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Tonsillitis is an inflammation or infection of the tonsils characterized by redness, swelling, inflammation, and pain in the throat. Other symptoms may include fever, chills, vomiting, swollen glands, muscle pain and lethargy. Tonsillitis may result from either a viral or bacterial infection. Generally treated with antibiotics, some people prefer using herbal remedies for tonsillitis, which may reduce symptoms and speed recovery. Herbs can cause side effects, so consult your health practitioner before using them.


Echinacea purifies the blood and enhances the immune system, which targets the lymphatic system. It may help reduce inflammation, lessen swelling and pain in the tonsils, and stimulate white blood cells, which attack pathogens. Echinacea should only be used during the duration of the illness and for no longer than a week to ten days thereafter. The herb is available in both dried and liquid extract form. Some brands of echinacea have been found to be less potent than others. So, always buy well-known brands from a store with high turnover to ensure you get a quality product. Consult an herbal practitioner or herbal specialist at a health food store for directions and dosing.

Slippery Elm

Slippery elm comes from the bark of the slippery elm tree and is helpful for coating mucus membranes in the throat and digestive tract. Slippery elm creates a thin film of mucus or mucilage that protects and soothes irritated and tender throat membranes. The herb is available in lozenge form and in dried bulk quantities. A soothing porridge can make by mixing the dried herb with warm water and honey and eaten during the illness. If it is too difficult to swallow, place the porridge in the blender and liquefy it for easier swallowing.


An age-old herbal medicine used for thousands of years, garlic is used to strengthen the immune system. It has high levels of antioxidants as well as antibacterial and antiviral compounds thereby making it effective for fighting colds, flu and tonsillitis. People who use garlic at the first sign of becoming ill show a faster recovery time then those who do not. One way to use garlic to treat tonsillitis is by making an herbal tea. Boil two cloves of garlic in one cup of water for 5 minutes. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes. Remove from the heat and strain the garlic. Cool to taste and add honey to sweeten. Sip throughout the day for pain relief. Garlic can thin the blood, so consult your health practitioner before using it for medicinal purposes if you take blood-thinning medicines.

Cayenne, Honey and Lemon

A mixture of honey, lemon and cayenne pepper may relieve the pain and inflammation of tonsillitis. Mix two tbsp. honey with one tbsp. lemon juice. Add a small pinch of cayenne and allow the mixture to rest for at least 10 minutes. Sip as needed for relief. Cayenne pepper reduces swelling and acts like an antiseptic. Use only a very small amount at first until you are used to the sensation. Both honey and lemon are very soothing on sore tonsils and should help mitigate any burning sensation from the cayenne.