Got a frog in your throat? Have you ever heard someone using this phrase to ask you when you can’t speak properly and you have a sore throat? This phrase originates from England. In medieval times in England, physicians used to treat inflamed throat by putting a live frog into the patient’s mouth. Today, the remedies are painless and more effective.
According to Paul Anderson, chairman at Clinical Sciences at Bastyr’s School of Naturopathic Medicine, these are the best 4 herbs to help you soothe a sore throat:
- Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)
Elderberries have been a folk remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa. Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not. Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, sugar, viburnic acid, vitamin A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. They are also mildly laxative, a diuretic, and diaphoretic. According to a research made by the US Department of Agriculture, elderberries contain up to 50% more antioxidants than other berries, like blueberries and cranberries.
- Oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium)
Oregon grape root contains a number of alkaloids and because of this it has a very bitter taste and can take some getting used to if taken straight. One of the most important alkaloids in the Oregon grape root is berberine. Berberine is an alkaloid with antibiotic and antibacterial properties. Dr Paul Anderson says that is very important to eliminate the pathogens, which are infecting your throat cell and to boost your immune system. He also adds that if you don’t like its bitter taste, you can use the glycerite form. It’s sweeter and with added flavors to numb the bitterness. Oregon grape shouldn’t be consumed by pregnant women, because some animal studies have shown the possibility of increased uterine contractions.
- Coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia)
Coneflower is widely used to fight infections, especially the common cold and other upper respiratory infections. Some people take coneflower at the first sign of a cold, hoping they will be able to keep the cold from developing. Other people take coneflower after cold symptoms have started, hoping they can make symptoms less severe. According to a study, that was conducted by a team of researchers in the Lancet Infectious Disease, in 2007, the coneflower reduces the chance of catching cold by 58% and cuts down the cold’s duration by 1.4 days. Dr. Anderson adds that coneflower contains a mixture that boosts your immune system and helps your body fight the cold and flu. As we mentioned before for the Oregon grape root, if coneflower is to bitter for your taste, you should get the glycerite form.
- Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Peppermint has a wide variety of health and medicinal uses. It is used to help treat the common cold, to calm inflammations and to soothe digestive problems. The main active ingredient in Peppermint is Menthol, which is an organic compound that produces a cooling sensation when applied to the mouth or skin. Menthol also has a soothing effect on sore throats. Some studies have confirmed that peppermint kills some types of viruses and bacteria. Peppermint also contains vitamins A and C as well as a number of minerals. Dr. Paul Anderson says that peppermint is antiseptic and calming herb, and he uses it with coneflower, because it makes them palatable orally. But, you should be careful if you have heartburn, because peppermint can make the symptoms worse by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter muscle.
How to mix the Tinctures
For adults: mix 1 oz. Oregon grape, 1 oz. coneflower, and 1 oz. peppermint. You need to use tincture or fluid-extract forms. Then, add 1 teaspoon of the herbal mixture into 2 oz. of water and drink. You should drink this herbal homemade remedy 4-6 times a day if you have a sore throat. Dr. Anderson says that if you feel the aftertaste of this drink repulsive, you can drink some juice or eat something to get the taste off the tongue. But, he thinks that is better for you if the herbs sit on the throat tissues longer.
For kids: mix 2 oz. elderberries, ½ oz. peppermint and ½ oz. of either coneflower or Oregon grape. You can use glycerite form if your kids don’t like the bitter taste. Give your kids ½ to 1 tsp. of this herbal mixture, 1 to 5 times a day.
Dr. Paul Anderson also says that you should gargle with salt-water, at least 3 times a day. This will calm and shrink your swollen throat tissues. Mix 1 tsp. of sea salt with 4 oz. of warm water, gargle and spit it out.