How to Stop a Sore Throat with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Lenore Cangeloso

By Lenore Cangeloso


How to Stop a Sore Throat with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine can treat a wide variety of ailments such as pain, insomnia, even the common cold. But it can be particularly helpful in treating (and solving) specific symptoms that present themselves - such as a dreaded sore throat.  Sore throats are very common ailments that tend to affect many people, and studies¹ show that Chinese herbs can have an immediate pain relieving quality to them.

A Clinical "Classical Approach" to Sore Throats

A sore throat is pain, irritation, or scratchiness of the throat that tends to worsen when swallowing. Sore throats are often accompanied with a variety of other symptoms depending upon the root cause of the imbalance, and are often seen with viral infections. Within Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, often the treatment of sore throats involves "cooling internal heat", "calming irritation", and possibly "nourishing yin".

From a "clinical" Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, common pattern differentiations that are associated to sore throats are caused by "wind-heat", "Lung-Stomach heat", or "Lung-Kidney heat". These specific patterns help to guide the treatment and course of herbs needed. 


Five Traditional Chinese Medicine Ways to Stop a Sore Throat

Here are five Traditional Chinese Medicine inspired recommendations for stopping sore throats, naturally. 

  1. Chinese Herbal Formulas: There are a variety of formulas designed to help clear heat and boost the body's Qi.  Talk with an acupuncturist, or consider DAO Labs Bounce Back herbal tablets. 
  2. Release Wind-Heat with a Classic Tea: Combine the classic peppermint, honey and lemon to sooth your throat.  Both peppermint and lemon are "cooling" and the mint can help release any "wind-heat" and open the pores to help the body expel any pathogens. Honey can help soothe and moisten the throat.  
  3. Eat this Fruit: When sore throats strike, increase your intake of pears.  Known to cool and moisture the throat, pears can be eaten raw, baked or juiced.
  4. Acupuncture/Acupressure: There are a great variety of points upon the body to help soothe a sore throat to get immediate relief as well as points that help to strengthen the immune system and boost the Qi. Three points to try are: Lung-5, Lung-11, and SJ-3. For Lung-5, follow the large crease of your elbow until you reach a large tendon. Lung-5 is on the side facing the elbow. Lung-11 is located at the bottom outer corner of the thumbnail. SJ-3 is located between the knuckles of your pinky and ring finger. Massage each spot multiple times a day for 30-60 seconds each.
  5. When in Doubt, Salt Water & Gargle: Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a small glass of warm water. Gargle a few times per day.
  1. Ma YN;Zhong CL;Hu SY;Cai QH;Guo SX; Evaluation on Immediate analgesic efficacy and safety Of KAI-HOU-JIAN spray (CHILDREN'S type) in treating sore Throat caused by ACUTE pharyngitis and tonsillitis in children: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. Accessed August 3, 2021. 

Lenore Cangeloso, LAc is a state-licensed and board certified Acupuncturist and Herbal medicine practitioner. She is the owner of Wild Earth Acupuncture in Portland Oregon. Lenore has spent many months traveling to deepen her knowledge of the human body, and is a dedicated and skilled practitioner that strives to help you achieve optimal states of wellbeing. You can learn more about Lenore at

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