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Home Remedies For Tonsillitis

By Dr Anuja Bodhare +2 more


Tonsils are lumps of tissues present at the back of the throat. There are two of them present on each side of the throat. Tonsils are part of the immune system and are responsible for making antibodies and white blood cells to attack the germs inside the mouth. Tonsilitis is a condition characterised by inflammation (swelling) of the tonsils due to infection from either bacteria or viruses. It can occur in individuals of all age groups.1 It is most common in children above two years of age. Adults can also get tonsilitis, but it is not very common.

Tonsillitis is not contagious, but the viruses or bacteria that cause it can be. Washing hands frequently can help prevent the spread of infection.2

home remedies for tonsils

Did you know?

What Causes Tonsillitis?

Tonsilitis is caused due to bacterial or viral infection. The two types of tonsilitis are

  • Bacterial Tonsillitis: Commonly called step throat, bacterial tonsillitis is caused due to Streptococcus bacteria.
  • Viral Tonsillitis: About 70% of cases of tonsillitis are viral tonsillitis, caused by a cold or flu (influenza) virus.3 Other viruses that can cause tonsillitis are
    • Adenoviruses
    • Herpes simplex virus
    • Cytomegalovirus
    • Measles virus
    • Epstein Barr virus4

Commonly presented as a sore throat, difficulty swallowing and painful lymph nodes, tonsillitis may subside on its own within a week or so after the symptoms arise with lots of fluids and rest. If not, it might require some intervention.

Dr Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D. in Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology

Symptoms of Tonsillitis:

People may experience slightly different symptoms of tonsilitis, but the most common symptoms of tonsilitis include:

  • Swollen or red tonsils that may also appear grey, yellow or white
  • Blisters or sores in the throat
  • Sudden onset of sore throat
  • Pain and difficulty while swallowing
  • Foul breath
  • Snoring
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Chills
  • Swollen and tender lymph nodes
  • Fever4

Peritonsillar abscess (collection of pus around the tonsils) is a complication of tonsillitis and can present the following symptoms

  • Muffled voice (an obstructed voice that is not loud)
  • Severe pain in the throat area
  • Difficulty opening mouth
  • Drooling4

The symptoms of tonsilitis may be similar to other health problems; consult your doctor for a diagnosis.4

Also Read: Popular Remedies: How To Make Tonsil Stones Fall Out

Suggested Home Remedies for Tonsillitis:

Here are some home remedies for alleviating the symptoms:

1. Drinking Warm and Cold Fluids

Sipping on warm drinks like tea and chicken soups can soothe the back of your throat. You can also try cold liquids like ice water or popsicles. The choice is subjective to what works best for your throat. You can try both warm and cold liquids and see what suits you the best.5

2. Gargling

You can mix salt or baking soda in a glass of warm water. Gargle with this liquid as and when required. Avoid swallowing it. Salt is beneficial in reducing the swelling and irritation in the throat. Baking soda soothes the throat.5

3. Over-the-Counter Anti-Allergic Drugs and Pain Medications

Antihistamine (antiallergic) drugs can help reduce or relieve throat pain and prevent the worsening of sore throat. In addition, pain medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help manage the pain.5

4. Steam and Humidity

Inhaling steam can help clear the throat. Steam can also moisturise and soothe a sore throat. You can start by taking a hot shower, and when it gets steamy, you can breathe in the steam.5

5. Rest

Take sufficient rest by elevating the bed or sitting straight in a chair to alleviate the pain and discomfort. Avoid lying down flat as it can cause swelling due to increased pressure at the back of your neck.5

6. Honey With Warm Water

Honey has natural antibacterial properties, due to which it acts as a wound-healing agent. In addition, it offers pain relief and reduces swelling. Honey can also help fight off viral infections.6

7. Lemon With Warm Water

You can mix lemon juice with a glass of warm water and drink this liquid for pain relief. Lemon juice can help break the mucus and provide pain relief. In addition, lemon juice contains vitamin C, which can boost the immune system and help the body in fighting off infection.6

8. Herbal Teas

There are different types of teas that can provide relief from a sore throat. Clove tea and green tea have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits that help in fighting infections and provide relief. Raspberry, peppermint and chamomile teas are great options for reducing inflammation (swelling) and pain. Peppermint tea can alleviate pain.6

Also Read: Chamomile-Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & More!

Honey, thyme or lemon are often used by patients and are considered to be effective for tonsilitis. These remedies have very few side effects and we therefore propose to include them in the range of treatments that can be proposed as treatment for tonsillitis.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka – MBBS, MD(Pediatrics)

Home Remedies to Avoid:

1. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has some antibacterial properties, but it is not beneficial for sore throat and throat infections.

2. Essential oils

Please avoid using any essential oils to alleviate your symptoms as there is a lack of data to prove their efficacy and safety.5

3. Avoid the Things That can Irritate Your Throat:

  • Smoking
  • Dry air
  • Acidic or spicy foods
  • Lying down immediately after eating can lead to acid reflux from stomach5
  • You can have a soft diet so that it can be swallowed easily.7

4. For Reducing the Risk of Developing Tonsilitis:

  • Wash your hands frequently, especially before touching your mouth and nose.
  • Avoid sharing foods, drinks and utensils with people who are sick.
  • Replace your toothbrush regularly.3

Though there are studies that show the benefits of the given herbs and home remedies in this condition, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of these herbs and home remedies on human health.  Thus, these should be only taken under the guidance and supervision of your ayurvedic physician.

When to Seek Medical Help?

You should consult a doctor if you have:

  • White pus-filled spots on the tonsils
  • Painful sore throat that makes it difficult to eat or drink
  • Symptoms that do not go away within 4 days8

You must not rely on home remedies for the treatment of this condition you should consult a qualified doctor for any advice for the condition.

You need to seek medical help if your child is experiencing any of these symptoms:

  • Sore throat for more than 2 days
  • Trouble or pain while swallowing
  • A feeling of weakness and sickness2

 You should seek emergency medical care if your child has:

  • Troubled breathing
  • Very difficulty swallowing
  • Drooling2

Also Read: The Duration Dilemma: How Long Does Strep Throat Last?


Inflammation of the tonsils (tonsillitis) can occur at any age throughout the lifetime but is less common in adults. Tonsillitis is the result of either a bacterial or viral infection, depending on which the treatment is initiated. Children are more likely to get tonsillitis and should receive timely help to relieve the symptoms. Many home remedies such as consuming honey with warm water, lemon with warm water and herbal teas provide relief from the symptoms of sore throat and tonsillitis and also help fight off the infection. But if your tonsillitis is painful and intervening with your daily activities, seek medical help.

Also Read: Home Remedies For Vomiting

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Is tonsillitis common in children?

Tonsillitis is most common in children out of all age groups. But it rarely occurs in children below the age of three.3

Can tonsillitis cause any severe health problems?

Tonsillitis does not cause any lasting or severe health problems. But there can be other complications like difficulty in breathing and abscess in the area of the tonsils.3

Can tonsillitis get fine on its own?

Most cases of viral tonsillitis can get cured on their own with fluids and rest. However, antibiotics are required to treat bacterial tonsillitis (strep throat).3. If your tonsillitis is not improving and causing problems, seek medical help.

Is tonsillitis contagious?

Tonsillitis is not contagious, but the bacteria and viruses that cause it are highly contagious. Wash your hands frequently to prevent the spread of infection.2

What is strep throat?

Bacterial tonsillitis is also called strep throat. It is characterised by swelling of the tonsils due to a bacteria called Streptococcus.3 You need to consult a doctor for the right diagnosis. 

Do I need to take antibiotics to treat tonsillitis?

Viral tonsillitis may get cured on its own with plenty of rest and fluid intake, but strep throat or bacterial tonsillitis requires antibiotics for treatment. Consult with a doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.3


Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.



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