Viruses, bacteria, and even allergies can cause sore throats. Most sore throats resolve on their own, but at-home treatment can help you feel better as you recover.

Some people claim apple cider vinegar (ACV) can help soothe a sore throat. ACV is a fermented liquid made from crushed apples. However, there’s little scientific data to back up this claim.

Research has found ACV to have antibacterial properties, so it may help with sore throats caused by bacterial infections. However, bacterial infections usually require antibiotics. Viruses cause most sore throats, not bacteria. Antibiotics can’t treat viral infections.

Despite the lack of scientific data, there’s anecdotal evidence that ACV can help ease a sore throat for some people.

There are many ACV remedies promoted as sore throat relievers. You may wish to experiment to see which ones work best for you. Here are a few you can try at home:

Apple cider vinegar and honey

Try mixing 1 tablespoon of ACV and 2 tablespoons of honey in a large mug of warm water. The honey may help suppress coughs, too.

Natural ACV tea

Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of ACV and lemon juice to warm water with a green tea bag. The green tea may help reduce inflammation and is also high in antioxidants. Lemon is also a good source of vitamin C.

Tea tonic

Make a warm tea by mixing 1 to 2 teaspoons of ACV with equal parts honey and coconut oil. Add ground ginger to taste, and mix with water.

Gargle

Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of ACV and salt to warm water. Gargle for 20 to 30 seconds two to three times a day for sore throat relief.

Cayenne pepper and ACV tea

Add 1 teaspoon of ACV, cayenne pepper, and a healthy dollop of throat-soothing honey into warm water. You can also try soothing licorice root tea instead of water. The spicy cayenne pepper may help reduce inflammation.

Just as there’s no scientific evidence proving ACV’s ability to soothe or heal sore throats, there’s also no definitive evidence proving it helps other conditions, such as strep throat, common colds, or the flu. However, proponents of ACV home remedies claim it has the following benefits:

  • ACV creates an alkaline environment in the body. This may help kill off some bacteria and viruses. These types of germs thrive in a more acidic environment.
  • Organic, cold-pressed ACV contains silky threads, called “the mother.” The mother is a probiotic substance that may help boost the immune system.
  • ACV may help thin mucus secretions, making them easier to expel.

ACV is considered safe as long as it’s diluted when consumed. Undiluted ACV can burn and cause harm to your esophagus and stomach lining. People with acid reflux, stomach ulcers, or who experience frequent heartburn shouldn’t use ACV.

ACV may help relieve sore throat symptoms and might even alleviate the cause of a sore throat. However, if your symptoms don’t improve within a few days or if they worsen, see your doctor. Seek medical attention if your sore throat is accompanied by flu symptoms, such as high fever and muscle aches.

Anecdotal evidence indicates that ACV may be helpful in reducing sore throat symptoms. However, scientific data is lacking.

Even so, you may wish to try ACV to see if it helps alleviate the discomfort associated with a sore throat. Always make sure to dilute it before ingesting it. ACV can be harmful otherwise.