Tonsillitis: Treatments & Home Remedies

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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The two lymph nodes located on either side of the back of the throat, are known as tonsils, which prevent the body from contracting an infection. However, if the tonsils get infected, the condition is known as tonsillitis. Although it can be easily treated, one can determine the course of treatment only once the accurate cause of the same is determined. The most common procedure undertaken is surgery, which is usually carried out when the condition doesn’t respond to any kind of treatment and occurs frequently. If you have been experiencing this painful and contagious throat infection, it is important that you consider these following methods.

Treatments for Tonsillitis

There are a limited number of treatments available for tonsillitis, but they include antibiotics, pain relievers, and surgery.


The most common treatment for bacterial infections that cause strep throat and tonsillitis is antibiotics. Penicillin is the easiest and most readily available antibiotic and can be used for at least a week to quickly clear up the infection. However, repeated use of antibiotics for the treatment of this infection will lower their efficacy and may make you more vulnerable to future infections. According to a 2016 study, about 10 out of 100 adults experience side effects while consuming antibiotics. The most common side effects are diarrhea and rashes. Moreover, antibiotics cause bacteria to become more resistant, even to less serious medical ailments. In other words, it means that the antibiotics can no longer kill the bacteria.

Pain Relievers

Since tonsillitis can cause severe swelling and pain in the throat while swallowing or eating, pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen are commonly recommended, particularly if the infection is mild or localized. Taking these medications is relatively harmless, provided you don’t have bleeding disorders (in the case of aspirin).


What most people think of when they hear the word tonsillitis is a tonsillectomy, which is the complete removal of the tonsils. A tonsillectomy is only required in cases of chronic tonsillitis (more than 6 times in a single year), when bacterial tonsillitis doesn’t respond to medication, or when severe tonsillitis impairs the ability to breathe or swallow food. The patient doesn’t need to be admitted for the surgery and can completely recover within a week.

Home Remedies for Tonsillitis

Given that tonsillitis is highly responsive to different lifestyle changes and natural solutions, many people avoid formal treatment and choose home remedies instead, such as resting, increasing fluid intake, humidifying the air, treating the symptoms, using lozenges, salt water gargles and simplifying the diet, along with the use of cinnamon, turmeric, fenugreek, mint, slippery elm, and figs.


The most basic remedy for tonsillitis is rest, meaning that you should speak as little as possible and avoid foods that may further irritate or inflame your tonsils. Physical rest will also reduce exertion in that part of the body, even through heavy breathing and movement of the neck; this will give your body the chance to heal itself, typically within 1-2 weeks.

Fluid Intake

Flushing out the underlying infection that is frequently causing tonsillitis is one result of increasing your water intake, but fluids will also help to keep the tonsils lubricated, which can reduce inflammation and make it easier to heal.


Adding a humidifier to your bedroom will help to keep your tonsils and throat from drying out overnight, which can extend the length of the infection and promote more inflammation in the tonsils.


The high mucilage content in figs makes them an ideal soothing food to eat while dealing with the pain and inflammation of tonsillitis. Packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, they are easy to swallow and digest, without irritating your tonsils.


The natural cooling and soothing properties of mint will help to reduce the inflammation in the tonsils and throat, helping to speed the process of recovery. Mint leaves can simply be chewed to release their powerful compounds, or you can brew mint tea 1-2 times per day for quick results.

Saltwater Gargles

This may be the most trusted and reliable remedy for tonsillitis, as the water can help to rapidly kill the bacteria or virus that is causing the inflammation. Mix 1 tablespoon of salt into a glass of warm water, stir thoroughly and then gargle for 30-45 seconds for rapid relief.


There are many different types of lozenges that can be sucked on to increase lubrication in the throat and provide numbing or analgesic effects to the tonsils, helping to normalize your day and cut down on pain while your body fights the infection.


 Known as one of the most powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antioxidant spices, turmeric and its active ingredient, curcumin, is able to address the infection causing tonsillitis, while also stimulating the healing process for any damaged tissues and soothing the pain of your sore throat. According to a 2013 study, turmeric is considered a safe, nontoxic, and effective alternative for many conventional drugs because of its therapeutic properties and its numerous positive implications on the human body.

Slippery Elm

This herb is rich in mucilage, which can coat the throat and tonsils, helping to defend against inflammation and soothing pain, while also improving the immune system’s ability to seek out and neutralize the underlying infection.

Symptom Treatment

In addition to treating the underlying infection, it can be helpful to treat the symptoms, such as a sore throat, headache, stiff joints, and dry mouth. By eliminating these aggravating factors, you can help to speed the healing process and allow your immune system to focus on the bacterial or viral pathogens.


You should choose your foods carefully when you have tonsillitis, focusing on warm broths, ice cream, juice, tea, and honey, all of which can either numb or reduce inflammation on the tonsils.


The anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory compounds present in fenugreek make it an ideal remedy for tonsillitis, helping to soothe the symptoms and address the underlying infections. Fenugreek can be eaten in a variety of foods, or it can be brewed into a relaxing tea that will reduce swelling in the tonsils.

While these are the prescribed treatments and home remedies to cure tonsillitis, we suggest that you nevertheless consult your medical supervisor. Protection Status
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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