What is a Sore Throat?
While we often associate sore throats with the colder months, they can happen anytime and for a number of different reasons. I am fairly certain that nobody reading this article has never experienced throat soreness but did you know that essential oils could help treat your sore throat and even help prevent you from experiencing one in the first place?
A sore throat is basically defined as a pain, irritation or scratchiness in the throat which often feels worse when you are swallowing. Your throat otherwise known as the pharynx carries food into the esophagus and also air to the windpipe and the larynx.
What Causes a Sore Throat?
There are various reasons why you may have a sore throat.
The common sore throat is one which is caused by a virus. This type of sore throat often comes with other symptoms such as headaches, coughing, runny nose and high temperature. Sore throats of this kind are often caused by influenza or the common cold. A sore throat is often the first sign that you are getting sick.
A bacterial sore throat sometimes referred to as strep throat is caused by a bacterial infection. This type of sore throat is usually more severe. It can also result in swollen tonsils, tender glands and white spots inside the throat.
Both types of sore throat are highly contagious meaning that they can easily be passed onto people that you are in close contact with.
There are plenty of home remedies that can help you to overcome a sore throat including drinking plenty of liquids, soups and hot tea. Staying well hydrated and getting the right rest and nutrition are also important.
Another option is to try one of the many wonderful essential oils available. Many of these oils have just the right properties to help you deal with your symptoms and bolster your defenses against further illness.
Many essential oils have excellent antiviral and antibacterial actions often on a par with over the counter medications. They are generally considered much safer than pharmaceuticals so if you are interested in finding out more about the best essential oils for your sore throat, then read on.
The Best Essential Oils to treat a Sore Throat
1) Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil is one of the most popular essential oils and is very effective in relieving sore throats as well as many other symptoms of the cold. It can be used to treat coughs, respiratory tract infections and sinus issues. It is also a great oil for digestive problems, nausea and vomiting.
Peppermint oil has a cooling and calming effect because of the presence of menthol. Research has demonstrated that it has antimicrobial, decongestant and antioxidant properties which are just perfect for dealing with sore throats. The menthol content of the oil helps to soothe irritation in the throat as well as thinning out mucus allowing you to breathe more comfortably.
2) Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon is one of many citrus essential oils that can help treat a sore throat. Lime is another excellent choice as both contain powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Lemon essential oil comes from the skin of the fruit and is rich in vitamin C. It can help stave off throat irritation and increase salivation keeping your throat moist.
As well as being used for sore throats, lemon oil is popular as a detox oil helping to clean out toxins from the body. It is also used to treat nausea, purify the skin and rejuvenate the mind and body.
3) Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano essential oil is a very powerful oil with strong antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is a great choice for soothing a sore throat and treating your symptoms. Studies have showed that it is so powerful that it is even effective against the MRSA superbug while its excellent antimicrobial actions are not lost even when it is heated in water.
4) Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus oil is one of the most popular and effective sore throat remedies. It is actually used as an ingredient in a number of commercial cold and cough preparations because of its ability to significantly relieve congestion.
The vast majority of this essential oil’s benefits are derived from a compound called cineole which has some remarkable medicinal effects. As well as helping to treat a cough and sore throat, it can treat a range of illnesses from internal inflammation to leukemia. Try gargling with it or inhaling its rich vapors for some instant relief.
5) Clove Essential Oil
Clove oil is especially well known for its abilities to treat gum disease and toothache but it is also an excellent choice for dealing with your painful sore throat.
Clove oil is such an effective sore throat remedy because of its antiviral, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have found that clove oil was effective against a range of Staphylococcus strains. It is also known to purify the blood which increases resistance against many illnesses including a sore throat.
6) Juniper Berry Essential Oil
Perhaps not as well-known or as popular as some of the other oils in the list, juniper berry oil is certainly worth attention when it comes to treating a sore throat.
Research has demonstrated that this essential oil contains over 80 active compounds including compounds with antibacterial, antiviral and antioxidant properties. Juniper berry essential oil is also used to treat respiratory tract infections and for muscle pain, fatigue and arthritis.
7) Thyme Essential Oil
Thyme has been cultivated and used for its medicinal benefits for thousands of years. The essential oil of thyme is among the most powerful natural antimicrobials known and it also comes with powerful antioxidant benefits. It is known to boost the body’s immune system as well as treating respiratory and digestive problems.
A study published in 2011 showed just how powerful thyme essential oil was. Over 120 bacterial strains were taken from humans and thyme essential proved to be effective against every single one of them. It will certainly be effective against any bacterial sore throat. (1)
8) Hyssop Essential Oil
Hyssop essential oil has been used for thousands of years for both medicinal and cleansing purposes. There is recorded evidence dating back to ancient Greece of hyssop being used for chest and throat pain as well as pleurisy and bronchial sickness.
Hyssop has strong antiseptic and antibacterial actions making it an effective remedy for the throat and any other respiratory issues that you may have.
How to use your Essential Oils for your Sore Throat
There are several effective ways to treat your painful throat and other respiratory conditions with essential oils.
Perhaps the easiest way to use your essential oil is via direct inhalation. Simply add a few drops to your hands, rub together and cup them over the nose. Inhale several times slowly. You can also inhale from the bottle or add a few drops to your pillow to inhale the vapors through the night.
Perhaps the best and most effective method to soothe your sore throat is to add the oils to a bowl of hot water. Put a towel over your neck and shoulders and inhale the soothing vapors for as long as you can tolerate it.
Gargling with essential oils is an excellent method of soothing a sore throat and killing oral bacteria. Just add a few drops of your chosen oil to a glass of water then gargle for a few minutes each night. Be careful not to swallow any of the mixture.
3) Topical application
You can also try applying your essential oil topically to areas of the body that can benefit the throat like the chest and neck. Before applying your oil topically, it is important to dilute it well in a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba oil.