22 Home Remedies for Laryngitis


Symptoms of laryngitis include sore throat, hoarseness, and a scratchy feeling in the throat. Try these at-home tips to soothe laryngitis symptoms.
Symptoms of laryngitis include sore throat, hoarseness, and a scratchy feeling in the throat. Try these at-home tips to soothe laryngitis symptoms.
Publications International, Ltd.

Your voice makes you sound more like a frog croaking than a human talking. Chances are, you can figure out the cause -- whether it was all the yelling you did at last night's hockey game or that cold you've had for the past couple of days.

Don't confuse laryngitis with a sore throat, though. True laryngitis is the loss of the voice or hoarseness, and it's the result of inflammation (swelling) of the larynx, or voice box, and the voice folds. The most common cause of temporary laryngitis is an upper respiratory infection such as the common cold, which is caused by a virus. If the infection is bacterial, you may need to see a doctor to get antibiotic treatment.

The second most common cause of laryngitis is voice abuse or overuse -- such as yelling at that hockey game -- which can leave you hoarse.

The symptoms of acute, or short-term, laryngitis can include pain in the throat or around the larynx, hoarseness, raspiness, the loss of range (noticed especially by singers), tiring easily, and a scratchy feeling in the throat. Constantly clearing your throat can be another symptom.

If you suffer from chronic laryngitis, smoking may be the culprit. Inhaling tobacco smoke increases the mass of the larynx, lowering the pitch of the voice.

One surprising cause of laryngitis is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). That's a long name for what a lot of us think of as heartburn, except that only about half of GERD sufferers actually feel any pain or burning in their chests. A GERD sufferer who feels no chest discomfort is unlikely to be aware that the acid-rich contents of their stomach are coming back up in their throat, especially during the night.

­Laryngitis caused by GERD (which is very common among the elderly) can make you feel like you have something stuck in your windpipe. People often mistake it for the mucus of postnasal drip. Symptoms are worse in the morning: You may wake up with a bad taste in your mouth, do a lot of throat clearing, and have hoarseness that gets better as the day goes on. If you suspect GERD is causing your laryngitis, see your doctor.

Laryngitis is usually a temporary inconvenience without serious consequences. But sometimes persistent hoarseness or voice loss is your body's way of telling you something is wrong. You should also see a doctor:

  • If pain is present
  • If the hoarseness continues for more than 72 hours
  • If you've got an upper respiratory infection with a fever that lasts more than a couple days
  • If you have any trouble breathing
  • If you notice a permanent change in the pitch of your voice, especially if you are a smoker
  • If you cough up blood

The problem may be as minor as a bacterial infection that needs antibiotics. You could have polyps or nodules on your vocal folds that cause them to vibrate more slowly, changing the sound of your voice. Or you could have cancer of the larynx, which can be treated with radiation if caught early.

­ In most cases, laryngitis will recede with rest. If you're experiencing laryngitis, read the next page to find home remedies to soothe your voice while you recuperate.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

­

Home Remedy Treatments for Laryngitis

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Lemon can help stimulate  the flow of saliva.

Laryngitis is usually just a nuisance, but it can also be painful at times. Tame -- or even prevent -- that hoarse throat by using the home remedies below.

Cut out the caffeine. The caffeine in coffee, tea, and colas dehydrates you.

Use artificial saliva. It may sound unpleasant, but you can buy over-the counter (OTC) products that help keep your mouth and throat moist.

Speak softly. Talk as though you are seated with a friend in a cafe. More importantly, avoid yelling or speaking loudly.

But don't whisper. Contrary to what you might think, whispering is more stressful than a softly modulated voice.

Limit conversation. Give your voice a rest, as you would an injured limb. Become a person of few words so your voice can recover.

Don't clear your throat. No matter how tempting it feels, clearing your throat actually increases irritation.

Stop smoking. Chalk up one more reason to avoid tobacco. If you can't kick the habit completely, at least cut way back while your throat is healing.

Avoid smokers. Even passive smoke irritates the larynx. If you live with a smoker, ask him or her to take their habit outside.

Say no to recreational drugs. In addition to their other dangers, marijuana and cocaine are extremely rough on the larynx.

Abstain from alcohol. Alcohol dehydrates you -- the opposite of what you and your voice need. Alcohol abuse can cause long-term vocal problems.

Humidify the air. Indoor heating takes moisture out of the air. Use a humidifier or vaporizer (just be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions for keeping it clean).

Avoid dusty environments. The dust is irritating, and such places are often also dry, which compounds the problem.

Beware of certain drugs. Medications such as antihistamines and diuretics can dry your mouth and throat. Don't stop your prescription diuretics (often prescribed for high blood pressure), but think twice about taking OTC antihistamines. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if any other medications you take could be drying.

Protect your voice. To help your voice heal and to prevent future attacks of laryngitis, learn how to take care of your voice. Staying well hydrated is the first step. Avoiding voice abuse is the next. And if you depend on your voice in your career -- whether you're an opera singer or a traveling salesperson -- you may want to invest in voice training.

In the next section, we'll introduce you to home remedies from your kitchen that can relieve throat discomfort.

For more information about conditions that affect the throat, try the following links:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Natural Home Remedies for Laryngitis

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Fresh ginger can help treat an inflamed larynx.

Home Remedies From the Cupboard

Salt. A saltwater gargle helps heal infected and inflamed vocal cords and sore throats. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to 1 cup warm water and gargle several times a day as needed. Be careful to use the correct amount of salt. Gargling with a solution as salty as the sea will only increase the irritation.

Vinegar. Viruses and bacteria dread an acidic environment, so why not make your mouth one big, albeit weak, acid bath? Gargling with vinegar, a weak acid, can help wipe out many infectious organisms. Pour equal amounts of vinegar and water into a cup, mix, and gargle two to four times a day. You can also gargle with straight vinegar, but some people find it too strong, especially at first.

Home Remedies From the Refrigerator

Lemon. Some folk remedies require you to suck on a lemon to cure a sore throat. An impossible task, indeed! Spare yourself the face-contorting agony and try a lemon juice and salt gargle instead. Lemon is naturally acidic and helps stimulate saliva flow. The salt increases the lemon's acidity, which in turn helps kill many microorganisms prone to weak acids. To make this gargle, juice a whole lemon into a bowl and add a pinch of sea salt (or regular salt). Mix well. Add 1 teaspoon of the concentrated lemon/salt mixture to 1 cup warm water. Gargle three to four times a day as needed.  Also try hot tea with lemon, or even lemon drops, to keep your  throat moist.

Home Remedies From the Sink

Soap and water. Laryngitis can be caused by a viral infection and is easily spread by hand-to-hand contact or by touching contaminated surfaces. Avoiding such germs is one of the best ways to prevent laryngitis. If you or someone around you has a cold, be extra vigilant about washing your hands with warm water and soap. Clean common surfaces, such as the telephone and door handles, with vinegar and a clean cloth.

Water. Keep the throat moistened and stay hydrated by drinking your daily amount of water (eight 8-ounce glasses per day). Fruit juices also fit the bill, as do warm, noncaffeinated drinks, which may feel extra-soothing on sore throat tissues.

Home Remedies From the Spice Rack

Garlic. Should you have a strong stomach and no social events to attend, try what the Amish and Seventh Day Adventists suggest for treating sore throats and viral infections: Suck on a slice of garlic. Garlic, when sliced or crushed, releases the antimicrobial substance allicin. Allicin kills bacteria, including strep and some viruses. Slice a garlic clove down the middle and place half a clove on each side of the mouth. Pretend the cloves are lozenges and suck on them. Use as often as necessary, or as often as you can handle garlic breath.

Ginger. Fragrant, fresh ginger can help soothe inflamed mucous membranes of the larynx. Try sucking on candied ginger if available or drink a cup of ginger tea. To prepare the tea, cut a fresh 1- to 2-inch gingerroot into thin slices and place in 1 quart boiling water. Cover the pot and simmer on the lowest heat for 30 minutes. Let cool for 30 more minutes, strain, and drink 1/2 to 1 cup three to five times a day. Sweeten with honey if needed.

Home Remedies From the Stove

Steam. Dry indoor air, so common in the wintertime, combined with an irritated throat can make you extra miserable. Start the day off steamy. Bring half a pot of water to boil, remove from stove, and place on a protected surface. Drape a towel over your head, lean forward over the pot, and breathe gently for 10 to 15 minutes. Be careful not to stick your face too close. Repeat in the evening before bedtime.

While laryngitis typically isn't a sign of any serious medical problem, you'll be better off taking care of it sooner than later, with help from the home remedies in this article.

For more information about conditions that affect the throat, try the following links:

David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.