Table of Contents

Sore Throat Cures

Last Modified on Mar 25, 2014

A sore throat is an infection that can be either viral or bacterial. It is most commonly caused by a contagious viral infection (such as the flu, cold or mononucleosis), although more serious throat infections can be caused by a bacterial infection (such as strep, mycoplasma or hemophilus).

Home Remedies for Sore Throat

Bacterial sore throats respond well to antibiotics while viral infections do not. For viral infections, there are many natural remedies that you can take to cure a sore throat. Cayenne pepper and apple cider vinegar are easily the two most popular home remedy sore throat cures. Some of these folk remedies work within an hour or two, others take effect overnight.

If you do not see some improvement overnight, please visit your doctor, especially if you suspect strep throat.

Related pages:
Cayenne Pepper for Sore Throat: #1 Cure!
Cold Remedies
Flu Remedies
Sinus Congestion


Cayenne389 YEAS
Apple Cider Vinegar139 YEAS
ACV and Cayenne58 YEAS
Pickle Juice Brine34 YEAS
Salt Water Gargle25 YEAS
Hydrogen Peroxide22 YEAS
Tabasco Sauce20 YEAS
Cayenne Pepper Recipes17 YEAS
Garlic14 YEAS
Hot Sauce14 YEAS
Iodine Painting14 YEAS
Ginger14 YEAS
Lemon13 YEAS
Mouthwash12 YEAS
Vinegar11 YEAS
Cloves8 YEAS
Hot Tea8 YEAS
Hand Therapy6 YEAS
Vicks Vapor Rub6 YEAS
Oregano Oil5 YEAS

Cayenne Tips

Approval Ratings
YEA (2)

07/26/2009: Ten-d from Dallas, Texas: "I've been reading these threads and see that there are SO MANY people worried about the heat of the pepper. If you want to use Cayenne Pepper, just start putting in your foods. It tastes great! Obviously don't put it in cereal! But chicken, salads, soups, even certain sandwiches taste better with Cayenne Pepper. CP is a great spice, it assists your body's natural blood flow and helps to carry nutrients via the bloodstream into your body more quickly. Using it all the time will help in your general health - plus because you will have been using it, you will have gotten used to it, and thus, the gargle wont worry you a bit! Give it a try. But I do say get the stuff from the health food store. The name brand stuff just doesn't do the trick, at least for me it doesn't"

[YEA]  03/17/2008: Giancarlo from Poughkeepsie, New York: "Some Dangers of this cure: Ok you have to warn people loud and clear that they have to water it down... i let some hot sauce down my throat not watered down at all and my throat valve just completly closed and i was gasping for air and i almost died... but after sucking down water i was able to get control of myself.. but anyways my soar throat was gone pretty much instantly lol."

10/29/2012: M.akram from Abbottabad, Pakistan replies: "Thanks very much for this post. I have been looking for something like this desperately. Thanks very much for sharing this piece of information."

03/07/2008: Nina from San Diego, CA: "Cayenne pepper works, but in order to ease the hotness, I just use orange juice. Put an 1/8 of a teaspoon in a glass of orange juice, and drink it. Make sure the oj has pulp in it, the cayenne will bond to the pulp, and it won't burn your mouth at all! I have been using this method for years. And DON'T use milk to "ease the hotness" when you're sick- avoid dairy products"

12/05/2012: Donnie from Chicago, Illinois replies: "Why are you suppose to avoid dairy? My throat has been hurting but I drink one of those instant breakfasts that mix with milk. Should I lay off the milk until I'm better then?"
12/07/2012: P from Middle Of, Fl replies: "I'm late; however aloe juice always helps with vomitting. I've had multiple success with multiple people. Honey and Ginger tea excellent as well. If you're still vomitting now being 2days later (can be something severe) read up on iodine in the above in remedy tab. Hope this helps for future reference."

03/02/2008: Brittany from Lake Wylie, South Carolina: "I actually haven't tried the cayenne pepper yet, but am sure it will work. I'm more concerned with what people are using to take the heat away afterwards... You should use sugar. It absorbs the heat. Bread probably works too, but not as much. Milk, just like water, spreads it around even more and will probably upset your stomach, especially if you try lemon with any of the remedies. So bottom line, use sugar not milk or water."

05/08/2009: Shawnshine from Portland, Or replies: "Unfortunately, sugar lowers your immune system and allows the bacteria in your throat and mouth to breed more rapidly. I would advise against using sugar if you're battling a bacterial throat infection such as Streptococcus."
01/09/2010: Angela from Rock Hill, Sc replies: "Definitely agree. Don't use sugar. I mix mine with real lemon juice, warm purified water (not distilled), and Grade B organic maple syrup. This gives it a warm herbal tea flavor. It is the same as the "lemon juice diet", but I do not fast very often. I like it because it is healthy and I have osteoarthritis that is very painful in the winter and it helps with that a lot."
[YEA]  04/05/2011: Penny from Los Angeles, Ca replies: "For sore throats and sinus problems I add cayenne to a broth of one crushed piece of garlic, one table spoon of ACV, soy sauce to taste, one dash of toasted sesame oil and a teaspoon of honey. I pour boiling water over this mixture in a mug and drink it like a cup of tea. It tastes pretty good. The garlic, ACV and cayenne really help to knock out a cold."
01/13/2013: Tàylor from Tucson replies: "Milk should be avoided during a time of illness but the post about how it makes the heat worse is absolutely untrue. There are proteins in milk that bond to the capsacin sp? molecules in peppers, which are the heat of the peppers, and get washed away."
02/14/2013: Angela from Rustburg, Va, Usa replies: "I tried the Cayanne /ACV/ garlic/broth mix and only substituted hymalayan salt for soy sauce, and it hardly touched my sore throat. The warmth and spice cleared up my nose, and felt pretty good, but it was not the miracle cure I was told it was. Maybe it's just because I have the worst sore throat of my life, that kept me up the entire night... But still. (Don't get your hopes too high. ) On the plus side, it's really pretty good. I had fresh broth, and boiled the garlic just a bit, and it was a very nourishing and tasty soup."

03/01/2007: Patty from Pine City, MN: "I use cayenne pepper too for sore throats, but have found that mixing it in glycerine makes it much easier to take. Take about 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper (I use red pepper from my spice cabinet) and mix with 1 ounce of glycerine. Let sit together (I let sit for 2 days) then strain, using a coffee filter, into a bottle with a dropper. This method makes the concoction taste almost sweet and works great. Just drip onto sore areas of throat."

02/14/2011: Gail from Las Vegas, Nv replies: "Let the cayenne and glycerin sit for two days? My throat hurt so bad I didn't have time to wait. I mixed it according to your suggestion and immediately dropped it into my throat. Mixing it with glycerine did produce a sweet flavor. Within in minutes I was able to swallow with much less discomfort.

I'd like to know why I should wait two days before using the concoction.

02/19/2012: I Like Green from Ann Arbor, Mi Usa replies: "I thought that glycerine is bad to suck!"
04/09/2012: Ellen from Rochester, Mn replies: "They put glycerine on pacifiers in the hospital to get newborns to take them."

Belina from Merida, Yucatan, Mexico : "I've read about people having problems with Cayenne, Habanero or other "hot" chilies or sauces and as a Chef who specializes in Mexican fare, plus I now live in Mexico too, I can give you a very easy and efficient remedy to ease the burning from peppers. Also, it doesn't matter if the burning is in your mouth, lips, face (from touching it with your hands after handling peppers) or hands, it works:

Put a little salt on the palm of your left hand, wet the tip of your right index finger in your mouth slightly and dip it in the salt and place it UNDER your tongue (sublingual) in the tender area on your jaw and not ON the underside of the tongue. Relief is very quick, easy to do, you can do it anywhere (like a restaurant) and works for everyone plus you can find salt everywhere."

Storie from Seattle, WA: "Sprinkle some cayenne pepper into a mixture of about 2 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp honey - microwave for about 20 seconds and then stir. Drink it while it's hot.

It doesn't necessarily "cure" my sore throats, but it always makes it feel better. I get tonsillitis that seems to be triggered by my sinus problems and constant post-nasal drip. The cayenne pepper always helps me cough up all the nastiness back there.

If you like pickle juice (I love it), I have also found it helps to drink a couple sips of it mixed with cayenne pepper. This doesn't soothe my throat like the honey/lemon, but it does help me cough up excess mucus."

03/11/2009: Chloe from Amherst, MA replies: "I tried the lemon and honey trick, with about 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne, microwaved it for 20 sec, then tried to gargle it and burned my tongue and bottom of my mouth badly. Make sure it's not too hot, or it will just make it worse."
04/07/2009: Debbi from Delta, CO replies: "I tried the 3 tbsps of honey with 3 tbsps of lime juice, since I didn't have lemon juice on hand. I generously sprinkled cayenne pepper and added a few drops of water. Heated it 20-30 seconds and drank. I tasted pretty good and I could immediately tell that in was "working" on the sore areas of my throat. I immediately got my voice back and am very hopeful that this will give me relief throughout the course of this sore throat. I will repeat as necessary until the sore throat is gone. I speculate that it doesn't cure the sore throat, but numbs it. But that is good enough for me. With the symptoms reduced, I can certainly wait this thing out!"
[YEA]  06/05/2011: Kikiloise from Novi, North Carolina Usa replies: "when I have a cold or a sore throat or I lose my voice I take a tblspoon of honey and apple cider vinegar... works like a charm! The after taste may burn a little bit but not bad."
12/27/2013: Boduliuca from Barrie, Canada replies: "You must know something about honey. It is extremely healthy, but loses it all if you heat it to the temperature higher than 40 C (103 F). After that you have only sugar, which is harmful. So: STOP NUKING YOUR FOOD!"

Acid Reflux Connection

Approval Ratings
YEA (1)

[YEA]  01/15/2009: Rob from Mount Vernon, NY: "sore throats and acid reflux!

Here's a tip I'd love to share. Last year I dealt with a sore throat for over 3 months! Finally went to an ENT who put the camera up my nose and down my throat and saw that there was no infection. As it turns out he diagnosed it as acid reflux! So he put me on a reflux regimen and started me on AcipHex which I tried for a week to no avail. Then I tried Nexium out of pocket since it was not covered in my insurance formulary, and in about a day and a half, it was gone! Hope this helps someone!"

07/08/2009: Sheri from Winston-Salem, NC replies: "I am a singer, and had lost my singing voice for about 3 months--no pain--just couldnt' sing. Dr. diagnosed me with acid reflux, and put me on Prilosec OTC. I recovered in a short amount of time. Evidently, when we sleep some of the acid comes up in our throats and harms the vocal cords. Interesting stuff--I didn't even know I had acid reflux. hope this helps!"
03/15/2010: Bonny from Nassau, Bahamas replies: "Vocal help suggestions anyone?

3 months ago what I thought was a discomfort in throat & neck from maybe too much singing is still with me after 4 different antibiotics, numerous tests & 2 scopes from ENT doctors. One thought it was acid reflux due to the inflammed appearance where the oesophagus meets the voice box....10 days on omeprazole made me feel worse . The next gave me anti-inflammatories which seemed to help but once stopped, the raw feeling & sensitivity on right side of throat returned. I cannot even speak for long without a strained feeling, nevermind sing.......any suggestions, this is so depressing......."

12/07/2011: Mike O from Blackwood, Nj Usa replies: "Orange Peel Extract is the answer. It is all natural not a prescribed pill... D-Lymonene is what I use take it once in the morning and works like a charm! First few times you will burp up oranges but that means it's working. Good Luck"
03/06/2012: Lou from Tyler, Tx replies: "I had horrible pain seemingly in the thyroid and hoarse voice today and the last few days. Hard to breathe and swallow. I used one of Ted's suggestions. I put 5 drops of hydrogen peroxide (3%) in a bottle of water 16.5 oz. (approx. 1/2 liter) and a little bit of borax (1/8 tsp. ) I feel 100% better now. Drink this slowly over 1/2 of the day."


Approval Ratings
YEA (1)

[YEA]  05/16/2007: Brice from Sringfield, USA: "I've had my fare share of sore throats, and I find that taking one capsule (1 billion count of organisms) of Acidophilus plus one 200mg of Ibuprofen every 4 hours helps with the pain.THIS IS JUST A SUGGESTION. This works for me, but may cause further health problems in others. Acidophilus is a probiotic, which means you shouldn't take it with antibiotics. Acidolphilus contains the same Lactobacillus (rod-shaped bacteria) found in milk or cheese. The breakdown of nutrients by Lactobacillus Acidophilus produces lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and other byproducts that make the environment hostile for undesired organisms. Acidolphilus is not recognized by the FDA to cure any disease. Ibuprofen helps in reducing the swelling. Ibuprofen is a blood thinner and shouldn't be used with other blood thinners. Ibuprofen has also been known to cause stomach pains and stomach bleeding. If stomach pains occur, drinking milk may help. READ THE DRUG FACTS LABEL."

08/17/2008: Tamara from Yukon, OK replies: "Acidophilus can actually be taken with an antibiotic and should be taken with an antibiotic. This is why.... antibiotics kill good and bad bacteria. When the good bacteria is killed, it can cause diarrhea or a yeast infection. The probiotic, acidophilus, will help keep the normal flora, or good bacteria intact and help prevent antibiotic associated diarrhea or yeast infections."
03/19/2009: Ellen from Chicago, IL replies: "Yes I agree, it is a must to take the acidophilus when you are on antibiotic treatment, the key however, is to take it between doses of the antibiotic, for at least as long as you are on the treatment and longer if you desire. If you have been on previous/numerous antibiotics you could take the acidophilus as a daily supplement."

ACV and Cayenne

Approval Ratings
YEA (53)
NAY (3)

[YEA]  02/04/2014: Voni from Portland, Oregon: "I used I/4 teaspoon of Cayenne, 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon of Salt (I used Sea Salt) in a about 2 ounces of warm water, as warm as you can stand. I gave this to my son to gargle with and to take small swallows in between gargles. He felt instant relief! Also note I used organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar that has the "mother" in it and water that has NO fluoride in it."

[YEA]  10/13/2013: Caitlin from Austin, Tx: "Ate horribly out at two restaurants yesterday; end result, I got a terrible sore throat! Don't know if I picked up someone's virus, strep, or just having an immune response to my "allergic foods. " Woke up hoarse, with a sore throat getting worse by the minute. It is 4:00pm and I'm thinking, 'No way am I going to suffer with this throat all night! ' So, I make a quick trip to the "Earth Clinc. " Came away with this:

1/2 cup of heated water, 3 Tab. ACV with a pinch of Baking Soda (because that much ACV in a short time feels terrible on my stomach), 1 TAB honey, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. I sipped first -- throat only slightly better. I gargled -- way better, plus spitting up mucus. 15 minutes of gargling and swallowing and spitting and..... (drum roll) -- NO SORE THROAT! I am totally amazed and grateful. Now I shall go rinse my mounth. Thanks guys! :)"

[YEA]  06/18/2013: Sorethroatgone from Denver, Co: "ACV and Cayenne: DUDE!!! This works quickly! ... I woke up this morning at 6 AM with a sore throat, sneezing, and a runny nose... Like the river Euphrates (seriously)... And I just felt "sick"... Like a cold, I guess. I had to blow my nose about 1, 000 times, non-stop. So I did a couple shots (cap-fulls) of Apple Cider Vinegar and then immediately took some pictures of my face to commemorate the event. Then I mixed a quarter (1/4) teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper into a quarter (1/4) cup of water and gargled it in small doses (and spit it out) several times and also drank some (and I took some more pictures of my face). Then I blew my nose another thousand times, non-stop. That was 2 hours ago and my nose stopped running and now it is 95% clear, and my sore throat is 95% gone. And I don't feel sick anymore. Sweet! Now I can go to work! Word of caution: these things are not fun to drink, but it only feels annoying for a few minutes... And well worth it! Don't be a sissy, do it! (Nothing personal against sissies)"

[YEA]  09/20/2012: Egf from Guadalajar, Jalisco: "I gargled with c. Pepper, cider vinegar and wrm water. It tickled my tongue and scalded my throat but it stopped hurting and feel better immediately. Big Yea"

[YEA]  06/01/2012: Suzanne from Norman, Ok: "After two days of an extremely painful sore throat I was desperate for relief. After reading the posts I tried many combinations but this is what worked for me: 1 cup ACV undiluted, 2 tbs raw honey and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper. I gargled with this mixture and felt immediate improvement. I contined to gargle (not drink) this about every two hours, rinsing my mouth with plenty of plain water after each use. Within less than 24 hours my sore throat had vanished, my voice came back and I was able to swallow without pain. Many thanks to all who posted."

[YEA]  06/08/2012: Rebeccarhae from Los Angeles, California replies: "Last night I sipped 1/2 c. ACV, 1/2 tsp. And 3 T. Honey mixed with warm water until I couldn't drink anymore, then gargled with the rest. When I woke up the pain was nearly gone. Amazing results! Which saved my skin because I started a new job today.

I agree with whoever suggested it tastes like wing sauce. Having that in my head made it more palatable somehow, even though I don't usually seek out spicy food.

I feel sorry for the girl who tried to temper the ACV with apple juice- seems like a mistake to me, like putting blue cheese in milk or RW vinegar in wine. But yes. This totally worked and I will do it again- earlier next time!

Oh, and PS. I bought all the necessary ingredients for around ten bucks, too. Most otc medicines are more expensive than that..."

12/03/2011: Geminiwww from Atlanta, Ga: "I was without cayenne in the house, but happened to have Jolokia pepper powder and used this with the ACV mixture. It helped tremendously with just the first dose. So much so that I was too ambitious with the second dose which made me very nauseous. Be sure to follow the correct quantities and it will work. Get greedy and it will backfire. I'm sticking with the dropper method for the rest of my treatment!"



Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.