When strep throat strikes few things matter more than relieving the painful irritation that can leave you miserable. This bacterial infection that causes inflammation can cause loss of appetite, make it painful to swallow, and even bring on fever among other symptoms.
If treated with antibiotics, this common throat infection usually resolves on its own in three to five days; however, without the aid of antibiotics, your symptoms will hang around until you take action. If you chose to go the antibiotic route there are still some things you can do to get fast relief from your symptoms.
With antibiotics being the go-to conventional treatment for strep, you may not have considered that there are natural remedies you may already have in your kitchen cupboard that can help ease your symptoms. Let’s take a look at some natural strep throat remedies to provide fast, effective relief.
Natural Strep Throat Remedies For Fast Relief
Garlic is a tasty herb that packs a powerful antimicrobial punch. Proven to be effective in killing even hard-to-manage staphylococcus strains such as MRSA, the allicin in garlic is the main property responsible for its antimicrobial effects.
Fresh raw garlic is the best way to get all the benefits of allicin, as cooking can break down its properties. Garlic will help kill the bacteria and is also anti-inflammatory which will aid in soothing your sore throat.
There are a few ways you can consume raw garlic as a remedy, but the easiest way is to take one garlic clove and simply chew it, allowing the juice to run down to the affected area. Garlic is pretty spicy, so have a glass of water on hand in case the spiciness becomes overwhelming. You can also cut up a clove of garlic and swallow it with a little water the way you would a pill.
2 Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, ACV, is one of those ingredients that is reported to resolve a host of ills. While ACV might not straighten your teeth or improve your hearing, evidence supports that it may relieve sore throat pain associated with bacterial infections.
In a 2017 study, the acetic acid in ACV was found to have multiple antimicrobial potentials making it a possible weapon in your arsenal of strep throat remedies (1). Beyond scientific studies, ACV has been used for centuries as a well-known folk remedy for sore throats.
Add one tablespoon of ACV to one cup of water and sip to receive relief.
3 Licorice Root
Tasty and known as a flavoring for candy treats, licorice root also contains acetic acid, an antimicrobial property that can help you beat strep symptoms. You can take this remedy as a tea or chew on a piece of licorice root after you’ve removed the bark.
Licorice root has been shown to reduce coughing and soothe throat irritation (2). If you chose to take it in tea form, add some ice to your beverage for additional relief.
4 Slippery Elm
This is one of those remedies that is so effective yet not as widely know that you’re confused as to why after you try it. Slippery elm is an herb that has been used for centuries to combat throat irritation. The main healing property of slippery elm is mucilage, which becomes a gel-like substance when mixed with water.
Slippery elm provides fast relief from strep throat pain by coating the mucous membranes of the throat, soothing swelling and irritation and fighting the infection with its antibacterial properties. This remedy can be taken as a tea or throat lozenges.
5 Warm Salt Water Gargle
Tried and true, gargling with warm salt water can help reduce swelling and kill bacteria. When you gargle with salt water, the salt acts as a sort of antimicrobial vacuum, pulling out bacteria by removing fluids from throat tissue. This removal of fluids is also responsible for decreasing inflammation.
Dissolve one teaspoon of salt into one cup of warm water and gargle for thirty seconds every hour or as needed.
There’s a reason so many cough drop makers use lemon in their products and it goes beyond the pleasing flavor. Lemon contains vitamin C, which can help boost your immune system to fight strep. It’s also packed full of antioxidants and has astringent properties that aid in shrinking inflamed throat tissue.
Lemon’s acidic nature makes it hard for bacteria to thrive but once it hits your digestive tract, lemon becomes alkaline which also aids in healing your body. Add one teaspoon of lemon juice into one cup of water for strep relief. Fresh lemon juice is preferred over concentrated but you can still receive some of the benefits of lemon juice even if it’s not fresh.
7 Ginger Root
This is another one of those great tasting herbs that you might have slept on as a healing remedy. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties help reduce pain and swelling as well as fight strep bacteria. This herb is great to combine with other remedies such as lemon and honey, making for a delicious drink with multiple benefits.
As always, fresh is better but you can also receive the benefits of ginger in its dried tea form.
Want to boost your immune system and reduce inflammation? Echinacea has you covered. This flower, when dried and consumed as a tea, tincture, or pill form, has been shown to treat inflammation and when used in combination with sage as a throat spray it alleviates throat pain(3).
It’s important to note that if you have a ragweed allergy, then echinacea may not be the remedy for you.
Honey can offer immediate relief from strep throat symptoms. Another folk remedy that has been used for quite some time to soothe throat irritation, honey now has scientific backing to support some of its healing claims.
This remedy is antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and can effectively suppress coughing, another symptom of strep. You can mix one to two tablespoons of honey into a cup of warm water and drink as frequently as you need it. Honey also works well with fresh garlic to mask the potent spicy taste.
This golden-colored spice is commonly used in food preparation but its healing properties are well studied. The property of turmeric that makes it anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial is curcumin, which you can purchase by itself in pill capsule form.
Turmeric can be added to your saltwater gargle for an anti-inflammatory boost or you can create a turmeric beverage to sip, soothing your sore throat. Add a pinch of pepper with one teaspoon of turmeric to help your body absorb the curcumin in it. You can put these ingredients in milk, water, or consumed as a tea.
11 Oregano Oil
You might end up smelling like a pizzeria if you spill it on you but oregano oil is well worth the risk. This potent, broad-spectrum, antibacterial essential oil has been shown to kill parasites, is anti-fungal, and helps relieve symptoms of strep.
You high-quality food grade oregano oil by putting two-four drops in a cup of water and gargle. Do this four times a day to get the antimicrobial benefits.
12 Baking Soda
Strep throat relief can be found with a simple baking ingredient found in most kitchens. Baking soda soothes sore throats much in the same way as ACV: by neutralizing acid and suppressing bacteria from growing.
Mix one teaspoon of baking soda into one cup of warm water and use as a gargle. While it’s not harmful to swallow the mixture, it can leave an unpleasant aftertaste.
13 Avoid Irritants
There could be something you’re doing unknowingly that is aggravating your strep throat symptoms. If you’re taking antibiotics or using other relief methods and can’t seem to ease your symptoms, consider if you’re doing any of these:
- Smoking or exposure to smoke
- Eating spicy or pickled foods
- Drinking drinks that are highly acidic such as orange juice, alcohol, or sodas
14 Stay Hydrated
As with any illness, it’s important that you stay hydrated when you’re fighting strep throat so that your body can be better equipped to heal. Dehydration can cause further irritation to your throat. Stay hydrated with Popsicles and other cool treats and beverages which can help numb throat pain.
15 DIY Cough Drops
Combine three remedies from this list to create natural cough drops that work to ease strep pain while tasting great. Honey, ginger, and lemon cough drops take about thirty minutes to make and require only a few additional ingredients.
- ½ cup of honey
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of raw grated ginger
1. Combine ingredients and heat on medium-low to 300-310F/148-154C degrees, using a candy thermometer to gauge. Stir frequently as mixture heats.
2. Remove from heat and allow to cool so that mixture thickens.
3. Pour into candy molds or drop one teaspoon at a time onto parchment paper.
Strep throat doesn’t have to be something you suffer through until it runs its course or until your antibiotics kick in. As you can see there are many ways to get fast relief from the symptoms of strep.
Pick one or try several and you’ll see that just because a remedy is natural it doesn’t mean it’s ineffective. These fifteen strep throat remedies can help you be on your way to feeling better faster.