Dear Kind and Lovely People, I have some helpful, positive news!
The Journal of Singing (from the National Association of Teachers of Singing) has just published a two-part literature review on the science behind common vocal remedies, hoping to learn whether they actually work (Oct 2016). They found that, generally, they do!
If you’re buying tea or lozenges over the counter, look for these known effective ingredients, as evaluated by Germany’s Commission E (the FDA doesn’t endorse or regulate herbal medicines):
Slippery Elm bark
If you’re making a warm drink at home, include honey. It’s been clinically proven to reduce pain and speed healing.
Two of my favorite feel-better teas are:
- Fresh ginger root, peeled and boiled in water for 20-30 minutes (about an 1.5” of root for every quart of water). You can make a lot at one time and store it in the refrigerator. If it’s too ginger-y, dilute with water. If it’s not gingery enough, let some water boil away. Add honey to taste. Sip.
- The juice of one lemon in a cup of boiled water with as much cayenne pepper as I can stand and honey to taste. Sip.
I’ve been drinking them for years. For me, they keep the phlegm moving and my spirits up.
Not every remedy will work for every person, every time. If something makes you feel worse, stop taking it. If you’re dehydrated, fix that first. If you have a sore throat, avoid numbing agents (no menthol), the pain is protecting you from further injury.
If you’d like to read the Journal of Singing articles yourself, just send me an email (my address is at the bottom of this page) and I’ll send them (PDF).
Wishing you much health and vocal happiness,