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Saltwater gargle, does it help against covid-19 and other conditions?

Posted on October 20, 2021

As the world keeps on searching for the cure and advanced ways to control the spread of coronavirus disease, there is one particular topic that has generated many discussions and interests on the internet the role of saltwater gargle for covid-19 control.

So, what are the facts behind the saltwater gargling claim, and are there medical evidence that it can help fight respiratory tract infections or covid-19. Read on through the post as we discuss the saltwater gargle and its role in the war against coronavirus and other conditions.

What is a saltwater gargle?

Saltwater gargle is a simple, cheap, safe, and natural home remedy for most common colds. The practice has been common for generations because of its ease of accessibility and effectiveness. Also, it is a safe and cheap alternative to medicated mouthwashes.

According to history, the use of salt water gargle can be dated back to 1600 B.C., and its uses and benefits are recorded among the world’s oldest health journals.

For example, Greek medicine used a mixture of salt and honey to create an ointment to disinfect cuts and wounds, while traditional Egyptian medicine men used saltwater and non-infective solution to dry and treat injuries.

How to make a saltwater solution.

Making saltwater solutions is a simple and easy procedure. All you need to avail is clean water and table salt. Though using cold water will give the same results, it is best to use warm water since it is ideal for quick salt dissolution and better results.

If you want better results, mix ¼ to ½ tablespoon of salt in one cup of water. Stir well until dissolution and take while warm because it needs to mirror the body temperature. Alternatively, you can add baking soda to the saltwater solutions using the same ration of salt.

To get better results from using saltwater gargle, do the procedure two to three times a day. But if the condition is worse, you can repeat the process after every two to three hours.

If the congestion or pain doesn’t reduce slightly after series of gargling with salt water, you should try some medical remedies or seek professional help from the health care provider.

Benefits of saltwater gargles for covid-19

  1. Reduces from upper respiratory tract infections and sore throats.

Sore throats and upper respiratory tract infections are commonly characterized by scratchy, dry, painful feelings along the tract and throat.

Their causes range from infections to the environment to allergies. Though they are painful and uncomfortable, they mostly disappear on their own; however, some will stick for long, leading to other health complications.

While it might be seen as an old remedy and lack enough medical support, gargling with salt water is effective for relieving sore throat pains and inflammation. The practice is highly effective for colds and flu that cause mild sore throats.

  • Improves dental health.

Proper dental hygiene is essential for keeping your teeth, gums, and tongue healthy; brushing your teeth twice daily and gargling at least once with saltwater is the beginning towards a healthy mouth.

Saltwater kills dental bacteria and removes food particles stuck between the teeth preventing tooth decay and bad breath, and gingivitis.

What’s more, saltwater is a cheaper method of maintaining dental health. It is also a cost-effective alternative for medical mouthwashes. Remember, it is essential to note that saltwater should not be used past the recommended quantity.

Too much salt in the mouth can cause high sodium deposits between the teeth leading to a condition that can ruin your enamel called teeth erosion.

  • Reduces allergy-induced respiratory problems.

Allergic reaction is a condition where the immune systems react abnormally to foreign protein materials in the body. When you experience an allergy-induced sore throat from allergens like airborne particles such as dust, pollen, or pet dander, treatment usually becomes a little bit complicated.

Addressing the exact causes of the allergy is the sure way of alleviating the sore throat once and for all. But the use of salt water gargle can help reduce the symptoms such as clearing blocked nose, removal of phlegm, thus clearing the path for breathing.

Saltwater gargle and Covid-19 relationship.

Saltwater gargle is a time-tested home remedy for most common colds, flu, and sore throat pains. As a nasal rinse, gargling salt water can help blocked or stuffy nose due to colds or allergies. However, is it effective for the fight against the spread of coronavirus?

According to the World Health Organization’s report, there is no licensed drug for the prevention or treatment of covid-19. Most sources clearly point that there is no support that any form of gargling has no effect on the new strain of coronavirus.

Despite the blatant truth about the lack of cure of covid-19, researchers from Scotland are reviving hopes of using saltwater gargle for covid-19 prevention and treatment.

According to professor Aziz Sheikh, the Edinburg University Usher institute director, they are moving to the trial stage of saltwater intervention in people suspected or confirmed to be Covid-19 positive.

The trial will be based on the research published on March 29, 2021, in the Journal of Global Health titled “hypertonic saline solution rinse and gargling should be admitted as a treatment option for Covid-19”.

The research cited that DNA-and RNA-enveloped or non-enveloped viruses, mainly HSV, influenza A, human coronavirus, and respiratory syncytial virus, were significantly inhibited by the chloride ions in salt.

It further stated that, until a practical antiviral vaccine is found, saltwater (NaCl) saltwater may be considered effective for alleviating the symptoms since the salt antiviral effect works across all viruses.

According to the pilot study in 2019, known as Elvis and Viral Intervention study or ELVIS, they recruited healthy adults who were within two days of contracting colds. Out of 68 participants, 31% were infected with coronaviruses and 56% by rhinovirus, with the rest infected with various other viruses.

The control were asked to treat the cold normally as they have been doing, while the rest were requested to gargle and drain their nasal tract with saltwater at will. After this, researchers collected nasal swabs to check the quantity of cold virus in each one’s nose throughout the study.

It was found that 95% of people who used saltwater gargle and nasal rinse experienced reduced illness by 1.9 days. The use of over-counter medications like cough syrups also decreased. And because the virus was eliminated faster, they were not able to pass it to others.

Results of the hypertonic nasal rinse were equally beneficial. Participants confessed that the nasal irrigation helped reduce nasal congestion, make easier breathing, quick resolution of the symptoms, and reduce the severity of cold, allowing them to sleep.

While 60% of participants said they would use saltwater gargle in the future to treat cold, the numbers could increase to 86% if the procedure is made convenient.

Considerations of gargling with salt water.

Gargling with salt water is considered safe for adults and children aged more than six years. However, people experiencing difficulty gurgling or do not know how to gurgle should not try the procedure alone and wait for the guidance of a health professional.

For instance, you may involve the services of a pediatrician to advice on when the child is ready to gargle in cases of young children who cannot gurgle correctly.

You can gargle saltwater safely several times a day if necessary since it does not show any side effects on most people.

However, persons with medical conditions required to limit sodium intake, such as diabetes, should consult a doctor or a dentist before gargling saline solution rinse.

Doing this is essential since taking too much salt may cause several health conditions or alleviate an existing one. For instance, taking too much salt if you are suffering from HBP may increase diastolic and systolic pressure, increasing the risks of cardiac arrest.

Additionally, obesity and old age can raise blood pressure, increasing the effects of salt-rich diets. Again, many studies have related too much salt intake to increased risks of intestinal cancer, increased effects of stomach ulcers, and even premature death.


Saltwater is cheap, natural, easy to use, effective, safe, and clinically proven remedy for common colds and flu. It is a more cost-effective alternative for most medicated mouthwashes.

Saltwater gargle has been a great home remedy for nasal congestions and cold for generations due to its accessibility and effectiveness.

Saltwater gargle can reduce the throat viral load in patients with upper respiratory tract infections. But it can eliminate the viral load in the LRTI or the oropharynx.

Unlike the human coronavirus that affects the lower respiratory tract, Covid-19 always staying in the upper respiratory tract (the nose and throat) is easy to remove using the salt water gargling.

While there are several kinds of research trying to study the use of salt water gargle in the treatment of Covid-19, it is essential to note that there is no licensed drug practice confirmed to treat covid-19. Peoples should still abide by the WHO regulations to avoid the spread of the disease.