Honey for Sore Throat: Good or Bad?

honeyIf you feel pain when you swallow your food, you probably have sore throat.

Although it’s not a serious condition, it can make you feel uncomfortable.

It can also make talking difficult.

Often, it goes away without treatment.

You’re lucky if it does.

However, there are cases in which it leads to a more serious infection.

Thus, it’s important that you relieve sore throat with the help of natural remedies such as honey.

First, let’s get to know more about this common health problem.

In this article, you’ll get to know more about these important points:

  • Symptoms and causes of sore throat
  • Properties of honey that make it suitable as treatment for sore throat
  • How to use honey for sore throat that require the use of simple but effective ingredients

Overview of Sore Throat

As the name suggests, sore throat refers to painful, scratchy and irritated throat that makes it difficult to swallow food and drinks [1].

Apart from having a painful throat, there are other symptoms that you should know about, and these include:

  • Throat dryness
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • White patches on tonsils
  • Hoarse voice [2]

This problem can affect any age, but those who are at greater risk are the following:

  • Children
  • People who smoke
  • People who have allergies
  • People with weak immune system
  • People who work in environments that expose them to other infected people [2]

What Causes Sore Throat?

Sore throat can be caused by either viral or bacterial infection, or some other factors.

Viral infection

Most of the sore throats that people experience today are caused by a viral infection.

  • Cold
  • Flu
  • Mononucleosis
  • Chickenpox
  • Croup
  • Measles

Bacterial infection

It’s also possible for bacterial strains to infect the throat and cause pain.

Other factors

When viruses and bacteria are not the culprits, it may be any of the following factors causing throat pain:

  • Allergic reactions to pollen, dust mites, pet dander and chemicals that cause accumulation of mucus in the throat, setting off pain and inflammation
  • Dry air that can make the throat feel irritated
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Talking in a loud voice that can strain the throat
  • Medical conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) [3]

Properties of Honey

Honey is a naturally sweet substance that’s made when bees collect nectar and store it in honeycombs [4].

Throughout history, it has been highly valued not only for its rich flavor but also for its medicinal properties.

A cave painting that can be found in Valencia, Spain shows that humans have begun collecting honey about 8,000 years ago [5].

This substance, which is a combination of natural sugars, proteins, enzymes, organic acids, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and antioxidants, has been found to have various therapeutic purposes [4].

Some of the beneficial actions that have been confirmed present in honey are antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and wound-healing activities [4].

Its antimicrobial properties are so strong that it can fight even antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains [4].

Most of these pharmacological effects can be attributed to the fructose, glucose and antioxidants that can be found in honey [4].

It’s no surprise that honey has gained worldwide recognition for its role in complementary and alternative medicine [4].

For problems like sore throat, honey can be your go-to solution.

It’s not only inexpensive, it’s also highly effective and safe.

With its sweet taste, even children would love to use it to relieve the pain in their throats.

How Honey Combats Sore Throat

Honey can easily combat sore throat and provide you the relief that you’re looking for.

Here are the various ways it can resolve this common respiratory condition.

1. Honey can combat allergies

As mentioned earlier, allergies are some of the most common cause of sore throat.

It’s a good thing, honey can help control allergies.

In a study that was conducted in Malaysia in 2013, it was shown how high dosage of honey successfully treated allergic rhinitis in 40 patients [6].

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The participants consumed either honey or placebo for a period of four weeks [6].

The group that consumed honey showed significant improvement in the symptoms of allergies, including sore throat [6].

2. Honey fights harmful microorganisms

It is a well-known fact that honey is a strong antiviral and antibacterial agent.

Since most sore throats are caused by viral and bacterial infections, honey can help in this matter.

A study performed by Canadian and Iranian researchers confirms that honey has the ability to inactivate microbes and prevent them from causing further infection [7].

3. Honey boosts the immune defense

Another way honey helps in solving this problem is by strengthening the body’s immune defense.

As it is loaded with essential nutrients and antioxidants, it can indeed power up the immune resistance to make it more difficult for harmful pathogens to cause illness.

Honey’s immunity-boosting properties have been verified in scientific research [8].

4. Honey tones down inflammation

The primary reason there’s pain in the throat is because of inflammation.

Fortunately, this can be toned down, thanks to honey’s anti-inflammatory activities.

Researchers have established that honey is capable of inhibiting pro-inflammatory enzymes to tone down swelling in the throat [9, 10].

6 Ways to Use Honey for Sore Throat

Here are the remedies that you can try if you’d like to use honey to treat throat pain and inflammation.

Most of these are in combination with other natural ingredients that also have potent bactericidal and anti-inflammatory properties.

The other ingredients like lemon juice, meanwhile, can help boost the immune defense so that the body is less susceptible to infections caused by harmful microorganisms.

#1. Drink Honey and Lemon Juice

Lemon juice contains vitamin C which studies have proven to be an effective way to combat respiratory infections like those that cause sore throat.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 glass of warm water
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

Recommended Directions:

  1. Add lemon juice and honey to warm water.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Drink the mixture in the morning and before going to bed.
  4. Do this everyday until throat pain and swelling subside.

#2. Consume Honey and Cinnamon

One of the oldest remedies for sore throat and other respiratory ailments is the combination of honey and cinnamon.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Boil water in a pot.
  2. Add honey and cinnamon.
  3. Stir well.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Let it steep for 15 minutes.
  6. Drink slowly the concoction.
  7. Follow this remedy once a day for up to one week.

#3. Take in Honey and Ginger

Ginger soothes a painful throat by toning down inflammation and fighting microorganisms that cause infection.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 cup of water

Recommended Directions:

  1. In a pot, bring water to a boil.
  2. Add ginger.
  3. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from the stove.
  5. Strain the mixture
  6. Stir in honey.
  7. Drink this tea once or twice a day for up to two weeks.

#4. Blend Honey and Turmeric

Also an effective anti-inflammatory, turmeric can help alleviate sore throat.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder

Recommended Directions:

  1. Put water in a pot, and boil.
  2. Add turmeric powder.
  3. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Turn off the stove.
  5. Strain the powder.
  6. Mix in honey.
  7. Drink this turmeric and honey tea everyday for one to two weeks, or until condition gets better.

#5. Drink Honey and Onion Juice

Onion juice is a quick way to ease the pain and discomfort of sore throat.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 whole onion

Recommended Directions:

  1. Chop onion into small pieces.
  2. Put in jar with a lid.
  3. Add honey.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Store the mixture in the refrigerator.
  6. Chill for 24 hours.
  7. The next day, take one tablespoon of the liquid.
  8. Do this everyday until sore throat is gone.

#6. Drink Honey and Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea has soothing effects on the throat to tone down soreness and swelling.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of chamomile leaves
  • 2 cups of water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Boil water in a pot.
  2. Add chamomile leaves.
  3. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Cover and let it steep for 15 more minutes.
  6. Strain the mixture.
  7. Add in honey and lemon juice.
  8. Mix well.
  9. Drink this tea twice a day for one to two weeks or until swollen throat tones down.

Sore throat is usually not a cause for concern.

However, since it can affect your daily activities like eating and talking, and can make you uncomfortable, it’s a good idea to resolve it using natural remedies like honey.

Honey can resolve this problem with its anti-allergy, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting properties.

Using it combination with other antibacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredients like ginger, garlic, or onion can make the remedy even more potent.