8 Best Teas for Sore Throat

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Drinking tea for sore throat is a popular and effective way to reduce inflammation and soothe irritated respiratory tissues, regardless of their cause.

What is a Sore Throat?

A sore throat is a condition in which your throat hurts or feels inflamed, and may be caused by a bacterial or viral infection. It may also be from irritating food, a lack of hydration, or an allergic reaction. There are many causes of a sore throat, it can often be very distracting and may lower your ability to eat, drink, speak, or swallow. You can take any number of medications or soothing remedies for a sore throat, but one of the most popular choices is to drink tea. [1]

Benefits of Drinking Tea for Sore Throat

If you choose to drink tea for a sore throat, you will enjoy several rapid benefits, including a reduction in inflammation and elimination of the underlying infection, among others.

Inflammation and Pain

Warm soothing liquids made with powerful herbs can often have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, helping to quickly soothe discomfort associated with this condition.

Immune System

Many teas are packed with antioxidants, which can support the immune system and help to eliminate the bacterial or viral pathogens that are causing the underlying illness.


Some tea varieties are known to clear out the sinuses and cause expectoration, which helps to clear out the phlegm and mucus from your respiratory system.

Woman with a sore throat having a hot beverage

Tea helps a sore throat. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Best Tea for Sore Throat

Best tea for a sore throat includes chamomile tea, slippery elm tea, white tea, licorice tea, horehound tea, turmeric tea, green tea, and peppermint tea, among others.

Chamomile Tea

One of the most popular teas around the world, chamomile tea is known to reduce redness and swelling, eliminating your sore throat quickly, and helping to induce sleep and relaxation. [2]

Slippery Elm Tea

This particular type of tea is popular to treat cold and flu because it forms a gel-like substance called mucilage when exposed to water. This can coat the inside of the throat and soothe inflammation, making it easier to drink and swallow. [3]

White Tea

Like many other teas, white tea is known to stimulate the immune system, which will speed the healing process and improve the symptoms of your sore throat. [4]

Licorice Root Tea

Drinking this tea delivers many different antioxidants to the body, which stimulates the immune system, as well as topical analgesic properties. However, limit your intake of licorice root tea, as excess intake can cause toxicity issues. [5]

Horehound Tea

This tea is well known for causing expectoration, meaning that it can clear out excess mucus and phlegm in your system. This is where pathogens can thrive and multiply, so clearing out those tracts will speed the healing process and relieve the pain of a sore throat. [6]

Peppermint Tea

The soothing and refreshing nature of this tea will help to clear your sinuses and induce coughing and expectoration, which will lead to the infection being handled and eliminated more rapidly. [7]

Turmeric Tea

Turmeric tea is packed with antioxidants, as well as the active ingredient curcumin, which is known to reduce inflammation and neutralize pathogens and infections. This tea can also provide analgesic effects topically on the tissues of the throat.

Green Tea

Loaded with catechins and other impressive antioxidants, green tea can stimulate the immune system, while also minimizing the pain and discomfort of a sore throat while the underlying infection is addressed.

Risks of Drinking Tea for Sore Throat

If you have a common cold or flu, drinking tea is a great idea, but it can cause some side effects, such as anxiety, sleep problems, gastrointestinal distress, or allergic reactions. The caffeine content in some teas should be considered, and while there is less caffeine than is found in coffee, it can still have unwanted side effects. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also speak with their doctor before using tea as a remedy for a sore throat.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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