Soothe a Sore Throat
For a sore throat, it’s hard to beat a lemon-juice-in-water gargle. The astringent juice helps shrink swollen throat tissue and creates a hostile environment for viruses and bacteria. Just mix a teaspoon lemon juice in a cup water.
There’s also plain old salt water. Use 1/4 teaspoon salt in a cup of warm water. Add a tablespoon of Listerine for germ-killing power.
For a more creative concoction try blending one teaspoon of sage, 1/2 teaspoon of alum, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 3/8 cup vinegar, and 1/8 cup water.
Got a sweet-tooth? This sugary remedy makes short work of a sore throat: Mix 1 teaspoon each of powdered ginger and honey, 1/2 cup of hot water, and the juice of 1/2 squeezed lemon. Pour the water over the ginger, then add the lemon juice and honey. Honey coats the throat and also has mild antibacterial properties.
Head Off Heartburn
Stop heartburn with a saltwater gargle. The briny solution helps rinse away and neutralize acids in the throat, relieving the burning sensation and promoting fast healing of irritated mucous membranes. Mix 1/4 teaspoon salt in a cup of warm water.
Battle Mouth Bugs
Does the taste of Listerine make you cringe? You can make our own mouthwash. Just add two tablespoons of bruised cloves to two cups of vodka, sherry, or light wine, let sit for a week, then strain and bottle. To use add one to three teaspoons to water.
If alcohol isn’t your thing you can freshen your breath with a quick swish of clove tea. To make the tea, pour a cup of boiling water over one or two teaspoons of bruised cloves, steep, strain, then let cool.
Clobber the Common Cold
Next time you feel the sniffles coming on try gargling with a dash of Tabasco sauce in water. Hot-sauce aficionados swear it’s the quickest way to open up clogged airways.
Not hot for hot sauce? Use echinacea, the herbal virus-killer. Add two teaspoons of tincture to a cup of water and gargle three times daily. In addition to easing throat pain, an echinacea gargle will give your immune system the boost it needs to fight the infection.
Lay Into Laryngitis
There’s no substitute for simply giving your voice a rest and boosting your intake of fluids. But you may be able to speed the healing process by gargling with myrrh. Highly astringent, myrrh is superb at combating inflammation. It’s an antiseptic too. Just add a few drops of tincture of myrrh in a cup of water, and gargle six times a day.