Having a sore throat is the worst. It can make you feel like not getting out of bed, make swallowing painful and talking out of the question. A soothing cup of warm tea can offer immediate relief to a sore throat by soothing inflammation, clearing nasal passages, reducing throat pain and keeping you hydrated.
Drinking warm liquids is one of the most effective and affordable home remedies for a sore throat. With tea, there’s the added benefits of natural antioxidants and antibacterial properties.
What tea is good for a sore throat?
Even if you’re not a regular tea drinker, there are many benefits to drinking tea for a sore throat. The best tea for a sore throat should both soothe your aching throat as well as offer other benefits, like antioxidants, metabolism-boosting, or anti-inflammatory effects. These teas can help you heal faster, and keep your throat moist to reduce the pain of a dry, scratchy throat.
We’ve put together a list of twelve teas to help you figure out which one is the best sore throat remedy to help you start feeling better.
The 12 best teas for a sore throat
- Chamomile tea
- Ginger green tea
- Ginger root tea
- Hibiscus tea
- Chaga tea
- Turmeric tea
- Black tea
- Marshmallow root tea
- Slippery elm tea
- Rooibos tea
- Honey lemon
Let’s dive into each type of tea and explore why it may be good for your sore throat.
Chamomile tea is one of the original herbal remedies. This soothing and calming brew was even used to treat colds in ancient Egypt (1). It’s also caffeine-free which makes it a great before-bed tea.
How to brew chamomile tea:
Take two tablespoons of chamomile tea for an 8 oz. mug. Steep in boiling water for 4-5 minutes. Pairs well with honey and lemon for additional soothing and antiseptic properties.
Green tea is chock-a-block full of antioxidants like Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that reduce inflammation (2). Green tea has also been linked to antiviral and antibacterial properties. It’s been a health drink in China and Japan for hundreds of years. Monks use it to meditate (3) because the l-theanine amino acid paired with the natural caffeine in the tea helps clear and focus your mind. Perfect for when you’re feeling sick and have brain fog.
Pique’s Ginger Green Fasting Tea also contains licorice root, which adds potential anti-inflammatory properties. If ginger’s not your thing, then Pique’s Sencha Green Tea from Japan might be more up your alley.
How to brew green tea:
The trick to brewing green tea is not to use boiling water. Instead, use water 85℃/185℉ (or boil your water and then wait five minutes for it to cool) and only steep for 2-3 minutes. This will result in a much sweeter-tasting green tea, and extract more of the amino acids instead of the bitter components.
The health benefits of ginger are wide-ranging, from motion-sickness and nausea relief to metabolism-boosting support. Ginger is also warming, helping you keep from getting a chill and helping your body fight off a cold. Gingerol is an anti-inflammatory found in fresh ginger which can help an inflamed throat (4).
Ginger tea can also be drunk during the cold and flu season to help kill bacteria that might cause a sore throat (5), so it’s a good proactive tea to keep you healthy. Pique’s Ginger Digestion Elixir is great iced or hot. Add a slice of orange for additional Vitamin C.
How to brew ginger tea:
Slice a root of fresh ginger into thin discs. Place these in a saucepan filled halfway on the stove and bring to a boil, then simmer for up to 15 minutes, or to taste. Also pairs well with a bit of honey and a squeeze of lemon.
Hibiscus tea has a tart flavor reminiscent of lemonade or cranberry juice and has ten times as much Vitamin C as oranges. Its bright pink color might also cheer you up if you’re feeling blue. Hibiscus tea is caffeine-free so it also makes a good night-time or all-day tea. Try Pique’s Hibiscus Beauty Elixir as a soothing nighttime ritual.
How to brew hibiscus tea:
Use boiling water over dried hibiscus leaves. Steep for five minutes or to taste. Pairs well with a squeeze of lime for extra Vitamin C.
Chaga mushroom has been making waves as a superfood to be eaten, but it can also be drunk in tea form! Chaga is packed full of antioxidants, Vitamin D, and amino acids that can help you feel better. Pique’s Chaga Energy Elixir also contains ginseng to give you an added boost of energy.
Here’s how to brew chaga tea:
Use hot water that’s 70-80℃/160-180℉ to extract the most antioxidants. Steep one large tea bag for five minutes, or to taste.
Turmeric is a bright yellow spice often used in cooking. It’s good for getting rid of mucus and phlegm, and getting your metabolism moving (6). Turmeric comes from the same family as ginger and the two can also be paired for a double-punch of sore throat-fighting tea goodness. Turmeric is also full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
How to brew turmeric tea:
Add turmeric powder to a saucepan with water and heat on the stove. Use one teaspoon of turmeric for every eight ounces of water. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. You can also add cinnamon, licorice root, star anise, honey, and even frothed nut milk to create a beautiful ‘golden latte.’
The classic teatime beverage—you can’t go wrong with black tea for soothing a sore throat. Full of polyphenols and thearubigins, these antioxidants in black tea help boost your immune system (7).
Pique’s English Breakfast Black Tea is an earthy blend of Assam and Ceylon black tea. Pairs well with a slice of lemon for additional cold-fighting power. Pique’s Earl Grey Black Tea has additional bergamot which had mood-uplifting qualities.
How to brew black tea:
Use boiling water between 95-100℃/200-212℉ and one full tea bag per 8 oz. mug. Let steep for one to three minutes. Pairs well with a good book and fuzzy socks.
More than just a fun name, marshmallow tea is made from a root. It has anti-inflammatory properties and offers pain relief by coating your throat in mucilage — helping your throat and vocal cords stay lubricated and reducing pain. It may also help get rid of your cough, which can make your sore throat worse (8). It’s no wonder this is often found in teas enjoyed by Broadway singers!
How to brew marshmallow tea:
Use 90℃/195℉ water and let steep for ten minutes. This one also does well when left to infuse in cold water in the fridge overnight.
Similar to marshmallow root tea, Slippery Elm Bark Tea also contains mucilage, a gel-like mixture of sugars that coat your throat for reduced pain and inflammation (9), and can reduce coughing. This herbal tea is made from the inner bark of the Red Elm tree.
How to brew slippery elm tea:
Use boiling water, for every eight ounces of water use two tablespoons of powdered slippery elm tea. Steep for three to five minutes. Pairs well with honey or maple syrup as a sweetener.
Also known as red bush tea and African red tea, this sweet herbal tea has a light vanilla flavor and is high in two antioxidant polyphenols, including one unique to rooibos called Aspalathin (10). Rooibos tea helps boost immunity and is caffeine-free. Pique’s Rooibos Immunity Elixir blend is crafted to focus on immune-boosting properties.
How to brew rooibos tea:
Use 95℃/200℉ water and steep for 4-5 minutes. Rooibos tea can be steeped many times without losing its flavor.
Chai tea (or just ‘chai’ as it’s called in India) is an herbal blend of black tea, ginger, cinnamon, peppercorns, cardamom, and cloves that can increase metabolism and circulation (11). It can also help clear out phlegm! Traditionally made with milk in India, you can leave the milk out if you’re trying to clear out your throat, or substitute with an unsweetened nut or plant milk.
Herbal blends that combine the teas listed above (for example some chai blends contain marshmallow root) is also a great way to double-up on the positive health effects of tea drinking for a sore throat.
How to brew chai tea:
Use one to two tablespoons for eight ounces of water. Steep with boiling water for 4-5 minutes, or to taste. Add honey or maple syrup to taste. Make your own chai tea by combining the ingredients listed above and simmering in a saucepan on the stove for 15 minutes.
Many singers swear by the properties of lemon tea and lemon juice. Some even boil whole lemons and then drink the liquid for the mucus-clearing and antiseptic properties. Lemon tea also provides a perfect excuse to add honey, a natural antibacterial and soothing throat-coating agent (12). Honey can also help remedy nighttime coughs by coating your throat and vocal cords in its lubricating sugars.
How to brew honey lemon tea:
Take a whole lemon and slice it up into discs. Add to a saucepan full of boiling water and continue to let simmer on the stove for 10-15 minutes. Strain into a mug or teapot and add two generous spoonfuls of honey, or to taste.
Cooling Relief for Sore Throats with Cold-Brew Tea
If you’re finding your throat is heat-sensitive, you can also try cold-brewing tea for soothing relief. Marshmallow root tea does especially well in cold brew, as does green ginger tea. Just place two large tea bags filled with your tea of choice in a pitcher of cold water in the fridge overnight, and in the morning you’ll have a nice, refreshing liquid with all the same healthy properties, but less heat.
When drinking cold brew tea for a sore throat you’ll still benefit from the hydration and antioxidant properties, but it may be easier for you to swallow than warm water.
Soothe Your Sore Throat With Tea
In conclusion, there’s not just one tea to drink for sore throat pain! There are many and all will help your sore throat symptoms in different ways.
If your throat feels particularly dry, try adding honey to give it that extra, soothing lubrication, and the antiseptic properties of honey also help keep away any further germs or bugs that have it in for you. Not to mention honey is a comforting and sweet addition to any cup of tea.
If you’re suffering more of an all-over body flu, then anything that contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that get your metabolism moving is a good bet. Chai tea and chaga tea are great choices if you’re feeling sluggish.
A nice cup of tea provides soothing relief from a sore throat and is an affordable home remedy. Next time a sore throat strikes, try one of our favorite natural remedies for sipping your way to better health.