As you probably know, pain is your body telling your brain
something is wrong.
If you have a sore throat, something is harming the tissue
of your throat. A comprehensive sore throat remedy will
soothe the pain, heal your throat tissue, and fight off
whatever's hurting your throat.
So, there's not just one way to cure a sore throat. Well, not
one good way. You could, of course, keep spraying your throat
with something like Chloraseptic... and that might be ok if you
just want to wait for your sore throat to go away, and maybe it
would, but not necessarily.
The summer before I moved out to San Diego to start the Masters
program in acupuncture and Oriental medicine, I got a horrible
sore throat, the worst I'd ever had- (and I'd had strep throat
as a kid about 7 times- they took out my tonsils because they
didn't know even in the early 80's that they were an important
part of the immune system. That stopped it though.) - it wouldn't
go away. The chloraseptic kept wearing off. I needed a real sore
throat remedy. But first I wanted to find out what was wrong.
Being a budding medical professional, I got a flashlight out
and looked at my throat in the mirror, then go on the internet
and looked for sore throat pictures. I found out I had apthous
ulcerations. I have no idea why I got them- I'm basically 100%
healthy, still. But I also found out that one good sore throat
remedy, especially for these apthous ulcerations, was burdock
So, my mom and I were off to the natural foods store in Dayton,
Ohio (She likes that natural stuff, too, and she was going to
spend as much time with me as she could before I moved 3000 miles
away). We got the burdock root, went home, and I made a tea. It
tasted pretty good, and it cured the sore throat. I was relieved
of the pain and proud of my research... and encouraged about my
new natural health career.
Later, I found out that Chinese medicine also uses burdock
for the throat (for 'heat' in the throat, which would be inflamed
throat, or pharyngitis - and Brazilian folk medicine uses it,
too (2)). One of our two most common cold/flu herbal remedies,
the one that's more of a sore throat remedy, includes burdock
(arctium in latin, niu bang zi in pinyin) to 'benefit the throat'.
So how does it work? Does it just clear away inflammation?
Does it just deaden the pain? Does it fight bacteria and viruses?
- Burdock (arctium) has an antimicrobial action (that
means it kills microbes, small living creatures including bacteria
and fungi) which has been attributed to the polyacetylenes in
- More than one study has shown that it has antibacterial
- Anti-inflammatory effects have also been measured,
and it's possible that it's a free radical scavenger (3)
Pretty amazing. And this is just one herb.
There are many more
sore throat remedies in Western herbal medicine, and in Chinese
- Kardosova A, Ebringerova A, Alfoldi J, Nosal'ova
G, Franova S, Hribalova V. A
biologically active fructan from the roots of Arctium lappa
L., var. Herkules. Int J Biol Macromol. 2003 Nov;33(1-3):135-40.
- Holetz FB, Pessini GL, Sanches NR, Cortez DA,
Nakamura CV, Filho BP. Screening
of some plants used in the Brazilian folk medicine for the treatment
of infectious diseases. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2002 Oct;97(7):1027-31.
- Lin CC, Lu JM, Yang JJ, Chuang SC, Ujiie T.
and radical scavenge effects of Arctium lappa. Am J Chin