WHEN the flu attacks, one of the first symptoms it presents with is a sore throat. To this we generally respond by rushing to get over-the-counter pharmaceuticals in an effort to suppress the flu and its associated symptoms. But dietician and nutritionist Jenelle Solomon recommends exploring natural products because they not only guarantee the same or better results as pharmaceuticals, but they possess other health benefits and are without harmful side effects.
“While a lot of people still look to pharmacies to treat mild flu symptoms such as a sore throat, many of us have been using natural remedies; some things we use alone, others we combine for a greater effect,” Solomon said.
Known for its unique flavour in the kitchen, ginger has also been used to soothe sore throats. It has been effective in opening up the sinuses and clearing mucus from the nose and throat. Importantly, ginger contains a lot of anti-inflammatory properties.
It’s perhaps not one of the most popularly used foods, but cabbage is rich in vitamin C, sulphur, vitamin K, and other antioxidants. In addition, it has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and so could be included in your diet to reduce inflammation of the throat.
Honey and lemon
Perhaps the most common mixtures used locally, honey and lemon, especially when mixed in warm water, have proven effective in soothing sore throats in addition to suppressing coughs that can sometimes cause additional pain and stress on the throat.
Bananas are not only smooth and gentle on the throat, but they are loaded with fibre and flu-fighting vitamin C. Other fruits rich in vitamin C should also be eaten to ward off the flu. To soothe the throat you can try making smoothies with bananas and other fruits.
Often used to make teas, cloves can provide much relief to those suffering from sore throats. This is because they possess large quantities of antifungal and anaesthetic properties which help to relieve the scratchiness and pain.
Pomegranates are perhaps some of the most delicious fruits. They are becoming a popular ingredient in the production of a number of local juices. But they are also effective in treating sore throats. Packed with antioxidants, pomegranates contain astringents that cause body tissues to contract, and help reduce swelling in the throat. When this happens, pain associated with sore throats is reduced, and disappears after consistent use.
Add salt to warm water and use it to gargle your throat for a minute several times daily for relief. Be sure not to swallow the salt, though, especially if you are hypertensive because of the harmful effect that such high salt content can have on the body. Salt water can reduce swelling in the throat and loosen mucus, all while helping to flush out irritants or bacteria. If salt water proves to be too harsh, then a little honey can be added to the mixture.
A warm cup of herbal tea can soothe a sore throat. Even non-herbal teas such as chamomile contain antioxidants which are very effective in strengthening the immune system and warding off infections.