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Can Home Remedies Fix Your Voice?

Written by: Katarina Hornakova, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

If you lose your voice, experience hoarseness, or any changes to your voice, it can be challenging to continue working (especially if you rely on your voice for work) or even doing simple daily tasks, such as talking to your family and friends. Many people believe that home remedies can be a quick and effective solution to getting your voice back. For example, tea with ginger or lemon, salt water gargles, or honey is often mentioned as the cure for your voice. But is this really true?

There are many different causes of voice loss, hoarseness, and voice changes. These include viral or bacterial infections, overuse or misuse of the voice, swelling of the vocal folds, or more permanent changes to the structure of the vocal fold tissue, such as vocal nodules and polyps. Different causes will require different solutions and treatment options.


However, there is no evidence that home remedies like salt water gargles or tea with honey will fix any voice issues. If you have a sore throat as a result of an acute infection, such as a common cold or flu, they may temporarily alleviate some discomfort. But they definitely won’t reduce the roughness, hoarseness, or breathiness in your voice.


In fact, nothing that you eat or drink directly touches your vocal folds. If any food or drink touches the vocal folds, it means that they entered your airway and your body will protect you by coughing them out to prevent choking. Beverages, medicines and home remedies taken by mouth may contain helpful ingredients, but none of them wets or lubricates your vocal folds or improves their function. Their benefits are indirect. Drinking tea (with or without honey) is a good way to hydrate your body and voice, but it takes time to feel the benefits.


If you lose your voice, there are three basic things you can do to help your voice heal: rehydrate your voice (either drink plenty of fluids or steam your voice), rest it (use it only for the most important vocal tasks during your illness) and rehabilitate it when you feel better, with gentle vocal exercises, like humming or straw exercises.


The Best Foods and Drinks for Your Voice


One of the most basic things you can do to improve your voice or keep it healthy is to drink plenty of fluids. Good hydration helps your body produce thin, watery mucus, which lubricates the vocal folds and makes them work with less effort. Hydrated vocal folds are also less prone to vocal injuries and last longer.


On the other hand, there are some foods and drinks that can work against your voice. These are very individual and will depend on your body’s reaction to them. Avoid foods that you are allergic or sensitive to as they may increase overall inflammation in your body, including the tissues in your voice box. Also, avoid foods and drinks that trigger acid reflux (such as spicy foods), make you stay up all night (for example, coffee has this effect on many people), dehydrate your voice (like menthol lozenges), or make you overuse your voice (such as alcohol).


But don’t exclude broad food or drink categories from your diet just because you read it on the internet. Test it on your body and voice. For example, many people believe that drinking milk produces mucus in the throat, which makes it more difficult to use the voice. However, recent research suggests that there is no link between milk consumption and mucus production. In one study, participants reported increased mucus after drinking milk, but when the amount of mucus was actually measured, this was not true. Imagine that! These people thought that they had more mucus in their throat, but in reality, they did not!


Similar research has been done on coffee. For years, people considered coffee to be dehydrating and, therefore, bad for the voice. Today, research tells us that coffee is not as dehydrating as we thought it was in the past. So, you can have your cup of coffee or two, if that’s what you like. Just make sure that coffee is not your only drink. Drink some water too. And if coffee triggers acid reflux, then think twice before pouring yourself another cup of coffee before giving a speech.


Follow Katarina on her Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and visit her website for more info.


 

Katarina Hornakova, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Katarina Hornakova is a licensed speech-language pathologist, vocal health coach, and educator with 20+ years of experience working with diverse groups of people from all corners of the world, including speakers, singers, musicians, teachers, presenters, voice-over actors, entrepreneurs, yoga instructors, health educators, and others. She has published several books and articles on speech, language, and voice disorders. Katarina is most passionate about helping people who experience vocal tension, strain, or even pain when speaking find more vocal ease and confidence to share their message with the people around them. Her mission is to give voice to those who have lost it. She continues to develop her deep fascination with the human voice through the Estill Voice System model, which formed her belief that “every voice is beautiful”. Katarina has helped hundreds of people discover their true vocal potential. She is a curious life-long learner herself who loves to meet new people, cook, and travel.

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