Sore Throat
Natural Remedies

Soothe Your Sore Throat Naturally with Cayenne Pepper

| Modified on Feb 26, 2024
Cayenne Pepper for Sore Throat.

The use of cayenne pepper for sore throats is a popular and effective home remedy, thanks to its active ingredient, capsaicin. We are grateful to Penny from Fresno, California, who shared this natural treatment with us.

Before Penny's remedy was posted on Earth Clinic in 2004, very few people knew about using cayenne pepper for a sore throat. However, for almost twenty years, thousands of people worldwide have discovered the benefits of this inexpensive and straightforward natural treatment. It's a proven way to cure a painful sore throat, and it's worth trying if you're looking for a natural solution.

The Power of Capsaicin: How Cayenne Pepper Works to Soothe Sore Throats

Cayenne pepper's effectiveness in treating sore throats is due to its active ingredient, capsaicin. Capsaicin is a powerful compound with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. When cayenne is consumed, capsaicin works to reduce inflammation and swelling in the throat, providing immediate relief.

Moreover, capsaicin also acts as an antibacterial agent, which helps to eliminate the underlying infection that causes the sore throat. This makes cayenne pepper a potent remedy that not only reduces pain and swelling but also aids in the healing process.

Cayenne pepper is also known to stimulate blood flow, which further enhances the healing process by bringing oxygen and essential nutrients to the affected area. This can help speed up the recovery time and prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of the body.

How to Use Cayenne for a Sore Throat

Gargling With Cayenne

In 2004, Penny from Fresno, California shared her experience with Earth Clinic about how gargling with cayenne pepper in water helped her get rid of sore throats.

Penny writes, "If it is too late, as in strep, it takes gargling with cayenne in water every fifteen minutes until it goes, and be patient, because it GOES. I haven't had a sore throat take hold in 15 years or more, though many have tried to start up, which also is a way for many illnesses to sprout. I generally will gargle cayenne in water at whatever strength I like and do it as much as I can until I tire of it, and then repeat every fifteen minutes, each time swallowing a tiny bit real slowly (not necessary). It only stings the tongue a little when spitting out, otherwise, no discomfort, you can get used to even the swallowing part when you see how well it works. I use the cheap Mexican stuff, but also keep on hand in refrigerator the pesticide free stuff from health store. Cayenne is a miracle cure for ulcers and so many other conditions, plus aids assimilation of nutrients and vitamins. I will keep cayenne in water in the bathroom in case I get up in the night, so I can gargle once in the night if I am very sick, but if it is in water, it will go bad quickly and needs to be put back in refridge in morning. Afterwards suck on a clove (see below). I have never seen a sore throat that won't succumb to it."

Important Tip

it's important not to stop taking cayenne pepper for a sore throat too soon. While cayenne pepper can work quickly, it doesn't always provide relief within the first hour or two. If you've had a sore throat for several days, you may need to continue gargling with cayenne pepper in water for at least one or two days to see results. Some people who have reported negative results after trying cayenne pepper only once should have continued to gargle with it every few hours.

Cayenne Pepper with Food

Sprinkle cayenne pepper on your meals to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain in the throat. Alternatively, mix 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper with 1 tablespoon of honey to create a natural throat-soothing syrup. Take 1 teaspoon of the mixture every hour as needed.

With these two simple tips, you can use cayenne pepper to help alleviate your sore throat symptoms naturally.

Precautions and Side Effects

While cayenne pepper is generally considered safe, it can cause some side effects in certain people. Some people may experience stomach irritation, sweating, or flushing after consuming cayenne. If you have a sensitive stomach or a history of stomach ulcers, you should avoid using cayenne for sore throats.

Additionally, cayenne pepper can interact with certain medications, including blood thinners and aspirin. If you're taking any medications, talk to your healthcare provider before using cayenne pepper for sore throats.

Earth Clinic Readers Share Their Experiences Using Cayenne Pepper for Sore Throats

Over 500 Earth Clinic readers have shared their feedback on using cayenne pepper as a natural remedy for sore throats. You can read their experiences and see how it worked for them. If you have tried cayenne pepper for a sore throat, you can also share your feedback with the Earth Clinic community.

Alternatively, you can watch our fun YouTube video that explains three different ways to use cayenne pepper to relieve a sore throat quickly.

Cayenne Pepper Cure for Sore Throat

Related Links:

10 Best Natural Remedies for Soothing a Sore Throat
Apple Cider Vinegar: Uses, Health Benefits and FAQ
Cayenne Pepper Health Benefits: Unlocking Capsaicin's Power
Find Relief from Sinus Infections Naturally
Jean's Famous Tomato Tea Remedy for Sinus Infections and Congestion
Quick Sinus Relief: Natural Remedies for Congestion

515 User Reviews

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Posted by Athena (Mount Dora, Florida ) on 02/25/2024

Last night I came down with a sore throat which I haven't had in so long, I forgot what they felt like. My kids had sore throats last week so it is possible they passed it on to me. So last night I'm laying in bed, not able to sleep because my throat just feels so swollen, irritated and it hurt to swallow. That's when I came onto Earth Clinic to see what other remedies there are instead of the common salt and water gargle. I came across the Cayenne pepper remedy which is funny. I just bought a ton of it wanting to add it to my food etc due to its great benefits for the blood. So last night I gargled some which gave me instant comfort. It burns a little on the tongue and lips but that's it. It's not too bad. I laid down and woke back up around 2a for my son. My sore throat was back and I couldn't fall asleep. So I got up and gargled again. Finally I fell back to sleep until the morning. Morning came and I still had the sore throat. Not as bad as the night time but I choose to do the gargle again. That was my last time. The sore throat was gone within the hour after and has not come back. So amazing!!

Posted by mmsg (somewhere, europe ) on 06/08/2023

Interesting! A dash of Cayenne - and I mean less than a pinch! - in 1/4 cup hot water, cleared up a sore throat.

Posted by Michael (New Zealand) on 07/06/2022

I know you will be absolutely overcome with joy to learn that I am feeling better! ?? No?

However, down to business. The "Secret to a Happy Life Without a Sore Throat" I am now at liberty to reveal IS .........wait for it .... Chicken Noodle Soup with Cayenne Pepper or, as my better half would say, "Canine Pepper"! The results don't lie!

Having, in quest of appropriate home remedies and undergone numerous, unselfish, self-experiments on behalf of fellow (and fellowesses) EC, sore-throat- sufferers, tried several alternatives, including Manuka Honey lozenges and warm/hot water gargling, I now find myself unreservedly supporting the CNSCP remedy.

Yesterday, my can of 500 gm / one pound Chicken Noodle soup was decanted into a bowl and laced with a half teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper, stirred furiously and then split in half. Half went into the 'fridge for to-day and the other half was stirred again whilst being gently heated on the stove's top element until bubbles appeared, then removed and allowed to cool a bit.

Consumed whilst just hot enough to be tolerated, the initial shock of the CP gradually gave way to reluctant acceptance whilst muttering the mantra "It hurts, so, ipso facto, it must be doing me Good"!!

(Who was it claimed that "Whatever does not destroy me, makes me stronger"?) (Clue.. his name begins with an "N.."/ can't spell it! ).

Just two applications of the above protocol seem to have had the desired effect. I strongly suspect that I caught this malady from a cafe visit a while ago. Such misery from one innocent visit! I have always been susceptible to catching unwanted things from suspect cups BTW. Lesson for you too! Maybe take my own cup/mug next time and save the planet at the same time?

As a Certified Old Geezer, I am permitted to pass on a few of life's other hard- earned wrinkles on smoothing out the humps and hollows of one's daily toil.

For instance, now that our cold, windy, wet season has graced us with its presence, I am having lots of trouble with slugs and snails in our vegetable patch. Also, we are blessed with a thingy called a "Pear Slug/Peach Slug" which, I recently learned, is actually not a slug at all but a giant aphid! Anyway, whatever, they do a whole lot of damage but can be trapped quite successfully if one places a number of up-turned, coconut half-shells in between one's vegetables. I used to favour plastic pots and then switched to Terra-cotta/clay ones but these upturned half coconut shells are the bees' knees. Must check DAILY.

Again, there is a Chinese invention of a circular plastic protector for guarding against slug and snail attacks. It boasts an arching-over-outward-facing rim such that the critter can not negotiate upside down. Awesome!! Ingenious!! Works well and all these wrinkles tested by yours truly - I kid you not.

Next, if using a firelighter, I try to source an organic one (or as close as I can anyway). I have more success if I place it in the middle of four layers of newspaper. Seems to hold the heat better. When I was young a century ago, tramps in the park would keep warm under layers of newspaper.

Growing old is not for the faint-hearted but some of my wrinkles are useful ones!!

Cheers from Down Under

Posted by Science (Cyprus) on 03/07/2022 21 posts

This is not one of my creations. I saw it here in Earthclinic and tested it, since I am a researcher. If you have sore throat, add 1/16th or 1/8th of a teaspoon cayenne, in a full glass of water and gargle. If it does not pass in first time, repeat in about two hours. It is really an amazing curement.

Posted by Mark (United States) on 03/27/2020

YES this does indeed work. I've been using the honey, lemon juice and cayenne pepper for 15 years now. A sore throat of course is the prelude to a cold and if you can stop it, then it either stops it from advancing all together or reduces the cold to a minor ailment without all the mucus buildup and the awful coughing and hacking, which during the present day COVID-19 pandemic, you don't want to be observed coughing in public. Put as much pepper in as you can stand as it will be more effective that way.

Posted by Megs (New Brunswick) on 01/19/2019

There's a wicked virus going around now and everyone I know is getting a sore throat that comes and goes for at least 2 weeks. I started to get a sore throat yesterday (Friday) and went online to find the best cure for it and found the cayenne remedy.Started gargling yesterday afternoon with cayenne, 1/8 teaspoon in water, and then last night before bed. No sore throat this morning. I am going to keep it up several times a day for at least two more days just to make sure.

Posted by Carrie (Charleston, Sc) on 06/21/2018

I woke up in the middle of the night itchy, hot, generally uncomfortable and unable to sleep with a sore throat/cold I caught from my twin nieces (they were real cute though). First I took a hot shower for the steam. I had tried the cayenne remedy before but completely forgot (or blocked it out) until my boyfriend reminded me. I followed the instructions in your video pretty closely and did 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper in maybe 4 oz of warm water. I gargled the whole thing in separate gulps for 10 seconds each til it was gone. The great thing about this remedy is that the effect is tri-fold:

1) the (mild) discomfort of gargling cayenne water kind of makes you forget about the sore throat in the first place;

2) it relieves the soreness once you regain feeling in your throat; and

3) it completely clears out your sinuses (had to blow my nose several times and hocked up junk from my throat).

Two enthusiastic thumbs up.

Replied by Dawn
(Wa State)

You answered my question of does it burn yikes 😳

Posted by As (London) on 01/23/2018

For two days now I have suffered with the worst sore throat of my adult life. The pain was frightening. I was unable to speak or swallow and coughing caused terrible discomfort. I dosed heavily with Oil of Oregano and garlic. I took aspirin and finally my sons wanted me to take an ibuprofen and though I distrust and have read negative reports about it, I took one. Then I did the 3% hydrogen peroxide gargle, twice in a row with warm water rinse. I came back to my room and found the pain unchanged, roaring worse than before. I was afraid I might have damaged throat tissues. I came back to Earthclinic and read the cayenne for sore throat testimonies. I have a big bottle of the capsules. I opened one in the cup of ginger and honey tea my sons had made me. Swallowed a few largish swigs. Eyewatering pain. But in a few minutes it seemed to quiet down. I stirred and swallowed more. Right now...7 or 8 minutes later I feel better than I have for 2 days. Throat still aches but not in the same desperate way. I will continue tonight and have high hopes for tomorrow being a much better day. Thank Goodness.

Thank Earthclinic!! X

Posted by Tamara (NJ) on 06/10/2017

A severe sore throat hit me like a ton of bricks, all the sudden one morning--very severe, unbearable pain, and a fever came on within 12 hours. Based on a look in my throat, it could have been strep since there were streaks of white, but it's not like the strep that my kids have had, with spots of white, so I can't confirm with any certainty. I can just say that it knocked the living daylights out of me, and my throat felt like it was on fire.

I tried my usual, using homeopathy, which often stops it in it's tracks, but this one was stubborn and strong, and I wasn't able to find much of any relief, so I started looking here on Earth Clinic.

Here is what I tried before taking the plunge into the cayenne pepper. Most of these things gave some relief, but not significant or lasting. I have listed these in order of relief, with the best remedies at the top, except the cayenne which I will speak about afterward:

-onion poultice all around front and sides of the neck (slice a big onion thinly, place it on a thin cloth, warm it up to approx body temp, then bend your body forward and lift the cloth with onions up to your neck, and wrap it around. Secure with pins, or what I did was to wrap an old cashmere scarf around several times, to keep everything nice and warm.

-licorice tea (sip as needed)

-sinus rinse (which often goes down back of throat, plus I was getting a sinus infection within 1 day of the sore throat)--including salt, 1 drop of strong colloidal silver, 1 drop of grapefruit seed extract, and 3 drops of povidone iodine

-salt water gargles

Just to be thorough, I was also drinking massive amounts of fluids. Each day I drank about 2 quarts of homemade chicken broth, 2 quarts of water, and 1 quart of oatstraw and nettle infusion. I was not really eating because I felt so sick, so I used the opportunity to basically fast and get all the toxins out.

I also took enough magnesium supplementation to cause my stools to run, again, just to get those toxins out. Other supplements I was taking were: 1000 iu vitamin D (I'm very sensitive to it), lots of B-vitamins, multi-minerals, fish oil, probiotics, and about 1.5 tsp of camu camu powder for vitamin C.

I also took off work and my husband took the kids so that I could really rest.

When nothing was really bringing any lasting relief, I finally tried the cayenne pepper. I made it with 1/4 tsp to 1/4 cup water ratio. I also threw in a drop of strong colloidal silver, a drop of grapefruit seed extract, 4 drops of povidone iodine, and a couple drops of clove oil for numbing.

I rubbed Lansinoh all over my lips (the natural equivalent of vaseline), and I took a gulp-sized amount and gargled for as long as I could, and spit it out. Oh. My. God. The incredible PAIN this caused. I did not read about this anywhere here, and I actually have a pretty good tolerance for pain. My eyes were watering, and I was basically debilitated from pain for a full 2 minutes or so. BUT THEN, my throat felt better!! I had about 2 hours of reprieve before I felt that I needed to do it again!

Another interesting thing was that, during the painful part, the heat from the cayenne radiated into my ears. I felt like that was a good thing, since the throat, eustachian tubes, and sinuses are all connected.

As for the pain just after gargling, it has been gradually getting better, but not as fast as I wish.

Now for the past 24 hours, I've been repeating this every 2 hours or so (except while asleep). My fever broke during the night (after about 4 doses). I've been keeping up with the onion poultice on my neck also (replacing it twice a day), because I found that my throat got worse when I discontinued it at one point. I also continued the sinus rinses because I developed a sinus infection, and I found that it gave a slight irritation which made me sneeze a lot afterward, and that seemed to help my sinuses. I also continued to explore homeopathic remedies, and found minor relief, but nothing significant.

I'm not sure yet if this cayenne will be my final cure, but it gives me enough relief that it's bearable in the meantime, and the improvement has been slow and steady.

Replied by Tamara

Update: The next week my husband got the same symptoms as me, and then my co-worker was confirmed with strep, so it seems quite certain that it was strep we were dealing with. I gave my husband the same cayenne gargle that I took, at the beginning stages, and he had the same response as me--initial terrible pain, but then it REALLY HELPED him a lot. His resolved very quickly though--he only did 2 gargles (evening and morning), and then the sore throat was gone. His fever was gone within 1 day, and the whole thing was gone within 2 days. I also had a well-matching homeopathic remedy for him, and very high doses of vitamin D, and zinc, vitamin C, lots of fluids, and lots of sleep. I'm not exactly sure what did the trick, but the cayenne gave temporary relief if nothing else.

Posted by Stanster (Wilmington, Nc- USA) on 12/12/2016

In addition to the tomato tea, I would also recommend the Sore Throat gargle recipe:

To a coffee cup of very warm, purified water, add

1 tsp ACV (natural, unfiltered apple cider vinegar)

squeeze a lemon slice, tsp of local honey,

1/4 tsp powdered cayenne pepper. Take a sip, lean head back and gargle in throat for 10 secs and then swallow. Do this 3 times a day, esp in morning and before bed. I did and my sore throat pain went away for 5 hours at a time. The second day it went away forever. This site is a blessing!

Posted by Mary (Macon) on 11/26/2016

I tried your q-tip method for a sore throat that I woke up with this morning. Wow, I felt better in 15 minutes! The pain was worse on my left side of my throat completely disappeared. I repeated the cayenne about half an hour later.

Okay, so I rolled a dry q-tip in organic cayenne and then rolled it as far back on my tongue as I could. Ughhh... be careful, that made me gag. It didn't burn like I thought it would though. It was a weirdly pleasant sensation as the cayenne started hitting the back of my throat. The second time I did it, I wet the q-tip first with water and then rolled it in cayenne to get more cayenne on the q-tip. And this time I rolled it about 3/4 of the way back on my tongue. Awesome! Gonna do this a few more times today just to make sure.

Posted by Zark (Emerald City) on 09/13/2016

Chilli powder worked nicely. Thanks.

I used some chilli in my juice with a dash of ACV and sipped from that regularly.

Posted by Margie (Apple Valley) on 05/30/2016

I've had a sore throat for 3 days. I've been awake since 3:00am barely being able to swallow water without pain. I read some cayenne pepper reviews on Earthclinic and tried the OJ and cayenne cure ( 1 cup OJ with pulp and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper). I whisked it together and slowly sipped it through a straw. I am happy to report that my throat felt better within minutes without any burning from the cayenne. I will do this again in a few hours.

Posted by Peterd (Everett, Wa) on 05/29/2016

I started feeling a sore throat coming on Friday. Saturday morning I had it pretty bad. I remembered EARTHCLINIC so I looked up a cure and started the Cayenne pepper treatment that morning. I frequently gargled throughout the day with a little bit form a glass half full with water and about 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne. Sometimes I would swallow just a tiny bit. I found that gargling was more effective if I used my voice box at the same time. This treatment was accompanied by prayer for healing Saturday afternoon. I'm not sure which was more effective, but by Saturday night my sore throat was completely healed. I kept up the gargling Sunday just to make sure. Cayenne pepper is my new friend!

Posted by Robert Smith (Atlanta, Ga) on 12/08/2015

I had a mild sore throat for a week and it was not going away. I mixed 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 1 cup of hot water and gargled every 2 hours and after 2 days it is completely gone. Also I do not feel weak anymore, since I think I may have had an infection when my throat was sore. I found the key thing to be is consistency, don't just do it once or twice because you immediately feel better. It can take time to completely remove whatever is bothering your throat.