10 Home Remedies for Strep Throat

Strep throat is an infection caused by a bacteria called group A streptococcus (Streptococcus pyogenes). It causes a sore throat, fever, and painful swallowing, making everyday tasks feel challenging.

Children ages 5 to 15 are more likely to catch strep throat, but anyone can get it. The infection spreads quickly, especially among family or household members.

Untreated strep throat may lead to serious complications, so visiting a healthcare provider is important. Thankfully, there are some at-home remedies to help ease your symptoms.

This article discusses natural home remedies for strep throat to help you cope with symptoms.

Sick woman with sore throat and tea
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Will Strep Throat Go Away on Its Own?

Strep throat may go away within a few days without treatment. Still, it's important to visit a healthcare provider for proper evaluation and treatment. Doing so can prevent serious complications from developing.

Strep Throat vs Sore Throat

Strep throat is an infection caused by bacteria. Symptoms of strep throat include fever, painful swallowing, and swollen lymph nodes. However, most sore throats are caused by a virus and not strep throat. If your sore throat is accompanied by a cough, runny nose, hoarseness, or conjunctivitis (pink eye), it is likely a virus causing your illness.

Ways to Treat Strep Throat Naturally

Strep throat is treated with antibiotics, and symptoms improve pretty quickly. You can also try these home remedies for strep throat.

Drink More Fluids

Drinking plenty of water can prevent dehydration and moisten your throat. Cool and warm fluids such as broths, tea, and popsicles can also help ease throat pain.

Raw Honey

Raw honey is known for its antibacterial properties. It also works to reduce inflammation and relieve pain caused by strep throat. Healthcare providers recommend using honey if you have a cough and a sore throat.

You can swirl 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey in warm tea or water to help lessen pain and suppress your cough. It's important to note that babies under age 1 should not be given honey.

Vitamins

If you have strep throat, taking vitamin C supplements or consuming vitamin C-rich foods may help support your immune system. Some studies suggest taking vitamin C supplements may help shorten the duration of cold symptoms, such as a sore throat.

At this time, however, there isn't solid evidence that vitamin C alone can help treat strep throat.

Foods rich in vitamin C include:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Bell peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Kale

Additionally, some studies suggest that high-dose zinc lozenges may shorten the duration of a sore, scratchy throat in people with the common cold.

Gargle With Pink Himalayan Salt

Gargling with warm salt water can help ease discomfort and swelling associated with strep throat. It can also help kill bacteria and loosen mucus.

To make a saltwater solution, mix 1/4 teaspoon of pink Himalayan salt in 8 ounces (1 cup) of warm water.

Elderberry

Elderberry has been used for years as a home remedy to treat the cold and flu. Some studies suggest elderberry extract may possess antimicrobial activity against bacteria that cause strep throat.

One of the most common ways to consume elderberry is in syrup form, but it's also available in gummies and teas.

Herbal Tea

Sipping on warm, herbal tea can help soothe a sore throat. More specifically, certain teas have compounds that can provide additional relief.

According to one study, herbal tea made with safe concentrations of barberry, licorice, thyme, or oregano can relieve discomfort associated with strep throat.

Bone Broth

For years, bone broth has been used as a remedy for colds and upper respiratory infections.

Drinking bone broth can help you stay hydrated, and its warmth can help soothe a sore throat. Bone broth also contains carnosine, which may help reduce the inflammatory response that contributes to a sore throat.

It's also easy to consume and contains beneficial amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are a popular remedy to ease symptoms of strep throat. A study found that thyme essential oil possesses antibacterial activity against antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains.

Research also shows that lemon essential oil has antibacterial and antioxidant properties and can prevent the growth of bacteria that causes listeria. This suggests it may also be beneficial in treating the bacteria associated with strep throat. However, we need additional studies to confirm its effectiveness in treating strep throat.

Coconut Oil

Although modern research on the topic remains limited, some studies suggest coconut oil pulling can reduce the number of strep bacteria in the mouth.

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic medical practice involving swishing a tablespoon or so of coconut oil around your mouth. It is believed to help detoxify and "pull" unhealthy bacteria from the mouth, leaving a germ-free environment.

Echinacea

Echinacea extract is often used as a herbal remedy to treat colds, viruses, sore throats, and the flu. Several studies suggest it may also help treat respiratory infections, reduce inflammation and pain, and have antiviral effects.

Other lab studies suggest it may inactivate bacteria that cause strep throat. However, we still need more human studies to confirm this.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

If you develop the symptoms of strep throat, you should see your healthcare provider. You should also call your healthcare provider if symptoms do not improve within 24 to 48 hours after starting treatment.

Summary

Strep throat is a common condition that usually requires a visit to a healthcare provider and a course of antibiotics. Additionally, you can try at-home remedies such as drinking plenty of fluids, sipping on bone broth, and gargling with salt water to help relieve your symptoms.

A Word From Verywell

Dealing with a case of strep throat can make you feel miserable. The good news is that symptoms usually begin to improve within a few days of starting antibiotics. In the meantime, there are also effective home remedies to help ease your pain. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner you'll begin to feel better.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you get rid of strep throat without antibiotics?

    Although some cases of strep throat may improve without antibiotics, it's important to take antibiotics to kill bacteria and prevent serious complications.

  • What kills strep throat naturally?

    Strep throat is treated with a round of antibiotics. However, home remedies such as gargling with salt water and consuming raw honey can help improve symptoms.

  • What does strep throat look like?

    Strep throat causes red, swollen tonsils and tiny red spots near the back of the roof of the mouth. There may also be white streaks caused by pus on your tonsils.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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