Most people would have experienced sore throat on more occasions than one, a condition characterised by scratchy throat that feels irritated. However, not all sore throat is strep throat, a condition that is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes. The difference between sore throat and strep throat is the cause of sore throat – while sore throat could be attributed to any number of bacteria or viruses that result in infection and inflammation of the throat, accompanied by other symptoms and possibly leading to secondary complications, strep throat is specifically caused by the strain of bacteria alone and not by viruses.
Causes of Strep Throat
As noted, strep throat is caused by the strain of bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes, leading to infection, inflammation and pain in the throat. In general, strep throat may not be characterised by throat congestion or cough. Strep throat is the most common in children aged between 5 and 15, though adults are also susceptible to the throat infection. Strep throat causes include the transmission of infection from one person to the other either through physical contact with nasal secretion or infected saliva being the medium. Strep throat is most commonly spread among members of the same family or those who reside in close vicinity.
Symptoms of Strep Throat
It depends on the person as well as the quantum of infection, whether symptoms of strep throat or mild or they turn out to be much worse. The symptoms usually show up in a gap of 2 – 5 days after the infection has occurred, which include any or many of the following:
- Fever, chills and general feeling of being unwell
- Sore throat or redness of throat, often characterised by white patches
- Loss of appetite and the inability of taste buds to pick up tastes
- Swollen lymph nodes along the neck, accompanied by difficulty in swallowing
- Feelings of nausea and headache
Home Remedies For Strep Throat
Cayenne pepper, also known as guinea spice or red pepper, is known for its numerous health benefits and healing properties, coming in handy as one of the particularly useful home remedies for strep throat. Cayenne pepper is high in nutrition, with good amounts of vitamins ranging from Vitamin A, C, E, K and B6, along with reasonable content of manganese and fibre. Cayenne pepper is high in a compound called capsaicin, which has been of tremendous use in pain reduction and in controlling inflammation, along with its abilities in reducing and healing ulcers.
It is to be noted that Vitamin A is known to be a healer, capable of treating wounds, a property that is held in high regard when it comes to the healing of epithelial tissues found in the mucous membranes along the lungs, air passages and the throat. Both of these properties come to the rescue of people suffering from symptoms of strep throat. It is capsaicin present in cayenne pepper that again helps in curing strep throat on account of its anti-inflammatory properties.
Further, the high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin A in cayenne pepper, as could be seen by its bright red colour, are known to be the perfect boost to the immune system. Cayenne pepper also helps in relieving nagging irritation of the throat and the respiratory tract as could be witnessed in the case of strep throat. Cayenne pepper could be consumed as hot tea, which plays a role in relieving of the congestion of the mucous membranes along the throat, helping as one of the effective home remedies for strep throat.
Honey has been scientifically studied and found to have imense health benefits in all its varieties. Some of the common varieties of honey, Manuka honey as well as Rewarewa honey, have been found to have effective anti-bacterial properties under various conditions, and honey has been found to be particularly effective against Streptococcus pyogenes, the strain of bacteria that are known to cause strep throat. Honey is an anti-microbial agent and is also an effective cleanser, with abilities to repair damaged cells and tissues.
This combination of health benefits of honey is used as one of the home remedies for strep throat, where honey plays an active role in repairing damaged cells along the lining of the throat. Anothert important property of honey that deserves mention is that of its being a natural humectant, able to provide the right kind of moisture that the throat deserves, especially in the light of dryness caused by strep throat. You could make the mosyt of honey’s ability as a home remedy for strep throat by mixing a teaspoon of honey in warm water and letting the solution ease down the throat, providing relief from strep throat.
a.Caution with Honey for strep throat: Despite all the natural goodness of honey, there have been reports of the presence of clostridium botulinum, a strain bacteria that causes Botulism in infants. For this reason, it is recommended not to administer honey to infants under the age of 12 months. Honey, however, is safe to consume in the case of adults.
The true lemon fans would vouch for the goodness that this charming energetic fruit can bring to the table. For starters, you may want to consider the enormity of vitamin content that lemon could release into the syste, ranging from Vitamins A and E, the complete set of B complex vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 as well as pantothenic acid. Of course, there is no dearth of minerals in the citrus fruit, considering the amount of iron, sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium that lie within the humble fruit.
The healing powers of lemon are derived from the list of vitamins and minerals mentioned, apart from the anti-oxidant properties bestowed, which play an important role in controlling free radicals that would otherwise have caused damage to tissues. In terms of strep throat, it is the anti-oxidant properties as well as the antibiotic and the anti-inflammatory effects that provide a soothing feeling to the affected parts of the throat, providing good measures of relief from inflammations, one of the chief symptoms of strep throat. Lemon could be squeezed on to a glass of warm water that has its load of honey added on to it, so that you could benefit from the combined goodness of lemon and honey as home remedies for strep throat.
You may not get a better substitute for black pepper, which doubles up as one of the prominent spices in the kitchen, apart from proving to be one of the widely used home remedies for strep throat. Black pepper derives its healing powers from the range of vitamins that have made black pepper their home, including the likes of Vitamin A, vitamin K and reasonable quantities of Vitamin C, and from the list of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium, as well as iron sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium and fluoride that are found in good quantities in the tiny corns.
The prominent properties of black pepper that make it an effective home remedy for strep throat include its anti-bacterial properties that work on the Streptococcus bacteria to good effect. The diaphoretic properties induce sweating, which could relieve of the symptoms of fever as is often associated with strep throat, even as the anti-oxidant properties make black pepper a potent weapon against the damaging effects of free radicals on the body.
The effectiveness of black pepper as one of the home remedies for strep throat could be leveraged by adding black pepper powder to hot vegetable soups, which have positive effects on the damaged throat conditions anyway. You could also consume powdered black pepper by adding it to hot water and complementing the solution with a squeeze of lemon, letting it down the throat and watching the symptoms of strep throat disappear.
Holy Basil/Tulsi For Strep Throat
Holy Basil, or Tulsi, as it is known in India, has been widely prescribed in the Ayurvedic system of medicine, proving to be one of the trusted and tested remedies for many health problems, including the ones related to the gastrointestinal tract and the respiratory system. One of the primary effects of holy basil leaves as home remedies for Strep throat would be as immune system enhancers – regular consumption of holy basil leaves gets the immune system up a few notches, helping the body’s mechanism gear up to the challenge and fire on all cylinders against bacteria causing infectious conditions.
The leaves are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to the essential oils of holy basil leaves that do the job in treatment of strep throat. You could also benefit from the anti-oxidant properties of holy basis leaves, derived from the polyphenols and flavanoids that make them potent and vital in protection of body cells and tissues from the effects of free radicals. Further, the rich vitamin A content in Tulsi, known for its ability to aid tissue regeneration, helps in the repair and reconstruction of the epithelial lining of the mucous membrane in the throat.
Home remedies for strep throat should include boiling of holy basil leaves in a glass of water for a few minutes, and then consuming the concoction while it is still warm and of a drinkable temperature, letting the natural goodness of Tulsi leaves get to work and repair the damaged parts of your throat. The antibacterial properties of holy basil leaves send the bacteria packing while the regenerative effects help in restoring normalcy.
If someone had warned you to stay away from sweets while you pursued home remedies for strep throat, you could rank raisins among the top of the list of exceptions, along with honey. With high levels of energy and lots of sweet to its taste, raisins are much more than what their appearance and wrinkled build could possibly suggest. The concentrations of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, Vitamin E, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin B6 and pantothenic acid couple with minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, fluoride, sodium, iron, copper, zinc, selenium, iron and manganese to provide rich sources of nutrients.
Raisins have derived their antibacterial and antibiotic properties from polyphenolic phytonutrients, which make them eligible to be made into syrup as home remedies for strep throat – crush 50 grams of raisins in water with added brown sugar, heat the mixture and let it cool down to form home-made syrup to be taken at the rate of a teaspoon or two at bed time as soothing home remedies for strep throat.
One of the best things to have happened to mankind when it comes to home remedies for strep throat is the advent of ginger into the arena of treatment. Strep throat is known to respond well to ginger, given the healing powers of ginger that are derived from the compound called gingerols. These compounds give ginger its anti-inflammatory properties, while the essential oils in ginger have bestowed the root with tremendous anti-oxidant properties that ensure that the free radicals are curtailed in their destructive mission.
While the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger clear the throat of all mucous accumulation that causes irritation apart from serving to stop the bacteria in their steps, the muscle relaxing properties of ginger also make it an ideal choice among home remedies for strep throat by relaxing the throat muscles that would already have been parched on account of the infection and inflammation. From a nutrition point of view, ginger has rich levels of vitamin A, C, E and B complex vitamins, along with reserves of potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, calcium, iron, sodium, zinc, manganese and selenium that provide all the vital powers needed for ginger to act firmly and decisively in bidding adieu to the streptococcus range of bacteria.
An easy way to include the goodness of ginger in your system would be to slice the ginger root up and add to boiling cup of tea, letting the essence of ginger ooze into the tea and seep into your system. If you love tantalising taste of lemon, you could add a squeeze of the citrus fruit, which could lend its own set of antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties to the teat to relieve the symptoms of strep throat, fast and secure.
a.Precaution with Ginger: While no doubt may be cast on the effectiveness of ginger as a home remedy for strep throat, you may refrain from adding a lot of the rather pungent root to your diet, which could lead to heartburns and acidity otherwise. Consuming ginger in moderation would be good both on your throat as well as on your digestive system.
Fenugreek, Black Pepper And Ginger
Sometimes, it takes more than one to give the results expected of the ingredients – and you could gladly include the health benefits of fenugreek, black pepper and ginger as one of the effective home remedies for strep throat. Fenugreek seeds are known for their anti-oxidant properties, which they enjoy on account of the high levels of vitamin A and vitamin C in the seeds, both of which are known to reign in the harmful effects of free radicals and hence, protect body tissues.
Further, fenugreek seeds are also high in B complex range of vitamins, apart from being repositories of minerals such as potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and calcium, along with a good deal of fibre content. You could use fenugreek seeds as standalone entities when it comes to home remedies for strep throat, by soaking a few of the seeds overnight in a glass of water and consuming the seeds with the water when you have woken up the next morning.
Alternatively, you may also want to include the vitality of black pepper as well as the virility of the pungent root, ginger, to your recipe of home remedies for strep throat, by incorporating them into a solution based out of the good old fenugreek seeds. You may want to soak fenugreek seeds in a glass of water overnight, even as you add a bunch of around 5 black pepper corns and a pinch of ginger powder to the mix. Boil the mix with the three ingredients for 5 – 10 minutes, steep it for a while and consume the potent mixture to leverage the combined goodness of the three essential ingredients as treatment for strep throat.
Other Home Remedies For Strep Throat
The fluid that you could extract out of the mango bark may not have mattered much to you as you played around the trees, climbed on them and jumped over, apart from having drawn your attention as the ‘sticky something’ that you would rather avoid. However, mango bark is often used as one of the useful home remedies for strep throat.
You could grind mango bark, get the extract out and add it to ten parts of warm water, which would then turn out to be useful as a throat gargle. The extract could also be applied on to the affected areas of the throat for relief from strep throat. Another option available would be to get the mango bark extract to apply uniformly on the outside of the neck, while you still continue with the gargle to relieve of the symptoms of strep throat.
Gargle Warm Water With Salt
Adding a tablespoon of rock salt to lukewarm water and using it as a throat gargle, swishing it around the mouth to expose the surface areas of the buccal cavity to the salt solution is one of the well-respected and most effective home remedies for strep throat. Repeating the treatment twice or thrice a day would go a long way in relieving of the symptoms of strep throat.
Fluid Consumption And Strep Throat
Strep throat would leave your throat dry and parched; the best antidote for dryness is moisture, which you could ensure by having a lot of fluid consumption to go with your other home remedies for strep throat. You could opt for hot fluids, such as hot water or a cup of hot milk, which would soothe the irritation associated with strep throat.
The humble bright yellow turmeric powder would serve as one of the most effective home remedies for strep throat, given the ability of turmeric to cure a host of medical conditions and turnout out to be useful in the treatment of strep throat on account of its anti-oxidant properties and anti-bacterial benefits.
Turmeric could be ground into powder or it could be purchased as such, and half a teaspoon of the powder could be added to a glass of warm water or a cup of hot milk. A variation of the home remedy for strep throat would be to add a teaspoon of honey to the mixture in water or in milk and sip it for effective moisturising of the throat, even as the healing powers of turmeric and honey would combine to provide fast relief from strep throat.
Green tea has long been the favourite among health advocates and enthusiasts, with some of the health benefits of green tea having to do with its anti-oxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties. Green tea has been effective in the treatment of fever and flu-like conditions and is also found to be good to go in terms of home remedies for strep throat. Green tea could be used for strep throat by simply adding a bag of green tea to a cup of boiling water, letting the essence of green tea seep into the solution and drinking the concoction for good relief from strep throat. On the other hand, you could also use green tea as an effective gargle for strep throat, letting the hot decoction provide soothing relief from the conditions.
a.Caution with Green Tea: There have been adverse reactions associated with consumption of green tea and pregnancy, since green tea has been found to lead to drop in folic acid levels, which could, in turn, cause birth defects such as spina bifida and a condition called anencephaly. Pregnant women and those who are trying to conceive should refrain from consuming regular and large quantities of green tea to avoid such possibilities of neural tube complications.
One of the commonly available ingredients that could turn out to be one of the most effective home remedies for strep throat is onion. Onions are pungent and the chemicals present in onions have the capability to provide relief from the symptoms of strep throat. When you grind an onion peel into paste and make it moist with lemon juice and honey, you would have made a potent composition that could drive strep throat away.
Stay as far away as possible from sugar and sweets when you pursue home remedies for strep throat, as the first reaction that they would trigger would be throat irritation, which could aggravate conditions of strep throat.
Cinnamon has had a place for itself reserved among the list of home remedies for strep throat, apart from being known for its ability to spice things up and add a lot of flavour to cuisine. While cinnamon is used as whole spice in food, it could be used as cinnamon powder for relief from strep throat – all it takes is to add a teaspoon of cinnamon powder to a cup of boiling water, letting it boil for around 10 – 15 minutes to get the essence and the healing powers of cinnamon seep into the solution.
Adding a teaspoon of honey to the mixture after it has cooled down to appropriate warmth good enough to drink would help, not just in terms of taste but in adding the goodness of honey to cure strep throat.
Garlic brings much to the table, in terms of health benefits of garlic with its antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and antibiotic properties. Of these, it is the antibacterial property that would come in handy in terms of home remedies for strep throat, in acting stern and sure on the streptococcus strain of bacteria. A couple of garlic cloves chewed raw would soak your throat with the essence of garlic, providing effective relief from strep throat.
Another option would be to crush garlic clove and make a paste of it in honey, to be consumed on a regular basis as you could watch the symptoms subside. Another aspect of health benefits of garlic that would be relevant to home remedies for strep throat would be the ability of the bulb to boost the efficiency of the human immune system – if you could make it a habit to include garlic in your diet, you may well be able to stay out of the clutches of not just strep throat but a lot more of health conditions.
Avoid Pollution like Plague
It is important to couple home remedies for strep throat with adequate measures to stay away from pollution, since environmental pollution could irritate an already infected throat and aggravate the situation further.
Maintain Cleanliness At Home/Office
Your internal environment is as important as the external one and perhaps more so, because that’s where you spend the majority of your time in. Ensure that your beds, pillows and curtains remain thoroughly washed and dusted, since suspended particles in the air could pose as much a risk to symptoms of strep throat as do the root causes of the condition.
Refrain from speaking, and definitely from sermonising. Try to keep your voice low if you have strep throat, since high decibel sounds emanating from your throat could work contrary to home remedies for strep throat, causing immense stress on the strained system.
Other Conditions / Treatments For Strep Throat
Go For Throat Lozenges
Throat lozenges, the commercially available ones, are good at soothing the irritation associated with strep throat, which could be safely resorted to, helping you manage the symptoms of strep throat. However, scientific evidence points out towards certain home remedies for strep throat being even more effective than the results obtained from some of the lozenges.
Use Antiseptic Mouthwash
Herbal mouthwash is good enough to find effective relief from symptoms of strep throat. However, if you wish, you could complement your home remedies for strep throat by using antiseptic mouthwash to help cure the infection and soothe the ulcers that may have formed on account of the inflammation.
Antibiotics For Strep Throat
Strep throat responds well to antibiotics. However, antibiotics have to be prescribed only after confirmation from tests that the condition that you suffer is indeed that of strep throat. There are strep throat tests that could be made, as there are throat cultures that would give you a final confirmation on whether your condition is that of strep throat. Treatment with antibiotics taken up after confirmation tends to be effective; however, unnecessary administration of antibiotics would make them ineffective over time.
The common drugs for strep throat include penicillin, amoxicillin, cephalosporin and erythromycin. Symptoms of strep throat are likely to be alleviated as soon as antibiotics have been administered, though it is strongly advised to continue with the antibiotics for the prescribed course even if the symptoms vanish, since termination of antibiotics for strep throat before the prescribed duration is accompanied by risks of the conditions relapsing, along with the bacteria gaining resistance to antibiotics, making them immune to treatment in future instances.
Waiting For Recovery
One of the simple courses of action that you could take in recovery from strep throat is to wait till the condition improves on its own – and it does, given that strep throat tends to be self-limiting and would run out of steam over a week’s time. However, home remedies for strep throat would do a good job in tiding over the symptoms of strep throat, not to mention their own effectiveness in speeding up the recovery process. If the symptoms are not too severe, it may help to wait for the conditions to improve, since this would rule out the necessity to go in for antibiotics.