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General characteristics

General characteristics

Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx (or voice box), the part of the throat containing the delicate folded membranes (called the vocal cords) which vibrate to make sound.

Laryngitis may be acute (sudden onset from infection, irritants or voice straining for example) or chronic (long term from smoking, overuse of voice, nerve damage or cancer for example). Other causes can include excessive alcohol, especially spirits, acid reflux from the stomach, physical damage to the larynx, persistent coughing or clearing of the throat and allergic reactions.

As the vocal cords and tissues of the larynx become inflamed, in response to a cold or flu infection for example, the vibration is dampened and the voice becomes hoarse and whispered or is 'lost. The throat area feels sore and dry and needs to be cleared regularly. The glands in the neck may also swell in response to infection and give a feeling of tightness in the neck/jaw line.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle


Drink plenty of water, herb teas and freshly squeezed juices throughout the day to stay well hydrated.

Eat foods rich in vitamin C and antioxidants such as berries and citrus fruits or juice them with an apple.

Avoid refined carbohydrates, starches, sugary and processed foods as these lower the body's vitality. Go instead for fresh vegetables, whole grains, fruits etc and keep your diet light, watery and warming.

Make homemade soups containing plenty of onions, leeks, garlic, chives and similar for their infection fighting qualities.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Make a strong tea from sage/red sage/red sage and gargle with it for several minutes every 2 hours or so. Add some fresh lemon juice for greater effect.

Add a quarter teaspoon of chilli powder to warm water and gargle for a few minutes every few hours or so until the sore throat has gone (this often clears it up in hours). To clear the hot sensation dab your finger in salt and place it under your tongue for a few seconds and the heat will be gone.

A formula containing echinacea (75ml) and wild indigo (50ml) and myrrh (25ml) tinctures can be taken to help fight the infection. Take a teaspoon of the mix in water up to 5 times daily.

Drinking and gargling with agrimony tea is an old tried and tested remedy for all problems in the throat.

A tea made from equal parts of yarrow, peppermint and elderflower can help to fight infection and warm the body up into a good sweat. This speeds up the resolution of any infection present.

Liqourice root is very soothing to a sore throat and also helps to fight infection. Add half a teaspoon of dried root to a cupful of water and simmer for 10 minutes. Drink this down 3 times daily with a little honey added or as part of another herbal tea or juice.

Add some marshmallow root or slippery elm to the above if the throat feels particularly raw and sore. Red clover flowers are also very soothing.

Strong echinacea root tea can be used as a gargle or drunk to speed up resolution and ease pain.

Try gargling with strong comfrey leaf tea several times daily.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Rest your voice for at least 2 full days in acute laryngitis and as long as possible in chronic cases.
Gargling with salt water can provide temporary relief. Gargle every couple of hours using a good quality sea salt or mineral salt.
Take a teaspoon of honey (manuka if possible) every few hours or add to herbal teas to help fight infection and soothe irritated tissues.

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