How to Soothe a Sore Throat with Honey and Lemon

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When cold and flu season occur, many suffer from a variety of symptoms that include a sore throat. Congestion of nasal and sinus passages commonly drain down the throat, which irritates sensitive tissues. Bacteria or viruses can also cause throat infections. The histamine released during allergic reactions often cause itchy, irritated throat passages. When needing to alleviate throat symptoms, honey and lemon juice are ingredients in a time-honored home remedy that has proven to be effective.

Honey Lemon Tea

The recipe basically involves boiling one cup of water. Add two tablespoons of honey and one tablespoon of lemon juice. Allow sufficient time for the tea to cool slightly and enjoy. Unlike medications, honey-lemon tea may be enjoyed as often as needed without side effects. Some recommend adding a dash of cinnamon or ginger for added flavor and antimicrobial benefits. The beverage can also be consumed by people young and old over 12 months of age. As honey naturally contains a minimal amount of botulism bacteria, and children under the age have an immature immune system, they cannot safely consume the substance.

Honey Properties

Honey alleviates sore throat symptoms for a number of reasons. Honey coats and protects the throat from further irritation. The common food has anti-inflammatory properties that decrease inflammation and swelling. Honey accomplishes this act by serving as a hypertonic osmotic substance. Fluid naturally moves from areas of low concentration to areas of high concentration in an effort to dilute and balance fluids. So, fluid trapped in irritated throat cells move outward toward the honey. Honey also contains an enzyme known as glucose-oxidase along with other components that provide antimicrobial benefits whether suffering from a bacterial or a viral infection.

The antioxidants in honey combined with the vitamin C found in lemon juice additionally provide a quick immunity boost. The acidity of the lemon juice serves to liquefy mucus. Hot water adds to the soothing sensation by encouraging throat muscle relaxation while liquefying nasal and chest congestion.

Natural Cough Suppressant

Researchers compared the benefits offered by honey and OTC cough formulations containing dextromethorphan on a group of young volunteers suffering from upper respiratory tract infections. Prior to bedtime, physicians provided each child with two teaspoons of honey. The honey proved as effective in allowing subjects to enjoy a restful night's sleep while greatly reducing coughing episodes. Honey has the added benefit of being readily available while not containing potentially harmful chemicals. Children often balk when asked to take OTC preparations but will more than likely be more agreeable to enjoying a couple of spoonfuls of honey.


Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "How to Soothe a Sore Throat with Honey and Lemon," in, February 18, 2016, (accessed August 13, 2022).