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Does Coffee Help Sore Throat? (All You Need To Know)

Winter’s days are near, and with it come the flu virus and sore throats. 

As someone who loves coffee but unfortunately often gets sick frequently, I’ve often wondered, “does coffee help sore throat?”

If you’re in the same boat, this guide is for you. I’ve done the research and put together a guide on using coffee for a sore throat. 

Let’s take a look! 

Is Coffee Good for a Sore Throat?

If you ever find yourself with a sore throat, you might wonder if you can still have your morning cup of Joe.

Of course, that answer depends a bit based on whether you’re drinking hot or iced coffee. 

Let’s take a closer look.

Hot Coffee 

Drinking fluids, in general, promotes salivation and lubricates the throat. If the drink is hot, salivation is greater, and the sensory impact of the warmth produces a comfort that can make the throat pain less bothersome. 

This comfort is subjective, but it may be related to an increase in the levels of endorphins in pain-oriented areas of the brain. 

If the drink is sweet, the effect is even greater.

Iced Coffee 

If you need your caffeine fix and a sore throat is causing you pain, you can ease it by drinking an iced coffee

Since your throat may feel swollen due to infection, the cold temperature can help constrict swollen blood vessels

TIP
Other liquids that may help with sore throat symptoms include smoothies, soups, and herbal tea. Drinking as much fluid as possible can help prevent dehydration, which can make you feel worse when you’re already sick. 

Iced coffee can be just as good for sore throat pain as eating a popsicle or ice cream.

What you do have to consider is that if you’re thinking of drinking iced coffee, do it with fewer sweeteners and flavorings. Sugar can worsen the condition of your throat. 

Why Coffee Makes Your Throat Dry

woman drinking coffee

Coffee has an astringent effect, which can cause the sensation of a dry mouth. 

This is mostly due to the presence of tannins in the drink. Tannins cause you to salivate more and simulate a dry mouth.

Given these properties, if you consume coffee regularly, make sure to stay hydrated. That way, you don’t dry out your throat and lead to an even sorer throat!

Can You Drink Coffee With Strep Throat?

One of the common symptoms of strep is a dry, scratchy throat. When this is the case, you may want to avoid foods and drinks that can make your throat feel even drier. 

Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, tea, and soft drinks, can dry out your mouth, as mentioned previously.

You should try drinking a small amount of coffee first to see if your throat feels dry after drinking it. Because each person’s symptoms can vary, you may find that coffee doesn’t cause your throat to feel dry. 

NOTE
Caffeine increases the chance that you will become dehydrated because it’s a natural diuretic. For this reason, you may want to limit your coffee intake to one to two cups. 

Should You Drink Coffee if You Have Tonsillitis?

woman holding cup of coffee

In medical terms, you should not drink caffeinated beverages if you have tonsillitis. Some sources recommend against drinking these types of beverages during this time. 

Everybody is different, though. So, sometimes, coffee consumption will have a little detrimental effect. 

Whether or not you should continue drinking will depend on how your body responds and the advice of your doctor. 

If you don’t like taking risks, the safest option is simply not to drink coffee during this period to ensure a speedy recovery. 

What’s Good for Sore Throat?

There are several things that can help us when we have a sore throat.

Let’s check out a couple of things you can use instead of coffee.

Calendula Infusion 

Calendula flowers protect the mucous membranes of your throat. That’s because they have bactericidal, anti-inflammatory, repairing, and protective properties. 

The calming effect is almost immediate. Mix 1 tbsp of the leaves with an 8-ounce glass of water and drink it three times a day.

NOTE
You can also try adding calendula to your coffee. It might sound odd, but the mix can actually be pretty tasty!

Gargling With Warm Water and Salt

salt and water

As with so many other things, our grandmothers were right about this practice. 

Gargling several times a day with warm salt water allows the salt to absorb water from the cells of the mucous membrane. This helps pull out impurities. 

Adding half a tablespoon of salt to a glass of water and gargling for half a minute is more than enough. 

However, if you gargle more than three times a day, your mucous membranes can end up drying out, just the opposite of what you want. So, do this in moderation!

TIP
You can also try adding salt to coffee. However, that might not work as well as just gargling. 

Homemade Syrup for Sore Throat  

If you have a sore throat or a cough, you can prepare homemade syrup. 

For this syrup, you’ll need the following:

  • 1 tablespoon of thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of mallow (flower)
  • 1 teaspoon of minced ginger root
  • Half an onion
  • 1 apple without the skin

Bring 1 liter of water to a boil, add the ingredients and boil for 5 minutes. Let stand 10 and strain. Take 1 tablespoon 3 times a day.

You can mix the syrup into your coffee or drink it straight.

Chicken Soup  

chicken soup

Although any warm broth will do you good, experts especially recommend chicken, vegetable, or beef.

The soups that don’t suit you are ones like tomato soup, which is excessively acidic, or those that contain dairy, which increases the production of mucus.

Tablespoon of Honey   

Honey is an effective antiseptic. That is, it helps fight infectious diseases by destroying the microbes that cause them.

Take it as if it were candy, and let it sit in the back of your mouth.

My favorite way to take honey for a sore throat is by adding it to my coffee. Not only is it a great sugar substitute, but it helps soothe a sore throat, too.

NOTE
Remember that children under one year of age cannot take honey. That’s because it may contain the Clostridium botulinum bacteria that cause botulism in babies.

Conclusion 

Generally, drinking coffee with a sore throat isn’t one of the worst ideas. Especially if you’re one of the people who need your daily dose of energy, like me.

For those occasions where your throat hurts but you want to drink coffee, the good idea is to add honey to your drink.

The best rule of thumb is to follow the response of your body.

Always stay hydrated, even if you decide to skip the coffee. Good hydration will help a speedy recovery.

Interested in learning about other ways coffee can impact your health? Check out this guide to drinking coffee after a workout!

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Jessica Ruth Lee Fleming
Jessica is a seasoned caffeine-addict who spent 3 years behind the bar. Her early coffee days took her from the commercial Starbucks scene in urban DC all the way to helping launch a craft coffee shop in California. Today she prefers sharing her years of coffee capers through media, although you’ll find she does it with a trusty cup of coffee by her side.