Almost every individual once in their life suffer from strep throat. Strep throat is a common term used for Streptococcal pharyngitis. If you have a sore throat along with swollen lymph nodes or tonsils, and without common cold symptoms, you are likely to have strep throat which is a bacterial infection. Taking at least a few days’ course of antibiotics is a viable option to get rid of strep throat. However, it takes almost the same time to get rid of strep throat symptoms naturally if it’s not too severe. Therefore, you may try some strep throat home remedies before straight away going for antibiotics.
How is strep throat different from a sore throat?
First things first, don’t get confused between a sore throat and strep throat. A sore throat is only a symptom that you could develop from many disorders whereas strep throat is an infection caused due to bacteria.
Strep throat will not be accompanied by cold symptoms such as running nose or coughing/sneezing.
Throat infection caused by a virus is the most common cause of a sore throat amounting to almost 70% of the total cases in the age group 5 to 15 whereas the rest of the cases occur due to bacteria (1).
Also, taking antibiotics in the case of viral infection is not going to be of any help as it fights the bacteria, not the virus.
Therefore, it is essential to know whether you have a sore throat due to a bacterial infection or not.
A strep throat is caused due to a bacterial Streptococcus. Streptococcus is a common bacteria that constitutes majorly of our oral flora. It resides in the throat and on the surface of our skin.
The infection with Group A streptococcus bacteria causes strep throat. It reacts with the pharyngeal tissues causing inflammation and swelling.
Strep throat may occur due to a drop in immunity and seasonal changes. It typically manifests within five days of exposure to the streptococcus bacteria. Therefore, trying some strep throat home remedies the moment you find a discrepancy with your throat is the first-aid in strep throat treatment.
How does it spread?
Strep throat may happen due to many possible reasons such as:
- By airborne respiratory droplets (coughing or sneezing in a public place)
- By skin-to-skin contact (hugging, handshake or physical contact with the infected person)
- Saliva exchange (kissing or sharing food and drinks)
- During the winter season, strep throat is relatively common among the group of individuals who meet in person
- A sneeze, cough can deposit the streptococcal bacteria in and around the area, the communication is through droplet medium
- Sharing utensils, doorknobs, communal doors or any other physical contact are also mediums through which streptococcal infection spreads.
Strep Throat Symptoms and Signs
- A feeling of soreness in throat first thing in the morning. It happens because the tonsils are swollen up and dry. On viewing, the tonsils will appear enlarged and red.
- The throat continually seems to be dry, and swallowing becomes very difficult. A headache and body ache also accompany this condition.
- Red spots can also appear on the palate, and you find a yellow coating around the lymph nodes which also swell up during the infection.
- Lymph nodes are tender to touch, and the tenderness can radiate.
- Strep throat is a bacterial infection, and fever mainly accompanies it. In young children, the temperature can go up to a range of 101-degree Fahrenheit and above. If not addressed in time, a common strep throat can progress into scarlet fever.
- Scarlet fever is a severe bacterial infection. The bacteria release a toxin that produces the rash and red tongue.The rash typically starts around neck and face and spreads around back covering up the chest region.
Here are 28 Natural Strep Throat Home Remedies
1. Herbal tea
Drinking herbal tea multiple times a day is one of the most accessible strep throat home remedies. You may opt for herbs like chamomile, which will help reduce inflammation (2). Or if you don’t have access to any specific herbal tea, you can easily make tea at home with ginger, cinnamon, and liquorice which will have a similar effect.
Honey is a potent cough suppressant. It coats the inner lining of the throat and prevents the constant itching sensation and soreness. (3)
Two tablespoons of honey before bedtime helps prevent drying of the tonsils and pain the subsequent day.
Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid. When apple cider vinegar gargles are done, it forms an acidic coating inside the throat. (4)
Therefore, it becomes challenging for the bacteria to survive in an acidic environment. However, you should never forget to use a diluted solution.
Elderberry reduces swelling and inflammation of the tonsils. It also helps boost the immune system.
Studies show that elderberry eases flu symptoms like fever, headache, sore throat, fatigue, cough, and body aches.(5)
Echinacea purpurea has various antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is mostly used in conjunction with sage. Echinacea can help reduce ache and swelling and can be taken in the form of tea, dried herb, liquid extract, or pills available over the counter.
Ginger helps flush out toxins created by streptococcal bacteria. It also helps to boosts your blood circulation around the tonsils, giving it a good line of defence.
Its anti-inflammatory properties help kill bad bacteria. You can use ginger in tea or make a drink by using water, ginger and honey.
Use black pepper powder in conjunction with honey and boiled water.
It helps prevent the soreness associated with strep throat. You may even mix it with tea along with cloves and ginger.
Sage leaves can be used as one of the strep throat home remedies. Sage has astringent, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties.
This herb is used for sore throats, coughs, and mouth inflammations. You may use it to gargle by mixing it with boiled water and salt.
It is the most commonly used sore throat remedies in traditional Chinese medicine; It has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It also flushes toxins out of the body.
10. Marshmallow Root
Marshmallow Roots help ease sore throat pain, the gelatin in marshmallow coats the inner lining of the throat soothing it from inflammation.
You may use it by mixing boiled water into it and leaving it for half an hour.
Horehound is processed as either syrup, lozenges or tea; It also has incredible curative properties against strep throat.
Drinking it with hot water multiple times every day can help you soothe your throat.
Turmeric and salt in lukewarm water to make a highly effective gargle solution.
Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial and together with lukewarm water makes an excellent strep throat remedy.
Cloves can be sucked on or can be incorporated into tea. The eugenol derived from clove has antibacterial properties.
Cinnamon is one of the traditional strep throat home remedies for colds and flu. Cinnamon tea works wonders for strep throat. If you want, you can mix it with ginger too.
15. Slippery elm
Slippery elm is used for over centuries for its healing properties; It is a demulcent for soothing sore throats and mucous membranes.
Fenugreek has potent healing power, and it can relieve pain and kill bacteria reducing irritation and inflammation.
Raspberry has powerful astringent properties that help in soothing the sore tonsils.
Cayenne pepper is a natural analgesic. It is used in conjunction with honey to relieve a sore throat.
Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant properties which help in tissue repair. Take chamomile tea before bed for desired results.
20. Liquorice root
Liquorice root is taken as a herbal tea. The infusion creates a viscous coat to soothe a sore throat.
A concoction of basil leaves is a traditional medicine used for a variety of respiratory disease. Again, use it with tea or boiled water to help with strep throat.
22. Garlic oil
The compound allicin, in garlic oil, helps fight bacteria and reduce pain associated with strep throat.
23. Bone Broth
Bone broth helps support your immune system and provides enough nutrients to restore health. Thus, acting as one of the natural strep throat home remedies.
24. Himalayan salt
Himalayan salt water (boiled) gargles, multiple times a day is the easiest and most effective strep throat remedy. Salt increases the pH value in the mouth creating an unfavourable environment for the bacteria to exist.
Coconut oil is taken and swished throughout the mouth for 15 to 20 minutes. It coats the tonsils and flushes out the bacteria and toxins from the system.
Adequate doses of vitamin D and C prevent the risk of bacterial infection and strengthen the immune system.(6)
27. Peppermint oil
Peppermint is an essential oil, and It can be either added to tea or rubbed on the throat. It helps soothe the throat by providing a cooling environment.
28. Lemon Oil
Lemon oil has anti-bacterial properties and can help boost your immune system by cleansing the toxins. In a study, (7) Lemon Oil and other essential oils were also tested for efficacy against strep throat causing bacteria and Candida strains, and it was found that they inhibit the growth of such infection-causing bacteria.
Treatment of Strep throat
Scarlet fever and strep throat treatment is typically through antibiotics. Penicillin and amoxicillin are the commonly prescribed drugs for strep throat.
For a headache or body ache accompanied by strep throat, you may take ibugesic tablets that are available over the counter.
Final Words on Strep Throat Home Remedies
Even if you remain cautious about our health, strep throat is something which may develop even after you take care of your diet, exercise, etc. Since many causes of it are related to your surroundings and not your internal body functioning.
Identifying a strep throat symptom is easy – you will feel a different kind of dryness in your throat, itching, problem swallowing, white/yellow spots near lymph nodes, etc. However, some of them could be felt during a sore throat too, but in the case of a sore throat, it’s accompanied by cold symptoms too, therefore it can be a viral infection and not strep throat.
Nonetheless, if you don’t feel any cold symptoms. You can be alert that you may have a strep throat. In this case, the first thing you should do is try some strep throat home remedies to try and prevent the symptom from becoming scarlet fever, or it can become severe.
In cases nothing happens even after you try multiple strep throat home remedies, you should maybe consult a doctor and (or) start with a course of antibiotics.