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Somehow I had managed to go a whole (nearly by just a few days) 31 years without getting strep throat. My sister contracted it so much as a kid that she almost had to have her tonsils removed, but I never did. Before this bout strep, I thought to myself, “what's the big deal? I can handle a measly sore throat!” Boy did I underestimate the pain that is accompanied with strep throat! It's terrible! I seriously had no idea!
With so much pain in my throat, I was surprised at how it impacted my entire life. YUCK! It couldn't have come at a worse time either, with my Mother-in-law and bro-in-law coming into town for a really quick unplanned weekend, to pick up the rest of the shoppe supplies. I did not have time for strep throat…but of course, that is when I somehow contracted it. Not wanting to immediately go onto antibiotics and risk ruining my entire immune system, I decided to first try some of the natural remedies that I researched through some of my herbalism books. One of my favorite references Herbal Antibiotics – Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Resistant Bacteria gave me a lot of insight into helping to treat my strep. I also would suggest keeping Herbal Antivirals – Natural Remedies for Emerging & Resistant Viral Infections on hand to be able to cover all your bases during this cold and flu season!
I gave myself a timeline of a week or if symptoms worsened, and then I would seek more powerful antibiotics, but it turned out I did not have to resort to them. Had I needed the antibiotics (and if you end up needing them too), I would have been very diligent on still boosting my immune system, while also taking probiotics for at least 2 weeks to try and replenish the good bacteria in my gut. The key is to use antibiotics only when we NEED them. This helps them to be more effective when they're needed and keeps your immune system up as much as possible.
What is strep throat?
A bacterial infection of the throat, strep throat is caused by the infection of a Group A bacterium called streptococcus. Extremely contagious, strep throat usually presents these common symptoms, though not always all of them (I did not have a severe fever, nor did my body ache or a rash present itself);
- Intensely painful sore throat, some describe it like knives cutting the throat
- white pustules on the tonsils or back of the throat
- difficulty swallowing
- swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- fatigue and muscle weakness
- rash (also known as scarlet fever)
Usually, a swab test needs to be done to confirm a strep diagnosis, but because it can take 4-5 days for the results to come back, many doctors often prescribe antibiotics before the test even shows positive. Taking antibiotics when not absolutely necessary, can cause a re-occurrence in many illnesses, because they destroy both the bad and the good bacteria in the gut. With no healthy bacteria in your gut, your body is extra susceptible to contracting many illnesses, since your whole immune system is pretty much offline.
Natural strep throat remedies
There are actually quite a few natural remedies that work well to help soothe and heal strep throat naturally. Many herbs are highly antibacterial and antiseptic, some of which have a long history of use with sore throats and particularly strep throat.
- Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar – Used for many different ailments due to its highly antibacterial properties, apple cider vinegar is one of the most often used remedies for sore throats and strep throat. I like to add 2-4 Tbsp. to every cup of tea, I drink when I am sick with any type of sore throat. Most people often find pain relief within a few minutes after gargling or drinking raw apple cider vinegar.
- Cayenne Powder – Used to help bring circulation to help speed up healing, cayenne pepper is one of the oldest sore throat remedies for pain. It sounds counter-intuitive, but cayenne pepper actually does help with sore throats. Pound for pound, cayenne peppers have the most amount of vitamin C over any other vegetable. With anti-inflammatory properties as well as a natural analgesic (meaning pain reliever), adding cayenne pepper to any sore throat remedy is recommended because of how well it helps heal a sore throat. You can gargle with it, add it to your tea, and of add it to the remedy below.
- Cinnamon chips – Cinnamon has long been known to help boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, and After two days of taking honey/cayenne/garlic, I decided to switch it up and try the honey and cinnamon mixture to give my palate a break. This mixture also worked really well on my throat and was SUPER DELICIOUS! (I combined this with my Marshmallow Sage Throat Spray to help with pain and to further heal the throat!) Using cinnamon instead of cayenne pepper, and omitting the garlic in this recipe would make this a really great option for a kid-friendly option (or for those of us who can't take chewing on garlic and cayenne for that long lol)
- Colloidal Silver – I use this for pretty much any illness that we have. Silver has been used for centuries as a natural antibiotic. When Syfy has an ear infection I drop it into his ears and juice cup. This stuff works great for pink eye, burns, and all kinds of infections. At the onset of illness (or someone around you is ill) start taking colloidal silver several times a day to help boost immunities or rid yourself of the infection. I usually just add a couple droppers full to any of my concoctions.
- Echinacea root – Used for centuries and clinically studied for years, Echinacea is a very well known immune boosting herb that helps speed up healing and is naturally antibacterial and anti-fungal. Echinacea is great for healing respiratory and throat infections. Gargling with an echinacea tincture or adding echinacea powder to your tea is very helpful to helping boost immunities and speed up recovery time.
- Garlic – According to Maud Grieve, in “A Modern Herbal”, during the black plague, garlic was a well-respected antidote. Highly antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-fungal, garlic has been used for centuries in natural medicine as a natural antibiotic. Fresh garlic is always best over dried/powdered garlic. One of the best things about garlic is that, unlike conventional antibiotics, it only destroys the bad bacteria in your gut, while helping to build and stimulate the good bacteria. Though you can just chew garlic by itself, combining garlic with honey is one of the best (and tastier) ways to take garlic.
- Raw Unfiltered Honey – Whether you choose to go with hot and spicy or not, raw unfiltered honey should most definitely be in your arsenal against any type of sore throat, including strep. There have literally been hundreds of clinical trials showing the efficacy of honey as a natural antibiotic and healing agent. Used by doctors and vets alike, honey naturally heals wounds soothes inflammation and even speeds up healing. I like to take this by the spoonful, whether it's mixed with cinnamon or cayenne pepper, throughout the day as needed.
- Sage leaf – Studies have shown sage to have highly anti-fungal and antiseptic properties to it. One of the oldest used remedies for sore throats, mouth infections, and other mouth/throat-related illnesses, native Americans used to chew sage as a strengthening tonic because of it's well known immune boosting and antibiotic properties. Whenever you have any kind of sore throat, sipping sage tea is always recommended, no matter what medicinal route you choose to take. Combine 2-4 Tbsp. raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar and honey to taste; sip throughout your illness. My Marshmallow Sage Throat Spray really helped to soothe and heal my throat throughout this illness!
Fire & Spice Strep Throat Remedy
The key to this remedy is being diligent and taking it consistently throughout your illness. It is important to start treating your throat at the onset of symptoms and to continue for 1-2 days beyond when your symptoms subside, to fully eradicate it from your body and continue to build your immune system so that the strep does not come back. I originally adapted this recipe from here and here.
- Combine ingredients in a jar. Mix well before each use.
TO USE: Take 1/2 – 1 tsp. every 3o minutes at the onset of symptoms (chewing well before swallowing helps to release more garlic juices). Allow honey to coat the throat before following with any liquids. Day 2 take every 1-2 hours. Day 3 take every 3-4 hours. Continue to take this or one of the other remedies as needed for pain or 4 times daily, until the symptoms are completely gone, plus two days (to be sure that it does not come back), which is usually 5-7 days.
After you're done with strep, you should get a new toothbrush and throw your old one away. You can continuously get strep if you do not take this step.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION : If after 7 days your symptoms do not improve, your symptoms worsen, you get a rash, and/or a very high fever, consult with your medical practitioner immediately. If strep throat is not going away with natural methods, it's best to get the antibiotics to prevent it from turning into Rheumatic fever. Strep throat can be a more serious ailment for children than adults, if nothing is working to relieve the symptoms, don't hesitate to take your child to see your medical practitioner. You can employ these methods alongside antibiotics to reduce the re-occurrence of strep after antibiotics as well as to shorten the length of time you are ill.
All information on The Hippy Homemaker is meant for educational and informational purposes only. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products and/or information are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with their health care provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician.