Almost every singer, speaker, actor or fellow clergy with whom I have worked, has on more than one occasion had to perform with a tired or over-used voice, some level of mucus and low energy. It seems to be part of our job description. Whether it's an audition, presentation, performance or sermon, we need to be in top vocal form. However, life's responsibilities simply don't disappear when we need to be on.
For a myriad of reasons, our voice may be ragged and tired and our bodies may be lacking the energy needed to bring the voice up and out of our bodies with a full confident sound. So I would like to suggest some outstanding natural alternatives for proper vocal health care, to refined sugar, caffeine, and drugs that I, for one, have been using for many years. These alternatives will energize your voice, mind, and body naturally. They work almost immediately, help to restore and remove mucus from the cords and throat and best of all, have no side effects.
Over-used, tired throat, and vocal cords
There are a number of herbs that can provide instant relief for the tired throat and vocal cords. These may be used in extract form (liquid) as a gargle or as a tea. I prefer to gargle because the herbs go directly into the throat and coat the muscles and vocal cords, as well as removing unwanted mucus and debris providing me with immediate relief. Teas tend to pass through the throat more quickly and contact to the affected area is not as dramatic. In addition, the herbal content in most tea bags is considerably less than that in an extract.
Also, for general vocal health care, the heat in the throat can be an effective healing agent, thereby relaxing the inflamed area. If you do purchase these herbs as teas, drink them hot with some honey. Adding lemon can be helpful but too much citrus can dry the throat and cords, so be careful as to the amount you use. A good one time squeeze one time should suffice.
The following herbal combination is one of the best remedies I have known. It is a combination of the herbal extracts Ginger, Cayenne, Slippery Elm, Turmeric and Sage. Each of these herbs has exceptional properties that help with swelling, inflammation and pain. This combination has also been used successfully for laryngitis and hoarseness. Each individual herb can be found at any health food store but use the non alcohol brands. The alcohol content in certain extracts is usually quite high and can dry the throat and vocal cords, not to mention affecting brain focus.
Making a solution to gargle is very easy. Simply follow the steps below:
Fill a cup with 2 oz. of warm water
Add 10 drops of each extract to the water
Mix in a half a tablespoon of honey
Gargle three times every two hours until you have to sing or present
Be sure to allow it to go as far down into your throat as possible
Gargle one last time just minutes before singing. Try not to swallow the mixture. Swallowing small amounts will not harm you in any way except that it may make you a bit nauseous
Vocal Health Care and Energy
Without adequate energy, all of the above mentioned remedies can be of little or no value. The best form of energy we have is in the food we eat. Your nutritional decisions at times like these will determine your overall effectiveness as a performer. Do not take proper nutrition for granted. In cases like these you need the most effective and powerful fuel you can get. Below you may find some excellent foods that provide outstanding energy without creating mucus in the throat or making you feel bloated, nervous, or groggy.
1. Gogi Berries
Dried fruits---for example, mangos are loaded with potassium. Pineapple contains Bromelain which helps to heal inflammation.
3. Nuts: sunflower seeds, almonds (sprouted) and pumpkin seeds
4. Hard-boiled eggs
5. Beans and lentils
7. Broccoli, asparagus, spinach
8. Brown rice
10. Freshly squeezed vegetable juice
Being a Cantor, teacher, nutritional consultant, and singer, I understand the extraordinary demands put on the Voice Professional. Our craft is a complete mental, physical, and spiritual one. We need to take care of ourselves and many times we need additional support. Getting it from the right sources is key. You have the choice to decide how you will take care of your voice. Choosing wisely and effectively will ensure a joyous and successful career.
As always I wish you the best on your quest for Superior Vocal Health.
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