While itchy throats can be an early symptom of bacterial or viral infection, they’re often a sign of allergies such as hay fever. To be sure what’s causing your itchy throat, visit your doctor and see what they suggest to treat the condition.

There are also many popular home remedies for itchy throat. If you’re interested in trying some, discuss them with your doctor first. They can give you recommendations on which remedies are safe to try, even if research is lacking on their effectiveness.

The most common causes of itchy throat include:

Here are seven popular home remedies that advocates of natural medicine suggest may be helpful for itchy throat. However, note that herbal remedies are not subject to regulation by the FDA, so they have not been tested in an FDA-approved clinical trial. Always check with your doctor before starting any alternative treatments.

Gargle with salt water

  1. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water.
  2. Sip and gargle for 10 seconds.
  3. Spit it out; don’t swallow it.
  4. Repeat 2 to 3 times a day.

Eat honey

Eat a tablespoon of honey — preferably raw, local honey — in the morning,

Drink hot ginger tea with lemon and honey

  1. Put 1 tablespoon of honey into a cup.
  2. Fill with hot water.
  3. Squeeze in the juice from 2 lemon wedges.
  4. Grate in a small amount of fresh ginger.
  5. Stir the beverage.
  6. Drink it slowly.
  7. Repeat 2 to 3 times a day.

Drink apple cider vinegar

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into 8 ounces of hot water.
  2. Once cool enough to drink, sip it slowly.

To improve the taste, try adding a tablespoon of maple syrup or a tablespoon of honey.

Drink milk and turmeric

  1. Over medium heat, in a small saucepan, mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric with 8 ounces of milk.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Pour the mixture into a cup.
  4. Allow the mixture to cool to a comfortable drinking temperature and drink slowly.
  5. Repeat every evening until the throat itch is gone.

Drink horseradish tea

  1. Mix together 1 tablespoon of horseradish (natural horseradish root, not sauce), 1 teaspoon of ground cloves, and 1 teaspoon of honey in a cup.
  2. Fill with hot water and stir to mix thoroughly.
  3. Drink slowly.

Drink herbal tea

A variety of herbal teas are believed to soothe an itchy throat, including:

Other self-care for itchy throat can include the use of over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medications, lozenges, and nasal sprays, as well as OTC cold medications.

It’s time for an appointment with your doctor if your itchy throat persists or is accompanied by symptoms such as:

If you often get an itchy throat, there are lifestyle changes you can make to lower the number of incidents and length of this discomfort. This includes:

  • quitting smoking
  • staying hydrated
  • limiting or avoiding caffeine
  • limiting or avoiding alcohol
  • limiting or avoiding opening windows or going outside during allergy season
  • washing hands often during cold and flu season

If you’re experiencing an itchy throat, there are a number of popular home remedies that are recommended by supporters of natural healing. Remember to always check with your doctor before starting any alternative medications.

If self-care does not prove effective for you, visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.