Here are some more tips from my book: Herbal Medicine for Health and Well-Being.
When you begin to feel a cold or flu coming on the time to take action is right now. If you act early you can actually keep yourself healthy. The early warning signs may be a scratchy throat, an achy tired feeling, or that feeling of just not quite being up to par. If a sore or scratchy throat is your early warning sign a gargle or throat compress can work wonders.
Gargling with herbs is highly effective with sore throats because of the direct contact of the herbs with the affected surfaces. You can simply gargle with echinacea tea or tincture and then swallow for the added benefits the herbs provide when taken internally. Propolis also makes a very effective sore throat gargle. To use a propolis extract purchased from a store, place 30 drops of propolis in a small amount of water, gargle, and swallow.
A Sore Throat Compress is a wonderfully nurturing home treatment for sore throats. This can be done with simple materials from around the house. Here is what you will need:
- Thin cotton cloth, such as a bandana
- Cold water
- Essential oil such as Lavender or eucalyptus (optional)
- Wool scarf
Soak the cloth completely in cold water. Sprinkle with a few drops of essential oil and wring it out thoroughly so it does not drip. Warm the neck area with a warm washcloth or by taking a warm shower. Wrap the cotton cloth around the throat, and then cover it with the wool scarf or cloth. Secure this by tucking in the end of the wool scarf. Leave it on overnight. Your body will quickly generate heat to warm up your throat. The cotton cloth will be dry in the morning.
The throat compress can be used for the duration of a sore throat due to an acute upper respiratory infection. It is safe, and supportive, and can be used nightly.
This heating compress decreases congestion in the throat and head. It is pain relieving and, as with all heating compresses, activates an immune response, making it ideal for acute infections. The throat compress has a sedating action that can help you slip into a restful sleep.
Do be careful not to become chilled during the process. Keep well covered, and rub your neck briskly if chilling occurs.
I once prescribed this treatment to a seven year old boy for his chronically sore throat. His mother was skeptical when I described the treatment, but said she would give it a try. The next time I saw them, the mother exclaimed that she wanted to do a heating compress treatment for herself. Her son had loved his throat compress so much, that even after his chronic sore throats went away he still asked for a treatment at night.