Warm water salt gargles and other gargling solutions made with sodium bicarbonate, vinegar or chamomile are easy to prepare at home and effective in treating a sore throat. These gargles contain bactericidal, antimicrobial and disinfectant properties that help to eliminate microorganisms that can be causing throat inflammation.
Regularly gargling can be an excellent home remedy to complement prescribed medical treatment. To treat a sore throat, the doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, like ibuprofen, or analgesics, like acetaminophen.
In addition, there are some teas and smoothies with anti-inflammatory properties that can be used to manage other symptoms of a sore throat, like headaches or fatigue.
Warm water gargle recipes
To soothe a sore throat at home, you can mix any of the following gargle solutions:
1. Warm water and salt
Add 1 tablespoon of salt to 1 cup of warm water and mix until the salt has dissolved. Then take one large gulp and gargle for as long as you can, being sure to spit out the solution after. Repeat this process another 2 times.
2. Chamomile tea
Add 2 teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers and leaves to 1 cup of boiling water. Cover and allow to soak for at least 10 minutes. Strain. Allow to cool, and gargle for as long as you can, being sure to spit out the solution after. Repeat this process another 2 times. You should make a fresh tea each time you gargle.
3. Baking soda
Add 1 teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to 1 cup of warm water and mix until the sodium bicarbonate is completely dissolved. Take a large gulp and gargle for as long as possible. Spit out and repeat another 2 times.
4. Apple cider vinegar
Add 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of warm water. Mix and gargle for as long as possible, then spit out.
5. Peppermint tea
Peppermint is a medicinal plant that contains menthol. It has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties that may help to soothe a sore throat and treat the infection.
To make this gargle, add 1 tablespoon of fresh peppermint leaves to 1 cup of boiling water. Allow to soak for 5 to minutes, then strain and wait to cool. You should perform gargles throughout the day with this tea.
6. Arnica tea
Add 1 teaspoon of dried arnica leaves to 1 cup of boiling water. Cover and allow to soak for 10 minutes. Then strain, and, once it’s cool, gargle for as long as possible, being sure to spit out once done. Repeat another 2 times.
When to gargle
Gargling should be performed at live twice per day while symptoms persist. If pus is visible in the throat, it may be a sign of a bacterial infection. These types of infections require additional treatment with antibiotics.
Check out other sore throat home remedies that you can try at home to manage throat irritation and inflammation.
When it’s not recommended
Children under 6 years of age may not be able to gargle safely, which may increase a risk for choking and further discomfort. Therefore, gargling is not recommended for children five and under.
Older adults or people with swallowing difficulties may also be unable to gargle safely, and gargling is also not advised.