First some tips for singers, performers or anyone feeling soreness of throat and strained voice…
So it happened, I woke up yesterday with sore throat and I cannot barely swallow… of course the first advice I would give myself as a singer is DO NOT overuse now that you are aware you are experiencing loss of voice (whichever the cause, allergies, cold, vocal misuse…). The symptoms of dysphonia vary from a fatigued, raspy voice, struggling to reach the high notes, or having its phonation altered so you squeak like a teenager or lose control of the pitch, or worse even… you’re absolutely voiceless. Time to STOP… Let it repair and rest, and check with a doctor if the problem persists too long as it could be masking further and more serious problems like nodes or thyroid gland malfunction.
But let’s say you got a respiratory infection, a nasty cold, you sang your lungs out, or you simply partied too much in a noisy environment and you woke up feeling your throat is on fire and having lost control of your voice… What can we do?
Hydration is the key
Number 1 advice is vocal rest but if you do have to perform and it’s absolutely unavoidable, drink a lot of warm (not cold) water, keeping your cords hydrated will help you to get rid of the phlegm that sticks to the back of your throat. Sipping warm water throughout the day works wonders against most ailments including this one. Avoid copious food as acid reflux is a vocal cords killer and may cause permanent laryngitis. Bad digestions equals to unhealthy voice. If you feel the need to cough try to repress it. Do not whisper, if you can´t talk, then don´t. Also remember warm up before any speech or performance to relieve further stress. If it gets worse, you were warned! REST! I will do an in depth article (or maybe video about more vocal tips if you are interested, but as I have had to deal with this discomfort myself these last few days I wanted to share here my “miracle home remedy” that helps me to clear my voice when this happens
So I’m voiceless I need a quick fix… Time for a GINGER TEA VOCAL RESCUE
What ingredients do you need?
- Ginger root (fresh, sliced or grated)
- Lemon Juice
- Herbs (optional): Thyme, Peppermint, Sage
- Spices (cardamom, clove, cinnamon, a pinch of cayenne pepper)
Just add the ingredients and heat until it simmers, let it rest until it’s warm.
Water of course is the basic ingredient, as I mentioned at the
beginning of this article “hydration is the key”. So keep in mind to
prepare enough to refill your cup when you need.
Herbs and spices are optional but these extra ingredients allow you to make different combinations and vary the taste of your tea and each one has their particular benefits. The honey helps to coat your throat to achieve a smoother voice. You can also use propolis instead which has enhanced antibacterial properties but some people dislike the taste and smell of it. Lemon is acid and promotes the production of saliva, helping to get rid of phlegm and mucus. These herbs can boost your “witchy potion”. Peppermint is good to clear the phlegm, thyme is a natural antibiotic and will help to keep mild respiratory infections at bay. Some people add also Licorice Root. The spices also helps in keeping oral health and assist in your digestion… but let’s talk of course about the main ingredient ginger root.
The rhizoma of Zingiber Officinale looks like a plump fairy
or a mandrake root from a witch’s apotechary :). Ginger has a lot of
medicinal properties, many of which have been proved scientifically…
The benefits of ginger tea are proved and lots of singers and voice
professionals will tell you this: It simply works!!! It
is caffeine free but works as a booster, increasing your body
temperature and metabolism, it aids your immune system and also has
antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties- It also helps with
nausea… too good to be true? It is also delicious in an exotic way but
beware, it’s rather spicy too, so if you like it mild use slices
instead of grated root.
If you don’t like the taste of the tea at all you can also gargle it… though, oh my, what a waste! 😉
Also if you are in a hurry you can grate ginger and keep it in a glass flask preserved in honey, so when you need the “rescue” you only have to put a spoonful in hot water with lemon and ready to go!
By the way this tea is delicious and you don’t have to be sick to
drink, it´s also good for self-care and prevention to keep your singing
voice in good shape.
I want to state that I’m not a vocal coach, and if you do experience a permanent loss of voice, both a doctor to check and a vocal coach to teach you a proper vocal technique (to sing and/or speak) are highly recommended to avoid further damage. But if you are experiencing just a temporary loss of your voice I hope you find this article useful. I just wanted to share this “quick fix” as it works amazingly well for me.