JENNIFER JACOBS, M.D., M.P.H., REPLIES: Some sore throats can be effectively treated at home; others need a doctor's care. If you have a fever of more than 102 degrees, enlarged tender glands in your neck, and yellow discharge in the back of your throat, you might have bacterial strep throat and should seek medical advice. If you don't have these symptoms, try one of the following homeopathic remedies.
These highly diluted animal, mineral, or plant substances boost your body's healing powers. You can find them in most natural food stores and some drugstores.
To find the right remedy for you, read the following descriptions and pick the one that most closely matches your symptoms. Every four to six hours, take one dose in the 30C potency, or take the 12C potency every two to three hours. Stop taking the remedy as soon as symptoms improve. If you don't feel better after one day, try a different remedy.
Mercurius vivus is your best remedy if your symptoms include a sore, raw, burning sensation in your throat; a swollen throat and tonsils; a foul odor and excessive saliva in your mouth; and a yellow coating on your tongue. You might also feel alternately cold and hot, with foul-smelling sweat and difficulty sleeping at night.
If you have a sharp pain in your throat (like from a stick or splinter) that extends to your ears when you swallow; have a dry, hoarse cough; are extremely chilly and sensitive to drafts but sweat profusely; and are irritable and oversensitive to light, motion, noise, and touch, then Hepar sulphuris calcareum will help.