Someone once told me that you can kill a sore throat armed only with a cup of coffee and a spoonful of honey.
That same person also told me that guzzling cranberry limeade from Sonic helps prevent UTIs, and that eating baby carrots would improve my nearsightedness.
So naturally, I was skeptical when it came to the coffee-for-sore-throat claim.
Keep in mind we're talking about basic "sore throat" here, not strep throat, covid, or anything that might require antibiotics or other medical intervention. Just a little scratchiness/discomfort and maybe some mild pain when swallowing.
In other words, if you think you might have strep throat, see a doctor ASAP and don't try to self-medicate with coffee or anything else.
All that said, I'm happy to report that there is scientific evidence to show that you shouldn't rule out drinking coffee to help with a cough/sore throat.
Here are the facts:
Coffee is moderately acidic. This means that, just like orange juice, pineapple juice, alcoholic drinks, and other acidic beverages, it can aggravate a throat that's already sore. Good thing Black Insomnia Coffee is known to be less acidic!
Coffee is also caffeinated, and caffeine is a diuretic. However, since coffee still hydrates you, this shouldn't be much of a problem unless you're already dehydrated. Which, depending on the reason for and severity of your sore throat, you might be.
Drinking hot/warm beverages can help soothe a sore throat. The steam from coffee can be comforting to some as well. However, drinking really hot coffee (or consuming really hot anything for that matter) can irritate an already-sore throat.
Really hot things are not something you want to risk consuming with a sore throat. I know it sounds obvious, but you really don't want to risk burning your throat if you normally take your coffee steaming hot. When you have a sore throat, you also generally don't want to raise your body temperature.
Coffee contains antioxidants which have anti-inflammatory properties. So if you were just going by this, it would seem to reason that coffee could help reduce inflammation in the throat. However, you have to look at the whole picture (temperature, acids, caffeine, etc.).
What does this all add up to?
Coffee by itself won't cure a sore throat. But guess what? If you add a little bit of honey, you might get a little short-term relief.
Just like the old home remedy of drinking tea with honey, drinking coffee with honey can help soothe a sore throat. That's because honey is a natural cough suppressant, and has some antibacterial properties. It can also help soothe a sore throat.
If you drink iced coffee (or any type of cold coffee), you might get some relief as well. But this kind of varies from person to person, and what the cause of the sore throat is.
Here are the most important things to take away:
If you're drinking "hot" coffee, make sure it's closer to "warm," and definitely not "very hot." Otherwise you risk irritating your throat more.
Adding honey to your coffee is the key to all of this. If you get that honey in there working hand-in-hand with the coffee, it can help suppress your cough and soothe your throat.
The study I linked near the beginning of the article found that drinking coffee and honey together every 8 hours was more effective in soothing coughing and sore throat symptoms than a placebo or other medications.
So the next time you're struggling with a sore throat, don't write off coffee as a possible remedy. Just make sure you're not making it too hot, and add a little honey to sweeten the deal.
And if you're worried you might have strep or something more severe than a common sore throat, put down that adorable bear-shaped bottle and go see a doctor, stat.
So once that throat feels better you may need an extra kick to get going again. See what Black Insomnia's Extreme Caffeine coffee can do for your daily energy.