salt water gargling eases cold

“Gargle with warm salt water”

That is one of the most frequently used phrase that I use at the Out Patient Department. No wonder, you might have heard this already  from your doctor or your parents when you were suffering from a  sore throat or a nasty cold. If you have done it earlier, you know whether it has helped you ease your symptoms. Most of the kids and some adults hate to do this simply because of the salty taste. There are others who know that this simple home remedy will help them but they just don’t like to do it. Have you ever wondered how this simple remedy works? This article, even though it sounds simple is going to unwind the scientific basis of this well known home remedy and will teach you the proper way of doing it.

How does Salt Water ease Sore Throat?

Inflammation of the throat is the reason behind the throat pain and soreness  that a patient feels during a cold or a flu. Salt works by drawing the fluid from the inflamed throat. This happens through the process of Osmosis. This is the same process that happens in pickling using salt. Fluid moves from the medium of low salt concentration to the one having the higher salt concentration .

Warm salt water also acts by eliminating the bacteria stuck in the back of the inflamed throat. Thus it can soothen your throat by reducing the bacterial infection.

Flushing with salt water also helps by clearing up the phlegm sticking on the throat wall. In patients with swollen Tonsils, this remedy also helps by flushing the minute food particles hidden in the crevices.

How to Gargle Properly?

Here are the simple steps that you should follow to complete a successful salt water gargling :

  1. Use a clean glass and fill it with warm water.
  2. Add about half a teaspoon of salt to it and stir well.
  3. Pour a small amount of the warm liquid prepared into your mouth after making sure that the liquid is not hot enough.
  4. Tilt your head upwards and bring the fluid to the back of your mouth.
  5. Make the “ahhh” sound which will help create the vibrations at the back of your mouth. This will move the gargling fluid in such a way that it flushes all the parts of your throat adequately. This step might be difficult for the first timers, but you can get used to it after a few attempts.
  6. Take care not to swallow the gargling fluid. Your body does not require the extra salt!
  7. After about 5 seconds of contact, spit the gargling liquid.

Why should you Gargle with Warm Salt Water?

Warm salt water gargling can help you in the following situations :

  • Ease the Sore Throat
  • Ease the symptoms of cold
  • Help ease the pain in Tonsillitis
  • Can prevent flus including Swine Flu
  • Can help maintain good oral hygiene

Scientific studies have also proven the effectiveness of preventing upper respiratory tract infections like Cold.

Do you gargle often? How do you feel about it?

 

Image Credit – John Kelly

Dr Prasoon

Dr Prasoon

Author at BeingTheDoctor
Dr Prasoon, founder of BeingTheDoctor is a qualified medical practitioner who finds time to write articles on "health" and his "clinical experiences". He is currently engaged in providing primary health care services in rural India. Learn more in the "about" page.
Dr Prasoon

Latest posts by Dr Prasoon (see all)

Science of Salt Water Gargling
Tagged on:             

3 thoughts on “Science of Salt Water Gargling

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *