Conventional Medical Treatment
Antibiotics are only helpful when a bacterial infection is the cause of pharyngitis. For viral pharyngitis, antibiotics have been shown to only affect the degree of sore throat pain temporarily. Analgesics (pain killers) are also effective, but there are many simple measures that can also be used. Viral pharyngitis usually resolves itself without medication. Throat lozenges or cough medicine are often used for short-term pain relief.
Gargling with warm salt-water may help to relieve pain and reduce swelling. If the tonsils have been chronically infected, they may need to be removed surgically (tonsillectomy), although this should only be a last resort, as the tonsils are a powerful line of defense in the immune response to infectious organisms.
There are a number of things that can be done at home to treat the symptoms of pharyngitis. It’s a good idea to avoid foods that are very acidic, as this can be extremely painful on the inner throat area. Gargling gently with warm salty water can also serve as a natural antiseptic. Honey in a warm herbal tea can also provide relief, and cold beverages or popsicles will help to numb the throat, thus relieving the ‘scratchiness’.
Yogurt, ice cream, or milk have also been shown to help alleviate the pain temporarily by coating the affected area, while raw juice of lemon or lime may help destroy bacteria in bacteria-related throat infections. Just beware that the high acid content may irritate the affected throat tissues.
Natural Herbal and Homeopathic Remedies
Herbal and homeopathic remedies have been used for centuries to treat a number of conditions, so it is not surprising to find that nature’s very own medicine chest has its own sore throat and pharyngitis treatments. Herbs such as Salvia officinalis have a beneficial effect on all conditions of the mouth and throat and have well-known herbal astringent, antibiotic, and antiseptic properties. Gallium aperine (also known as Cleavers) is another excellent cleansing tonic that has a particularly beneficial effect on all the lymph glands, including the tonsils. This herb is effective in relieving swollen tonsils and other lymph glands, and is also recommended for glandular fever.
While these ingredients help relieve troubling pharyngitis symptoms, other herbal ingredients are especially helpful in assisting the body’s ability to fight off infection. Olea europea (extract of Olive leaf) is used to fight a variety of illnesses and to protect the body against disease, ailments, and infection of all types. Olea europea destroys viruses by stimulating the immune system to produce white blood cells and by preventing the replication of viruses, including the strains that cause viral pharyngitis– as nature intended. Another well-known immune strengthening herb is Echinacea purpurea, commonly used to treat colds and flu and is very well-supported by research studies.