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why does gargling with salt water help sore throat

By Chris C. Anderson
When your throat turns to sandpaper and every bit of food and liquid that goes down your gullet feels like itБs a bill trying to pass the Senate, unlike a politician you become more than eager to try to find a way to move things forward. A is a miserable thing to deal with. You donБt realize how many times you swallow during the day until every swallow becomes a painful undertaking. Mothers and grandmothers the world over hold the belief that gargling with warm salt water is a surefire way to soothe a. But does it actually work? Is there any scientific merit to it? We spoke with Sorana Segal-Maurer, MD, chief of the Dr. James J. Rahal Jr. Division of Infectious Disease at New York Hospital Queens, andBrian P. Currie, MD, MPH, vice president and senior medical director of NYC's Montefiore Medical Center, to get the scoop on this old-school sore-throat home remedy.

The Rumor: Gargling with warm salt water can ease a БEw, gross! Mom, IБm not gonna gargle with that! Б ThereБs nothing appealing about swishing warm, salty water around in your. Kids know this. Still, they take their moms at their word and carry on with the tradition. Where did mom get this remedy? Probably from grandma. Where did grams get it? Probably from her mom. And so on. Gargling with warm salt water Бlikely came about before over-the-counter became the norm,Б says Currie. Fair enough. But does it really work?

The Verdict: Yes, gargling with warm salt water really will As it turns out, mom was right about this one: Gargling with warm salt water actually does provide symptomatic relief -- and it has preventative benefits, too. Says Segal-Maurer, "YouБre creating a high-salt barrier and youБre pulling out a lot of fluids from the tissues in the throat area, so youБre washing the virus out. The salt functions as a magnet for water. ItБs good for symptomatic relief. And you end up swallowing some of it, so itБs sort of helping you with as well. Б (To clarify: The swallowing bit is incidental -- it just tends to happens when gargling. YouБre not meant to actually drink the warm salt water. ) Although there s no hard evidence that it works, sap from the marshmallow plant has been used for hundreds of yearsБusually in tea formБto treat coughs, colds, and sore throats.

And while real marshmallow bears little relation to the puffy campfire treats that took its name, both may have sore throat-fighting properties. According to anecdotal reports, modern-day marshmallows can help ease sore throat pain, possibly because the gelatin coats and soothes. "It s not the wackiest thing in the world," Dr. Linder says. "If your throat is really swollen and it really hurts to swallow anything, I can see how something slippery and sweet like marshmallows might provide some relief. "

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