Ayurvedic Remedies for a Late-Winter Sore Throat

Kripalu School of Ayurveda

Every March, I trick myself into thinking winter is over, and then another nor’easter rolls through and sets me straight. It became readily apparent last week that cold and flu season is still running rampant. So what to do for a pesky sore throat? Here are a few home remedies drawn from the wisdom of Ayurveda.

Turmeric + Salt Gargle

Mix equal parts turmeric and salt in a glass of warm water (½ teaspoon each in 8 ounces of warm water) until dissolved. Gargle with this mixture both morning and night. Turmeric is great for relieving inflammation and swelling, while salt works to sweep away any bacteria you may have ingested during the day; it’s one of the best expectorants, meaning it helps get the phlegm up and out.

I used to keep my salt and turmeric mixture in a mason jar in the bathroom, but it separates (turmeric on top, salt on the bottom). No amount of shaking could balance the ratio to my satisfaction. Then I discovered that coarse sea salt whirled in a food processor with ground turmeric makes a beautiful homogenized powder that can be stored in a glass spice jar. Problem solved. Love you, Cuisinart.

Lime Water

Drink warm or room-temperature lime water upon waking. I’ve been told that the action of the lime is similar to that of soap, while the water works to give the system a flush. Lime is also an expectorant. If you’re congested, you might find yourself hacking up loogies, which is a good thing.


Drink up to half your body weight in ounces of water, per day, to send those bugs packing.

Raw Honey

Honey is top dog in Earth’s medicine cabinet. To name a few of its attributes, honey is classified as a demulcent (relieves inflammation), expectorant (aids in the clearing of mucus), nutritive (nourishing), and antibiotic (prevents bacterial infections). A scoop of raw honey is a balm for the throat.

Increase honey’s superpowers by adding turmeric and fresh cracked black pepper. The turmeric will bring down inflammation, and the black pepper helps with the efficacy of the turmeric. Make a paste by combining roughly ¼ cup raw honey to 1 tablespoon ground turmeric and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Keep a jar nearby so you can consume a spoonful whenever the throat begins to bark.

Peppermint Tea

Peppermint clears the head and sinuses, has an analgesic (pain-relieving) nature, and boosts emotional harmony.

Avoid Dairy

That means cheese, yogurt, and ice cream, even if it seems like it might be soothing for your throat. These chilled dairy products are mucus manufacturers, which will only serve to intensify a sore throat. You want to prevent post-nasal drip, not give it ammunition.

Yoga Postures for a Sore Throat

Try Lion’s Pose, Locust Pose, and/or Yoga Mudra. All three poses open up the chest and elongate the throat, helping to alleviate constriction while releasing tension in the upper body.

Lauren Gernady is the Academic Coordinator for the Kripalu School of Ayurveda, and a lifelong student of holistic living. An Ayurvedic Health Counselor and 500-Hour Kripalu Yoga teacher, Lauren explores Ayurveda daily through cooking, writing, and spending time in nature.

© Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. All rights reserved. To request permission to reprint, please email editor@kripalu.org.

Lauren Gernady is an Ayurvedic Health Counselor, a 500-hour Ayurvedic Yoga Teacher, a graduate of the Kripalu School of Ayurvedic (KSA), and a former intern and Academic Coordinator of KSA.

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