I was sick, I was miserable. Having to get through a work day and then home to care for my children and family was almost more than I could bear. The worst part about my plight was that I’d been to the doctor. I’d taken antibiotics, I’d been obedient to modern medicinal techniques when trying to deal with my chronic sore throat.
To everyone else, I looked normal and healthy. Every day was a torturous ordeal of keeping my chin up, swallowing painfully, and looking for answers to my chronic sore throat. When traditional methods of pain relief had failed me, I decided I needed to look into alternative forms of health and healing to ease my pain. I had heard about the use of essential oil for sore throat, but it seemed a little too easy–could this really be the answer for my discomfort and soreness? I decided to study in depth and look for the best essential oils for sore throat.
Causes of a sore throat
During my time of discomfort, I did some serious research on the causes of a sore throat. And was I surprised to find out that there are many possible factors that lead to the development of throat discomfort. Some of these causes included:
Colds, flu, and other viruses
Viral infections account for almost 90 percent of all occasions of sore throat. Some of the more common viral infections that do cause throat discomfort include the common cold, the flu, mononucleosis, the measles, the chicken pox, and the mumps. All these viruses produce redness, swelling, and irritation of the lining of the throat that can contribute to soreness.
Strep throat and other bacterial infections
A bacterial infection can also cause a sore throat. Strep is the most common bacterial infection that produces a sore throat. Strep accounts for almost 40 percent of all cases of sore throat in children.
When your immune system has a reaction to an allergen. Be it grass, pollen, pet dander, or chemical irritants. The body responds by producing excess mucous, watery eyes, sneezing, and irritation of the throat. Excess mucous begins to drip down the back of the throat and irritate its lining, resulting in sore throat symptoms that are similar to that of an infection. At times, it can be hard to distinguish between an active infection and an allergic response to an allergen. It is best to get checked out by a doctor to determine the cause of your sore throat.
Dry air can take moisture out of the mouth and throat, making it prone to irritation. You are most likely to experience sore throat due to dry air in arid climates or in the wintertime, when air tends to lack a good balance of moisture.
Your mouth and other soft tissues in your body are some of the most sensitive areas, prone to irritation. There are a host of different chemicals, air pollutants, and even additives to our food. That can mess with its delicate moisture balance and cause sore throat symptoms. Doing what you can to reduce chemical exposure and keep your body hydrated will allow you to keep your throat feeling comfortable.
Any blow or cut to the neck and throat can irritate this area and cause infection and pain. In addition, repeated overuse and abuse of vocal cords through loud talking, screaming, and improper voice use techniques can cause injury to these delicate tissues. Sore throats can be a common complaint of musicians, fitness instructors, and teachers, who often have to use their voices in forceful ways as part of their jobs. Doing what you can to care for your voice and rest it when you do not have to use it will keep your voice and your throat in prime condition.
GERD, or Gastroesophageal reflux disease, can also cause sore throat symptoms, as acid from the stomach is ejected back up through the esophagus and into the back of the throat. This acid burns the lining of the esophagus and the throat, causing heartburn and other painful conditions.
Tumors and growths
A tumor is also a cause of a sore throat. This type of soreness is chronic, and it doesn’t go away after a few days. It’s best to check with your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms that last for more than a few days to a few weeks. Early detection is the best method of treatment if you suspect you are at risk.
How Essential Oils Can Help A Sore Throat
Unlike traditional forms of are throat treatment. Essential oils treat problems at the source rather than attempting to mask symptoms. Essential oils can boost our immune system, calm inflammations, eradicate bacteria and viruses that contribute to infection and soothe discomfort associated with sore throat. Providing comprehensive relief for your sore throat and all other related symptoms is essential to creating health and healing during these difficult months of damp, cold weather that contributes to throat irritation.
Knowing what type of sore throat you are experiencing will give you more information about the right types of oils to use for treatment. Read on to discover just how to use essential oils to treat a sore throat, and what types of oils are most effective at eliminating the problem for good:
How To Use Essential Oils To Treat Sore Throat
We can use Essential oils in various ways to treat symptoms of sore throat and eradicate problems at their core. While most people tend to think of essential oils as useful only in aromatherapy. here are actually many ways you can effectively use them to treat symptoms and causes of sore throat. Here are a few of our “go to’s” for throat treatment:
Gargling is one of the most effective ways to topically apply essential oils directly to the affected area. Combining the oil with a mixture of warm salt water and garlic several times a day will be very effective in treating your uncomfortable throat.
Add 1-2 drops of essential oil to 2 tbsp salt and mix with warm water. Gargle up to three times daily for pain relief and infection control.
Coconut oil gargle
Coconut oil, in addition to having many nutritive and medicinal properties is also a powerful antimicrobial oil that is a perfect carrier for other volatile essential oils. The soothing properties of coconut oil are a perfect lubricant for irritated and inflamed tissues, and it doesn’t taste too bad, either!
Simply mix the essential oil in your coconut oil, apply to the tongue, and allow the mixture to melt in your mouth and coat your soft tissues. Once it has melted, gargling with the substance for 30 seconds is enough to start the onslaught upon any bacteria or viruses that may have set up residence in your throat. Make sure you dispose of any excess oil by spitting into a trash can after use, as disposal into a sink can quickly clog up your plumbing.
You can make your own homeopathic essential oil throat spray by combining 1-2 drops of essential oil in 6 oz of water. And applying with a clean spray bottle into the back of the throat. Spraying the throat up to 5 times daily will reduce pain, inflammation and eliminate infection that may be brewing in your mouth and throat. Try to let the water mixture sit as long as possible in the back of your throat before swallowing.
Topical application is effective when used in combination with other oral application methods. Adding 1-3 drops of your favorite essential oil in a carrier oil and applying both inside and out, along the jawline, neck and throat will allow for reduction of pain, eradicating inflammation. And stimulating lymphatic drainage that may be further complicating the problem. Apply several times a day for best results.
Best Essential Oil For Sore Throat
While we can use a lot of essential oils to effectively treat sore throat. We found the following pure oils and blends have most effective at reducing pain and inflammation. And getting to the underlying cause of sore throat:
Peppermint is an amazingly cool oil. Its cooling effects reduce pain dramatically while leaving you invigorated and refreshed. Especially effective when topically applied, it is known to eliminate even the most stubborn throbbing pain when applied along the neck and jawline as well as internally. Peppermint is also anti-inflammatory, anti-viral. And we can use it in gargles, throat sprays, and steams. Due to its strong and volatile nature, it is not recommended that you use peppermint oil in children under 10 years of age.
Lemon is a powerful antibacterial agent known to kill many types of bacteria in as little as fifteen minutes. Bacteria such as meningococcus, diphtheria and tuberculosis have all been successfully eradicated with the use of lemon oil. With longer exposure to vaporized lemon oil, even staph infections have been eliminated within a matter of hours. No matter what the cause of your sore throat, lemon oil will be a powerful agent in the treatment of your sore throat.
You can use lemon oil in a throat spray, a gargle, and topically. A word of caution to topical users—the interaction of direct sunlight and lemon oil causes a severe sunburn, so use with caution. Aromatic use of lemon oil in your home will also help to prevent future infections that may lead to sore throat. And it’s a wonderful smelling addition to your environment.
Eucalyptus oil is an excellent pain reliever. Ceniole content present in this oil gives it a clear advantage when fighting infections. In addition, cooling properties help to soothe red and irritated tissues that are indicative of throat infection. Eucalyptus is also effective at inhibiting the growth of viruses and bacteria that can cause throat irritation.
Like peppermint oil, we can use this cooling oil in gargles, throat sprays, and applied topically. Avoid using eucalyptus in children under ten.
Oregano oil pulls out the big guns to fight infection, inflammation, and bacterial infections that can cause sore throat. It is also a powerful immune system booster, often times stopping an infection at its source before it is allowed to spread.
Oregano oil is powerful, and volatile if not used properly. It can actually irritate and inflame mucous membranes, so we should not use it in steams or inhaled directly. Best used topically with a carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil, it will quickly get to the root cause of your sore throat pain.
Thyme oil is antimicrobial, anti fungal, anti inflammatory, and works quickly to purify any environment in which it is directly applied. And Thyme oil is quite a common additive in many over the counter mouthwashes and gargles. Also considered a volatile or “hot” oil, it does require the use of a carrier oil to nullify effects that would otherwise irritate the skin, mouth or mucous membranes.
While ginger is best known for its soothing and calming effect on the stomach, it is also an effective treatment for the common cold. Its soothing and calming properties have also been known to subdue throat irritation and pain. Its pleasing scent and taste make it easy and pleasant to ingest.
Ginger is best used in throat sprays, gargles, and topical application, although we can use it in aromatherapy and steams as well. When using aromatically, be sure not to use too much, as more concentrated amounts can irritate the lining of the nose and throat.
Tea Tree Oil
The powerful anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effects of tea tree oil make it perfect for combating sore throat symptoms. Tea tree oil also has clarifying properties that stave off infection and clear up nasty bacteria that may be present and causing the problem.
Essential Oil Blends For Sore Throat
These oils work well separately, but at times their effects are compounded by being used in combination with one another. Here are a few blends found to be very effective at combating sore throat causes and symptoms:
Sore Throat Gargle
Combine the following and gargle several times daily:
- 2 cups water
- 2 Tbsp salt
- 1 drop cayenne oil
- 10 drops peppermint oil
- 10 drops orange or lemon essential oil
- 2 drops thyme oil
- 2 drops myrrh oil
Bring the water to a boil, dissolve salt. Add oils and cool till warm. Gargle several times daily for best results.
Oregano oil throat spray
- 1 oz carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil
- 2-3 drops oregano essential oil
Spray on the back of the throat. If it burns, add more carrier oil till the effect is lessened.
Honey lemon tea
This tea is delicious and can be enjoyed anytime of day for optimal health. Combine the following:
- 8 oz warm water
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 2-3 drops lemon essential oil
Stir all to combine, sip slowly and let it coat your throat on the way down!
There are a host of great recipes and resources online for soothing throat blends that we can use it to alleviate symptoms. Finding what works for you is like finding a golden nugget. You may not even want to share the blends that work for you, as they seem like a precious secret that you must use to heal and recover!
Diffuser Blends For Sore Throat
Risks And Warnings
While essential oils promise help for ailments and many benefits, you must know what you are getting into when using them. Oils are highly concentrated, and we must use them with care to avoid overexposure to the skin and other sensitive tissues. We must not use highly volatile, highly concentrated oils on skin without the use of a carrier oil. As direct application to the skin can cause redness, irritation, and rash. Many oils are not meant for internal use. To do so would cause grave consequences, as you would be causing damage to internal organs, tissues, and blood vessels.
Finding out as much as you can about the use of an oil before you attempt to use it is the smartest course of action to take when considering their use. Talking to your doctor would be a good idea as well. They may have some knowledge of potential side effects and interactions with drugs that you may be taking.
All in all, the use of essential oils will bring marked health benefits. Proper use and application will ensure that you experience the best possible outcome. Here’s to finding your perfect blend of best essential oil for sore throat!