Laryngitis, like any inflammation, can be painful and just down right annoying. Obviously knowing what a problem is helps you to determine what to use to help it. Laryngitis is when your larynx (voice box) becomes inflamed, swollen and irritated. It's actually the swelling around your vocal cords that produces the distortion of your voice and when we start identifying it as laryngitis. While this rarely causes of a total annoyance for adults, in children it can cause complications such as croup (a swelling of the throat that narrows airways and causes that notable "barking" cough). Chronic hoarseness can be something more serious and you should be seen by a physician.
Why this post? Well, baby came up last night and had found his voice had changed. While he thought it was "fun" and "hilarious", I cringed a little. I have been blessed with children that rarely get sick. So when one comes down with something I generally have to use stuff I can make. I knew he had been having some allergy issues and so this wasn't a total surprise. I was ready this time. In preparation for the cold season this past winter I had made some honey, lemon, ginger root tea base and placed it in the fridge ready for a rough cold and flu season. Well? My kiddos never got it, bonus now because it works great for treating laryngitis.
This "tea" is so easy to make and there are different variations all over the web on it. I make mine slightly stronger than what I have seen out there but it's an old oriental herbal remedy that has been passed down for ages. If you want ideas for different additions to this base remedy there are plenty out there, from thyme, to cayenne pepper, to you name it. Being I generally use this for my children I try to stay away from the "spicy" hotter herbs. Once you have the base you can keep it in the fridge for months. I generally use mine within a year before I make a new batch. Obvious if it looks or smells off I don't use it and others say they only keep theirs for 3-4 months.
There are only 3 ingredients in mine; local raw honey, fresh lemons and fresh ginger root. Honey is the biggest part and most beneficial when you have a cold, or in this case laryngitis. It's wonderful at soothing sore, irritated throats due to its astringent properties. In fact, a spoonful several times a day can help laryngitis and soothe the raw irritation that comes with it and help with the inflammation. Raw honey has natural anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties, all things that can help fight those nasty bugs at the root cause. Lemon's acidic nature helps kill bacteria and give relief to some of the symptoms of laryngitis. You can also take lemon, a pinch of salt and add that to warm water to gargle throughout the day. Lemon is a great mucus fighter, while you may not have that with the laryngitis, for colds it definitely helps. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, again all things to help combat those germs that are causing the problem. In addition to this, you can add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to help increase the bacterial fighting qualities. Being this tea already has a strong acidic taste, usually the apple cider vinegar isn't noticed at all (for kiddos/hubbies like mine that don't like the taste or smell).
To make I usually use a pint jar and add 3-4 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon, then I take one more lemon and cut it into slices and add it to the bottom of the jar. I take the leftover peels from the juiced lemons and use it to boost some vinegar for cleaning. Grate 2-3 inches of fresh ginger (sometimes a bit more) on top of the lemon peel and cover with honey. Yup, thats it. I set mine out for 3-4 days and shake it a few times a day to get all the ingredients mixed. At room temperature it obviously makes the honey softer to you can fully incorporate everything. Then I pop it in the fridge and let it set for about a week before I use it, unless someone needs it sooner then you can use it right away. To use I put 2-3 tablespoons (sometimes more if someone really is having a hard time with their throat being sore) in a cup of WARM water. Remember, once you heat raw honey up past around 110 degrees it is no longer raw and you kill all the beneficial properties of the honey. Also this isn't medicine with harmful chemicals and such, more isn't going to hurt you on this one. Add the optional apple cider vinegar if you want, stir and drink. My kiddos LOVE this tea when they have a cold, my husband has no issues, so it's definitely a winner and easy to get them to drink in my house. This also adds much needed hydration for youngins that tend to not drink as much as they should when not feeling well. As an addition to the tea I make sure to have everyone eats more yogurt and kefir shakes for about 1-2 wks to help boost everyone's immune systems. During the winter I already add vitamin D to the mix and in the summer I make sure everyone gets outside and receives plenty of natural vitamin D from the sun (you can overdose on oral vitamin D but not when it's from the sun). Depending on how bad my kiddos are I will sometimes add a Eucalyptus nebulizer, or steam treatment (just 3-4 drops in a steamy bowl or pot of water) to help clear and add the antibacterial benefits of it. You can add echinacea, although starting later it may be less effective. Depending on where you get your information echinacea works best when used right away.
I love to use this as a get well gift for friends that are battling a cold. It's so easy and with a simple addition of a piece of cloth under the ring of my Kerr or Ball jar it help make it look cute. I hope this helps others as it has done for my family!
For a printable version of the recipe - Honey Lemon Ginger Cold Helper Tea
* Raw honey or any kind of honey should never be given to a child under the age of 1
You can find most of the ingredients in your local health food stores, grocery stores and herbs/essential oils can be found at Mountain Rose Herbs and Rocky Mountain Oils (where I usually get my therapeutic oils, I wanted to have higher quality for anything we use for inhalation).
Disclaimer: Please understand that this information is for educational purposes only. The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and they are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. Don’t take my word for it…you should always engage conventional wisdom and consult with your medical professional to determine potential drug interactions and safety of use.