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8 Foods That Help Soothe Sore Throats

Here's what to eat to make swallowing less painful during (or after) a cold.

If traditional salt-water gargles and OTC cough meds still aren't doing the trick to rid you of your sore throat, it may be time to try something new. 

1. Licorice. Suck on some licorice to soothe your achy throat—and, while you're at it, help nix that lingering cough. Studies show this treat can reduce pain and calm pesky tickles in our airways.

2. Sage. Put some dried sage in a mug of warm water or sprinkle it into your next bowl of chicken soup. Sage helps fight inflammation and has been used for centuries to alleviate physical discomfort of all sorts, ulcers included. (One study found that combining it in a spray with echinacea was just as effective in numbing sore throats as the commonly prescribed analgesic lidocaine.)

3. Ice cream. Remember when you got to eat all the ice cream in the world after getting your tonsils removed? A sore throat is a great justification to scarf a few spoonfuls of your favorite frozen treat. Cold foods help numb pain and their creaminess enhances the pleasant effect. And if you're worried about dairy products making coughs worse, rest assured in the findings of a recent study: Unless you're allergic to it, dairy doesn't actually give rise to more mucous or worse hacking like mom used to say.

4. Bananas. Easy to swallow, smooth going down. Not only are bananas packed with the vitamin C that helps bounce you back from illness, they're also really friggin' cheap. (And delicious at room temp or frozen.) Break one off a bunch and enjoy.

5. Cooked cabbage. Chock-full of antioxidants to help you recover from a cold or flu, cabbage can be your hurting throat's new BFF. Stir-fry a chopped hunk of it with olive oil and turmeric to lower illness-related inflammation even further.

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6. Cooked carrots. Sautéed, steamed, or roasted, carrots help sneak some immune-boosting vitamin A into your system. Plus, these veggies are brimming with natural pigments (carotenoids, if you're curious) that can literally make your skin look more tan.

7. Tea. A classic remedy, teas of many flavors—caffeinated or not—can salve pain and help give your body's infection-fighting response a useful kick. Brew yourself a pot of ginger, chamomile, green, or black tea, and take advantage of the beverage's additional power to lower stressincrease focus and, yep, once more, crack down on inflammation.

8. Honey. Another go-to you're probably well aware of, this yummy treat has been found to be just as effective in calming coughs as common cold medicines. Why not go the natural (and tastier) route when soothing yourself?


This article originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.