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Certified Health Coach, Award Winning Author, Motivational Muse

Silenced! Well, Not Really!

Mother Nature has played a nasty trick on me. She robbed me of my voice.  Dry, frigid winter air is playing tricks on my vocal chords. The doctor calls it “asthmatic bronchitis.”  After five days, I call it a nuisance but have learned that a sense of humor is the best medicine of all.

It’s tricky. I host radio shows and talk for a living. I enjoy speaking my mind. My husband must be enjoying the quiet. Thankfully, I can communicate through my writing. I’ve tried all the remedies Facebook friends have suggested. Here are a few and my thoughts:

© Bohuslav Jelen |

Chicken soup. Called “Jewish penicillin,” it can soothing the system and help with decongestion (as can any warm soup). But, what if you don’t like chicken soup? Try this: Steam some spinach in a skillet; pour the residual water in a mug and heat in a microwave till lightly warm (not too hot). Add fresh herbs, like thyme and oregano (both healing on the throat) and sip like tea. Or, make vegetable broth from all your kitchen scraps.

Honey, Ginger, Lemon Tea at Le Pain Quotodien

Honey, ginger, lemon tea. Love this and it is very soothing, especially the amazing version I drank at Le Pain Quotidien. Raw honey has antibacterial properties and is filled with antioxidants, but be aware that much of the honey sold at supermarkets is pasteurized, which destroys beneficial nutrients. Make sure you are buying raw honey, preferably local to your area. Here is a recipe I found by a blogger who loves Le Pain Quotodien’s version as much as I do.

Recipes: Excerpted from Cooking with Scraps: Turn Your Peels, Cores, Rinds, and Stems into Delicious Meals by Lindsay-Jean Hard (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2018. Photographs by Penny De Los Santos.”

Suck on semi-sweet chocolate. While this did not improve my voice, the chocolate was delicious. And dark chocolate, consumed in moderation, has many other health benefits. Inspired, I made fudge brownies from aquafaba (canned chickpea water) from Lindsey-Jean Hard’s book, “Cooking with Scraps.” They are pretty good! Link to recipe

Photo: Pixabay

Gargle with salt water. My mother-in-law does this every day and she is fit as a fiddle at age 86. If you can tolerate the queasy feeling as you gargle, go for it. I also tried inhaling saline water to relive my nasal congestion through a neti pot. It was messy but worked. But you need to keep the neti pot cleaned, otherwise it will trap bacteria.

A bottle of peppermint essential oil with fresh peppermint twigs in the background

Aromatic inhalation. My physician gave me an inhaler. It was like vaping. But it made me dizzy and you have to rinse with water after each puff to avoid any potential damage to your teeth and gums. Who needs that? However, I found mixing a few drops of peppermint oil into my coconut oil and rubbing on my upper body and dabbing under my nostrils really opened everything up. And I smelled fabulous!

Photo: Irina Petrova/Dreamstime

A shot of whiskey. My Dad used to give me Rock and Rye when I was kid to clear up my throat and chest congestion. It works for me, even though medical wizards advise against consuming alcohol in this condition. I mix a little Bourbon or Rye Whiskey with honey and lemon and take a nip at bedtime. Slept like a baby!

Some advice from Mayo Clinic:

Avoid: smoking, consuming alcohol and caffeine  which can dry out your vocal chords, and clearing your throat and whispering. Both can strain them. Mayo Clinic also advises to avoid using decongestants which can dry out your throat.

Do: rest your voice (no whispering), drink plenty of non-caffeinated fluids, use a humidifier and gargle with salt water.

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