Strep throat, also known as streptococcal pharyngitis, is an infection of the throat that affects the pharynx, tonsils and larynx. It is caused by a class of bacterium known as Group A Streptococcus.
Common symptoms of this contagious disease are white patches on the throat, reddening of the tonsils, sore throat, fever, difficulty swallowing, stomach ache, loss of appetite and vomiting.
At times, red spots and rashes on the skin are also noticed. Because the signs and symptoms of strep throat are similar to other common illnesses, it is often confused with sore throat and tonsillitis.
Strep throat usually affects children between ages 5 and 15, but people of any age can suffer from this infectious disease. It is highly contagious and most frequently occurs during the winter months.
Treating it immediately can limit the spread of the illness to other people. In rare cases, untreated strep throat can cause health complications like kidney inflammation and rheumatic fever.
Antibiotics and over-the-counter medications are often used to treat strep throat. Some simple home remedies can also help alleviate the discomfort and speed up recovery.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for strep throat. Also, for proper diagnosis and treatment, do consult your doctor.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a wonderful solution for strep throat. It possesses anti-bacterial as well as various healing properties that help get rid of the bacteria and boost the immune system to fight the infection.
- Mix one to three teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in one cup of warm water. Gargle with this solution several times a day for two to three days.
- You can also add one tablespoon each of apple cider vinegar and honey to a small glass of warm water. Drink this twice daily for a few days until you feel better.
Cayenne is another very effective natural remedy for strep throat. This pungent spice has anti-inflammatory as well as antibacterial properties that will help reduce inflammation and combat the growth of the bacteria that causes strep throat. The compound called capsaicin in cayenne also aids in flushing toxins and other infection-causing agents out of the body.
- Mix together one-fourth teaspoon of cayenne powder, one tablespoon of honey and three grated garlic cloves. Take one-half teaspoon of this mixture every half to one hour, several times a day. Avoid drinking water immediately after taking this mixture.
- Alternatively, add one-fourth teaspoon of cayenne pepper and one tablespoon of lemon juice to a glass of hot water. Gargle with this solution several times a day. Follow this remedy for one to two days to notice a huge improvement in your condition.
Due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, garlic is also used as a home remedy for many infections, including strep throat. The high sulfur content in garlic improves the immune system functioning and helps the body fight off the infection. Plus, manganese, vitamins B6 and C, and selenium in garlic promote general health.
- Peel a fresh garlic clove, slice it in half, and suck on a piece like a candy. Occasionally, crush the garlic between your teeth to release its juice. Do this several times a day for a few days for best results.
- Alternatively, bring one cup of water to a boil. Add one teaspoon of grated garlic, one-fourth teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne pepper to the water. Let it boil for another two minutes and then strain it. Drink it warm, twice daily until you get relief.
4. Salt Water
Another great way to deal with the pain and inflammation associated with strep throat is gargling with warm salt water. The warm water will have a soothing effect on the throat and the salt will help kill the bacteria that cause strep throat.
- Add one-half teaspoon of salt to one cup of water. Stir it well to dissolve the salt.
- Gargle with this solution for a few seconds, and then spit it out.
- Do this at regular intervals for one or two days.
5. Lemon and Honey
The vitamin C in lemon helps combat the growth of bacteria that causes strep throat as well promotes overall health. Honey is a natural healing agent and helps keep the throat well moisturized and relieves soreness and inflammation.
- Mix one tablespoon each of honey and lemon juice in a cup of lukewarm water.
- Sip the mixture slowly.
- Drink this as often as needed for several days to treat strep throat.
Being rich in antibacterial properties, sage slows the growth of bacteria that causes strep throat. Also, it relieves the throat pain as well as irritation and inflammation.
- Add one teaspoon of dried sage to a cup of hot water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Strain the leaves and enjoy your tea. Drink two cups of sage tea daily until you recover completely.
- Alternatively, mix one teaspoon of salt and juice from half a lemon in one-half cup of hot sage tea. Use this solution to gargle three or four times a day for two days.
Note: Sage must not be used by a pregnant or nursing mother.
Chamomile has analgesic properties and hence can provide relief from headache and throat pain, two common symptoms of strep throat. Plus, this herb is rich with anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and soothing properties.
- Add two to three teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers to a cup of hot water.
- Allow it to steep for five to 10 minutes.
- Strain the solution and add some lemon juice and honey.
- Drink this tea three or four times a day for two to three days.
Cinnamon is also believed to be very helpful in treating strep throat. It contains powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that provide relief from various symptoms of strep throat as well as boost the immune system for faster recovery.
- Add one-half teaspoon of cinnamon powder to a cup of hot boiling water.
- Allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes.
- Mix in one teaspoon of honey.
- Drink this solution three or four times daily until you notice improvement.
Onion is also an antibacterial agent and can kill the bacteria in the throat. Also being a natural antiseptic, onion helps speed up recovery.
- Take one onion and slice it into thick pieces. Chew a few onion slices and swallow it slowly so that the juice released from the onion exerts its action on the bacteria on your throat. Do this throughout the day until you notice improvement.
- You can also add three to four tablespoons of onion juice to a glass of hot water. Gargle with this solution several times a day. Repeat for a few days to get rid of strep throat.
10. Sunflower Oil
If strep throat is making it difficult for you to speak or causing hoarseness in your voice, then you need to use sunflower oil. Sunflower oil can easily treat the soreness associated with strep throat and provide soothing relief from other symptoms.
- Take one teaspoon of sunflower oil and drink it slowly so that the throat gets coated with the healing properties of this oil.
- Repeat twice daily until the hoarseness of your voice is cured. Avoid drinking water immediately after doing this.
- Get plenty of rest to give your body the strength and energy it needs to fight the infection.
- Drink plenty of water and other fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Use a humidifier to help ease discomfort.
- Eat soothing foods like broths, soups, cooked cereal, mashed potatoes, soft fruits and yogurt. Sucking on popsicles or eating ice cream can also soothe the throat.
- Also try to suck on hard candies or throat lozenges.
- Stay away from irritants like cigarette smoke and fumes from paint or cleaning products.
- Avoid smoking and drinking.
These home remedies and tips for strep throat will soothe the symptoms and help in fighting off the infection quickly. However, if you do not notice improvement in your condition, consult your doctor.