Fall is in the air. And in your lungs, nose, and throat. With every change into a colder season, and sometimes even into warmer ones, we become vulnerable to new viruses and bacteria. A sore throat is your body's immune reaction to various such unwanted guests – your immune system seeks to protect you, but that protection takes the form of the selling and inflammation of the mucous membranes in your throat.
There are any number of liquids or lozenges you can buy at your drug store to alleviate the symptoms of a sore throat, but here are a few non-shrink-wrapped remedies that your grandmother – or your ancestors – used.
Sage is a perennial flower native to the Mediterranean region that you may first recognize as a cooking spice. But it is also used to treat a variety of inflammatory conditions, and a few studies have shown that it can relieve throat pain.
Likewise, echinacea, a member of the daisy family which grows in eastern and central North America, has been proven to fight both theinflammation and bacteria that contribute to your sore throat.
Marshmallow root sounds tasty (it's not, really), but records show it has been used to treat sore throats since Medieval times. It's been scientifically proven effective, and may be ingested as an infusion (but be sure to add sweetener first – don't be fooled by the whole “marshmallow” thing).
Make a tea from ginger root. Centuries ago this perennial grew in southeast Asian rainforests, but now it now longer grows wild. The spice is loaded with anti-bacterials and anti-inflammatories to vanquish your throat pain.
Coconut oil, which you can add to cocoa or even soups, is particularly effective against sore throat symptoms because it acts as a lubricant for your mucous membranes as well as fighting pain and inflammation. Pro-Tip: limit your coconut oil to 2 tablespoons a day as it is also a potent laxative.
Everyone's favorite sleep potion, chamomile tea, can also fight infection and reduce throat pain. Chamomile is a daisy-like plant that has been part of the well-equipped medicine man's satchel since at least the Middle Ages.
Or if you're not quite ready to doze off yet, try some peppermint tea. The mint has demonstrated that it can numb your throat a little, thereby relieving pain.