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Natural Remedies for Laryngitis

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Updated May 13, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

laryngitis
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What Is Laryngitis?

Marked by hoarseness or loss of voice, laryngitis is an inflammation of your voice box (also known as the larynx). Located at the top of the airway to your lungs, the larynx contains your vocal cords. Irritation or infection can trigger swelling in your vocal cords, which in turn leads to hoarseness in your voice.

Laryngitis can be either short-term (acute) or chronic.

What Causes Laryngitis?

In many cases, laryngitis is caused by overuse of your voice. The condition can also result from the following health problems:

Symptoms of Laryngitis

Along with hoarseness or loss of voice, people with laryngitis may experience the following:

  • swollen lymph nodes or glands in the neck
  • fever
  • sore throat
  • a tickling sensation in the throat
  • dry cough

Natural Remedies for Laryngitis

Laryngitis can usually be treated with home remedies, including:

  • resting your voice
  • drinking at least eight glasses of water daily
  • breathing humidified air
  • sucking on lozenges

However, it's important to seek medical attention if your symptoms last longer than two weeks.

Although these natural remedies haven't been scientifically studied for their effects on laryngitis, practitioners of alternative medicine often recommend them for relief of laryngitis symptoms:

1) Eucalyptus

An at-home steam inhalation with eucalyptus oil can help ease laryngitis, as well as cold and flu symptoms, sinusitis, and throat infections.

Learn how to perform a eucalyptus steam inhalation.

2) Licorice

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is found in many natural products that help relieve throat irritation, including teas and lozenges.

In large amounts, licorice containing glycyrrhizic acid or glycyrrhizin has been shown to cause high blood pressure. Therefore, it's important to use only deglycyrrhizinated licorice (or DGL) extract, from which glycyrrhizic acid has been removed.

MORE: Health Benefits of Licorice

3) Mullein

Another herb known to soothe respiratory tract, mullein (Verbascum thapsus) is available in tea and lozenge form. Certain compounds in mullein's leaves and flowers are thought to act as demulcents (substances that tame inflammation in the skin or internal parts of the throat). Learn more about using mullein.

4) Slippery Elm

The Native American herbal remedy slippery elm (Ulmus fulva) contains mucilage, a gel-like substance said to calm irritated or inflamed tissue. For treatment of laryngitis, look for teas or lozenges made with slippery elm. Find out more about using slippery elm.

Sources:

Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 4th ed. St Louis, Mo; Mosby; 2005.

Rotblatt M, Ziment I. Evidence-Based Herbal Medicine. Philadelphia, PA: Hanley & Belfus, Inc; 2002:160-165, 259-261, 337-338.

Roxas M, Jurenka J. Colds and influenza: a review of diagnosis and conventional, botanical, and nutritional considerations. Altern Med Rev. 2007 12(1):25-48.

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