A bacterial infection that can cause sore and scratchy throat, strep throat is responsible for just a small percentage of sore throats [1].

It is a type of infection that is caused by Group A Steptococcus bacteria [2].

While strep throat is most common in children, it can affect people at any age [1].

If you suspect you or your child has strep throat, these are signs and symptoms to watch out for:

  • A sudden onset of sore throat
  • Pain that accompanies swallowing
  • Soft and hard palate showing tiny red spots
  • Tonsils that are swollen and red, with streaks of pus or white patches
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Body aches
  • Vomiting or nausea, particularly in small children [1]

Even so, the presence of these symptoms does not automatically signal a strep throat.

Other illnesses, such as a viral infection have similar manifestations.

If cold symptoms like sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, and coughing accompany the sore throat, it’s unlikely that you have strep throat [3].

To make sure that the condition is indeed strep throat, your doctor will have to check specifically for the infection [1].

Whatever condition you may have, you can find relief naturally through the use of essential oils, such as the following:

1. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is not just something you need to have to add to pies and Middle Eastern dishes.

You should also keep cinnamon essential oil on hand to treat strep throat, tonsillitis, and other conditions that lead to the inflammation or irritation of the throat.

To test cinnamon’s antibacterial properties, researchers in France exposed Streptococcus pyogenes, the most common cause of tonsillitis, to different essential oils [6].

Out of the 18 essential oils used in the experiment, cinnamon was among the most potent in terms of suppressing the effects of this particular strain [6].

Cinnamon oil has also been proven to work against drug-resistant strains of bacteria [7].

Things You’ll Need: 

  • 2 drops of cinnamon oil
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 cup of warm water

How to Use: 

  • Mix the oil and honey into the water.
  • Drink twice daily for at least one week.

2. Clove

Clove is a popular ingredient in spice mixes to create hearty stews and casseroles.

However, clove is more than just the spice you use to stud your Christmas ham with.

It has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antifungal, and antiviral properties that make clove an effective natural remedy for strep throat, according to a 2005 study [8].

The same study found that clove oil can suppress the growth of various bacterial strains, including Streptococcus pyogenes [8].

As a result of clove oil’s ability to inhibit Streptococcus pyogenes, the infection is arrested and is kept from becoming worse [8].

Clove has even been proven effective in suppressing a type of Staphylococcus epidermidis, which is normally non-pathogenic except in patients with compromised immune systems [9].

Things You’ll Need: 

  • 3 drops of clove oil
  • 3 drops of juniper oil
  • 1 bowl filled with steaming hot water

Recommended Directions: 

  • Combine the clove and juniper oils.
  • Add the oils to the water.
  • Mix thoroughly.
  • Place your head over the bucket and cover it with a towel.
  • Make sure to wrap the towel over and around your head and the bowl.
  • Inhale the steam for at least five minutes.

3. Eucalyptus

The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of eucalyptus oil make it good for calming swollen and painful tonsils caused by strep throat [10].  

Eucalyptus oil also has antimicrobial and antiviral properties, reports a 2010 research that studied the oil’s effectiveness when taken orally or through inhalation [11].

The oil is so potent that eucalyptus doesn’t just inhibit the effects of bacteria and viruses that affect the throat and the respiratory tract, it also works against bacterial strains that are resistant to drugs [12, 13].

Things You’ll Need: 

  • 1 to 2 drops of eucalyptus oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil

Recommended Directions: 

  • Mix the eucalyptus and coconut oils thoroughly.
  • Put the mixture onto your palm.
  • Rub your hands together to warm up the oils.
  • Gently massage the lymph nodes in your throat.
  • Do this for at least 20 minutes or until the pain is relieved.

4. Hyssop

Biblical accounts show that hyssop has been used since ancient times as it was highly prized for its role in religious rites as well as for its medicinal properties.

In fact, hyssop was used by ancient Greeks to treat throat, chest, and lung inflammation.

This practice is supported by the findings of modern-day Turkish scientists who found that hyssop can inhibit the activities of several strains of bacteria, yeasts, and fungi [14].

The researchers believe that beta-pinene, caffeic acid, isopinocamphone, pinocamphone, and tannins are the active compounds responsible for hyssop’s antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Things You’ll Need: 

  • 5 drops of hyssop oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil

How to Use: 

  • Mix the two oils.
  • Rub the oils between your palms to warm them.
  • Apply on the throat.
  • Gently massage the area for five to 10 minutes.

5. Juniper

Heartburn, stomach bloating, and skin maladies are just some of the health issues that juniper berries are known to treat.

It has also been used as a natural remedy for microbial infections.

In Turkey, for instance, traditional healers use juniper berries to treat respiratory-related illnesses such as bronchitis, coughs, and colds [15].

The antibacterial properties of juniper berries are supported by the results of a 2003 study where juniper oil was found to be effective against several bacterial strains, which include drug-resistant pathogens [15].

Things You’ll Need: 

  • 3 drops of juniper oil
  • A bowl of steaming hot water

Recommended Directions: 

  • Mix the oil and water thoroughly.
  • Position your face over the bowl.
  • Place a towel over and around your head and the bowl.
  • Inhale the steam for at least 5 minutes.

6. Lavender

Lavender is a popular ingredient in a wide range of products, including perfumes, candles, and soaps.

It may be well-known for calming and relaxing frayed nerves, but lavender has also been used for its antimicrobial properties since World War 1 [16].

Furthermore, lavender is an analgesic and anti-inflammatory.

It is effective in treating pathogens that affect the respiratory tract so you can use it to relieve symptoms of a strep throat, including soreness and irritation [17].

Things You’ll Need: 

  • 1 drop of lavender oil
  • 1 cup of warm water

Recommended Directions: 

  • Mix the oil and water.
  • Gargle the solution for at least 1 minute.
  • Spit out the water.
  • Repeat once or twice daily.

7. Lemon Oil

The high vitamin content of lemon oil is responsible for its immune-boosting properties, which makes it a highly popular natural remedy for treating various conditions including colds and strep throat.

The antimicrobial properties of lemon oil have been proven in a study published in the World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology where researchers found that it can effectively inhibit the growth of Streptococcus mutans, a type of bacteria that significantly contributes to tooth decay [18].

In addition to being antibacterial, the anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antioxidant properties of lemon oil also make it suitable for treating throat irritation and pain [19, 20].

One thing that sets lemon oil apart from other essential oil is that it can be taken orally.

You can add it to a glass of water or a cup of tea to instantly make a refreshing drink which you can consume whether you have a strep throat or not.

Things You’ll Need: 

  • 3 drops of lemon oil
  • 1 drop of eucalyptus oil
  • A glass of warm water

Recommended Directions: 

  • Combine the two oils.
  • Add the oils to the water and mix thoroughly.
  • Swish around your mouth for about 10 seconds before swallowing.
  • Do this once in the morning and once in the evening.

8. Oregano

Because of its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, oregano oil has been widely used as a natural remedy for immune and respiratory problems [21].

Oregano’s antibacterial properties are largely due to carvacrol, which can extinguish the source of the infection, effectively treating the problem of a strep throat.  

The oil is so potent that you don’t need much to effectively inhibit the activities of several strains of bacteria, including Streptococcus pyogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, and Klebsiella pneumoniae [22].

Oregano is especially effective against bacterial strains that are drug-resistant.

Things You’ll Need: 

  • 3 to 5 drops of oregano oil
  • 5 drops of lavender oil
  • A bath tub of water

Recommended Directions: 

  • Combine the oils.
  • Add to your bath tub water.
  • Mix thoroughly.
  • Take a bath as you normally would.
  • Repeat daily for at least a week.

9. Peppermint

Peppermint has long been valued for its medicinal properties.

Today, a number of studies have been done to ascertain the antimicrobial, antiviral, and antiseptic properties of peppermint oil and these studies have had positive results so far.

Researchers of a 2013 study published in the European Journal of Dentistry found that peppermint oil is an effective intracanal antiseptic solution against oral pathogens [23].

The broad spectrum of peppermint oil’s antibacterial effects is substantiated by another study, making it an effective treatment against bacteria that causes strep throat [24].

According to the same study, the antimicrobial properties of peppermint make it ideal for treating mouth and throat irritation, such as sore throat [24].

To relieve the symptoms of a sore throat, peppermint oil may be inhaled in steam form or applied topically.

However, when using peppermint topically you need to dilute it in a carrier oil because its pure form is so potent it can irritate your skin.

Things You’ll Need: 

  • 1 to 3 drops of peppermint oil
  • 1 cup of green tea or any tea of your choice

Recommended Directions: 

  • Add the peppermint oil to your tea.
  • Mix well.
  • Drink as you normally would.
  • Repeat several times daily.

10. Sage

Sage is not just the perfect herb for flavoring pork dishes, it is also highly effective in bringing comfort and easing pain, according to the results of a study done by Jordanian scientists [25].

Sage also has proven strong anti-inflammatory capabilities as revealed by an experiment in 2012, which makes it an appropriate remedy for respiratory infections that include strep throat and sore throat [26].

The curative properties of sage are attributed to the carnosol, oleanolic acid, and ursolic acid it contains [26].

Things You’ll Need: 

  • 5 drops of sage oil
  • 1 bowl of steaming hot water

Recommended Directions: 

  • Mix the oil in the water.
  • Place your face over the bowl.
  • Cover your head and the bowl with the towel to trap in the vapors.
  • Inhale the steam for at least 5 minutes.

11. Tea Tree

Tea tree oil is one of the most well-known remedies for sore throat, a symptom of strep throat.

One reason for this is that tea tree is a potent antimicrobial against Streptococcus pyogenes [27].

It also has the ability to calm swelling [27].

Tea tree doesn’t just relieve pain, inflammation, and other symptoms of infection, it is capable of killing the source of the infection.

Moreover, tea tree has over a hundred bioactive components, which makes it highly effective against many types of bacteria and viruses.

Things You’ll Need: 

  • 3 drops of tea tree oil
  • 1 glass of warm water

How to Use: 

  • Mix the oil in the water.
  • Gargle the mixture for one minute.
  • Spit it out.

12. Thyme

Another immune-boosting herb, thyme is used extensively in Mediterranean cooking.

It is an excellent flavor enhancer for almost all types of dishes.

Thyme is used as a strep throat remedy since it possesses strong antimicrobial properties.

In fact, Polish researchers found that thyme effectively suppressed the activities of 120 bacterial strains that cause oral cavity and respiratory tract infections [28].

These findings were supported by another study published in 2012 [29].

Thyme’s ability to inhibit the growth and activity of bacteria has been proven to affect all strains, including drug-resistant ones [28].

Because thyme as an herb is widely used in cooking, thyme oil can also be consumed orally.

However, it is very strong so you need to dilute it first before ingesting it.

Things You’ll Need: 

  • 3 to 5 drops of thyme oil
  • 1 glass of water

Recommended Directions: 

  • Mix the oil and water thoroughly.
  • Gargle the mixture for at least five minutes.
  • Spit the mixture out.
  • Repeat once or twice a day.

Q/A

The following are some of the frequently asked questions about strep throat:

Q: What causes strep throat?

A: The Group A streptococcus strain (GAS) is responsible for strep throat [4].  

Q: What does strep throat feel like?

A: Strep throat is often marked by pain due to swollen tonsils as well as tender and swollen lymph nodes [5].

Q: Is strep throat contagious?

  1. Yes. Any close contact with an infected person can spread the disease since it is highly contagious [5].

Q: What’s the best way to diagnose strep throat?

A: Strep throat is diagnosed by means of throat culture [5].

Q: Is there a vaccine against strep throat?

A: There are currently no strep throat vaccines available.

Q: How long does strep throat usually last?

A: Left untreated, strep throat usually lasts anywhere between 2 and 5 days.

Strep throat may sound like a serious condition but it can be treated using home remedies that include essential oils.

The best part? Bacteria don’t usually develop resistance against these essential oils as they do with antibiotics and other medications.

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