From Julia Norton’s Voice Box
What do actors, teachers, singers, lawyers & auctioneers have in common?
They’re all professionals who just can’t afford to lose their voices. Singing teachers and those in close proximity with kids during lessons or classes are especially vulnerable to colds and sniffles. So what can be done? I’m sure you all have an arsenal of ‘go to’ remedies for just such occasions, Vicks, etc, but I wanted to share what I do, just in case there’s anything new for you that might be helpful.
At the FIRST sign of a cold take ZICAM
‘Zicam’ is a homeopathic remedy which fights off a cold at the very first sign. I don’t leave home without it…except when I recently went to LA for an awards show, shook all the hands and had forgotten to pack it! You can buy it anywhere.
Blocked stuffy nose
I steam over a bowl of just boiled water with 1 or 2 drops of the following essential oils: eucalyptus, peppermint (very clearing and decongesting) or ti tree (if you’re also wanting a bacteria buster in there). You could try combining any of these, but I wouldn’t suggest starting with more than two drops. Put a towel over your head to trap the steam and breath through your nose listening to your favorite podcast (Dark and Twisty Tales) LOL or just until the steam is done. You can buy essential oils at any natural health store or Amazon (but make sure they are pure therapeutic grade).
Short answer…Gargle half a cup of warm salt water….I know it totally sucks, but it works faster than anything else I’ve tried.
General cold symptoms
Drink LOTS of water and herbal teas, peppermint and ginger are excellent. I always have ‘Throat Comfort’ tea in my cupboard too. In addition to those, if I’m ‘Netflix binging level’ sick, I’ll be making ginger tea (with fresh slices of ginger and lemon, honey and a pinch of cayenne pepper!). Yup, rocket fuel cold eliminator! While brandy is nice, all alcohol dries your throat, so watch out for that.
Lung Recovery Mullein Tea
For those of us in the Bay Area, we’ve had two smoke filled Octobers in a row, the last one being particularly gruesome. It also seems to me that more people are suffering from bronchial symptoms this winter as a result of our weakened lungs. I had been feeling like a smoker again, getting out of breath walking up hills, coughing etc. So my excellent herbalist ( Joshua Muscat ) put me on this tea a month ago. It’s starting to make a real difference AND it’s yummy.
Take a half a cup of packed Mullein LEAF tea (leaf only) it’s light and fluffy with little hairs in it so don’t fluff it around too much, made me sneeze like crazy the first time!
Add 5 cups of boiling water and let it steep for an hour. Then strain through double tea strainers or muslin/gauze (to catch those little hairs I mentioned).
I have one of those essential oil vaporizers in my living room and next to my bed. Add up to 6 drops to the water and let that clear your nose as you sleep. In addition to peppermint and eucalyptus which are clearing, but quite ‘bright’ oils, I also swap in lavender at night time, my number one very favorite oil, which I also never travel without.
I sprinkle peppermint or eucalyptus in my vocal booth to keep my airways clear during recording AND when I’ve cleaned my car I sprinkle the same oils in there. If I’m really tired and busy and need to keep awake while driving I use Rosemary, which is an excellent mental stimulant. Bonus, my car always smells lovely.:) Pro Tip – Essential oils work best when you change them out every now and then. So use peppermint for a week, then eucalyptus, then maybe rosemary before going back to peppermint.
So that’s it I think? Those are all the things I do to keep a healthy voice over the winter months. I hope they help you and you are able use your fabulous vocal instrument all winter long!
P.S. If you have a natural remedy for vocal health that I’ve missed, I’d LOVE to hear about it on my FB page Julia Norton’s Voice Box
I am NOT a health professional, but these are a few remedies and solutions that have worked really well for me over the last 20 or so years. Herbal remedies, homeopathy and essential oils are medicine and not to be taken lightly, but the few I have listed here are all known for being very safe. If you are pregnant or have a health condition please do your own research first.