The Best Home Remedies for Tonsillitis

The Best Home Remedies for Tonsillitis

Your tonsils consist of two lymph nodes that are located at the back of your throat with one on each side. Their function is to prevent infection from entering the body by trapping germs and producing antibodies to fight them. Tonsillitis is the term used to describe inflammation of the tonsils. It is caused by bacterial and viral infections and may be treated by natural home remedies.

Tonsillitis – Common Symptoms

The common symptoms of tonsillitis include:

Typically, tonsillitis is treated with antibiotics and pain relievers. However, according to a 2004 study published in the Journal of the Best Practice and Research of Clinical Gastroenterology, antibiotics can alter gut microflora and result in diarrhea1.

When you first feel symptoms of tonsillitis coming on, try these home remedies first. But it is also recommended to see your doctor as tonsillitis can become more complex and cause abscess around your tonsils. This complication is called Quinsy and one of its symptoms is pain on only one side of your throat.

The Best Natural Remedies for Tonsillitis


Garlic is most well-known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. It is therefore an ancient herbal medicine to strengthen the immune system.  You can find more information about garlic in my articles on how to use garlic as a medicine and 6 common mistakes when using garlic as an antibiotic.

The best way to consume garlic is by eating it raw and fresh. Mince garlic cloves and let them stand for 10 to 15 minutes to enable the active ingredient allicin to form. Then, mix the garlic with yoghurt, applesauce, honey, or some other carrier agent that you find easier and tastier to ingest.

Garlic is also one of the natural remedies for strep throat.

Gargle with salt water

Salt water can help break up mucus in the throat. It can also help reduce the pain associated with tonsillitis.

To make your own salt water, dissolve ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt in an 8 ounce glass of warm water. Use this mixture to gargle several times per day. For an added boost of antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, add a teaspoon of turmeric which also has a large number of health benefits.


Echinacea contains active ingredients that decrease inflammation and may help reduce swelling and pain in the tonsils. Some of these compounds may be directly antimicrobial, while others may work at stimulating different parts of the immune system. It is also one of the 13 most powerful natural antibiotics.

Echinacea root has been promoted as containing a more effective mixture of active chemicals, but the roots are bitter and are usually made into a tincture. So you can use the other parts of the plant (leaves, flowers) which are also effective and have milder flavor.

A study published in the Phytomedicine Journal in July 2010 indicated that the anti-inflammatory properties of echinacea may be useful for controlling symptoms of bacterial upper respiratory infections3.

Echinacea is available in both dried and liquid extract form as well as a pill and capsule. You can also prepare a tea by steeping echinacea and ginger and adding lemon and honey and drinking it 2-3 times a day. You should make sure that the product that you buy is organic (like this one, and this one)

Basil or peppermint

Basil has anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties that can fight viruses attacking your tonsils whilst reducing the inflammation. In vitro studies also showed that peppermint has significant antimicrobial and antiviral activities4.

To use basil or peppermint as a homemade tonsillitis remedy, add several basil or peppermint leaves to one cup of filtered water and boil for a few minutes. Strain the leaves and squeeze the juice from half lemon in.

You can also add one teaspoon of raw honey for taste if needed (wait for the water to cool a bit as excessive heat will destroy the nutrients in honey). Honey by itself can be used as a powerful natural remedy for a number of illnesses.

Make these herbal teas three times per day.

Cinnamon, honey and lemon

I’ve already written on how to combine honey and cinnamon for great health as both honey and cinnamon offer powerful antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.

To take advantage of the healing properties of cinnamon and honey, prepare a tea using these ingredients (as I mentioned previously, don’t add honey to boiling water to prevent nutrient loss).

Enjoy homemade anti-inflammatory tea or popsicle

Sipping on warm beverages such as tea with raw honey and soups or broths can help soothe your swollen tonsils. On the other hand, some people find that cold foods may feel better on their throat. Use whichever feels better for you.

Keep some popsicles handy or make your own to accommodate your needs.

Try these homemade chamomile and ginger popsicles with lemon and honey to help ease the pain and swelling. You’ll need:

  • A 2 inch thinly sliced piece of ginger
  • The juice from one large lemon
  • Two tea bags of chamomile tea
  • Two tablespoons of local raw honey
  • 5 cups of hot water

To make the popsicles, combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then pour the hot water over the mixture and let it steep for 10 minutes. Strain the ginger from the mixture and remove the tea bags. Let the mixture sit until it cools completely. Pour them into popsicle molds and then freeze.

If however you prefer a warm drink, use the above ingredients to prepare a warm tea.

Raw, local honey is great for coating and soothing sore throats. It also contains antibacterial properties that may help fight off tonsillitis infections.

Ginger is an anti-inflammatory herb that can help calm down the swelling of the tonsils. It also stimulates the secretion of mucus, which can soothe and coat a sore throat.

A 2010 study published in the Molecular Medicine Reports stated that chamomile tea can be used for inflammation of the mucous membranes in the throat or mouth2. Chamomile also has antibacterial properties to help fight off the infection.

Lastly, lemons contain citric acid, which can be used to break up the mucous associated with tonsillitis. Lemon can be used as a powerful natural medicine. It is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, so that takes care of the infection and inflammation.

Fenugreek seeds

The anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties in fenugreek seeds may be able to treat infections associated with the tonsil. Fenugreek is also one of the best home remedies for chest congestion.

You can make your own fenugreek tea by crushing one teaspoon of fenugreek seeds with a rolling pin or the side of a chef’s knife.

Put the crushed fenugreek seeds in a tea strainer. Place the tea strainer with the fenugreek seeds in a small pan. Add water and simmer for two to three minutes. Then let the tea steep for 15 minutes. Remove the tea strainer and enjoy your soothing tea!

You can also use the fenugreek tea as a gargle twice per day if you’re not a tea drinker.

Learn about the many other health benefits of fenugreek and how to use it.

Slippery elm

Slippery elm is an herb that contains mucilage, which can be used to coat and soothe the throat, mouth and tonsils. It is recommended that you use slippery elm as a lozenge, or a solid preparation that slowly dissolves in the mouth.

You can make your own slippery elm lozenge at home. Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 1/4 cup of warm water or tea (licorice root or rose petal works great)
  • 2 tablespoons of local raw honey
  • 1/2 cup of slippery elm powder

To make, combine the raw honey and the warm water or tea. Make sure the honey dissolves completely. Then add the slippery elm powder. Use a fork to combine the ingredients together.

Once it cools a bit roll the mixture into small balls the size of a marble. Coat the balls in some more slippery elm powder so that they don’t stick together. You can let them dry on their own, freeze them or put them in the dehydrator. Pop one in your mouth the next time you feel tonsillitis coming on.

When to see a Doctor

Doctors on advise that you should see a doctor in the following circumstances:5

  • The pain in the throat is severe
  • Symptoms don’t ease within 3-4 days
  • A persistent high fever
  • Difficulty in breathing, swallowing saliva or opening your mouth

Read these related articles:
1. The Best Natural Remedies for Strep Throat
2. Natural Ways to Stay Free From Cold & Flu
3. How to Make Garlic Syrup for Chest Infections

Medical Resources:

Healthy and Natural World