Even Naturopaths get sick, unfortunately. The good news is, any illness in my family is an opportunity for me to test out some remedies.
I used to get laryngitis about twice a year so even though I've been able to avoid it for several years now the signs and symptoms were familiar to me. And not being able to talk is not a good thing when you do consultations for a living. If I had been smart I would have started taking my remedies at the first sign of illness: the little tickle in my throat. But with the holidays being what they are... I was too busy to take care of myself and now I'm paying for it!
My go-to remedy up until this point for sore throats has been alternating between the essential oil blend called Four Thieves mixed with water into a spray bottle and probiotic powder placed directly on the tongue. This works because the essential oils kill pathogenic bacteria on contact and the probiotics restore the protective forms of bacteria to the sensitive mucosa. The relief from this regimen is almost instant but once my voice started going I knew that I needed a bit more.
Citrus felt really good on my throat so I tried an old remedy I have used for singers. 1 oz. of lemon juice with 1/8 tsp of cayenne pepper (capsicum) and 1 oz. of water. This cuts through mucus and leaves a pleasant burning sensation while also stimulating blood flow to the area. It felt good but didn't do much for my voice.
I have some slippery elm lozenges I made years ago that are still just as good as the day I made them. The slippery elm is very soothing and the lozenges seem to last forever so it's nice for a general sore throat and cough.
Looking through some of my herbal remedy books I find a reference to sage and honey tea for laryngitis. Although I wasn't sure at first I could do this one since I am currently five months pregnant, it turns out there were no contraindications except during breastfeeding. Lukewarm tea seems to work better than really hot or cold tea at bringing the voice back.
I also found a reference to propolis tincture. It said that if one drop of proplis tincture doesn't produce the voice - it's not the right remedy. We happened to have some propolis tincture at the shop so I grabbed a bottle. Now I have never been a big fan of propolis, I find the taste to be horrid and in tincture form it is doubly so... but it did work quite well! So if you can stand the taste it's worth it. And it's faster than brewing a cup of sage tea. Just one drop at the back of the throat as needed throughout the day. I did find that I still had to use either the probiotic powder on my tongue or drink some kefir to restore the good bacteria though. The anti-bacterial nature of all of these remedies left my throat feeling quite raw at times and the probiotics helped considerably. The propolis seemed to numb my throat for a short time but the probiotic had more lasting relief. Between the two I was able to get some decent sleep.
After just two days, my voice is almost completely back to normal and my throat no longer hurts at all. Rather than stopping any remedies I know it's best to switch gears and use my herbal teas, probiotics, and broth for rebuilding my immunity. And maybe next time I'll take my own advice and take care of myself at the first sign of illness instead of waiting until it gets to this level.
I hope my experience helps you find what works best for you!
To Your Health!
Kathryn Doran-Fisher is a Traditional Naturopath, Certified GAPS Practitioner and owner of Elder & Sage.