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Natural Ways to Beat Laryngitis
Written By : Mark Rosenberg, MD 
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According to patients I've treated for the condition, laryngitis seems to strike at the worst possible time. I hear of actors who rehearse tirelessly only to lose their voices right before opening night. For others, laryngitis may strike on the eve of an important work presentation or conference. Although a case of laryngitis may force you to change your plans, it is possible to treat this condition naturally and speed up the healing process.

Why Laryngitis Strikes

Laryngitis occurs when your voice box (larynx) is inflamed due to overuse, irritation or infection. For example, if you've been rehearsing a speech or performance, your larynx can fail due to simple exhaustion. The movement and vibration of healthy vocal chords is what produces sound. Inflammation and swelling result in distortion, causing you to produce little or no sound until the voice box recovers.

Together with overuse, viral infection may also be to blame for laryngitis. For many people, a cold is enough to infect the larynx and cause some degree of hoarseness. More serious viruses like measles and mumps may also cause inflammation of the vocal cords. Most cases of laryngitis are short term and do not involve serious complications. Still, soothing irritation and promoting a quick recovery are of high importance to many patients.

Natural Remedies Can Help

There are a number of natural and home remedies suggested for treating laryngitis. Some are common sense lifestyle modifications, and others rely on food or supplements. For starters, rest your vocal cords. You wouldn't run on a swollen ankle, so treat your larynx in the same fashion. Avoid speaking as much as possible (if you're able to speak at all) and do not whisper. Whispering actually puts greater strain on your vocal cords than normal speech.

Many people suffering from laryngitis also experience dry, scratchy throats. To moisten your throat, some of the classic remedies include chewing gum, gargling with salt water and sucking on lozenges. Zinc lozenges, in particular, are helpful, but do not exceed 100 milligrams per day. One popular natural remedy for laryngitis, which also soothes the throat, is honey and lemon. Mix equal amounts of honey and lemon juice, plus a pinch of cayenne pepper. Suck on about a tablespoon of this mixture several times a day, or as often as you deem necessary.

Vitamins can help fight off the infection causing laryngitis. Experts recommend 5,000 international units of vitamin A and 5,000 milligrams of vitamin C per day. Both vitamins are powerful antioxidants, which promote healthy cells. Along with vitamins, reflexology therapy is another natural way to treat laryngitis. Concentrate on reflex points associated with the throat, chest, lung, diaphragm and lymphatic system.

Fresh spices contain bacteria-fighting and anti-inflammatory properties. If you can withstand garlic breath, sucking on a clove of garlic cut in half may speed healing. The garlic contains allicin, an antimicrobial substance. Fresh ginger may soothe swelling. Suck on fresh or candied ginger, or drink ginger tea.

Finally, you can soothe the throat and increase moisture with water. Use a humidifier to tackle the dry air in your home, which may be the cause of irritation. You can also moisten the throat by inhaling steam. Fill a bowl with steaming water or step inside a hot shower and breathe it in.

Thanks to the wisdom of natural cures, you can soothe your laryngitis symptoms at home. Try any of the treatments you like, but also make an effort to reduce stress and get plenty of rest. Stress plus lack of sleep weakens the immune system, prolonging your symptoms. I hope you are never afflicted with laryngitis, but if it strikes, you'll have the know-how to beat it naturally.

Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
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