Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Monday, June 21, 2004 More Than We Can Say
Big big thanks to everyone who wrote in last month with suggestions on how to cure Trash's laryngitis. Words cannot express her gratitude. Mainly because she can't enunciate them.
No, I'm kidding. Actually, all of these suggestions came in while we were on vacation, and hence we didn't get a chance to try them. Her laryngitis was pretty much gone by the time we got home. Heck, it was almost gone when we were still on vacation. There was one day when she was sounding a little scratchy by bedtime. That might have something to do with the fact that we'd spent the day driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles at eighty miles per hour with the windows open and the radio playing while conversing the whole time. But then, I'm no doctor, so what do I know?
But even though we never got around to testing these great ideas, as a public service I'm posting them for readers who may find themselves facing a bout of laryngitis sometime in their own future. If we can help just one person, it's worth the zero dollars it takes to keep this site up and running.
Let's start with this missive from Zen Viking:
I don't have to tell you, anyone who takes advice from Internet weirdos and puts stuff in their mouth as a result is just asking for whatever they get.
Actually, let's not start with Zen Viking.
Of course, the very term "home remedy" conjures up images of a shotgun shack somewhere in Appalachia, where every medicinal product comes from the still out back. So it's somehow fitting that the first contribution comes from J on the island of Manhattan:
Park Avenue Throat Medicine:
Smash three aspirin between two spoons, and put the powder in a small dish. Add a splash of Trash's favorite booze (Kahlua works great). Stir everything together, then add a big spoonful of ice cream, and stir again. The aspirin is an anti-inflammatory, the booze is a local anesthetic, and the cold temperature of the ice cream also reduces irritation.
Which raises the question: how does one convincingly fake laryngitis so one can try this?
There were also suggestions from further afield, like these from Anne:
I live in the Czech Republic, so this will (perhaps) be your longest-distance cure. The local cures for all that ails you in these parts are:
A. slivovice (this is brandy made from plums). It's usually homemade, but you can buy it stateside at shops like Trader Joe's (none where you are, I think, but plenty in California. [Sure, rub it in.] Think about stocking up! It's MAGIC! You could probably stay in the MAGIC CASTLE if you took slivovice with you...[And again, with the rubbing])
1. Drink it in shots.
2. Lightly soak a kerchief with it and wrap it around your throat.
--I am not sure whether the fact that step 1 will make you pass out (and if step 1 fails, the fumes from step 2 will do it) is really the cure: deep, painless sleep is always good.
B. very finely chopped onion, covered with honey, eaten in small spoonfuls.
--For some time, I thought this was the Czech way of making sure a kid was really sick, and not just trying to get out of an exam. Because you would really have to have the supressed tastebuds of sickness to get this down. That said, it does seem to work some kind of mojo on the whole dry throat/stuff nose/runny nose nastiness of colds and flu. It may also prevent re-infection, much as garlic wards off vampires and all living people as well.
C. hot red wine with honey and cloves
I think this works much like A: deadens the pain and gets you a good night's sleep.
D. don't whisper.
It seems counter-intuitive, but whispering is harder on the throat than the scratchy voice is.
E. keep the throat covered
A scarf or kerchief, especially when sleeping, seems to help.
I'm really impressed that anyone in the Czech Republic ever got past A.
And then there's this from DragonAttack, who I hope won't mind my outing her as a hippie supplement user:
I'm going to assume that you guys aren't hovering over your email in California waiting for home remedies, but I'll send this today anyway. Echinacea! Go to the drugstore and get yourself a bottle of Echinacea. It's in the hippie supplement section (I like Nature's Resource brand, but I'm guessing there isn't a difference between that and others) and it is your best friend.
I've used Echinacea as a cold remedy. I vastly prefer it to cough drops with zinc, for instance. Those things are like sucking on a penny. Now, from Martha, this simple, brief, yet eloquently forceful suggestion:
Trash could try Throat Coat tea - it works for me.
It must. Martha has no time to type! Her preferred method of communication is speech! Thanks to Throat Coat!
We also heard from people whose preferred method of communication is arias, like Erin:
This comes from an opera singer, so... -quit talking. It's fun to make weird raspy noises, I know, but quit it. -hot beverages good. Hot "throat coat" [there it is again!] or "throat formula" tea better. My favourite is from Yogi teas (ignore the scary religious spoutings on the teabag tabs) but there are other brands as well and they all have the same basic ingredients. -if she's coughing, a DM cough syrup will help stop the coughing and thus stop the laryngeal damage. Look for one with guafenesin (many spellings acceptable, it seems) which thins mucus. Robitussin makes a good simple one without additional harmful ingredients. Speaking of additional harmful ingredients, if she's on an antihistamine or decongestant, that will be contributing to the laryngitis. Hence the simpler cough syrup recommendation. -water, water, water. -she could try steaming - heat up a pot of water and bend over it with a towel over the head. Not fun, but good for you. Morning and night! -the best cough lozenges are Ricolas. Skip the Fisherman's Friends (too harsh for la voce) and the Halls (ditto). If you can find Thayer's Slippery Elm they're good too, but not as tasty and tooth-decay-inducing as the mighty Ricola. Good luck!
Slippery elm? I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that. Instead, let's hear from Kristen:
I really like your site and constantly suffer from laryngitis, although I don't think the two facts are related. [God, I hope not.] The trick is in the diagnosis--after all, "laryngitis" really just means "there's something wrong with your voice," which doesn't really help. If it's a wet, sore, icky, gross feeling, then get one of those facial steamers at Target or something and use it twice a day. Then cough up all the crap that emerges after 15 minutes. You also get the benefit of open pores! Any other kind of throat-badness I use a tea called "Throat Coat," [Okay, now I'm sold] which is an herbal tea you can get at most health food stores. It takes 10 minutes to brew and tastes like ass, but is soothing and lovely.
I also noticed a drop in frequency after I started using Rhinocort to get my allergies under control.
Hope this helps!
And from Sheila, who has a great URL:
Slippery elm bark (I know...yum, right?) is excellent for sore throats. [Excuse me, I was trying to pretend I'd never heard that.] Singers and public speakers like Thayer's Slippery Elm Lozenges, which are available at most health food stores. I also like Traditional Medicinals' Throat Coat Tea, which also has slippery elm and licorice root. [Aaaaand Throat Coat is ruined.] (Licorice root is also good for sore throats and lost voices, but can be hard to drink if you don't like black licorice.)
Something else to consider - if it's persistent, it's quite possibly caused by an allergy. If you've had some rain and a high mold count, that could be it. Mold is a big contributer, but it can be any allergen. If she has a cough or is clearing her throat a lot, I'd check out a cough syrup with Guaifenesin (just don't ask me to say it) and a saline nasal spray.
Hmm. Sheila spelled it "guaifnesin." Erin spelled it "guafenesin." And now I'm going to get Google hits on both. This is working out better than I expected.
One more thing: you know what doesn't work? Having minor surgery, undergoing anesthesia, and getting intubated. Trash's throat didn't like that at all. But it recovered before I had a chance to try the onions and honey cure.
Or maybe Trash was just faking recovery.
Today's best search phrase: "Oceanic hokey." You put your tide in, you put your tide out…
posted by M. Giant 8:55 PM 0 comments