Ever woke up and realized that you can’t speak at all, or have a weak creaky voice? Well, chances are that you have. This is because you are struck by Laryngitis, which is basically swelling of larynx or voice box. Most of the times, it is a temporary disruption without any lasting consequences. This generally happens when you overstrain your voice-box, due to excessive shouting or could be a result of common cold caused by some virus. The infection could be caused by bacteria or fungus. Smoking, inhaling tobacco, atmospheric pollution, prolonged cough or serious diseases likes tuberculosis and syphilis can contribute to laryngitis as well. Laryngitis usually lasts for 2 weeks, though chronic symptoms may last longer. Symptoms may include pain in throat while swallowing, hoarse voice, fever, swollen nymph nodes, tough breathing, and dry cough. It can be easily diagnosed by a physical exam, which comprises touching neck for sensitive areas or big lumps. Here, are a few proven home remedies that will help you get rid of laryngitis and regain your voice quickly.
Home Remedies for Laryngitis
Most common and effective solution for all the throat problems is a simple lukewarm water gargle (1, 2). It works wonders and will repair your lost voice faster than you could think. Make sure that the water touches bottom of larynx because that is where the healing action needs to take place.
- Mix half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and gargle thrice a day. This works well because salt is an anti-bacterial healing agent which kills all the germs present in your throat (3, 4).
- Mix equal quantities of vinegar and water; and gargle 5-6 times a day to get immediate relief. Since vinegar helps remove bacteria and fungus infection.
- Herbs like licorice, slippery elm, red sage, yarrow, plantain, chamomile, etc can also be used for gargling. All you have to do is add 2 teaspoons of herb in 1 cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes and then strain. Use this solution for gargles and repeat every 3 to 4 hours (5).
Mouthwash solutions give instant relief to your throat, as they contain anti-bacterial reagents. They kill the germs in your mouth if you gargle and swish properly. Mouthwash made of Elderflower is very effective remedy for Laryngitis (6).
This is a form of hydrotherapy. Put a warm washcloth on the neck. Then take a long cotton cloth, dip it in a cold water and wrung out. Now wrap it around the neck. Over this cotton cloth, wrap a woollen scarf and attach it using a safety pin. Let the wrap remain as it is for 30 minutes or you can also place it overnight (7).
4. Voice Relax
Give a break to your voice chords, and let it recover properly without using any medicines, like you would give rest to your hand when injured (8). The infection goes away easily if left undisturbed for a while. Since, friction is reduced and you put less strain on throat (9).
Consuming crushed flakes of garlic is very beneficial to cure laryngitis. It can also be added in tea and used to cook food. The antimicrobial properties fasten the healing process (10). Garlic syrup made up of chopped garlic cloves, raw apple cider vinegar, distilled water, and honey is highly effective. Take 2 teaspoons after every 6 hours for fast healing.
Ginger is a natural pain reliever. The dried extract of ginger, known as gingerol posses anti inflammatory and analgesic effects (11). The right way of intake is to let the ginger juices stay in your throat before swallowing it, only if you prefer to chew. It triggers the healing process of infected larynx. Drinking hot ginger tea is equally good if consumed slowly.
Alternatively you can also prepare an infusion of ginger, mint and cloves to treat laryngitis (12).
7. Humid Atmosphere/ Humidifier
Moist atmosphere helps cure infected larynx. Use a humidifier to keep air moist in your rooms and offices (13, 14). It is usually observed that dry air provokes the infection, and results in a sore throat.
8. Moist Throat
Just like dry air, a dry throat can also worsen the throat irritation. Having a moist throat fastens the recovery. Try to keep yourself hydrated (16). One should consume water, fresh fruit juice or herbal tea with added honey. Honey dehydrates bacteria by driving out moisture, thus it prevents growth of microbes(17).
Lemon juice destroys the growth of germs because of its acidic nature (18). It helps in saliva formation apart from throat hydration. Gulping down lemon juice as many times as possible without adding water has proved to be beneficial. You could add honey to the lemon juice to fasten the healing (19).
- Or gargle with a solution comprising lemon juice, water and sea-salt. Lemon tea is equally effective.
Steam helps remove throat dryness. Inhaling hot steam from a steamer alleviates the condition (20). You can also build up steam inside the shower room; close the doors, put the heating valve to maximum, and inhale the moist air. Add fresh mint leaves or ground cloves to enhance the effect of steam. Moistness gives you immediate relaxation (21).
Add 2 teaspoons of essential oil like sage, lavender, sandalwood, thyme, benzoin, etc to hot water in a pot. Let the ingredients steep in hot water. Lean over the pot, place a towel over the head and cover your head and face for a tent like effect. Now inhale the steam through the mouth. This will provide you relief from laryngitis symptoms (22).
11. Apple Cider Vinegar
This is used to treat laryngitis due to its antimicrobial properties (23). Mix honey, cayenne pepper, and 2 tablespoons of unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a cup of water; drink the solution twice a day for effective recovery.
12. Onion Syrup
This is a natural cure for inflammation of larynx because of its expectorant nature. Red onions possess exceptional expectorant properties (24). Boil 3-4 onions in a bowl of water till the solution becomes thick like syrup. Add few tablespoons of this syrup in a cup of lukewarm water, mix honey and a few drops of lemon juice with it; drink slowly.
Note: Honey is not recommended for children under the age of 1.
Turmeric is a popular Ayurvedic medicine used to treat many problems including inflammation (27). Drinking a glass of milk or water containing half teaspoon of turmeric gives instant relief from a sore throat (28).
Note: Make sure you do not mix excess of turmeric; otherwise, it may prove to be harmful.
15. Cinnamon & Raisins
Cinnamon has anti bacterial and anti microbial properties which are useful for treating sore throat (29, 30). Mixing cinnamon powder in honey and consuming this 3-4 times daily cures laryngitis fast because of its anti-septic nature. Similarly, consumption of mixture containing raisins boiled in a cup of water helps heal throat quickly.
If you are a soup lover, then you must utilise this situation, and have as much as possible (31).
Note: Just make sure to not consume soups containing sodium ingredients.
17. Fruit Juice
Mixture of orange, apple, cranberry, Chokecherry, pineapple and grape juices is very effective to cure an inflamed vocal cord (32, 33). Similarly, combining radish, carrot, and ginger juice extract together is beneficial.
18. Anise Seeds
Anise seeds work as an expectorant, that is why it is used as a remedy for laryngitis (34). Prepare anise seed tea by boiling two tsp of seeds in two cups of water. This tea is used to cure a cough (35). Moreover, you can also apply it on the chest and neck.
19. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide has antiseptic properties that can cure laryngitis .You can gargle with a solution of hydrogen peroxide to destroy the virus and germs in your mouth or can inhale its steam to cure the vocal cord (36).
Note: Be careful not to use more than 3 percent of its solution for gargling.
20. Prevent Acid Reflux
Acid reflux can also be a reason for laryngitis. To avoid this problem, you must keep some precautions like don’t sleep immediately after eating, wait for two to three hours. Also, take a pillow to raise your head 6 inches above your stomach level, this will elevate your larynx and assist to prevent acid reflux (37).
Herbal Remedies for Laryngitis
21. Slippery Elm
There is no scientific evidence regarding use of this herb to cure laryngitis, still it has been traditionally used for the treatment of laryngitis. The mucilage extracted from slippery elm covers throat and alleviates irritation (38, 39). Lozenges made of slipper elm are another alternative.
Note: Pregnant and breast-feeding women should avoid slippery elm.
22. Herbal Tea
Herbal teas are suitable for curing laryngitis. Chamomile, sage and peppermint leaves could be boiled in water for 20 minutes and consumed on a daily basis. It is advised to boil, only one herb at a time to prepare tea and not mix all of these together.
Sage is best known remedy to get rid of laryngitis (40).
23. Eucalyptus Oil
According to a study, it has been proved that Eucalyptus oil has anti bacterial and anti inflammatory properties that has direct affect on respiratory tract and the coughing reflex (41). In USA and Europe this oil is used as a ingredient of many cough syrups and lozenges (42). The expectorant and anti inflammatory properties of eucalyptus oil make it an exceptional remedy for laryngitis (43, 44).
Inhaling steam for 10 minutes with a covered head from a bowl of steaming hot water, containing drops of eucalyptus oil or handful of eucalyptus leaves is an effectual remedy. Repeat this practice twice a day (45). You can also take cough syrup that contains this oil.
Note: Eucalyptus oil shouldn’t be consumed orally since it is poisonous for internal usage.
Although there is no evidence for use of licorice root in treatment of laryngitis, still it has been traditionally used to cure sore throat (46). Licorice is having anti bacterial properties which proves helpful to cure laryngitis (47). Drinking licorice tea thrice a day is beneficial to get rid of laryngitis. The tea is prepared by mixing dry root of licorice in boiling hot water for 5 minutes.
Alternatively, you can also prepare decoction of Licorice root powder (48).
Note: This isn’t recommended for people having kidney, liver, or heart diseases, and is to be avoided by pregnant and breast-feeding women too.
Marshmallow also contains mucilage which coats throat and prevents it from irritation (49). Drink marshmallow juice to get instant soothing effect. Tea prepared using roots of marshmallow gives relief from throat pain. Alternatively, you can also eat marshmallow as it is.
Sticky mixture of marshmallow and water is used to cure throat irritation (50).
Note: Scientific evidence for use of marshmallow to cure laryngitis is lacking.
26. Aloe Vera
The anti inflammatory properties of Aloe Vera cures throat inflammation and laryngitis (51). Consume mixture of aloe vera gel and honey once a day. Alternatively, you can gargle with solution of aloe vera juice, salt, and water thrice a day.
27. Couch Grass
Couch grass is also known as wheat grass. It is used for the treatment of many respiratory tract problems like sore throat, cough, cold, etc (52). Prepare an herbal decoction by boiling couch grass in water. Strain the solution and gargle with it. Besides, it can also be consumed in form of tea.
28. Green Tea
The anti inflammatory properties of green tea reduces throat inflammtion and cures laryngitis (53). Brew green tea by steeping its leaves in hot water. Sip it slowly to lessen the symptoms of laryngitis
Bloodroot, also known as Sanguinaria canadensis is a very useful herb as it is an emetic and expectorant which also soothes bronchial muscles, that is why it used in the treatment of laryngitis (54).
Prepare a decoction by adding two teaspoons of Echinacea root to one cup of water. Boil and simmer it for 15 minutes. Drink this to avert symptoms of laryngitis (58).
You can also make Echinacea tincture by adding 1/8 teaspoon of this herb in a glass of water. Consume this mixture 4 to 5 times a day (59).
31. Horehound tea
Horehound is a flowering plant, which resembles mint in appearance. This herbal plant can be used to cure laryngitis. Prepare horehound tea by adding 2 teaspoons of this herb in 1 cup of boiling water. Steep it for 10 minutes and then strain. Maximum 3 cups of this tea can be drunk in a day (60).
Cinquefoils, also known as Potentilla is a herb which reduces inflammation. Its juice helps cure laryngitis (61).
- Speak less, do not whisper at all (highly strenuous) and rest your throat (62, 63).
- Keep yourself hydrated and drink 10-15 glasses of water (64).
- Maintain clean surroundings since laryngitis spreads through viral infection.
- Use sanitizer to keep your hands clean and germ-free (66, 67).
- Include food rich in Vitamin A, E and C in your diet as it keeps mucus membranes healthy (68, 69).
- Eat foods that are easy to swallow.
- Do physical exercise to cure laryngitis caused due to anxiety (71).
- Breathe deeply as it make respiratory system strong (72).
- Withhold smoking and alcohol since it is dehydrating (73, 74).
- Avoid oily, spicy or fatty foods and caffeine beverages because they trigger reflux (75).
- Abstain yourself from clearing the throat as it increases the swelling of vocal chords (77).
- Do not consume heavy meals or extremely hot/cold fluids.
- Keep away from dusty and smoky areas.
- Say ‘NO’ to ice-cream and chocolates.
- Avoid taking decongestants (79).