Natural Remedies for Strep Throat Relief - Ted's Q&A

Browse Ted's Q&A

Best Treatment Advice

Posted by Earth Clinic on 01/04/2008

Dear Ted, Strep throat is a constant irritation for families, a hard to remedy infection that strikes even the healthiest of us at surprising moments. We have had some luck with cayenne pepper to relieve the irritation and kill the infection. What are your thoughts?

Replied by Ted
Bangkok, Thailand
391 posts

Deirdre: Not all strains of strep throat can be killed by red pepper. The ones that I have problems with is the streptococcus mutans, which is well inhibited by the use of xylitol. The ones I used is a tiny pinch zinc acetate (about 1/32 teaspoon) plus mixed 1/4 teaspoon of xylitol dissolved in 1/4 glass of water, slow slip, 5 minutes apart. This one works better, for me on the strep as I suspect the strep I got, were somewhat resistant to certain strains of streptococcus. There is supporting evidence on xylitol and zinc as I attached below.

Although the addition of other spices mixed may help such as oregano, thyme, cinamon. The reason I mentioned this is the some strep strains here in Thailand are somewhat resistant to cayenne pepper. See research below. However, I usually use zinc to help if its either viral or bacteria.


1: J Ethnopharmacol. 1996 Jun;52(2):61-70. Links The antimicrobial properties of chile peppers (Capsicum species) and their uses in Mayan medicine. Cichewicz RH, Thorpe PA.

Department of Environmental and Plant Biology, Ohio University, Athens 45701, USA.

A survey of the Mayan pharmacopoeia revealed that tissues of Capsicum species (Solanaceae) are included in a number of herbal remedies for a variety of ailments of probable microbial origin. Using a filter disk assay, plain and heated aqueous extracts from fresh Capsicum annuum, Capsicum baccatum, Capsicum chinese, Capsicum frutescens, and Capsicum pubescens varieties were tested for their antimicrobial effects with fifteen bacterial species and one yeast species. Two pungent compounds found in Capsicum species (capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin) were also tested for their anti-microbial effects. The plain and heated extracts were found to exhibit varying degrees of inhibition against Bacillus cereus, Bacillus subtilis, Clostridium sporogenes, Clostridium tetani, and Streptococcus pyogenes.

: J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2007;21(2):92-101. Epub 2007 Feb 21. Links Substantivity of zinc salts used as rinsing solutions and their effect on the inhibition of Streptococcus mutans. Burguera-Pascu M, Rodríguez-Archilla A, Baca P.

Department of Oral Medicine, School of Dentistry, University of Granada, Granada, Spain. [email protected]

The antimicrobial efficacy of zinc (Zn) salts (sulfate and acetate) against Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) present in the oral cavity was tested in this study. The substantivity of Zn salts was assessed by determining the concentration of Zn in whole, unstimulated saliva and by measuring the magnitude of suppression of salivary S. mutans, 2h after rinsing. The concentration of Zn was measured by atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) with electrothermal atomization (ET AAS) in saliva sampled before (basal) and 24h after mouth rinsing with different concentrations of Zn (0.1%, 0.5% and 1%) administrated as sulfate and acetate. The estimation of Zn levels in samples collected 30, 60, 90 and 120 min after rinsing was carried out by AAS with flame atomization (FAAS). Immediately after rinsing, the concentration of Zn in saliva sharply increased with respect to the baseline values (0.055+/-0.017 mg/L), followed by a sustained decrease, probably due to clearance of salivary flow or swallowing during sampling. A significant reduction (>87%) in the total mean S. mutans counts was found 2h after rinsing either with sulfate or acetate solutions, as evidence of the high substantivity and effectiveness of the Zn salts tested. A statistically significant inverse relationship (p<0.001 and the Pearson correlation coefficients between -34% and -50%) was found between Zn levels and the respective pH values measured in the samples collected 60 and 120 min after rinsing, sustaining the theory of bacterial glycolysis inhibition.

1: Oral Microbiol Immunol. 2003 Aug;18(4):215-9. Links Xylitol inhibition of anaerobic acid production by Streptococcus mutans at various pH levels. Miyasawa H, Iwami Y, Mayanagi H, Takahashi N.

Department of Lifelong Oral Health Sciences,Tohoku University Graduate School of Dentistry, Sendai, Japan.

Xylitol inhibits the glycolysis and growth of Streptococcus mutans. We studied the inhibitory effect of xylitol on the acid production of S. mutans at several pH levels under the strictly anaerobic conditions found in the deep layer of dental plaque. Xylitol inhibited the rate of acid production from glucose and changed the profile of acidic end products to formate-acetate dominance, with a decrease in the intracellular level of fructose 1,6-bisphosphate and an intracellular accumulation of xylitol 5-phosphate (X5P). These results were notable at pH 5.5-7.0, but were not evident at pH 5.0. Since the activity of phosphoenolpyruvate phosphotransferase for xylitol was greater at higher pH, it is suggested that xylitol could be incorporated more efficiently at higher pH and that the resultant accumulation of X5P could inhibit the glycolysis of S. mutans more effectively.