For millions of people every year, sore throats serve as the major warning signal that they are about to be hit with the flu, common cold or bacterial infection like strep throat. On a far less ominous note, allergies, dry air and pollutants can also cause them.While there are lots of over-the-counter medications that can treat aching throats, there are also countless home and natural remedies to sooth the soreness for those that prefer more organic healthcare or just can’t make it to the pharmacy.  Since it can often be difficult to separate the scientific fact from fiction, we’ve compiled a guide to the everyday, affordable materials that have been shown to relieve the pain and wipe out early infections.MORE: Are You Overmedicating On OTC Drugs?

Other OptionsSome of the most popular alternative choices to the treatments discussed above:Slippery elm – The bark of this North American tree is often used to treat gastrointestinal disorders, skin ulcers, coughs, and sore throats. More specifically, the tree’s mucilage—a sticky, gelatinous substance that contains protein and polysaccharides—has a demulcent effect, meaning it coats tissue and reduces pain and inflammation. Slippery elm is most often taken in the form of lozenges.Pelargonium sidoides – While the mechanism is unknown, this African geranium species is antibacterial and has been shown in clinical trials to reduce cold symptoms ranging from nasal congestion and headaches to fever and sore throats. The plant is a major component in many cold medicines, including Umcka ColdCare.Garlic – This bulbous plant is antimicrobial, says Dr. Asher, and therefore potentially useful in treating early-stage sore throats. Unfortunately, scientific studies haven’t linked directly linked the two and you risk having horrible breath.While these treatments can be useful in relieving pain, they can’t cure more serious infections like strep. Dr. Asher suggests making an appointment with your physician if you see white patches on the back of your throat, are so sore you can’t eat or drink anything, or have a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for longer than two days [less time for children].