Why do we gargle salt water?


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I'm sure everyone has had their mother tell them to gargle salt water when they have a sore throat (or are sick in any way for that matter.)  And I'm also sure that everyone has done this, and it's helped.  But why does something so simple and strange aid in curing us of our aching throats?

            Overall, gargling in general can help with a sore throat because it flushes the area of the throat.  The salt is a good component to mix into the warm water because the salt draws moisture out of any bacteria in your throat and draws moisture out of your own swollen tissues, therefore reliving inflammation.  This is because the salt grabs the moisture and promotes osmosis.  Also, the salt not only destroys the bacteria it also prevents it from growing.

            According to the New York Times, saltwater gargling eases cold symptoms but it also keeps you healthier during cold and flu season.  This information was concluded from a randomized study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.  "The researchers recruited about 400 healthy volunteers and followed them for 60 days during cold and flu season.  Some of the subjects were told to gargle three times a day.  At the end of the study period, the group that gargled regularly had a 40 percent decrease in upper respiratory and tract infections compared with the control group."

            To do this traditional procedure most efficiently, one must dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a full glass of warm water and gargle the solution for a few seconds before spitting it out.  I have heard of people gargling vinegar as well as other strange concoctions, what crazy mix have you tried to beat a cold or illness?






Resources:
New York Times Article
Reasoning behind the "salt"


4 Comments

I know this might be a dumb question, but can eating salty foods have the same effect as gargling salt water? Sometimes gargling salt water is really annoying and inconvenient. I think there should be additional studies done to see if this is a possibility.

I've used this home remedy many times and it really does work! I've also used sea salt and water to help clean and heal cartilage piercings. But did you know that salt is also good for a lot more than just gargling? Taking baths in bath salts can actually promote healthy skin! The salts are not just to make yor tub smell like a tropical oasis, they are actually detoxifying deep layers of your skin as well as providing your skin with nutrients. Sea salts have other minerals in them as well such as calcium and bromide. Calcium is great for cleaning pores and bromide is known for relaxing skin. Over time, taking baths in sea salts can reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and cellulite!

I've used this home remedy many times and it really does work! I've also used sea salt and water to help clean and heal cartilage piercings. But did you know that salt is also good for a lot more than just gargling? Taking baths in bath salts can actually promote healthy skin! The salts are not just to make yor tub smell like a tropical oasis, they are actually detoxifying deep layers of your skin as well as providing your skin with nutrients. Sea salts have other minerals in them as well such as calcium and bromide. Calcium is great for cleaning pores and bromide is known for relaxing skin. Over time, taking baths in sea salts can reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and cellulite!

Salt water also works really well as a nasal rinse. If you're stuffy and spray a little in your nose, it tastes gross when it drips down the back of your throat, but it clears everything right up! This article explains this ins-and-outs of why it works, but it is along the same lines as why it helps a sore throat.

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