A friend of mine who is a professional singer recently asked me if there was any herbs or foods that can be taken for Aphonia – which is the medical term for loss of voice.
Indeed there is and it’s the same treatment that is recommended for acute Laryngitis – which is the inflammation of the vocal cords. This can be caused by many things, talking or singing too much in the case of my friend, but vocal cord inflammation can also be caused by smoking, the common cold, influenza and other viral and bacterial infections. The symptoms can present where that voice is husky or absent(Aphonia) and where talking or singing causes pain.
The treatment will include first and foremost the prescription to stop talking and singing for two days and rest the vocal cords. This may not be always a viable option for a professional singer that must keep important performance dates. Its important however not to push ones voice beyond its limits as this can rouse infection and invade the windpipe and bronchi resulting in croup - which is alerted by high fever and characteristic cough, requiring hospital treatment.
But generally acute Laryngitis is self inflicted and will abate itself or ‘self-limit’ when one rests for a few days, however here are some traditional remedies that help if you lose your voice:
- Make an infusion(tea) of the leaves of garden sage, garden thyme or raspberry leaves. Drink three cups daily.
- As a gargle, make a tea of equal parts sage and raspberry leaves, let cool, gargle and swallow, or gargle and spit.
- Herbal capsules made from Lobelia and Island moss will help.
- 3-5 drops of a tincture of cinnamon quills added to a spoon of raw honey is an old remedy to ease the voice box.
- Steep one ounce of scraped Horseradish root in cold water for two hours. Add two teaspoons of runny honey. Take 2-3 teaspoons every two hours.
- Steam inhalation can also be beneficial, using the essential oils of Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Niaouli, Geranium, Lavender or Sandlewood. Instruction on how to do a steam inhalation is as follows: Pour boiling water into a basin that is placed on a table. Let the steam evaporate off for a few seconds and then add one or more of the above essential oils to the water. Sit on a chair in front of the basin and tilt head directly over the basin and cover head and basin with a towel. Inhale deep and slowly through the mouth for 10 minutes. This will have a relaxing effect on the vocal cords and a clearing effect on the sinus and respiratory system.
- Broth soup. Broth soup made from boiling the meat and bones of chicken, lamb or beef, with some vegetables and herbs has an amazing healing effect on the mucus membranes that line the area in the vicinity of the vocal cords. A great recommendation for convalescence for any illness is to eat broth soup exclusively for a number of days.
- Chronic Laryngitis is hoarseness or loss of ones voice from the malfunction of the vocal cords by disease such as stroke, stress or nerve damage and the treatment protocol is different to above.