Sore throat- Herbs or Meds?

A sore throat is a common ailment usually caused by infection with any one of a large number of viruses or less commonly bacteria. It is a common ailment during the fall and winter seasons. However, during the summer, air conditioning can dry out your throat and produce sore throat as well… I’m not exactly sure how I conceived the bugger this time, but I have a hunch that it was due to the heating in our apartment. The air gets fairly dry and by morning I usually feel the dryness in my throat, earning for a glass of water or a hot cup of tea… Now, we turn off the heating or place wet towels on the batteries to humidify the air, but the damage is already done and now I must battle this cough and irritating feeling in my throat. Luckily I don’t have a fever and am able to take a natural approach.

Entering my 35th week of pregnancy today I am naturally concerned about avoiding the consumption of harmful products. During pregnancy our goal is to stay healthy and strong, so that we don’t cause any damage to the developing fetus. My personal goal during both of my pregnancies was to eat super healthy, load up on vitamins, partake in some sort of daily exercise or physical activity, and definitely keep away from toxins. But even when I am not pregnant I like to try and heal my body during any kind of illness with a more holistic approach. Especially if the symptoms are minor and are barely in the beginning stages.

Today the cultural norm is to run to the pharmacy at any sign of a cold or a flu…We are so influenced by the media and society, in general, that we seek solutions for the simplest illnesses or body aches in medical synthetic drugs. I know people who seek a doctor’s prescription for a minor headache or take NyQuil every night just to be able to sleep, not even for a cold or a flu. Insane how dependent on drugs we have become. Doctors prescribe meds for anything and everything nowadays – for a paper cut if you’re willing to go for it… Most doctors and pharmaceutical companies are not really concerned about our health. Their goal is to keep us sick and consuming. The more medication we consume the more immune we become to the ingredients and the cycle never ends. That’s why if I can help it, I try to not take medicine unless absolutely necessary. Of course if symptoms are worsening and you develop a fever and an infection then seeking help from a physician may be the only option. But I would like to encourage you to always question standard medical practice. Seek other, more natural solutions before drowning yourself, and especially your children with syrup and pills at the first sign of a cough. If Dr.Sebi, the Honduran vegan herbalist, healer and naturalist of holistic medicine was able to cure people from AIDS with food composed of an Alkaline diet and herbals then I feel silly not to at least try to beat a cold without drugs.

Children are even bigger targets for meds than adults and they have no choice when it comes to medical treatment. Just like with any other products on the market, marketers use ads and even cartoons to manipulate kids and moms into buying all kinds of pharmaceuticals. I’ve been to friends’ homes where I saw cupboards and drawers fulls of children’s medicine. And these are healthy kids in general. My question is “WHY??” Thankfully, my daughter has been sick a total of five times within the seven years of her life. Only one of those times we had to complete a treatment advised by her pediatrician. She had bronchial inflammation and was visibly not improving over the course of some days. And even then I felt so guilty giving her 5 different drugs for an entire week. All the other times we treated her with herbs and natural products. During a couple of incidents she developed a cough when I dropped her off to a relative’s house for the weekend. She was given syrup before bed (which bothered me when I found out because it was without my permission) and the symptoms remained. However, as soon as she came home on Sunday her health began improving, with no sign of a cough by Monday. After a couple of such visits we realized that it was the environment she was in that was causing her cough. The bedroom she slept in was poorly ventilated and had not been thoroughly cleaned in a long time. Of course I demanded that the home be completely disinfected before I allowed her to return. The problem never reoccurred. This is a perfect example of why I never immediately choose the option of medication. Prevention and natural healing works 90% of the time, in my case. I personally prefer to keep my family healthy with a nutritious diet and very minimal medical invasion.

I’m a vegetarian and I don’t consume dairy products which helps reduce the mucous present in my body to begin with. And we all know that mucous is what causes most diseases… So, this cough and sore throat should definitely go away on its own, but I will share with you my favorite, healthy, and pregnancy-safe home remedy for soothing the process:

  • Chamomile Tea- Chamomile is naturally soothing. It has long been used for medicinal purposes, like soothing a sore throat. It’s often used for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and astringent properties. I drink chamomile tea usually before bedtime since it is known to relax muscles and causes one to feel sleepy. I sleep like a baby after a cup or two.
  • Peppermint Tea- Peppermint contains menthol, an active ingredient that functions as a decongestant and expectorant, discharging of mucus from the respiratory tract. I pretty much drink peppermint all day long.
  • Propolis Liquid- In ancient cultures, propolis (or bee resin) was often used for abscesses and minor wounds. Bees, in an effort to close gaps in hives, use propolis as a precautionary measure to keep out dangerous microbes and fungi. Propolis discourages infection, is a natural antibiotic, and it boosts the immune system. I add a few drops of it to my herbal teas a couple of times a day.
  • Ginger Tea- Ginger is an analgesic (pain killer) reducing the pain associated with a sore throat. It is also antibacterial and antifungal and may help fight the infection causing a sore throat. I make hot tea with grated raw ginger root and drink it all day, alternating with peppermint tea.
  • Raspberry Jam and Pure Raspberry Juice- The high level of vitamin C in raspberries helps to protect the body from free-radical damage and boosts the immune system. I add homemade raspberry jam to all my teas. A friend of mine grows raspberries in her home and she brings me fresh squeezed 100% raspberry juice. It is so delicious!!
  • Garlic- Chewing raw garlic throughout the day also helps because garlic is a natural antibiotic, effective against bacteria and viruses. I chew a clove usually when I know I will not have to go out in public immediately afterwards. 
  • Salt and Baking Soda- Salt and baking soda help kill germs and halt the development of yeast and fungi in the throat. Additionally, salt helps loosen phlegm in the throat. I gargle a mixture of warm water with one teaspoon of each twice a day (morning and evening).
  • Ricola Lozenges- Cough drops with natural herbal ingredients, cultivated on Swiss soil without any use of pesticides, insecticides or herbicides. I suck on these any time I feel dryness in my throat.
  • Heating Pad- One of my absolute favorite items in my “medicine cabinet”. I use the heating pad for sore muscles, back pain, and any kind of bodily pain associated with sickness, and sometimes simply for a little extra warmth. I apply it to the effected area and usually feel the relief immediately. The key is to take breaks and avoid overheating or burning the skin.
  • Steam and Essential Oils- An excellent way to soothe a sore throat is by inhaling the steam of boiling water containing a few drops of some essential oils (Peppermint, Lemon, Eucalyptus, Clove, Thyme). I boil the water, add a few drops of oil, drape a towel over my head and sit over the steam, inhaling it for 5-10 minutes. 
  • GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract)- This substance is used for killing a wide variety of bacteria (such as: Salmonella, E.Coli, Staph and Strep germs), viruses, herpes, parasites, and fungi, including Candida. It is effective against more than 800 bacterial and viral strains, 100 strains of fungus, as well as a large number of single-cell and multi-celled parasites. It has also proven to be effective against food poisoning and diarrhea…Not to mention its antimicrobial uses for sterilizing and disinfecting external surfaces such as in laundry, carpet cleaner, humidifier, and even for animal feed! I discovered this miracle product only recently and will be using it as prevention and cure, if necessary, by taking 5-10 drops orally on a daily basis (at least during the cold seasons).
  • Gardimax Medica- A spray which contains the anti-irritant and pain associated with infection and inflammation of the mouth and throat. This is a drug which effectively and quickly relieves pain associated inflammation or irritation of the mouth and throat. This product contains dihydrochloride chlorhexidine (disinfectant and topical anti-infective agent used also as mouthwash to prevent oral plaque) and lidocaine hydrochloride (indicated for the production of topical anesthesia of irritated or inflamed mucous membranes of the mouth and pharynx). I have this spray in my home as plan B. It is safe for small children to use and I resort to it when I have nothing else to relieve the feeling of a sore throat immediately. I used it the first day I woke up coughing, before purchasing all the other natural ingredients.

Two days have passed and I definitely feel better. As I mentioned before, I don’t have a fever and am feeling pretty good otherwise. Two more days and I should be as good as new! Remember: stay healthy, strong, grounded and drink LOTS of water…

*You will know if these remedies are working if there is lessening in the severity of symptoms such as coughing should be apparent within the first 48 hours. If not, please check with your physician. Please be advised that I am not a medical doctor or expert in any medical field. Please do not consider my opinions to be substitutes for medical advice of any kind.


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