If you find yourself suffering from a scratchy, sore throat, take comfort in the herbs astragalus, licorice root, and elm bark, which have a soothing effect on throat and respiratory issues. While the medical properties of these herbs have not undergone extensive scientific research, they have been brewed as healing teas for centuries and are mainstays in the alternative medicine community. Their natural sweetness, earthy scent, and slippery texture are pleasant, soothing, and worth trying out when colds strike.
- What is it: Dr. Weil recommends taking astragalus, a sweet-tasting Chinese root which has immune boosting properties and helps soothe sore throats and bronchial infection.
- Where to try it: Astragalus Immunity Tea ($6)
- What scientists think: While the root has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, no detailed, Western clinical trials have been done to prove or dispute its benefits for throat and respiratory issues. (Studies have shown astragalus to be helpful in reducing symptoms related to seasonal allergies.) Astragalus is also traditionally taken with ginseng, angelica, and licorice.
See more throat-soothing teas.
- What is it: Licorice root is a sweet root grown in Greece, Turkey, and Asia used to soothe stomach, bronchial, and throat issues.
- Where to try it: Traditional Medicinals Organic Throat Coat ($6)
- What scientists think: Licorice has not been researched, so there is not enough data to determine its benefits or effectiveness. You should not consume licorice root if you are pregnant or have high blood pressure or heart disease.
Slippery Elm Bark
- What is it: Slippery elm bark comes from the bark of the red elm tree and helps sooth sore throats and coughs.
- Where to try it: Yogi Throat Comfort ($5)
- What scientists think: Slippery elm bark has not been evaluated by the FDA, therefore there are no claims proving its ability to treat or cure sore throats.