This Might Be The Fastest All-Natural Way To Soothe A Sore Throat
Did you know it's actually more common to get a cold in spring and fall than it is in the dead of winter? I didn't, until I started to get a tickle in my throat on the first day of spring, which progressively got worse until I was finding it damn near impossible to even swallow. (Turns out, rhinoviruses and coronavirus, the two main causes of the common cold, replicate better in cool, but not cold, weather).
After a few cups of my trusty Throat Coat tea wouldn't soothe the scratch, I remembered an all-natural throat spray someone had sent me over the summer—a warmer, healthier time when I had zero use for it. So I dug it out of my cupboard and got to spritzing. It was a bee propolis throat spray containing just three ingredients: bee propolis extract, vegetable glycerin, and water. Much to my surprise, there was a subtle but immediate numbing effect that quickly soothed my throat, accompanied by a pleasant sweet honey taste.
But what exactly is bee propolis and how does it work? I turned to integrative doctor Amy Shah, M.D., for some answers. "Bee propolis is a sticky substance that bees produce to hold together the hive, and it's literally a mixture of resin sap, wax, and the bees' own saliva," she says.
Bees create propolis by gathering the sticky resin from tree buds and bark, which gets combined with enzymes in their mouths to yield a substance that's antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and an antioxidant. This propolis is then applied as a varnish on the cells of the honeycomb to help seal up cracks and create doorways, all the while helping prevent disease.
"It contains a whole variety of health benefits," says Dr. Shah. "There are hundreds of natural antibacterial compounds, amino acids, and polyphenols. It's most significantly known in history for its infection-healing abilities, and Egyptians even used it during mummification. It has a subtle numbing quality as well."
So it makes sense that a bee propolis throat spray can, in fact, ease pain and possibly even help fight the viral infection causing it. Even better, there are several high-quality options to choose from. Here, check out a few of our favorites, some of which contain additional anti-inflammatory herbs, and all of which are small enough to take on a plane with your carry-on luggage.
Beekeeper's Naturals Bee Propolis Spray
This is the brand of bee propolis spray that I personally tried, and I'm a huge fan. The ingredient list is incredibly simple (bee propolis, vegetable glycerin, water), yet it manages to make a significant dent in pain with just three to four sprays. This will forever be one of my clean medicine cabinet staples.
Buy online at Amazon ($12.50)
Gaia Echinacea Goldenseal Propolis Throat Spray
In addition to bee propolis extract, this potent spray contains a combination of echinacea, peppermint, goldenseal root, grape root, thyme, and licorice root for additional immune support. While research is a bit mixed, echinacea does seem to have some cold-fighting properties, which make it a nice addition.
Buy online at Amazon ($21 for 2-pack)
Herb Pharm Soothing Throat Spray
Another spray with a potent combo of healing herbs, this one contains hyssop, echinacea, sage, and St. John's wort for an extra immune-boosting and pain-relieving punch. In fact, sage tea and sage gargles have long been used as traditional natural remedies for sore throats.
Buy online at Amazon ($12)
Stephanie Eckelkamp is a writer and editor who has been working for leading health publications for the past 10 years. She received her B.S. in journalism from Syracuse University with a minor in nutrition. In addition to contributing to mindbodygreen, she has written for Women's Health, Prevention, and Health. She is also a certified holistic health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She has a passion for natural, toxin-free living, particularly when it comes to managing issues like anxiety and chronic Lyme disease (read about how she personally overcame Lyme disease here).