Feeling a sore throat coming on, or just want to keep your voice in the best shape possible? Here’s a rundown of the products and throat remedies to keep on hand, as recommended by Hayward, CA teacher Molly R...
When you have a performance coming up, staying healthy should be a priority — but sometimes, your immune system has other plans for you! Other voice teachers have shared their tips on the blog for whether or not you should sing if you’re sick, but if you’re feeling OK, you may just need a little TLC.
There are quite a few products out there that claim to be beneficial for singers — special sprays, lozenges, teas, etc. So, which are the ones that actually work? Here are my suggestions based on years of my own use, as well as feedback from other singers and students that I work with.
Two of the most popular lozenges are VocalZone, which claims to help “keep a clear voice,” and Thayer’s, which has been used by professional singers since 1847. The difference is in the ingredients: VocalZone uses menthol, which you can find in your run-of-the-mill drugstore lozenges, whereas Thayer’s uses slippery elm, a natural ingredient known to soothe throats. Though menthol sometimes delivers instant relief for an irritated throat, the smell can be overpowering to some — and it can even be drying! My students and I agree that Thayer’s lozenges are more soothing and can be used more regularly without any unpleasant smell or aftertaste. I’d suggest something like VocalZone for when there is actual irritation, and Thayer’s for basic maintenance of overall throat health.
One of my top picks for throat remedies for singers is Sprouts Voice Remedy. Again, I suggest this over other basic drugstore throat sprays because it uses natural ingredients (herbs) to be effective. Some drugstore sprays have alcohol in them, which can dry your throat out. This particular product also uses slippery elm, as well as horseradish, two things known to soothe and clarify! Another popular natural spray many singers swear by is Vocal EZE — and fortunately the taste is not too strong or unpleasant.
Although there is no particular “singer’s tea,” if you sing professionally then you’ve likely heard of Throat Coat Tea. Even Taylor Swift is a fan and asks to have some backstage at every concert! Why is this particular tea one of the best throat remedies for singers, and not… say, chamomile? It’s that slippery elm again! Though any tea feels great to drink, Throat Coat has a thick consistency that is ideal for those days when your throat is irritated for any reason. One warning, though: the taste of this is STRONG! Singers either love it or hate it. I suggest using honey in it either way (honey also has a wonderful soothing effect on the throat). Other singers and teachers also love Yogi Tea’s Throat Comfort.
Please remember that it’s best not to rely on these products, but to use them on an as-needed basis (with the exception of tea, which is fine to drink daily). If you’re struggling with continuous vocal discomfort, please discuss this matter with your voice teacher and a health professional.
Molly R. teaches online and in-person singing lessons in Hayward, CA. Her specialties include teaching beginner vocalists, shy singers, children, teens, lapsed singers, and older beginners. She joined TakeLessons in November 2013. Learn more about Molly here!
Photo from http://www.sproutsremedies.com/