Sore Throat

Losing your voice? Throat feeling a little raw? Keep them both healthy with the following natural tips for stressed vocal cords.
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0

Whether you're a professional singer, speaker, or teacher, or you just cheer too loudly at ball games, voice overuse can make you hoarse. It's painful, annoying, and can even cause permanent vocal cord damage if not treated properly.

6743

"It is possible for someone to permanently damage their voice if they do not seek help for a sore throat or overuse of their voice," says Steven E. Davis, MD, an ear, nose, and throat specialist based in Los Angeles. According to Davis, an infection or cold can also cause a sore throat or laryngitis. In fact, sore throats have innumerable causes, including bacteria, viruses, allergies, postnasal drip, and even acid reflux.

Whatever the cause of your pain, it is important to rest the voice. In some cases, just one episode of yelling can damage vocal cords.

"This kind of injury is likely to be a kind of small blood blister that forms on the vocal cords," says Davis. "Long-term voice misuse can cause nodules to form. The voice box has many small and delicate muscles attached to it, and they can be strained and injured just like any other muscle in the body." In this case, Davis recommends a kind of "physical therapy" for the voice, provided by a speech therapist specializing in the professional voice.

Simple Ways to Save Your Voice
Davis says that for any type of sore throat, there are also some at-home throat soothers you can try before visiting a doctor. "I'm a big believer in a minimalist approach at first," he says.

  • First and foremost, take preventive measures, such as washing your hands, to prevent infection.
  • Treat allergies or acid reflux if these are the causes.
  • For an acute sore throat, gargle with saltwater.
  • If your throat hurts for a day or two, followed by a "head cold," and then sinus congestion, the nose is a likely location of an infection. This can be addressed with a saline rinse, such as that used with a neti pot.
  • Stay hydrated. "If you're sick, your body's metabolic rate goes up and you use a lot more water, so it's important to stay well hydrated," says Davis. He recommends rehydrating with sports drinks. "Water is less helpful than sports drinks when you're sick because it doesn't replace sugars and salt that your body
    is also losing."
  • Try steam or humidifiers with menthol or eucalyptus essential oil.
  • Rest the voice-but don't whisper! "Whispering creates more of a strain on the voice and should be avoided," says Davis. "A speech therapist can give you exercises and instructions on how to use your voice in a more gentle way."

Herbal Throat Soothers and Gargles
In 2007, the FDA declared that over-the-counter cough remedies are not only ineffective for children, but are also dangerous. Here are some herbal alternatives that can do wonders for both children and adults, according to naturopathic doctor Mary Bove, ND, who practices at the Brattleboro Naturopathic Clinic in Brattleboro, Vt.

  • Figs: Figs contain mucilage that coats the throat. "I would recommend simmering figs and drinking the warm liquid, and eating fruits warm," says Bove. "Try adding cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg to the liquid for additional antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects."
  • Slippery Elm: Slippery elm also contains mucilage and can be found in specially formulated teas, sprays, and lozenges. Add honey for an added antibacterial effect. The root can be steeped in water to make a tea by adding 1 teaspoon per cup of water and covering overnight.
  • Marshmallow: The natural root of the marshmallow contains mucilage that can coat the throat to ease pain. Prepare as you would slippery elm.
  • Pineapple juice: Pineapple juice contains the anti-inflammatory enzyme bromelain.

Gargles:

  • Apple cider vinegar: Dilute the vinegar in water with honey.
  • Goldenseal tea: Follow package instructions for making the tea and then let cool before gargling with it. Strong sage tea, cooled, also works great as a gargle for sore throats.
  • White oak bark, myrrh, and peppermint: "This blend helps with red inflamed vocal cords or swollen tonsils," says Bove.
  • Water with lemon and a dash of cayenne pepper: The capsaicin in cayenne pepper temporarily acts on pain receptors to decrease pain. Salt can be added to any gargle and has an antibacterial effect. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to a cup of what you are gargling.

Natural Products to Try

There are many natural products that can come to the rescue-whether you're just coming down with a sore throat or want to protect your vocal chords for singing or public speaking. Here are four of our favorites to try:

  • Herb's Etc. Singer's Saving GracE: Made with a soothing blend of herbs, this popular throat spray can be used to keep your vocal cords in peak form for singing or speaking, while also easing sore throats from colds, flu, or infections. It also helps prevent dry mouth.
  • Heel Vinceel: This homeopathic throat spray is designed to treat sore throats, hoarseness, and canker sores. The formula contains various
    homeopathic remedies that target different symptoms, including redness, pain, and swelling.
  • Quantum Health Elderberry Lozenges: These tasty lozenges harness the immune-boosting benefits of elderberry, vitamin C, and echinacea, and the throat-soothing properties of marshmallow root, mullein, eucalyptus, and peppermint. They are sweetened with stevia and natural flavors.
  • Rainbow Light Counter Attack Immuno-Response is loaded with herbs that can help knock a cold out at the first signs (e.g., a sore, scratchy throat). For sore throat pain relief, herbs such as mullein and goldenseal are included.

Related

Want to live more naturally and feel better? In this second of our three-part series, here are 30 more ways to overhaul your diet, beauty routine, home environment, and lifestyle.

Go Natural in 90 Days

Want to live more naturally and feel better? In this second of our three-part series, here are 30 more ways to overhaul your diet, beauty routine, home environment, and lifestyle.

4912

Stress Busters

Running on empty? Feeling overwhelmed? Having trouble shaking off colds and flu? You're probably under too much stress.

Go Natural in 90 Days - Bicycle Riding

Go Natural in 90 days

As we head into the final weeks of summer, we're wrapping up our three-month-long series with 30 ways to live naturally and boost your health—from simple supplement upgrades to life-changing diet advice. If you missed the first two installments in our June and July issues, visit betternutrition.com.

5162

Great Expectations

Pregnancy can be a joy, but it can also bring uncomfortable symptoms. Try these natural ways to relieve them.

3876

NAC the Super Nutrient

When it comes to keeping your liver healthy, combating cold and flu symptoms, and treating obsessive-compulsive disorder, nothing quite compares to NAC.

Would you like to have more energy, sleep better, feel less stressed, eliminate annoying aches, pains, and other discomforts, and get on top of your game? Try harnessing the power of nature.

Go Natural in 90 Days

Would you like to have more energy, sleep better, feel less stressed, eliminate annoying aches, pains, and other discomforts, and get on top of your game? Try harnessing the power of nature.