7 Natural Sore Throat Remedies Backed By Science

Your kitchen cupboard could contain more throat soothers than you realise.

Brothers91/E+/Getty Images

With the UK still technically in hay fever season and the weather changing so dramatically, it's prime sore throat time. It's a pretty scary time to develop symptoms of a cough or cold, and GP practices are still requesting that people stay away unless it’s absolutely necessary to go in. Luckily a new study from the University of Oxford research suggests that honey may be a better treatment for coughs, blocked noses, and sore throats than conventional medicines. So if you're wondering what else you might have in your cupboard that could help you avoid a trip to the doctors, here are some natural sore throat remedies that are backed by science.

Per the NHS, the main symptoms of coronavirus are a new and continuous cough, a high temperature (feeling hot to the touch on your chest or back), and a loss or change in your sense of taste or smell. If you have any of these symptoms, you should get tested for COVID-19. More information on how to visit a test centre or order a test online is available on the NHS website. Unfortunately some coronavirus symptoms do overlap with symptoms of more typical coughs and colds, but even if you're not sure whether you have coronavirus or not, it's better to get tested. Sore throat is not considered to be one of the main symptoms of coronavirus, per the NHS, however Kings College London does note that some coronavirus patients do experience sore throats. If you believe there's any chance you could have COVID-19, you should get tested.

A cough and sore throat can be a sign of a bacterial infection, viral infection, or allergies. While some conditions require medical attention, research has suggested that there’s common household foods and products that you’re likely to have in your cupboards that may serve as a great treatment. It’s likely you’re being hyper-vigilant with your health at the moment and coughing in public comes with a lot more negative associations than it once did. So, if you need to get rid of a sore or tickly throat that you know isn't caused by coronavirus, here are some natural remedies backed by science.



Not only is honey super tasty and the perfect accompaniment to almost anything, scientists have found that it may be better at treating colds and sore throats than more conventional medicines, including antibiotics. A new study from the University of Oxford has found that it can be more effective than normal methods of care, especially when it comes to treating severe coughing.


Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar is super tasty on salads but also has medicinal qualities. It’s packed with some of the nutrients from the apple and also contains probiotics. As Healthline reports, a 2011 study have found that consuming probiotics may boost your immune system which could shorten the amount of time you have a sore throat. The acidity of the vinegar also helps thin out mucus, per the publication.


Salt & Water

This sounds slightly basic and unpleasant but gargling salt and water is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Per WebMD, the solution may ease some of the scratchy pain you’re experiencing.



Garlic may taste perfect on bread (or just about anything) but, as Healthline reports, it’s been found to have healing properties too. Studies have found that garlic can act as an antiseptic. Per Healthline, it contains allicin which could help ease your cough. However, the best way to ingest it is raw or by sucking on it which can be tough breath-wise.



Peppermint contains menthol which is a decongestant. If you’ve got a throaty cough and are struggling to get rid of mucus, peppermint, per Healthline, can help clear your throat without persistently coughing. It also has soothing properties if you have a dry throat.


Chicken Soup

Chicken soup was a staple in my house when I was unwell as a child. And it does more than just comfort you, as BBC Good Food reports. The warm broth in the soup can reduce inflammation and alleviate some pain. At the same time the nutritious soup can help support your immune system in fighting off the infection.



Per Medicine Net, a 2009 study found that spraying sage onto a sore throat could have numbing effects. Sage contains antibacterial and antiseptic properties which can help shorten a sore throat and ease pain.