Streptococcal pharyngitis also known as strep throat is one of the most common upper respiratory tract infections affecting millions of people every year. Strep throat is caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes and is responsible for up to 30% of sore throat cases among children and up to 10% of adults. Strep throat is a simple infection but it can lead to serious complications if not treated correctly.
For centuries, people have used various herbs and spices to treat their illnesses. According to the World health organization (WHO), around 80% of the world’s population uses herbal preparations as their primary healthcare.
The use of herbal medicines is increasing in popularity in the developed world as well. It's estimated that approximately 30% of the United States’ population uses herbal medicine as an alternative to conventional medicine. In recent years, the natural antimicrobial activity of herbs has been studied, including their effectiveness in treating strep throat.
Some people feel that using herbal remedies is safer and more effective than traditional antibiotics. Native people all over the world have used the fresh parts and extracts of plants and herbs to treat sore throats for centuries. Herbal teas are one of the most popular traditional remedies.
In some countries like Canada, using herbal teas has been approved as a natural, non-prescribed drug to treat dry cough and sore throat. The long-term use of herbal teas for strep throat has not been fully studied, and there is always the possibility of potential side effects.
Additionally, herbal tea might not be as effective as traditional antibiotics, which might increase the risk for the serious complications of untreated strep throat like Rheumatic heart disease. That's why it's necessary to perform laboratory studies to test the efficacy of herbal teas against Streptococcus pyogenes.
A group of scientists from Canada and Sri Lanka tested the laboratory efficiency of 13 different herbal teas for the treatment of strep throat. They studied the efficacy of different herbal teas including ginger, oregano, barberry, thyme, licorice root, and others against Streptococcus pyogenes. They tested the flowering shoots, roots, leaves, and flower buds to determine which parts are more effective than others against strep throat.
According to this study, licorice root showed the highest efficacy inhibiting the growth of Streptococcus pyogenes. And it had the fastest administration-to-action time at just 12 hours, which means that it will start inhibiting bacterial growth and improving the condition of Strep throat patients after 12 hours. This data was for the lowest concentration used, and that the time to action will be less if a higher concentration is used. Other herbal teas that were found to be beneficial were oregano flower, thyme shoots, and barberry root.
While we still don’t know if herbal teas can replace traditional antibiotics in treating Strep throat, we do know that they can be an excellent complement to traditional medication therapy. The first step in treating a possible Strep throat infection is to get tested. Checkable Medical makes testing for Strep fast and easy, and in the comfort of your own home. So when that first tickle hits your throat, grab your Checkable Medical at-home Strep test, pour yourself some herbal tea and get ready to feel better faster.