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How to reduce swelling in neck glands

Updated November 21, 2016

The glands located in the neck are prone to swelling. Every time you get a cold, an ear infection or a sore throat, the glands in your neck can distend as a side effect of the immune system response to the infection. There are a number of remedies you can try to alleviate the discomfort and reduce the inflammation; the guide below outlines the most popular. Choose the one that sounds most appealing, or which you have the ingredients for on hand, and give it a whirl. If you're not happy with the results, you can always try another or follow the customary procedure of taking two aspirin and calling your doctor in the morning.

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  1. Brew a cup of marshmallow tea. This is not a cup of tea with a few jet-puffed sugar pillows floating on top. Marshmallow tea can be found in health food stores and is made from the ground-up roots of the marshmallow plant. Drinking 3 to 4 cups per day is said to relieve swollen neck glands.

  2. Pick 1 cup of fresh honeysuckle blossoms and place them in a pan. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the flowers and allow the brew to steep for 10 to 25 minutes. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or coffee filter and drink. The flower of the honeysuckle plant is said to reduce pain and swelling in the throat when consumed in this manner.

  3. Soak old towels in water that is as hot as you can bear to have your hands in. Wring the excess liquid from the towels and wrap the steaming cloths around the neck and ears. Leave in place until the cloths cool, and repeat. Alternatively, a hot water bottle can be held against the swollen gland to provide relief from the swelling.

  4. Pour 1 cup of milk into a microwaveable mug. Heat the milk in the microwave until it is near boiling. Stir in 1/4 tsp ground turmeric and 1/8 tsp iodised salt. Drink this twice a day until the swelling subsides. Turmeric functions as a natural antibacterial and antiseptic compound, while salt functions as an antimicrobial. Milk coats the throat and encourages the production of mucus, which is essential for clearing a throat of debris.

  5. Gargle with warm salt water if your swollen neck glands are caused by a sore throat. Mix 1/2 cup warm water and 1 tsp salt in a glass, and use it to rinse your throat and mouth. Repeat three to five times during the day, including just prior to going to bed each night and first thing in the morning.

  6. Tip

    For a child who shows a strong resistance to taking medicine, liquorice drops can be used to treat a sore throat and can help to reduce the swelling of neck glands. However, these are most effective when used in moderation and when combined with other treatments, since too much liquorice can have a laxative effect.


    If the swelling in the neck glands increases after 48 hours of home treatment, if the person with the swollen glands is experiencing difficult breathing, or if the neck glands are swollen due to injury rather than illness, seek professional medical advice immediately.

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Things You'll Need

  • Marshmallow tea
  • Honeysuckle blossoms
  • Old towels
  • Hot water
  • Hot water bottle
  • Milk
  • Turmeric, ground
  • Iodised salt
  • Warm water
  • Liquorice drops

About the Author

Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.

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