The People's Perspective on Medicine

Sore Throat Remedy Is Hot Stuff

Reader's remedy of hot pepper mixed with diluted juice offers her relief from the pain of a sore throat.
Hot pepper

Q. I’d like to share my favorite remedy for a sore throat. It’s not for everyone, but it works for me.

I take any kind of juice, preferably citrus, which I mix half and half with water. Then I shake in as much cayenne pepper as I can stand. (As I said, it’s not for everyone!)

After shaking the bottle well to mix the cayenne into the juice, I sip it throughout the day. Usually by the end of the day, my sore throat is gone.

I have told several people about this remedy, but most don’t even want to try it. My daughter uses it although she doesn’t really like hot food, and my husband finally tried it and he said it worked well. I hope this helps someone with a sore throat.

A. Your recipe sounds reminiscent of a remedy a reader sent us years ago, with the heat supplied by ginger instead of hot pepper:

“Our son is an opera singer in Germany. When his throat gets irritated, he uses this recipe: 200 grams ginger root; 2 lemons (cut in 8 pieces); handful of fennel seeds; cook in 1 gallon of water till half evaporates. Sweeten with honey, strain, and sip.”

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    About the Author
    Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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    How long does it take for the sore throat to abate? Do you associate this with a viral cold or would this be effective against something like strep throat? Any science to this?

    Sore throat and cayenne, my recipe:
    1/2 glass water, or enough to do the following—with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne stirred in.
    Gargle then spit.
    Gargle again, then spit.
    Sip or swallow what is left.
    My understanding is that the first 2 rid the mouth and throat of the bacteria. Then the 3rd step soothes and helps the throat, without swallowing more bacteria.

    People balk when suggested but then notice that the ‘heat’ is really not evident. And it has worked in one way or another for everyone who has tried it.

    Thank you

    I’ve been using a remedy for a sore throat for years with great success, and most everybody I have told about it has had similar results. One cup of chicken broth or bouillon, one clove minced garlic, and as much cayenne powder as you can stand. I find 1/8 tsp to be plenty. This concoction works every time.

    * Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^