Strep Throat - Pharyngitis
What is Strep Throat?

Plants with Medicinal Properties
Epidemiology of Pharyngitis References
Clinical Manifestations of Pharyngitis Return to Disease Index

By Kathy Lowe, Monique Ramsey, and Ying Wang

Medicinal Plants of the Southwest
Summer 2003


Picture Courtesy of Bechara Y. Ghorayeb, MD

Do herbal remedies relieve the symptoms of strep throat? In our research we have found that certain plants contain active constituents which relieves pain and speeds the healing process. They also have properties that are antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Three plants that we examined were rosemary, yarrow, and yerba mansa.

WHAT IS STREP THROAT?

It is an inflammation of the throat caused by either the Adenovirus or a Group A Streptococcus (GAS).  Symptoms usually show as a red and painful sore throat with white patches on their tonsils.  Some people may have swollen lymph nodes in the neck, run a fever, and have a headache (NIAID, 2003). 

EPIDEMIOLOGY OF PHARYNGITIS

The common cause of the sore throat is by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes.  It's transmitted by respiratory secretions and contaminated food and water.  The highest incidence occurs during the winter months because of the increased risk of exposure due to crowding.  

CLINICAL MANIFESTATIONS OF PHARYNGITIS

This disease usually occurs in young children ranging in ages from infancy to four years of age.  They usually have sub acute symptoms with a protracted course manifesting more like a common cold.  In older children ages four years and older shows as a sudden onset of acute , localized infection- painful pharyngitis  (tonsillopharyngeal edema, erythema and exudate)  fever and tender cervical lymph nodes.


Picture Courtesy of Bechara Y. Ghorayeb, MD

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Plants with Medicinal Properties for Strep Throat

Rosemary : Yarrow : Yerba Mansa



Picture by Kathy Lowe

Rosemary

(Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary is an evergreen shrub usually found growing in dry scrub and rocky places, especially near the sea (Rosemary, 2003).  However, it can also be grown as a house plant and cultivated anywhere conditions are viable. This aromatic plant prefers to grow in hot sunny places with slightly alkaline dry soil. 

The medicinal uses of Rosemary are as a tonic, astringent, anti-inflammatory, nervine and carminative.

For sore throat: Dilute 1 tsp. of equal parts of Rosemary, Sage, Myrrh, and Echinacea tinctures in 5 tsp. of water and gargle. Swallow mixture. Do not take if pregnant. (Chevallier, 1996).

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Picture courtesy of Jeff Abbas

Yarrow

(Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow has been called many things, such as bloodwort, herbe militaire, nosebleed, soldier's woundwort, staunchgrass, thousand seal, and many more. In ancient times, it was used to staunch war wounds, now it is also used to help recovery from colds and flu and is beneficial for hay fever (Chevallier, 1996).

Yarrow contains active constituents that relieve pain and speed the healing of wounds, such as: azulene, camphor, eugenol, rutin, salicylic acid, and tannins. It is also used by herbalists to treat bruises, colds, fevers, hypertension, and sore throats. Other benefits is that it is a mild digestive aid, relieves menstrual cramps, has a moderate sedative effect, and can be taken in cases of hypertension (Elias & Masline, 1996).

Yarrow has properties of anti-inflammatory, astringent, antibacterial tonic, diuretic, and induces perspiration (Davidow, 1999).  

In the case of sore throat, the aerial parts are used to make an infusion with equal amounts of peppermint and elder flower, and taken three times a day.



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Yerba Mansa (Anemopsis Californica)
Br. Alfred Brousseau, Saint Mary's College

Yerba Mansa

(Anemopsis Californica)

Yerba Mansa is a part of the Saururaceae family or the Lizard Tail family because of it particular shape. Yerba Mansa is also known as Bearsweed, Lizard Tail, Consumptive Weed, Holy Herb, Mountain Balm, and Swamp Root.

Yerba Mansa is a perennial herb native to the Southwestern area of the United State. It is a moisture loving plant and it can be found mainly in wet meadows and desert springs. It thrives in saline and alkaline rich soils while most other plants can not tolerate. Doing so, yerba mansa can gradually improve the soil and make the soil more acidic.

Some active chemicals found in Yerba Mansa are Methyleugenol, esdragole, thymolmethylether, binalool, p-cymene, and asarinin.

The chemical properties of Yerba Mansa are different than those of Goldenseal, yet it has the same healing effects. Other than to treat strep throat, yerba mansa can also be used for inflammation of mucous membranes, swollen gums, stomach ulcers, chest congestion, and cold.


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References

Baca Institute of Ethnobotany.http://anthro.fortlewis.edu/ethnobotany/baca/Wildcrafting/ymansa.htmAccessed July 3, 2003.

California Academy of Sciences.  http://www.calacademy.org/research/botany/wildflow/names/202368f.htm   Last updated December 2001. Accessed July 3, 2003.

Chevallier, Andrew. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.  Dorling Kindersley, London, England, 1996.

Davidow, Joie. Infusions of Healing.  Fireside, 1999.

Elias, Jason, M.A., L.Ac, and Shelagh, Ryan Masline.The A-Z Guide to Healing Herbal Remedies.Wings Books,  1996.

Geocities.  http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Canopy/1956/rosemary.html  Accessed July 7, 2003.

Medina, A.L.  The Essential Oil Composition and Anti-microbial Activity of Yerba Mansa (Anemopsis californica) Leaves. New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, December 2002.

Moore, M.  Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West: A guide to identifying, preparing, and using traditional medicinal plants found in the desert and canyons of the West and Southwest.  Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa, Fe, New Mexico, 1989.

Murray, R.P., Rosenthal, K.S., Kobayashi, G.S, and Pfaller, M.A.  Medical Microbiology.  Mosby, Inc,  St. Louis, Missouri  2002.

Native American Ethnobotany.  http://herb.umd.umich.edu  Accessed July 7, 2003

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).  http://www.niaid.nih.gov Accessed July 7, 2003


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Thanks goes to http://www.patswebgraphics.com for the ivy and leaf graphics
Last updated July 17, 2003
For more information contact Dr. Mary O'Connell at moconnel@nmsu.edu

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