3 Holistic Ways to Relieve Laryngitis

*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor a medical professional. You should always consult with a medical professional to assess your symptoms and determine an appropriate treatment .

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 how to heal laryngitis naturally

You know what happens when I get laryngitis? I sound like a tired, middle-aged drag queen at the end of a long show, that’s what. No sexy rasp over here, nope. Of course not. And while I adore a good drag show, my “losing my voice” voice leaves something to be desired.

Anyway. How did we get here, with me rasping, honking, and coughing away with all the grace and poise of a chain-smoking walrus? I’m looking at houses to buy, and while looking, my friend opened the attic ladder to uncover a ghastly sight: an attic 80% covered in white fuzzy mold. The mold-ridden air wafted down the steps while we all gasped in horror, and I started feeling itchy and raspy pretty much immediately, which was further compounded by the spring pollen onslaught and a solid two days of non-stop talking.

Next thing you know, I was in the middle of the worst case of laryngitis I can remember. What started as a raspy voice escalated overnight to incredibly painful vocal chords that caused me to dissolve into a fit of coughing every time I tried to get a sentence out. So. Frustrating.

And while I’m normally one to power through my illnesses, relying heavily on my sturdy immune system and fueled by my hatred of chemicals, my laryngitis became so aggravated it interfered with my ability to order guacamole. It was time to do something.

 how to heal laryngitis naturally

So what is laryngitis?

Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx, which normally results in huskiness or loss of voice, harsh breathing, and painful fits of coughing.

Your larynx is a tough, flexible segment of the respiratory tract connecting the pharynx to the trachea in the neck. It plays a vital role in the respiratory tract by allowing air to pass through it while keeping food and drink from blocking the airway.

What causes laryngitis?

Viral infections, bacterial infections, vocal strain, and inhaled irritants.

Here’s the thing about laryngitis: it’s normally relatively painless and not a big deal, resolving in a day or so. If, however, you just breathed a lung-full of house mold and you’ve royally ticked off your larynx, it can be incredibly painful to speak, irritating, and accompanied by a side of disruptive coughing every time you speak. After waking up 10 times in one night, plus the failed guacamole-ordering incident, it was time to try some holistic healing to soothe my inflamed vocal chords. (If your laryngitis is ongoing, please consult a doctor.)

While there are a plethora of over the counter lozenges, I hate consuming chemicals and dyes, and I also hate the accompanying packaging. So, ever in pursuit of a zero waste life, I turned to the grocery store for some holistic and natural laryngitis treatments..

What is going to work best to relieve your laryngitis symptoms is going to depend largely on what is causing your laryngitis. If you are suffering from a cold, allergies, or smoke inhalation, be sure to treat those as well.

And remember, resting your vocal chords is essential to helping them heal quickly.

3 Holistic Ways to Relieve Laryngitis

Salt Water Gargle

My mother is going to be thrilled I’ve included this one. She’s had us gargling with salt water for every and any remedy since we were kids, and she’s not wrong. If your laryngitis is accompanied by painful swallowing from post-nasal drip or a sore throat, you may get relief by introducing a twice or thrice daily salt water gargle into your routine. This was my first line of defense, when I thought I was coming down with a simple sore throat (never happened) or allergies.

Why the salt water gargle helps your throat (and does it really work):

Guess what? Studies show that gargling with salt water DOES provide relief for sore throats and irritation. According to Sorana Segal-Maurer, MD, chief of the Dr. James J. Rahal Jr. Division of Infectious Disease at New York Hospital Queens on WebMD, “You’re creating a high-salt barrier and you’re pulling out a lot of fluids from the tissues in the throat area, so you’re washing the virus out. The salt functions as a magnet for water. It’s good for symptomatic relief.”

How to make a salt water gargle:

Fill an 8 oz drinking glass with hot water from the tap (not boiling water). Mix in about one teaspoon of salt - sometimes I get crazy and add more when I’m really hurting - and stir until totally dissolved. Hold a mouthful of the saltwater in your mouth, tilt your head back, gargle, spit, and repeat. This is going to be gross. But you are going to feel better. This is also not going to cost you a thing.

 how to heal laryngitis naturally

Eucalyptus Steam Bath

You may recall that I have a love affair with eucalyptus from my compostable wreath and linen spray DIYs, but do not count this amazing plant out when it comes to sinus and throat inflammation.

Concerned my laryngitis was aggravated by the thick haze of spring pollen, and desperate for any sort of relief for my swollen and painful larynx, I ran to Whole Foods to snag some eucalyptus from the floral section.

Why eucalyptus helps with laryngitis (and does it really work):

 how to heal laryngitis naturally

Did you know eucalyptus is one of the active ingredients in Vicks VapoRub? Eucalyptus is one of nature’s most powerful cough suppressants, and it also is known for its power to loosen and break up mucus. So whether the cause of your laryngitis is irritant exposure, allergies, or a cold, this is probably your most sure-fire bet for some near instant relief.

And according to WebMD, which is not known for hippie-dippie cure alls, “{Eucalyptus leaf} also contains chemicals that might have activity against bacteria and fungi. Eucalyptus oil contains chemicals that might help pain and inflammation.”

This has been, hands down, the most effective relief for my laryngitis. Easing laryngitis symptoms can be hard if you DON’T have a sore throat, which I don’t. 

How to make a eucalyptus steam bath for laryngitis:

  1. Rinse one sprig of eucalyptus thoroughly. Remove the leaves and cut or tear into pieces. (Eucalyptus will leave a sticky sap on your fingers. If this will drive you crazy, use scissors. If not, inhale deeply. You now have magic smelling fingers.)

  2. Place the leaves into a small saucepan. Cover with water until you have about 2 inches of water in your pot. Set your heat to medium low, and inhale the steam as it rises. If you’re really ambitious, you can drape a small towel over your head to help capture the steam as it rises, but frankly, that’s a bit too claustrophobic for me. Breath your eucalyptus team for 5-10 minutes, or as desired. I highly recommend doing this right before bed to alleviate your pain, congestion, and coughing before you get some sleep. 

 how to heal laryngitis naturally

Turmeric Ginger Tea

Tea is a favorite in my family, and I’ve carried that forward to my own household. I love tea of all kinds. It’s so soothing and calming, and there’s basically a tea for every ailment. Can’t sleep? Have some camomile. Digestive issues? Sip on some peppermint. Looking for a hit of antioxidants? Here’s a pot of green tea.

Why turmeric ginger tea helps with laryngitis (and does it really work):

Turmeric is good for so much more than naturally dyeing fabric. Turmeric actually contains an incredibly powerful anti-inflammatory, thanks to the chemical curcumin, and a boatload of powerful antioxidants. The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric are so strong, “In fact, it’s so powerful that it matches the effectivenessof some anti-inflammatory drugs.”

Ginger also has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, thanks to Gingerol, the main bioactive compound in ginger responsible for much of its medicinal properties.

In the short term, turmeric ginger tea can be a warm and soothing force on your throat that may help ease inflammation. If consumed regularly, you’re giving your immune system a solid jumpstart packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients. Add in some local honey, and you can fight your allergies as well.

How to make turmeric ginger tea:

Peel a one inch section of both ginger and turmeric root and roughly chop. You should have a generous teaspoon of each. Add your turmeric and ginger to a small pot, cover with approximately 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil and let your ingredients simmer until your water is reduced by about half. Strain through a kitchen sieve (these things are invaluable when it comes to zero waste living) as you pour into your mug so you don’t wind up with chunky tea. Stir in honey if and as desired. If you don’t add honey or lemon, your tea will have a strong earthy flavor, which doesn’t bother me but may not tickle some readers.

There you have it! Three holistic ways to get some relief from your pesky laryngitis that require nothing more than a trip to the produce and floral sections of your local grocery store, or a dig through your pantry. Less packaging, fewer chemicals. Happy healing!

3 Holistic Ways to Relieve Laryngitis
3 Holistic Ways to Relieve Laryngitis