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Human beings are surrounded by lot of microbes, though these are tiny but able to carry deadly diseases. Microbes are the microscopic organisms which invades humans or the host for their reproduction and growth. They may be bacteria, virus, fungi, and protozoa; their invasion makes the host sick by initiating various symptoms. Throat infections which affects whole nasopharynx, oropharynx or lymphoid tissue is most common disorder caused by bacteria listed in Table.1. Bacterial infections are indicated from the symptoms .
Table. 1 Infections caused by bacteria and symptoms appears due to disorder
Group A Streptococcus or Streptococcus Pyogenes
Strep throat, Pharyngitis, Epiglotitis
Swollen lymph node, painful throat, fever
Sore throat, Difficulty in breathing, Swollen lymph glands.
Group C beta hemolytic streptococci
White yellowish formation of pus, Reddening & swelling of tonsils
Dry cough, runny nose, sore throat, headache, fatigue
2. SYMPTOMS OF THROAT INFECTIONS
Basic symptoms of throat includes red and painful sore throat, White patches on tonsils, swollen lymph nodes, mild fever, headache, loss of appetite as mentioned in Table. 1.
3. AVAILABLE REMEDIES FOR TREATMENT OF THROAT INFECTIONS
Due to wide range of virulence factor sometimes immune system fails to fight against pathogens at that time role of external agents play a vital role in increasing immune response and combats pathogens. External agents include Herbal or home remedies and Antibiotics listed in Table.2. Those therapies follow several principle and mechanisms to destroy microorganisms [3, 4]. Apart from antimicrobial drugs there are some other measures which bring relief and comfort from painful symptoms. They are like drinking enough fluids, taking rest; avoid smoking, taking warm chicken soup, using throat lozenges .
Table 2: Bacterial Throat Infections & their remedies
Group A Î²-hemolytic streptococcus (GABHS) or Streptococcus Pyogenes
Acute streptococcal Pharyngitis.
Garlic, honey, olive leaf extract, chamomile, sage,peppermint, lavender, jasmine, rosemary and thyme.
Penicillin VK, Amoxillin,Cephalexin, Erythromycin, Benzathine penicillin G injection, Cefadroxil
Beta-Haemolytic Streptococci (groups A, C and G)
Gallium aperine, also known as Cleavers, Salvia officinalis,
Fenugreek Seeds, Lime, Milk, Vegetable Juices
Penicillin V, Cephalosporins (cefalexin) or Cefadroxil or Procaine penicillin, Macrolides including Erythromycin & Azithromycin, Bismuth compounds
4. TREATMENT OF THROAT INFECTIONS USING HOME OR HERBAL REMEDIES
Herbal and natural remedies have been the primary source for treatment of bacterial and viral infections for centuries. Its antimicrobial properties help to relieve unpleasant symptoms. It basically acts as immunostimulating agent which boosts immune system to fight pathogens. Among the vast amount of information available about herbs from past and present, herbs such as Echinacea, Golden seal, Ginger, Garlic, and Lemon etc. can be used to treat cold and flu symptoms .
4.1 Action of Echinacea and Golden seal on infected throat
Golden seal and Echinacea contains a chemical constituent call berberine an alkaloid. It is reported to enhance macrophage activity and increase blood supply to spleen and this facilitates the immune system activity. The chemical berberine has major role in exciting the mucous membrane to unusual secretion of mucous which has its own innate antibiotic factors IgA . Some study suggests they inhibit the activator protein 1 (AP-1) a major transcription factor in inflammation resulting in reducing inflammation. They are believed to inhibit lymphocyte transformation hence activating T-helper cells to combat against pathogens. Action of Echinacea is to interfere with the activity of hyaluronidase, an enzyme secreted to neutralize cell membrane of host .
4.2 Action of Ginger on inflamed throat
Ginger is an excellent herb to use for strengthening and healing the respiratory system, as well as for fighting off colds and flu. It removes congestion, soothes sore throats. The primary known constitutes of ginger root are gingerol, zingibain, bisabolene, oleoresins, starch, essential oil, mucilage and protein. The herbal constituents of ginger makes it an alternative medicine in a number of inflammatory conditions caused may be due to aches or cold, flu & throat infections . Ginger extract inhibits pro inflammatory cytokines & chemokines release from stimulated macrophages rushed to infected site. 6-gingerol an active component of ginger has ability to inhibit function as well as activity of macrophages. Activity of macrophages concerned with expression of MHC class II molecules and co-stimulatory molecules like CD80, CD86 and CD40. With the initiation of antigen-dependent inflammatory response macrophages induces an effective T cell response. Ginger extracts decreases MHC class II molecule expression hence suppressing antigen presentation function of macrophages. It degrades co-stimulatory molecule expression required for T-cell activation thus inhibiting cytokine and chemokine production [10, 11]
4.3 Action of Garlic as antimicrobial agent
Evidence suggests garlic has potential to be treated as an antibacterial agent. It has tremendous antimicrobial spectra and large immune modulating activity. Garlic contains 33 sulphur compounds and 17 aminoacids, germanium; calcium, copper, iron potassium etc. The chemical constituent allicin a sulphur compound has major therapeutic effects in treatment of bacterial throat infections . Allicin has its role in inhibiting some of important thiol containing enzymes which alters the bacterial metabolism and cellular pH. It basically inhibits cysteine proteinases, alcohol dehydrogenases, thioredoxin reductases resulting in hampering the redox potential of microorganism ultimately causing destruction of pathogens .
4.4 Action of Honey on itching throat
Honey has been considered as an excellent traditional medicine for treatment of symptoms of throat infections and antibacterial agent. Honey is a carbohydrate rich syrup having glucose and fructose as its main component. It is known for its less moisture quantity and low water activity. It may be taken alone or in combination with other substance specially water. When taken alone it lubricates the throat walls providing relief from itching sensation. It main role is antibacterial in action due to its 4 attributes high osmomolarity, low pH, hydrogen peroxide content and other uncharacterized compounds . Super saturated solution of sugar does not permit growth of bacteria due to low water content. Honey is mildly acidic with pH 3.9 whereas average pH of pathogens are 4-4.5 hence it doesnââ‚¬â„¢t allow the growth of microorganisms. When honey is mixed with water hydrogen peroxide is formed by action of glucose oxidase present in honey, this hydrogen peroxide has antimicrobial effects on bacteria. Small amount of bactericidal activity is also due to presence of non-peroxides, terpenes, benzylalcohol, flavonoids (like pinocembrin). This special activity is found in Manuka honey .
4.5 Action of Salt water gargling on sore throat
Sore throat is caused due to inflammations and swelling in throat and inflammation is due to bacterial infections and swelling is due to accumulation of fluids and tissues causing pain, itching and other inflammatory responses. Salt water works on the principle of osmosis, due to high concentration of ions draws out excess of edema fluid from throat mucosa. This helps in reducing the symptoms of sore throat .
4.6 Action of Lemon on infected swollen throat
Vitamin C, Citric acid is 2 important constituent of lemon which has antimicrobial properties. Lemon is also known to be good oxidizing agent due to which it also acts as antihistamine and anti-infective agent. These compounds help in removal of toxic products of bacteria along with inactive acids from body. It also helps in increasing bodyââ‚¬â„¢s resistance and boosting immune functions of body .