Recently I was asked to be a guest on a podcast for singers and voice professionals. My role was to answer any questions about natural voice care from the callers. One of the most asked about issues, oddly enough, was allergies and how to deal with them naturally and safely without affecting the voice. As surprised as I was, the podcast prompted me to write this article about dealing with allergies and singing naturally.
Firstly, we must clarify what we are really focusing on. "Allergies" come in many forms shapes and sizes. My experience has been that most people I work with have, first and foremost, FOOD ALLERGIES! After a number of tests for food allergies, almost everyone discovers that what they have been eating is the problem. While this is not the case for all, it seems to be for most.
Eliminating white sugar, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, white flour, soda, gluten and alcohol from ones diet does wonders for overall health and vocal health. That being said, I am going to give you a number of herbs that can help when you may have allergies affecting your vocal mechanism. You may have some of these already in your cupboard so the cure may be closer than you think.
Chamomile-Chamomile has been used for ages as a treatment for allergies, in particular the German variety due to a chief compound within the chamomile called azulene. This compound when tested on guinea pigs has been shown to prevent allergic seizures for up to an hour after it was administered. It is also very useful when used to relieve hay fever.
Drinking 3-4 cups a day during allergy season can dramatically help your allergies not to mention the calming, digestive and healing effects i has on your whole body. You may also try inhaling chamomile as a steam for ten to fifteen minutes before going to sleep at night.
Fenugreek-Fenugreek seed is particularly useful for hay fever attacks. Soak the seeds in some filtered water for four to five hours, then boil the soaked seed for 2-3 minutes and drink one cup a day during the allergy season. You may find you have very few allergic attacks as before.
As an added bonus Fenugreek is a wonderful healing herb.When used as a tea it is an excellent gargle for a sore throat and will also help expel mucus from the bronchial passages.
Honey-Honey has been found to have properties that help with allergies. One helpful procedure I found doesn't cure hay fever and allergies but claims to drastically reduce them during allergy season. The person who gave me this remedy said you must follow the directions exactly as it only seems to work this way.
Start this procedure one month before allergy season starts. Begin by taking one teaspoonful of honey after each meal. Then every other day get a small, waxy piece of actual honeycomb and chew on it for a couple of hours in between meals. It sounds easy, effective and inexpensive to me. You will also end up benefiting from all the other wonderful healing agents found in honey as well.
The following are two combinations of herbs that when mixed equally and brewed as a tea are an excellent remedy for helping allergies.
1. Black Cohosh, Blessed Thistle, Pleurisy Root, Skullcap
2. Comfrey, Fenugreek
I have known many colleagues, speakers, teachers and presenters who have used variations of all of the above mentioned remedies for allergies. They are effective and also very helpful in overall body healing. As always, consult a qualified herbal practitioner and your medical doctor if you are mixing herbs and medications. Use good judgement and moderation when trying new formulas or herbal remedies for your vocal health.
I wish you the best on your quest for Superior Vocal Health.