Laryngitis leaves a person speechless. At best, the person speaks in a raspy tone or in a whisper. Severe cases lead to a complete loss of the voice. It is inconvenient, especially if your occupation involves a great deal of vocal communication. Acute laryngitis lasts just a few days, but chronic cases can last weeks or even longer. Sometimes it is painful.
The larynx is located in the throat. It is commonly known as vocal chords or vocal folds. It becomes inflamed (the itis’ part of laryngitis) for a number of reasons. A virus, as in a cold, is the most common cause. Bacteria and fungal infections can also cause hoarseness. The coughing which comes with respiratory illness may lead to laryngitis. Over use or abuse of the vocal chords through excessive shouting or incorrect singing habits stress the voice, causing inflammation. Smokers may find themselves with a case of laryngitis. A heavy bout of alcohol intake irritates the throat as well. The throat may erode due to acid reflux. Occasionally, the vocal chords may be disturbed by the presence of a tumor, leading to loss of vocal power.
We cannot claim to cure or treat laryngitis. Natural healing does not necessarily offer specialized recommendations. Instead, illness or disease is seen as an indication that the body is over loaded with issues which cause stress. Issues range from improper care for your body to toxic pollutants.
In our hectic lives, we often neglect the proper care and feeding of our bodies. Insufficient rest, junk food (and drinks), and exposure to environmental toxins take their toll.
At the first sign of a sickness, one needs to realize that the body has been under more stress than it can handle. Too often, we want to take a cup of tea or some pills and continue doing what we have been doing all along. Think again.
Many natural healers recommend beginning intervention for particular ailments with the simplest remedies.
So, let us begin with a common recommendation: get rest and drink plenty of fluids.
Sleep is underrated as a healing modality. True, many ills need a bit more than extra sleep for their resolution, but resting in bed (or on the sofa during the daytime) allows the body to pour its energy more effectively into the immune system.
In addition, while you sleep, in the dark of night, melatonin is produced. Melatonin is important in regulating the body’s daily (circadian) rhythm. It is a powerful antioxidant, which can cross cell membranes and the blood brain barrier. Even the products of melatonin’s attack on free radicals have antioxidant activity. Longevity is one of the side effects of melatonin’s action in the body as it seems to generate a powerful response from the immune system. It may assist in fighting viral and bacterial infections, including those which may be implicated in laryngitis.
So, get plenty of rest, especially in a dark room at night. If you need to get up, do not turn on a light. And when you wake up, be sure to drink plenty of water.
Water is essential to life. The body is at least seventy percent water. The body counts on blood and lymph fluids as transportation systems. They carry nutrients and immune system components to where they are needed and cart off waste products. Too many people stumble through their day to day lives depriving their bodies of necessary fluids or consuming substances which decrease the available fluids. So, it is essential that one increase fluid intake during times of stress.
Certainly, the first choice of fluids is good quality water. Much has been written about pure water so we need not cover that topic here. Suffice to say that if you drink contaminated water, it will be more difficult for the body to focus on cleaning up the vocal chords.
Eliminate dairy products. While that dish of ice cream may sound appealing when your throat is hot and sore, its effect will be extremely short lived. Milk products tend to increase mucus production in the body, which tends to muck things up. In the end, mucus accumulation makes it more difficult for the immune system to send in the troops.
Other helpful liquids are available which can assist in clearing the mess which has led to the laryngitis.
Honey has been shown to be as effective as patent cough syrup. It is astringent, clearing away inflammation and some of its causes. Raw honey has enough sugar in it to give that little boost of energy, but many of the enzymes to help the body effectively use that sugar. The little bit of nutrition in honey also helps in healing.
Add freshly squeezed lemon juice (or raw apple cider vinegar) in equal parts with the honey. This can provide vitamin C and some of the electrolytes which help to bring the acid/alkaline balance back to unhealthy tissues.
Squeeze the juice from half a lemon, mix it with a tablespoon or two of honey. Add this mixture to a cup of water. It does not matter if the water is warm or cool. Now, stir in one tenth teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Yes, you read that right cayenne pepper. The cayenne helps to break up mucus accumulation in and around the inflamed tissue.
A similar recipe, substituting grade B maple syrup for the honey constitutes the Master Cleanse. During the cleanse, drink ten to twelve cups of this lemonade throughout the day. Generally the Master Cleanse is presented as a form of fasting. You probably don’t feel much like eating when your throat is so sore and swollen.
If the concept of hot pepper intimidates you, try mixing honey and lemon in sage tea. Steep a tablespoon of dried sage leaves in three cups of boiling water. Do not boil the sage leaves, just pour the boiling water over the leaves and cover for fifteen minutes. Strain and add lemon and honey as above.
Another remedy recommended by the old herbalists is garlic syrup. Peel and chop the cloves of several garlic heads and place them in a jar. Cover with equal parts apple cider vinegar and distilled water. Shake well and allow to sit for four hours. Strain and add an equal amount of honey. Shake together. Cap. Store in the refrigerator. Take a teaspoon to a tablespoon every six to eight hours.
We cannot leave this subject without mentioning Grandma’s favorite remedy for what ails you: Chicken soup. Any soup, for that matter, which is made with lots of herbs and vegetables provides easily digestible nutrition. Our fore-mothers knew, perhaps intuitively, that herbs are for much more that taste. Many of them have antibiotic properties and can be a strong ally in repairing the damage we do to our bodies from day to day.
When you have laryngitis, realize that your body is telling you that you have not given it the care it deserves. Slow down, and get extra rest. You will find that you don’t have much appetite, so don’t be afraid to cut back on your food intake (especially those junk foods that we are all so fond of). Drink plenty of fluids. Honey, lemon, sage, and garlic are primary tools for getting back in communication with your world.