severity of symptoms of common cold, which includes sore throat and cough. It also reduces the duration of the cold significantly.
So if your sore throat is accompanied by the common cold then elderberry tea might be a better option for you. It will reduce other associated symptoms like headaches, chills, nasal discharge, nasal obstruction, etc.
5. Cinnamon Tea
If you don't mind a little bit of spice in your tea then cinnamon tea might be a great option for you.
Cinnamon is a delicious spice with health benefits ranging from preventing cancer to preventing Alzheimer's disease. It also has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and is therefore beneficial for the treatment of sore throat.
6. Peppermint or Mint Tea
Both mint and peppermint are great if you're looking for something to soothe your throat. Attributed to menthol, these two herbs leave behind a cooling sensation in the throat. But that's not it.
Menthol is an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and antifungal agent. It also has analgesic properties. It can, therefore, help in reducing throat pain, and kill off some bacteria and viruses causing sore throat, relieving the symptoms of sore throat.
Peppermint is a hybrid mint herb. Therefore both mint and peppermint have a similar effect since they have the same biological components. You can use whatever is more easily available to you.
7. Oregano Tea:
This herb is also scientifically proven to have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral activity.
Apart from that it also has an analgesic effect that can help relieve your sore throat pain.
You can have it in several ways. You can either get oregano extracts that you can add to your tea, or you can steep fresh oregano leaves in hot water with your tea.
How to Prepare a Perfect Cup of Tea to Treat Sore Throat
Boil some water in a pan, add your favorite tea in it and let it steep in the water for 10 minutes. You can leave it for a bit longer if you desire a stronger tea. And voila! Your tea is ready.
You can similarly steep fresh herbs like peppermint, mint, oregano, and ginger to make your tea even more effective.
You can go with loose tea leaves or tea bags; both should yield equal results. You can get pre-made herbal tea or you can mix the spices, herbs, and flowers of your choice separately in your black or green tea. Either way is fine. You can even mix multiple different herbs and spices. Experiment and find out what you like the most.
Adding a spoon of honey would be a good idea to supplement your tea with an extra boost of anti-inflammation as well.
Precaution Should Be Taking When Consuming Tea or Herbal Tea
While tea and herbal teas are in general pretty safe, herbs may possess some underlying side-effects and drug interactions. These side-effects are not usually apparent when consumed in moderate amounts, but can cause serious injury to your health if consumed in higher doses. Be careful before using any herb at a very high dose if you are under any long term medication to prevent complications like treatment failure.
The tea itself has its own set of side-effects like anxiety, insomnia, etc which is attributed to its caffeine content. You can go for decaffeinated tea to cut back on caffeine a bit.
Also, keep in mind that herbs may cause allergic reactions in some people. If you have a known allergy to any of the herbs or if consumption of even a small amount of herbal tea causes discomfort, discontinue the use of that herb immediately.
Sore throat is something that all of us experience, especially with climate change. Most of the time they're not a serious issue and usually, your body takes care of it by itself without any medications.
After analyzing the benefits of these herbs and flowers we can safely assume that drinking tea that is rich with these herbs and flowers can yield you better and quicker results than doing nothing and waiting for spontaneous healing.
Drinking tea when you have a sore throat will also make sure that you stay hydrated. Sore throat is very commonly accompanied by fever. Fever is one of the common causes of dehydration. So, you must keep an adequate intake of fluids, and your tea could supplement that.
Simple tea and honey are good. But if you fancy some extra added benefits of herbs, you can always experiment a little and find out the best combination for your taste.
Seek professional treatment if your cough doesn't improve in a week, or if you develop other symptoms like high fever, chills, difficulty in breathing, ear pain, etc.