A sore throat is pain, scratchiness or irritation of the throat that often worsens when you swallow. The most common cause of a sore throat (pharyngitis) is a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. A sore throat caused by a virus can be resolved on its own but it’s always better if we can help it along and bring more ease into our lives.
They are different possible causes of a sore throat, some signs and symptoms might include:
- Pain or a scratchy sensation in the throat
- Pain that worsens with swallowing or talking
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sore, swollen glands in your neck or jaw
- Swollen, red tonsils
- White patches or pus on your tonsils
- A hoarse or muffled voice
Infections causing a sore throat might result in other signs and symptoms, including:
- Runny nose
- Body aches
- Nausea or vomiting
Sore throats are usually caused by viruses (like cold or flu) or from smoking. Very occasionally they can be caused by bacteria (strep throat).
A sore throat can also be caused by:
- strep throat (a bacterial throat infection)
- glandular fever
A common way of treating sore throats is with a simple salt/water gargle, it is very efficient! Have you ever tried a salt gargle with essential oils? I promise you, you feel the antiviral power of this treatment! Gargles are great ways to apply essential oils effectively and safely.
Lemon citrus limonum
As mentioned in this weeks blog post Lemon essential oil is a wonderful antiseptic, antibacterial and antiviral product! This essential oil is a must have in your medicine cabinet, order it here form Nature Sunshine, especially is you have children, it is easy to use, uplifting when you diffuse it, great to add to your cleaning products, to disinfect your surfaces,…
Remember that Lemon as other citruses is obtained by a cold pressing method, to extract the essential oil from the zest. This is different from steam distillation where many big molecules can be carried through and so are not present in the final product. Because of the method of extraction and their high composition of monoterpenes, citrus essential oils are phytotoxic, photosensitising so mustn’t be applied neat to the skin nor before sun exposition and also has a very short shelf life, so if you don’t use them up in a year better use them to mop the floor!
tea tree melaleuca alternifolia
The Tea tree plant is from the Myrteaceae family as is Eucalyptus and Ravintsara. It originally comes from the swampy regions of New South Wales, the aborigines of Australia have a medicinal tradition that dates back centuries and contains an in-depth knowledge of the properties of the Tea tree leaf, it was transmitted from generation to generation through storytelling and songs. Capitan Cook took advantage of this ancient knowledge and named the plant “Tea tree” in reference to the tea obtained from its leaves. Depending on when the leaves and stems are picked and the country or region of origin, its biochemical composition is very variable. Sometimes it can contain up to 60% cineole, when harvested in the winter and other times only 3%. Tea tree essential oil is one of the essential oils that has been studied the most and its antibacterial properties have been widely documented.
Did you know it takes 70 kg of Tea tree leaves to make 1kg of essential oil??
If we take a Tea tree essential oil which is poor in cineole but rich in terpinene-4-ol ( a monoterpenol), it is found to be highly effective against upper respiratory tract infections and this is probably due to the combination of monoterpenes and monoterpenols in nearly a 1:1 ratio. You can order Tea tree essential oil HERE.
Peppermint Mentha x piperita
There are many different species of mints, peppermint is actually a hydra species from Mentha spicata and Mentha aquatic. Its culture debuted 300 years ago in England and is the most used species in aromatherapy now. Most farmers who produce peppermint, do two harvests a year. The first one in June can yield an essential oil with up go 40% of menthone (a monoterpenic ketone) whilst the one in August contains majorly menthol (a monoterpenol). It is important to know the biochemical composition of the essential oil you are working with especially because ketones are neurotoxic and there use must be limited and monitored.
Peppermint essential oil is interesting for a sore throat as it has antiviral properties, it is very cooling, anti-inflammatory, stimulates the immune system, antispasmodique and analgesic, so order it right now.
Sore Throat gargle recipe:
2 drops Lemon (Citrus limonum) essential oil
2 drops Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) essential oil
1 drop Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) essential oil
4 tbsps sea salt
1 glass of warm water.
Mix the sea salt and essential oils in a bowl. Place 1 tsp sea salt mixture in a glass and add warm water, continue to stir the water until the sea salt mixture has dissolved into the water. Then gargle the mixture in the back of your throat for 2 to 5 minutes, twice daily or when the throat feels sore.
Contraindications: Do not use in pregnancy, lactation, or with children under 3 years of age
Herbal recommendation for a sore throat
Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra L.) is an amazing herbal remedy to help soothe a sore throat. It is widely used in herbalism and especially traditional Chinese medicine as a sweetener and balancer in many tea blends. Its sweetening power is actually 50 times stronger than that of the sugar cane and the molecule responsible for this is called glycyrrhizin!
But this root doesn’t only possess glycyrrhizin but over 30 different types of flavonoids, coumarins and traces of essential oil. Licorice root is expectorant and emollient, especially useful to soothe a dry cough and is anti-inflammatory for the upper respiratory tract so great for the throat!
The best way make tea with liquorice root if you have the roots directly is to macerate them in cold water, for a couple hours or over night. If not you can find many blends forswore throats with licorice root already incorporated you can infuse as a regular herbal tea.
Get licorice root from Mountain Rose Herbs here or discover their sore throat spray I recommend!
It is contraindicated if one has hypertension, pregnant, cardiac or liver insufficiency and shouldn’t be taken for more than 3 months straight.