Patients are often surprised when I inform them that there are many effective natural remedies for strep throat. I believe this is partly due to the fact that antibiotics are often seen as the only option for treatment.
The terms sore throat, tonsillitis and strep throat are often used interchangeably; however there are important differences. Strep throat is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes. Other bacteria can cause a sore throat, but Streptococcus is the most common cause in children and adolescents.
Strep throat occurs most commonly during the winter months. Strep throat is contagious. It’s estimated that the risk is about 40% in terms of contracting it from an affected family member. Keynote signs of strep include fever, swollen, tender lymph nodes on the side of the neck, and white patches seen on the tonsils and back of the throat. Other non-specific symptoms may include sore throat, headache, painful swallowing, and less often, nausea and vomiting.
Here are the remedies for strep throat that I have found to be most effective in practice:
Avoid sugar and dairy. Sugar feeds the bacteria and dairy tends to be mucous/phlegm-forming in nature, in addition to being a very common food sensitivity due to its casein protein. Alkaline broths are excellent to de-acidify the system. Chop vegetables such as carrots, celery, zucchini and potatoes and simmer them in water (with no added salt) for about 20 minutes. Then discard the vegetables and drink the liquid. Here is a good recipe for alkaline broth. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids – pure water and herbal teas are best - to support your kidneys in eliminating toxins.
The herb Echinacea has been shown to inactivate Streptococcus and completely reverse the inflammation caused by this bacteria. I often recommend patients gargle with a herbal tincture combination of Echinacea and Hydrastis, but Echinacea alone will also work.
When taking a shower alternate between hot and cold 2 to 3 times during the shower (3 minutes hot to 30 seconds cold). Always finish with cold. If you need to start off with cool and warm and gradually push towards each extreme that’s okay – you’ll eventually build up a tolerance and the “shock” of the cold water won’t be as bad. Do it in the morning when you wake up to give yourself an energy boost for the day. To soothe your sore throat you can wrap alternating hot and cold towels around your neck like a scarf (again, 3 minutes hot, 30 seconds cold alternating 3 or 4 times).
In gentle, circular motions, massage from behind you ear, down your neck, towards your chest and heart. Do this at least once per day, for example, each night before going to bed. Optionally, you can use an oil such as castor oil or oil of mallow, which can also be rubbed over your back to support elimination and liquefaction of mucous.
Soothing Herbal Teas
A recipe I often recommend includes one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper, the juice of 1/4 lemon, and one teaspoon of honey to a cup of hot water. Stir well and drink up to 4 cups per day. A herbal tea of thyme and fennel seeds is also effective.
A good quality probiotic is especially important if you are on antibiotics. The antibiotic is going to not only kill the bad strep bacteria, but it also kills the “good” bacteria your immune system needs. So taking a probiotic will help to replenish those good bacteria, which in turn strengthen your immune system. Look for a probiotic that has at least 1 billion units of bacteria (cfu or colony forming units) in it and if it contains additional strains such as L. rhamnosus, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, even better.
Sanum therapy is my secret weapon against strep and is the reason I feel confident in treating this bacterial infection without antibiotics. I use a combination of remedies called Pleo-not, Sankombi and Pleo San Strep. These remedies need to be taken under the supervision of a qualified health practitioner trained in the use of these remedies.
Most importantly, you want to ask yourself why this infection came to be … what are the underlying factors that have contributed to a lowered immune system that allowed for this bacteria to thrive? Stress? Poor diet? Nutritional deficiencies? Adrenal fatigue? Systemic dysbiosis or bacterial overgrowth in the intestines? Food allergies? If your strep throat infections are a chronic concern you’ll want to dig a little deeper to prevent them from reoccurring.
I hope that provides you with a few effective natural remedies for strep throat. Tell me about what remedies you have found to be effective to treat this bacterial infection by leaving a comment below. Do you know someone who suffers from chronic strep throat infections? Share this article with him/her via Facebook or Twitter.