You’ve worked hard on your technique, you’ve auditioned spectacularly and finally (finally!) You’ve landed that solo in the chorus, that lead role in the musical, or that job as lead singer in a local band. You’re warmed up and ready to go, and on opening night, you have a sore throat. There is no doubt that sore throats affect professional and amateur singers alike, at the highest levels and in local community theater. And a sore throat at the wrong time can ruin a singing career. If you have a sore throat that you just want to get rid of, here are some natural home remedies you can try:
Cayenne pepper. Many people rely on cayenne pepper gargles – about 1 teaspoon cayenne in 4 oz. of warm water. The amounts can be adjusted to your tolerance level. According to those who use the remedy, it usually works even when antibiotics have failed, but it may take several tries. Most gargles do this every fifteen minutes or so until the pain subsides.
Apple cider vinegar. This is a popular folk remedy, and doctors suggest it has some basis in fact: The acidity of the vinegar should kill the bacteria that cause a sore throat on contact. To use this remedy, mix one teaspoon with two tablespoons (the strongest you can take) of vinegar with water. Gargle and then swallow twice every hour. Remember to lift your mouth with water after gargling to prevent the acidity of the vinegar from damaging the enamel on your teeth.
Cayenne pepper and vinegar. For those who really like punishment, try combining hot apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper. Instead of gargling, drink the mixture. According to those who use the remedy, it will dislodge mucus in the back of the throat, clearing the airways.
Saltwater. To test this remedy, combine a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and gargle with the entire mixture. Repeat several times a day or until your throat improves. The idea behind this is that the salt dilates the capillaries in the back of the throat, increasing blood flow and bringing more bacteria-fighting antibodies to the area.
Honey is often used as an additive to help soothe the throat. Try it with a tablespoon of lemon juice, in hot chamomile or lemon tea, or mixed with hot apple cider vinegar remedy.
Lemon. Lemon is also a highly touted cure for a sore throat. You will see that it is suggested that you gargle with a tablespoon of lemon juice, add a drop or two of lemon juice to hot water, or drink lemon herbal tea with honey. Adding honey is recommended for a lemon cure, because it makes the taste more bearable. Honey also soothes sore throats, while lemon’s acidity kills bacteria, making honey and lemon a good combination.
Ginger tea. Peel a ginger root and cut it into thin slices. Boil the slices in water to make ginger tea. Add a tablespoon of honey, drink a cup, and then gently clear your throat. This tea should make the back of your throat tingle, and the clearing at the end should dislodge any loose mucus. This tea can soothe your throat and help you regain your voice if you have lost it.
Licorice. For this cure, you will use a real licorice sprig, not a candy licorice bar. Peel the skin off the stick, then suck or chew it. The herb should ease a sore throat over time.
Soy sauce and lime. This is a Javanese cure that is a different version of the honey and lemon cure. Combine the juice of a lime with a teaspoon to a tablespoon of soy sauce and drink it. Those who recommend this cure say that you should only take a tablespoon of the mixture to cure a mild sore throat.
Moisten. Sore throats are often caused by postnasal drip, which can leave the throat feeling dry, itchy, and irritated. Also, the dry air is only enough to cause a sore throat and unpleasant cough. If the air in your home dries up in the winter, and if it warms your home, it does, try using a humidifier in your bedroom. Moist air might be all you need to get rid of a sore throat or cough.
There’s no question that a sore throat could seriously affect your ability to sing. Try these home remedies to get rid of that sore throat fast, but don’t expect them to work right away; there is no miracle cure. Also, if you find that your sore throat lasts for more than about two weeks, no matter what you try, you should see a doctor. Severe sore throats can indicate strep throat, bronchitis, and other more serious infections that need to be treated with antibiotics.