Can Honey Soothe a Sore Throat?

Have you ever been told that honey can help with a sore throat? It may be Grandma's old family remedy to mix hot tea, lemon and honey to soothe a sore throat, but this time, Grandma may be right.

How It Works

Honey is a natural and effective way to soothe a sore throat. Many people drink hot tea with honey to get relief from the warm drink as well as the honey.

Sore throats are often caused by viruses or irritants in the air.

Drinking warm tea with honey mixed in (and some lemon juice if you like), can coat the throat, relieving pain and irritation temporarily.

Honey is not a "cure" for any viral or bacterial infection, but it can be used to get relief from the sore throat symptoms they cause. Because the effects of drinking warm tea and honey can be short-lived, you may need to drink it several times throughout the day to get relief. If you prefer not to drink tea, you can dissolve honey in warm water for the same effect.

Strep Throat

Sometimes, a sore throat may be caused by Group A streptococcus - a bacterium that causes strep throat. Strep throat can only be diagnosed by a lab test, not by symptoms alone, so talk to your health care provider and make an appointment if you think you or your child may have strep throat. While tea and honey may help relieve the pain caused by strep throat, it will not cure the infection.

Strep throat needs to be treated with antibiotics so it does not lead to rheumatic fever or other complications.

Honey and Babies

Honey should never be given to a child under a year old due to the risk of botulism. Although it seems safe and natural, honey contains botulism spores that can make children under 1 year old very sick.

These spores do not affect children and adults over the age of 1.

If you are dealing with a sore throat, drinking warm tea or water with honey can be an effective way to get relief without taking medications.


Pharyngitis MedlinePlus 22 Mar 13. US National Library of Medicine. 12 Sep 13.

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