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Soothe Your Sore Throat Naturally with a Salt Water Gargle

It’s that time of year again—cold and flu season.  School is back in session and many folks will start coming down with any of the following:  sniffles, itchy eyes, post-nasal drip, or a sore throat.

A sore throat can strike at any time, causing discomfort and irritation.  You know, that raw feeling in the back of your throat when you swallow!  One of the most effective and natural solutions for a sore throat is gargling salt water. This simple yet powerful practice offers numerous benefits for soothing a sore throat.

Benefits of a Salt Water Gargle

Reduces Inflammation: Salt-water gargles help to reduce inflammation in the throat. The salt acts as an osmotic agent, drawing excess fluid out of inflamed tissues, which can alleviate discomfort.
Pain Relief: Gargling salt water can provide temporary relief from the pain and discomfort associated with a sore throat as the warm salt solution helps to soothe irritated tissues.
Loosens Mucus: If your sore throat is accompanied by congestion or mucus buildup, salt-water gargles can help to loosen and thin the mucus, making it easier to expel.
Kills Bacteria: Salt has natural antibacterial properties that can help to kill harmful bacteria in the throat, potentially reducing the duration and severity of infections.
Improved Hydration: Gargling salt water helps to maintain moisture in the throat, preventing further irritation.

How to Do an Effective Salt Water Gargle

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients – You’ll need just a few common household items to create your salt-water gargle:

  • 2-4oz of warm water (not hot)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (preferably non-iodized, so pink Himalayan or gray Celtic sea salt)

Step 2: Mix the Solution – Add the salt to the warm water and stir until it dissolves completely. Make sure the water is warm, not hot, as hot water can further irritate your throat.

Step 3: Gargle the Solution – Take a small sip of the salt-water solution and tilt your head back slightly, then start gargling. Make sure you produce a gurgling sound.

Step 4: Spit It Out – Gargle for about 30 seconds to one minute. Afterward, spit the salt water out into the sink. Be cautious not to swallow the mixture as it may make you vomit or give you diarrhea.  Your body is very smart.  When you swallow too much salt, your body wants to get rid of it fast.  Gargling and spitting out the solution will not cause this issue.  If you have any of the solution left, repeat steps 3 and 4.

Step 5: Rinse and Repeat – You can repeat this process 2-3 times per day to help relieve your sore throat.  I find it especially useful right before I go to bed to help with post nasal drip.  You may need to do this 2-3 days in a row.

Additional Tips – Salt Water Gargle

  • Use warm water: As mentioned earlier, warm water is ideal for this remedy. It’s soothing without causing additional irritation.
  • Use the right salt: Non-iodized salt, such as Celtic sea salt, is preferable for this gargle.
  • Don’t swallow: Remember to spit out the salt water after gargling.
  • Stay hydrated: In addition to gargling, drink plenty of fluids to keep your throat moist and promote healing.  Herbal teas may be especially helpful.
  • Consult a natural healthcare professional: If your sore throat persists for more than a few days, is accompanied by high fever, or if you have difficulty swallowing, consult your natural healthcare professional.

Gargling salt water is a time-tested and natural remedy for soothing a sore throat. By following the simple steps above, you can harness the healing power of salt water from the comfort of your own home and support yourself in feeling your best.

Dr. Kalaba is a chiropractor in Tucson, AZ, practicing gentle chiropractic care and providing health tips to help you live the best rest of your life.

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