I was rather prone to regular bouts of tonsillitis as a child. However, I was never too eager to admit the presence of it to my mother, as her first line of treatment was always a warm saltwater gargle. I used to deem these almost as ghastly as the sore throat itself. Of course, viewing this treatment through a mother’s eye, I can appreciate its benefits. This salt water can flush out some of the bacteria lurking at the back of the throat and, in turn, will speed up the healing process of an acute sore throat.

A sore throat is one of the most common, reoccurring ailments with adults and children alike. A streptococcus throat infection, or what is often referred to as a septic throat, generally presents with associated flu-like symptoms and, in many cases, an elevated temperature will also accompany the feeling of a raw, scratchy throat. In this occurrence, a course of antibiotics may be necessary to treat the infection. However, in most cases a sore throat is caused by a viral infection, such as the common cold, which won’t benefit from an antibiotic.

As well as those regular saltwater gargles, there are many ways to ease the symptoms of a sore throat. Throat lozenges and mouthwashes will give considerable relief, while plenty of fluids, especially water, herbal teas and vitamin C-rich drinks, such as fresh orange juice, will keep one hydrated while easing the discomfort of a sore throat. As with any sickness, taking plenty of rest will work well in recuperating the body to its full health.

  • • Nessa Robins, food writer and nurse, grew up on a farm in Moate, Co Westmeath, where she lives with her husband Diarmuid and their four children. Her first cookbook, Apron Strings: Recipes From A Family Kitchen, published by New Island, is out now.
  • Honeyed Vitamin C Ice Pops

    It’s important to encourage the intake of fluids when one is unwell. With a sore throat, it can often be difficult and painful to swallow.

    These ice pops, which are packed with antioxidant-boosting honey and vitamin C, are nutritionally beneficial to a sore throat or tonsillitis sufferer, and, in turn, will boost the immune system. Also, quite importantly, they are easy for someone with a sore throat to tolerate.

    Makes about eight pops

    200ml honey

    250ml water

    5 limes

    300g strawberries

    75g icing sugar, sieved

    1 Place the honey and the water in a small saucepan. Heat gently until the honey has melted, but take the saucepan from the heat before it simmers. Transfer to a large jug.

    2 Next, juice the limes. To extract the optimal amount of juice from the limes, roll each one on the counter, back and forth, using the palm of your hand. Cut in half and juice. Pass through a sieve and transfer the juice to the jug.

    3 Using a blender, blitz the strawberries and icing sugar until smooth. Pass through a sieve and transfer to the jug with the lime juice and the honey.

    4 Combine well using a hand whisk or fork. Divide the mixture between the ice pop moulds. Freeze for at least four hours, or preferably overnight, when the pops will become solid.

    Carrot & Fresh

    Coriander Soup

    When it is painful to tolerate and swallow food, a nutritious soup makes the perfect meal. Carrots are wonderful to include in one’s diet when battling a sore throat, as they are a rich antioxidant, which can help to speed up the healing process.

    25g butter

    500g carrots, roughly diced

    2 onions, roughly diced

    150g potato, roughly diced

    Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

    1 tsp ground coriander

    1 tsp ground cumin

    1 litre vegetable/chicken stock

    2 tbsp fresh coriander

    75ml cream plus extra 1tbsp to serve

    1 Heat the butter in a large pan and when it begins to foam, add the carrots, onions and potato. Stir to combine with the butter.

    2 Season with a little sea salt and pepper. Cook on a low heat for three to four minutes, or until the vegetables start to soften.

    3 Stir in the ground coriander and cumin. Cook for one minute.

    4 Add the vegetable/chicken stock and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. The vegetables should now be tender.

    5 Add the fresh coriander and blitz with a hand blender, or in a food processor, until smooth. Add the cream and stir to combine.

    6 Serve with a drizzle of cream and a light sprinkling of ground coriander.

    Saltwater Gargle

    ½ tsp salt

    200ml recently boiled water

    1 Dissolve the salt in a cup of recently boiled water, which is still warm.

    2 Gargle this solution for about 30 seconds, up to four times a day, to relieve a sore throat. Remember to spit out the water after gargling. CL