Your throat hurts and you can’t make any sound. You have inflammation of the vocal cords, inflammation of the larynx, the part of the trachea where your vocal cords are located. Normally, the vocal cords open and close as you speak. When the vocal cords swell, they vibrate differently, causing hoarseness. In addition to excessive use of voice, laryngitis can be caused by colds and other viral infections, smoking, allergies or by sinus infection and exposure to irritants, such as dust or fumes, as well as certain medical conditions such as bronchitis or heartburn.
If you have inflammation of the vocal cords, the best way to regain your voice is to spend a week in the library. In other words – don’t talk, don’t even whisper. (It may seem strange, but a whisper strains the vocal cords as much as shouting). Resting your vocal cords will help prevent serious problems with them, such as bleeding or nodules, polyps or cysts. And while resting your voice, try one or more of the listed sedatives.
Do not clear your throat
No matter what you do, resist the urge to coughing or by clearing the throat. Both can damage your vocal cords. Try to suppress that feeling by drinking water slowly or simply by swallowing.
Coat your throat
Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of warm or lukewarm (not hot) water a day. The fluid keeps your larynx moist, which is a prerequisite for treating laryngitis. Other warm liquids, such as chicken soup from cooked bones without pasta, can also help alleviate this discomfort. Herbalists recommend soothing laryngitis by drinking desperate and golden teas (lat. Solidago virgaurea).
Desperate, a member of the mint family with hairy leaves, has long been added to cough drops from certain manufacturers. Goldfinch (or mullein) contains a gelatinous plant marrow that soothes irritated tissues. (Do not use divism on your own, certain parts of the plant are poisonous). To make one of these two teas, put one or two teaspoons of dried herbs in one cup of boiling water, let it soak for 10 minutes, strain and drink. Drink one to three cups a day. Both of these herbs can usually be found in health food stores.
Prevention of vocal cord inflammation
The old folk remedy for laryngitis is to drink 2 teaspoons of onion juice, followed immediately by taking 1 teaspoon of honey. Take it every three hours. If you don’t have a juicer, you can get the onion juice by squeezing half of the onion between two trays.
Try making a mixture of a tablespoon of honey, a little lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne pepper and drink it slowly. Repeat this as often as necessary.
Do you call a doctor?
Usually the inflammation of the vocal cords is not serious and your voice will return to you in a few days. But if you are still hoarse after 4 or 5 days, tell your doctor. Persistent, unexplained hoarseness requires testing, especially if you smoke. It can be a sign of cancer. Also see your doctor if you cough up blood or wheezing in your chest. See a doctor immediately if your laryngitis is accompanied by such severe pain that you have problems swallowing saliva. The upper part of your larynx can be so swollen that it could block your airways, which could even be life-threatening.
Steam your throat
Inhale steam from a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes, 2 to 4 times a day. To help keep the steam, cover your head with a towel, forming a tent around the bowl. Take a deep breath. The steam will help to compensate for the lost moisture in your throat and speed up healing. Make sure that you place the bowl on a stable surface and do not hold your head too much on the surface of the hot water, as this risks burning yourself.
For a stronger healing inhalation, add 4 to 6 drops of antiseptic and anti-inflammatory essential oils, such as lavender, sandalwood or chamomile oil, to hot water.
Make a hot compress using tea made from goldenrod, sage, thyme or myrrh. Put a bandage on your throat, then wrap a dry towel over it to keep warm.
The power of prevention
Breathe through your nose. Your nasal passages are natural humidifiers. Breathing through the mouth, however, exposes the larynx to dry, cold air.
Use a humidifier in the bedroom, or keep a bowl of water on the radiator. Your vocal cords are lined with mucous membranes that need to be kept moist to avoid irritation.
When flying an airplane, chew gum or suck on lozenges. The air in the plane is too dry and your vocal cords suffer because of it. Keeping your mouth closed and increasing your saliva production helps prevent dehydration.
Another trick when flying an airplane is to occasionally hold a wet cloth or towel over your nose and mouth to moisten the air that passes through your airways.
Check with your doctor to see if any of the medications you are taking could be the cause of your hoarseness. Certain medications, including blood pressure and thyroid medications and antihistamines, can have a very dehydrating effect on your throat. If you are a smoker, quit smoking. It is the main cause of dry throat. And avoid smoky bars, clubs and restaurants.