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7 Home Remedies for Strep Throat Symptoms

Many of us have been there at one point in our lives–you feel fine one day, but the next day you feel exhausted, your throat hurts, and you have trouble swallowing. Perhaps you researched your symptoms online and the results suggested a condition called streptococcal pharyngitis, commonly known as strep throat.

In many cases, we seek out medical treatment to alleviate symptoms and support the healing process. Keep reading to understand the mechanics of strep throat, including preventative measures and natural remedies for strep throat.

What Is Strep Throat?

According to the CDC, strep throat is an infection caused by a bacteria called group A streptococcus. While many sore throats are a symptom of a viral infection, comparatively, this bacterial infection only accounts for a small number of sore throat cases.

Typically, a diagnosis will be made using a simple throat swab, a review of your symptoms, and an examination of your tonsils.

Strep Throat Symptoms

Unfortunately, the uncomfortable symptoms of strep throat can last for a few days, depending on the course of treatment you seek out. It is most common between children and youth between the ages of 5-15 and is typically spread through sneezing and coughing. The onset of symptoms is quite abrupt and strep throat symptoms may include:

Fever or rheumatic fever
Sore throat
Swollen lymph nodes
Swollen tonsils
White pus at the back of the throat

Natural Remedies for Strep Throat

Typically, strep throat treatment involves a course of antibiotics. While antibiotic use is not necessary to treat strep throat, they may be prescribed to target the bacterial infection, help minimize symptoms, and may reduce the duration of symptoms. However, it is recommended to only seek out antibiotic use with a confirmed case of strep throat.

Many people will also opt for natural remedies to help to support their immune system for prevention, aid recovery or to supplement their antibiotic use. Some natural remedies for strep throat may include the supplement ingredients outlined below.

1. Elderberry (Sambucus)

Due to its antiviral and antibacterial effects, elderberry has been traditionally used to address the common cold and flu. While research on the use of elderberry extract for strep throat is limited, studies look promising.

One study looking at individuals in air travel showed that those who supplemented with elderberry had fewer respiratory effects compared to the placebo group. An additional study on elderberry, looking at the effects of varying concentrations of elderberry on bacteria, minimizes growth, even at low concentrations, compared to no elderberry use. Ask your integrative healthcare practitioner about adding elderberry supplements to your daily routine to increase your antioxidant intake, which can be found in capsule, syrup/liquid, and even cough-drop form.

2. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that supports collagen production, prevents free radical damage, and promotes overall well-being. While the role of vitamin C in strep throat is unclear, studies using high-dose vitamin C supplementation have shown that it can alleviate or prevent infections from bacteria, virus, and protozoa. Try to consume an abundance of vitamin C-rich foods, such as bell peppers, spinach, and citrus fruit, and consider high-dose supplementation if recommended by your integrative healthcare practitioner.

3. Bee Propolis

Bee propolis is the “glue” that holds a beehive together. It seals cracks and works to keep pathogens out of the hive. In addition to being a staple in the bee’s hive health, propolis has been shown to offer various benefits, including its antimicrobial, antioxidative, anti-ulcer, and anti-tumor activities.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

Consuming or gargling apple cider vinegar may be beneficial when you have strep throat. In strep throat, along with various other illnesses, we may produce something called biofilm, which is simply a group of any organism that grows on surfaces. In the case of strep throat, we see microbial communities where bacteria can persist and resist host communities.

One study found that apple cider vinegar was 95% effective at eradicating biofilm associated with strep throat in those with recurrent tonsillitis. This means that using apple cider vinegar may help to reduce the biofilm and minimize survival of bacteria.

Based on this encouraging in vitro data, it may be that gargling with a little dilute apple cider vinegar may be beneficial against strep throat biofilms. While there is limited evidence to support specific dosing, the general consensus is to take approximately 1 tsp in a small amount of water two to three times daily.

5. Probiotics

While probiotics aren’t a remedy for strep throat, your practitioner may recommend them if you are prescribed antibiotic treatment. In vitro studies demonstrate that co-administration of antibiotics and probiotics can reduce the negative effects of antibiotics on the gut microbiome and reduce rates of dysbiosis (microbial imbalance).

6. Lemon

Drinking lemon water helps to break the mucus and provides pain relief. Vitamin C is present abundantly in lemon and helps to boost immunity and fight off infection. Mix one teaspoon of lemon juice into a glass of warm water and drink for quick relief.

7. Saltwater Gargle

Take half to one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth with the same. Avoid swallowing the salt or using excess salt, as it may dry out the throat membrane. Saltwater gargle cleanses the throat and releases the phlegm. Studies have found that salt water gargling can help in preventing upper respiratory tract infections.

Final Words

Prevention is key to reducing your chances of catching strep throat. This means practicing proper hygiene, getting outside, exercising, and consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables. For additional support, you may consider supplements like Vitamin C and elderberry to keep your immune system strong and fight against potential pathogens that may cause strep throat.