Updated: Sep 17, 2021
When your throat is in pain, the last thing you want to do is eat anything spicy, right? Actually, habanero hot sauce is a time-honored and doctor-recommended remedy to soothe sore throat pain!
A sore throat is usually caused by inflamed and/or irritated tissue along the back of your throat. This can result from sinus drainage, coughing, microbial imbalance, cheering too loud at a football game or concert, etc. Though a doctor may sometimes prescribe a painkiller, they are much more likely to suggest using sore throat home remedies to manage the discomfort until it passes. Many home remedies are actually quite effective at soothing throat pain, no drugs necessary.
Honey, salt, lemon, and tea are all familiar throat remedies, but hot sauce (something that can cause your throat to burn even on a healthy day) seems counterintuitive. Yet, visit reputable medical or hospital websites, such as Penn Medicine, and you'll find hot sauce listed as a doctor-approved home remedy.
Why Does it Work?
Habaneros (and habanero hot sauces) contain capsaicin. Capsaicin molecules trigger neural receptors in your skin that send warning/pain/hot signals to your brain. The signals sent by these receptors are only active for a few moments before becoming desensitized. This is why the burn of spicy food peaks and then fades reasonably quickly. Once the burning sensation has run its course, the receptor is then desensitized, lessening the signals it sends to your brain and easing the pain of your sore throat.
This effect isn't permanent, as the receptors eventually re-set themselves, but it can provide temporary pain relief.
People have been using hot chilis for this pain-dulling effect for centuries, and many scientists are currently working to broaden capsaicin's use for pain management.
How to Use It
If you're hungry, eating any food containing a noticeable quantity of habanero hot sauce will give you pain-reducing benefits. Use as much hot sauce as you're comfortable with. If you can feel the hot sauce's sting, then those areas will be desensitized once the capsaicin burn wears off.
However, if eating a spicy meal doesn't sound good while you're sick, you can get the same effect by putting a few drops of El Yucateco Hot Sauce into a glass of warm water and gargling the mixture.
Hot Sauce Tea
Another good option is to make Hot Sauce Tea. Slice and boil a thumb of fresh ginger root in four cups of water for about 10 minutes, then add the juice from half a lemon and a teaspoon of El Yucateco Hot Sauce. Sweeten the tea with honey and drink it warm. It will dull your sore throat and also give a little boost to your metabolism, which can help your whole system feel better if you have a cold.
It's worth repeating that you will have to muscle through the initial burn before your pain receptors dull, so this remedy isn't recommended for children. It's best to use this for your own illness/injury, so you can adjust the level of hot sauce to your personal tolerance.
You also should avoid this method if you have any open sores or wounds in your mouth or throat.
However, if you have a sore throat and can handle a few minutes of burn, in exchange for hours of relief, give hot sauce a try. It might be just the sore throat remedy you've been looking for.
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