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The Science behind Salt Water Gargle Claims

We would like to address the claim that the popular home remedy of a salt water gargle during cold and flu season can help improve your health and list the scientific findings:

  1. A salt water gargle can help ease the symptoms of a common cold or respiratory tract infection and there is some evidence of a faster recovery.
  2. It will not outright prevent or cure either, nor is there any evidence that gargling with salt will or has prevented people from being infected with the new coronavirus or eliminating it once infection has taken.
  3. Only time will cure a common cold. A sore, itchy throat and respiratory congestion are some of the more common symptoms of a cold, a salt water gargle can ease the symptoms. The vast majority of sore throats are viral, not bacterial and will go away on their own in 3-7 days but there is some limited evidence that it can help recover more quickly from the common cold..
  4. Gargling with salt water seems to help for several reasons: “A saline solution can draw excess fluid from inflamed tissues in the throat, making them hurt less”, said Dr. Philip T. Hagen, editor in chief of the Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies. Dr. Hagen pointed out that “Gargling also loosens thick mucus, which can remove irritants like allergens, bacteria and fungi from the throat.”
  5. In a randomized study published in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2005, researchers recruited almost 400 healthy volunteers and followed them for 60 days during cold and flu season.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16242593 Prevention of upper respiratory tract infections by gargling: a randomized trial.

Some of the subjects were told to gargle three times a day. At the end of the study period, the group that regularly gargled had a nearly 40 percent decrease in upper respiratory tract infections compared with the control group, and when they did get sick, “gargling tended to attenuate bronchial symptoms,” the researchers wrote.

If you choose to do a salt water gargle:

Our Kona Deep Seawater Salt is especially mild to the taste and has no bitterness. After the solar dehydrating process, the salt is allowed to sit and drained of magnesium chloride for three weeks and therefore losing any bitterness. 

How often should you gargle with salt water?

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, gargle between 2-4 times per day. You should start feeling better soon after your first salt water gargle but to receive the benefits, keep up your routine.

How much salt should you use to make a salt water gargle for a sore throat?

Add half a teaspoon to warm water. Warm water will help dissolve the salt and increase the blood flow to your throat. Gargle repeatedly for 30 seconds until the salt water is finished.

* If you suffer from high blood pressure, it is not recommended to a salt water gargle since you will likely ingest a little bit of it.