Gargling Away A Sore Throat   2 comments

I’ve been down for the count the last couple of days with a cold. Well, technically I worked from home yesterday; and I had to go into the office today to receive a delivery (which I think set my recovery back by a day). This cold did provide me with an opportunity to try a new sore throat remedy and I am quite happy with it: a salt-honey-lavender gargle.

We’ve probably all grown up with the salt water gargle, it’s kind of one of those treatments that everyone knows. I found that sometimes it worked for a few minutes, but that was it. A few years ago I tried adding essential oils to the salt water gargle per my aromatherapy book. I didn’t really enjoy the taste of tea tree oil in my mouth and it didn’t seem to make a difference. The lavender oil did seem to make a difference and I didn’t mind the taste at all. It’s kind of a nice difference to have perfumy breath for a while. Also a few years ago I tried adding honey to the salt water gargle and I did find it soothing, but it was more work to create (opening up the honey jar, getting out a spoon, stirring until it dissolved) and went through spoons like crazy. But as of my birthday this year I have a honey pot so I no longer need to dirty a spoon to get a half teaspoon of honey, and I can easily add honey to anything.

I am now in love with the salt-lavender-honey gargle. While I still had nasal drip it would soothe the throat irritation until the next time I ate or drank tea, but after getting rid of the nasal drip one gargle took my throat from being very red and very painful to being almost normal again. Oh, one thing to note is that I did swallow some of the gargle on purpose so the lavender and honey could get maximum contact with throat tissue.

So today when my fingers didn’t hurt too much to sit at the computer, I decided to do some research.

Salt water gargle: Just seems to go under the category of “commonly accepted treatment” with no explanation of why it works. I did find a few theories for why it works, but apparently no one has confirmed anything (well I guess there’s no money in figuring out why it works). The first is that it cleans out the mucus coating the throat, and the second is that when using really salty water it removes water from the tissues through osmosis and thereby reduces the inflammation.

Honey: Most of the time when you see honey listed as a remedy for cold or sore throat it is in a tea because of it’s soothing properties. Again, I didn’t really find any confirmation on why honey is soothing. Maybe because of the beeswax? I have seen sources that say that honey does have some antibacterial properties, but most sore throats are viral.

Lavender oil: Lavender oil is an antiseptic and pain reliever and has anti-inflamatory properties. So no wonder it helps with a sore throat.


Posted May 20, 2010 by mayakey in health

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2 responses to “Gargling Away A Sore Throat

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  1. Awesome thankyou for sharing, I woke up with sore throat, put couple drops on toothbrush and felt relief but wasn’t sure if I should continue. …am just learning about essential oils

    • I’ve never used a toothbrush as a delivery method! I suppose it could work as well as a gargle, except you’d have to make sure it’s an oil that’s ok full strength for contact and doesn’t need dilution. (Lavender or tea tree, probably fine; peppermint, oh no) Enjoy the journey of learning and using essential oils, they’re a great tool in the workbench for health.

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