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How to treat a sore throat

We have all experienced it. That burning, itchy maybe even phlegmy throat. At times there is nothing worse, especially since it is often accompanied by sneezing, headaches, runny nose, cough, fever, enlarged lymph glands and aches and pains. A sore throat is often caused by inflammation of the mucus membranes of the throat. It also often feels worse when we try to swallow or speak.

So what can you do if your experiencing a sore throat?

In Chinese Medicine, Honeysuckle and Forsythia are widely used for their cooling and anti-inflammatory properties in the treatment of bacterial infections and upper respiratory infections

Echinacea has antimicrobial properties, it helps boost the immune system and may aid in the management of viral infections by reducing the duration or severity of laryngitis, flu, tonsillitis of the common cold.

Dress warmly. Cold reduces circulation and requires more energy from your body to get warm. Your body is already trying to fight off a potential virus, help by cutting back the work demand of the body.

Cover your skin to protect against wind exposure, especially your neck and upper back.

Make sure to get plenty of rest and sleep. Try getting to bed by 10pm and getting between 7-9 hours sleep. If your under the impression that you need less sleep as you get older, you would be incorrect. Your body need time to restore and repair and re-balance itself.

Minimize stress as much as possible. Too much stress especially over a long period of time is taxing on the body.

Minimize the spread of pathogens by washing your hands regularly and frequented surface areas. Do not rub your eyes or handle food without washing hands first. Exercise is good for the body as it helps stimulate circulation, but exercise in moderation and regularly. Minimize mucus producing foods such as dairy, alcohol, sugar, wheat, refined breads and pastas. Pre-existing mucus in your system is a major factor in developing stuffy noses, and phlegmy coughs. Try to stay away from foods that are raw and cold. Eating foods that are more warm and cooked for longer periods of time are easier for your body to process. Try roasting, baking and using a slow cooker. Foods to add to your diet that will help nourish the lungs are; cooked pears and apples, chicken broth, figs, sweet potatoes and eggs. Gargling with warm water, lemon juice and raw honey may help soothe and moisten the throat, but from the perspective of TCM is not advisable when mucus is present as honey is believed to promote dampness and therefore the production of phlegm. Lastly one of my favorites sore throat aids, Ginger. Ginger has been proven to help kill bacteria, decrease inflammation in the body and soothe a cough; plus its a great remedy for an upset stomach. After ingesting ginger you may feel warm, ginger can improve blood circulation and relax the muscles that surround the blood vessels. In China, its believed that after getting soaked in rain, drinking a large cup of hot ginger tea will promote sweating and thus prevent catching a cold.

This was published in MyKawartha on Oct 31, 2018

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