This past weekend we represented our farm at a local festival. It’s one we do every year so our customers plan their shopping trips with us. We try to have the products that are expected, but we missed one very important item. It seemed like every third person was looking for our sage gargle kit for sore throats! I usually think of this item as important to stock in the winter during cold and flu season, but I was wrong.
Everyone is back to school and the convergence of an exposure to all new germs with a really tough ragweed season is hitting pretty hard. There are two main nuisance issues right now – catarrh and sore throats.
What is catarrh?
Do you feel like you have to constantly clear your throat? Catarrh is simply excess mucus in the sinus cavity or throat. The drainage that occurs in either of these areas irritates the throat and causes a constant need to “clear your throat.” The problem can be temporary or chronic. Temporary catarrh is what we experience when we have a cold. Chronic catarrh is usually caused by an allergy to something in your environment or an unidentified food sensitivity.
Have you ever heard someone refer to a food as “mucus producing”? Pasteurized milk is the one that comes to mind right away. It isn’t that the food produces mucus in and of itself, but that it causes inflammation in the body. When our mucus membranes are irritated they are perfectly engineered to produce mucus. Unfortunately, this self-defense mechanism has become the target of medicine rather than the reason it has been stimulated. While you hunt down the cause of the problem, here is a simple morning tonic to drink to clear it out and find relief.
Morning Tonic for Throat Relief
- juice of 2 oranges
- juice of 2 lemons
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- ¼ inch piece of ginger
Add all of the ingredients into a blender and pulse until everything is juicy. Drink at least ¼ cup each morning.
Treating a Sore Throat
A sore throat can be due to an illness as the body’s immune system is under attack, or it can be a raggedness brought on by breathing in airborne pollen. Either way, one of my favorite remedies is sage (Salvia officinalis) tea. (Find organic sage leaf here.)
This weekend I didn’t have our sage gargle blend but we did have our sage infused honey which is almost as good. Just about anyone can use sage tea for a sore throat. The only group that needs to be careful about overdoing it would be nursing mothers. More than a little bit of sage in your diet and you nursing mothers can see a dip in milk supply.
One other specific herb for an infected sore throat is echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia). There is quite a controversy about this beautiful flower. It was never used as a preventative for the cold or flu. Recently studies have confirmed that echinacea isn’t really useful for immune support in this manner. The native Americans always used this plant for throat infections. It is still very effective for this use. I like to put a strong tea or tincture into a spray bottle and spritz it onto the back of my throat. The plant produces a numbing sensation and pretty quick relief of the infection as well. (Find organic echinacea here.)
How do you naturally treat sore throats and other throat “ick”?