Herbal Health Information on Sore Throats

The heading should say recurrent sore throats as everyone gets a sore throat now and again, usually associated with a cold, but recurrent sore throats indicate that the immune system is not fighting off invading bacteria and viruses.

The Immune system is the body’s internal defence armoury, which protects us from the millions of germs out there. There are so many factors in modern day living which can affect our immune system, resulting in people picking up any virus going and suffering recurrent colds, coughs and sore throats.

Stress, poor diet, Insomnia and any long term illness can all prevent the proper functioning of the immune system.

We really must look after ourselves. Put a bit of time and effort into YOU and the payback will be a healthier, fitter, happier, more energetic life.

There is also a possibility that a recurrent sore throat is being caused by intolerance to a food substance. Dairy is the biggest culprit in aggravating throats but just keep an eye on your diet and make a note if any foods do irritate your throat. Strangely, melons give me a sore throat.



You must eat it!

Porridge/ muesli/ any wholegrain cereal/ fruit/juice. Not all at once!


Salads or baked potato or sandwich some fruit if you didn’t have any at breakfast


Cooked meal with some protein foods such as meat eggs or fish /pulses beans for the vegetarians or just if you like them.

Fresh veg although fresh frozen will do if you are busy.

Some carbohydrate such as rice potato or pasta.

Always vary it though and make sure you do not eat too much of any one thing.

Loads of Vitamin C containing foods, which is all fruit and veg but especially citrus fruits and zinc containing foods which is oats, peas, pumpkin seeds, lentils and Oysters if you are feeling rich.

Zinc and Vit C help the body fight of viruses.

Drink water and not too much tea and coffee

Herbal Medicine

Echinacea is the Media’s herb of choice to boost the immune system which it does by raising the white blood cell count and increases the body’s own powers of resistance. It also has the ability to stimulate Killer cells called Phagocytes, that chomp up any foreign material in the body especially bacteria.

Never forget Garlic. I know some people won’t touch it because of the smell but eat as much garlic as you can in your food. It is the most astounding food for all kinds of conditions in the body one of them being to boost the immune system as well as having antiviral properties. As it is breathed out through the lungs, the volatile oils sterilise everything on the way up so it is good for any condition of the respiratory tract.

Specifically for the throat I use the old fashioned Balm of gilead. This is the herb that gave all those old cough remedies that distinctive “this smells horrible but I know it will do me good” smell. It has anti bacterial and antiviral properties and sticks to everything on the way down.

As a gargle, Sage is wonderful. Put a teaspoon of dried sage in a teacup of boiling water. Leave this to stand for 5-10 minutes. Strain and cool. Use this as a gargle twice a day.

My grandmother used to make us gargle with salt water for sore throats YUK it used to make me gag as I would always swallow some salt water and then feel sick. I loved her loads though, despite making me gargle with salt water and have enemas. She didn’t go as far as the leeches which would have scarred me for life.

Please do come and see me in my clinic if you need more help. The clinic details can be seen here or if you click the “CLINIC” tab at the top of the page.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information