If you’re an aspiring voice actor, speaker, or vocalist, it’s in your best interest to keep your voice strong. Fortunately, that’s not nearly as hard as it sounds. There are lots of remedies and exercises you can use to keep those pipes humming.
Losing your voice is no fun no matter how much fun you have losing it. If you’re hoarse after a night belting out karaoke at the local dive bar, or if you’re just worried about keeping things steady for that next gig, check out these 52 cheap and easy ways to keep your voice strong.
52 – Water
One of the most important things you can do to protect your voice is to stay hydrated. Water is at the core of the entire body’s operation. Don’t drink enough, and you’re weakening yourself in all kinds of ways, your vocal performance included. Try to drink at least 8 glasses of water daily, or 2 liters.
If water isn’t your bag, there are some ways to make it easier. Although sugary or even diet sodas aren’t the best for you, seltzer water is A-OK. Another tactic is to snack on water-rich foods like cucumber and watermelon. Whichever way you do it, you’ll find that your overall energy level, immune system, and the quality and endurance of your voice improve once you make hydration a habit.
51 – Don’t Smoke
Although plenty of voice actors and other celebrities used to smoke to deepen their voices, the truth is the practice does irreparable damage to your vocal cords. Among professionals these days, smoking is vanishingly rare. Proper technique and coaching are far superior and more sustainable. And won’t give you cancer.
The hazards of smoking are well-documented and well-known, but one side effect is particularly devastating to voice actors. The medical evidence shows that smoking causes the vocal fold to chronically swell, a condition known as laryngeal edema. This ailment is painful and potentially life-threatening, and it will not help your voices or your acting. It’s not worth it.
50 – Avoid Yelling and Screaming
It’s common sense, but bears repeating. Strain your voice by shouting, yelling, screaming, or belting out songs way too loud, and you’ll pay the price. The hoarseness that comes from overextending the vocal cords can set in after just a few moments of shouting, and can last for hours. Although there are plenty of remedies that will shorten the time in which you sound like Harvey Fierstein, it’s best to avoid the condition in the first place.
Hoarseness from shouting is caused by a swelling of the larynx. Our vocal cords are really very thin and fragile things, and when they are overused they become inflamed very quickly. If it happens to you, check out the remedies elsewhere in this article. Hot tea with honey is especially helpful, especially blends like Traditional Medicinals Organic Throat Coat.
49 – Relax
Although avoiding stress and just generally relaxing in life is a great idea and will help your voice, this tip refers to something more specific to the vocal arts. Do your best to relax the muscles in your throat and neck as you perform, especially if you’re singing or doing very high or very low voices.
This takes some skill and practice, but it will make you a better voice actor or singer in the long run. Get used to proper techniques to hit those timbres without straining your vocal cords. A good voice coach can go a long way here.
48 – Make Voice Health a Habit
As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. In other words, all the planning and reading won’t do any good if it all goes out the window. As you read these tips, and as you read and learn about voice acting or any endeavor in life, remember that it’s all for nothing until you put it into practice.
Keep your head even in stressful situations, even as you record that video, podcast, or stand on that stage. Find the remedies and techniques that work for you, and stick with them. Use them in every day speech, and as you do your most extreme voices. As another saying goes, “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
47 – Don’t Talk While Sick
No matter how careful you are, at some point you are going to catch a cold and your voice will go. Take care of yourself and your vocal cords when this happens. Get yourself plenty of rest, and rest your voice as well.
Follow Aaron Burr’s advice and talk less while you’re sick. Smiling more is optional. No? Not good?
Anyway, give your voice a chance to rest and recover while you’re sick, and it will come back much faster. Just like you wouldn’t do heavy lifting while your muscles are sore, you shouldn’t exert your vocal cords while your voice is gone.
46 – Humidifier
Invest in a humidifier and keep your work space and sleeping area a little bit steamy. Breathing in arid, dry air is tough on the throat and larynx, and your vocal cords will thank you for sparing them. Especially if you live in a dry area – Hello, Los Angeles! – it’s important to make sure the air you breathe is nice and moist, at least some of the time.
Your throat hydrates itself not just from the water you drink, but also from breathing. With a good humidifier, every breath you take will run a hydrating mist over your throat. You’ll find that your voice lasts longer and stays stronger and less painful even with prolonged use.
45 – Morning Trills
Vocal warmups are important, and not just for singers. Exerting your voice through projection or character voices strains your vocal cords and the muscles in your larynx. It’s just like any other muscular strain, and it will go a lot better if you warm up first. Just like stretching before a workout or doing a little morning yoga, performing vocal warmups in the morning and just before a performance will do wonders.
There are a multitude of different warmups to do, but one of the most common are lip or tongue trills. They’re easy to learn, and are a commonly accepted vocal technique. If you have a voice coach, you’ve probably already been taught how to do them. If you don’t have a voice coach, you should.
44 – Other Morning Warmups
There are numerous other vocal warmups that can aid the voice actor or anyone who expects to do a lot of talking. Hum for a few minutes in the morning while in the shower or driving to work. Practice humming at different volumes and pitches, starting soft and high and ending loud and low. Do the same by vocalizing vowels. Sing a few scales if you’re able.
There are countless videos, tutorials, and other resources to help you start your day’s voice work on the right foot. Here is a link to one of our favorites, published by the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai. Warm up repeatedly throughout the day, especially before you record or perform.
43 – Cool Down at the End of the Day
Cooling down is just as important, as with any exercise. As you wind down for the night, perform a few of the same exercises. Hum or vocalize at different pitches and volumes, do some trills, or recite your favorite tongue twister.
Keeping your larynx in shape follows the same principles as maintaining any other set of muscles. Stretches, in this case vocal exercises, at the beginning and end of the day will keep it loose and limber, more capable and less prone to damage and injury. Like any good practice, making it a habit will ensure you reap the benefits for years to come.
42 – Use an Extra Pillow
If you are suffering from sinus drainage from a cold or allergies, be sure to prop up your head while you sleep. An extra pillow or two will do the trick, and you’ll feel much better in the morning. Letting all that nasty mucus hang around in your throat isn’t good for your larynx or vocal cords. It can cause inflammation and extend your illness.
Likewise, while you’re awake, try to not sniffle. The only thing sniffling accomplishes is sucking up the mucus back down your throat, and it’s not healthy. It’s also pretty gross if you think about it. Blow your nose!
41 – Gargle Warm Salt Water
This is a time-honored technique that is used by voice actors and voiceover professionals in every part of the world. Pour a glass of warm (not scalding hot) water and stir in a ¼ to ½ teaspoon of ordinary table salt. Gargle the solution for about 30 seconds, then spit and rinse.
A salt water gargle is especially effective if you have a sore throat, and will keep your voice in good shape over the long hours of a recording session. The salt draws out fluids and coats the inside of the throat with a protective barrier. The effect is reduced swelling and irritation. Just be sure not to swallow too much.
40 – Turmeric
To really supercharge that salt water gargle, add a quarter to a half teaspoon of turmeric. The yellow spice has long been renowned as a miracle cure in Ayurvedic and other natural healing traditions, and the science shows that it works. Turmeric has been shown in laboratories to have antifungal and antibacterial properties, and studies are currently underway to study its effects on Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
The herb has been known as a treatment for indigestion, throat infections, and liver ailments for thousands of years. In Ayurvedic traditions, its bright yellow color marks it as corresponding to the solar plexus, a center of energy in the body. Whether your beliefs run to the spiritual or the scientific, gargling a little bit of turmeric is a healthy practice.
39 – Clean Air
We breathe in a lot of gunk in our day to day lives, especially at home. A quality, allergen-reducing air filter for your central heat or air conditioning system costs just a few dollars, and can make an enormous difference to the health of your throat, larynx, and lungs. For best results, change the filter annually.
For even greater benefit, you can purchase an air purifier. These are essentially fans with highly advanced filters built in, and can clean and ionize the air in a room. This is a great thing to put in your bedroom, as most of the allergens and irritants that enter our throat and lungs do so overnight.
38 – Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is important for more than one reason. Nobody is on top of their game when they didn’t get enough rest the night before. Your head is cloudy, your eyes hurt, you’re not as sharp, and it’s hard to coax a good performance out of yourself.
Even more important, though, is sleep’s role in developing and maintaining your larynx and vocal cords. Sleep is the time when our body heals itself, growing new muscle fibers and repairing damaged tissue. Any weight trainer is already familiar with this truth. Your larynx is essentially a muscle, and giving it time to recover is vital to its proper function.
37 – Good Technique
Voice acting often requires very high and low pitches, a great deal of volume, and more often than not a variety of strange noises, grunts, squeaks, and what have you. All of that can be hard on the vocal cords, and it’s a wonder that some of the biggest names in voice acting can do as much as they do.
The truth is, they’re professionals and they know what they’re doing. And you can too! Learn to breathe from the diaphragm, learn when to lean in or away from the mic, and learn the countless other tricks and tips that the most successful voice actors lean on. A vocal coach can help with this, or Dee Bradley Baker’s wonderful website I Want to Be a Voice Actor.
36 – Be Gentle on Your Throat
We all have a tendency to clear our throats throughout the day. Especially when under stress, many people reflexively cough and clear their throats. It’s a filler sound like “um” or “ah”, something that we can do to buy some time for our minds to go. And who isn’t under stress during a performance?
This is one impulse that needs to be controlled, though. Coughing and throat clearing is hard on the larynx, and voice actors need to take as much care as they can with their instrument. If you do need to clear your throat because there is actually something in it, try swallowing or taking a sip of water instead.
35 – Avoid Acid Reflux
Another common side effect of stress is acid reflux, also known as heartburn. This is a minor disorder caused when stomach acid bubbles up our throats. Most people have experienced this at some time in their life, and it’s uncomfortable but not a big problem. Unless, that is, you need full command of your voice. Acid reflux causes instant hoarseness, and that’s the last thing any voice actor needs.
Acid reflux is largely controllable by monitoring the way we eat. Eat slowly and chew your food. After your meal, sit for a few minutes to give your body time to digest. Try not to eat right before bed. For more information on controlling acid reflux, check WebMD or talk to your doctor.
34 – Spicy Food in Moderation
Speaking of eating, don’t have too much spicy food. That’s not to say you can’t enjoy some hot sauce on your burrito or some Sriracha on your stir fry, but overindulging makes acid reflux more likely. It’s also hard on your throat in general. Have you ever eaten something so spicy you lost your voice?
The inside of your throat contains sensitive tissue, and coating it with too much spiciness can cause laryngeal irritation, or an inflammation of the larynx. If you’re a spice addict (and this writer certainly is!) then try to limit it to nights when you don’t have to perform the next day.
33 – Avoid Aerosols and Cleaning Products
It might seem obvious, but don’t breathe in any irritants. On performance days, try to avoid using any cleaning sprays, chemical air fresheners, or other caustic aerosols. If you can’t avoid it, make sure you leave a window open and don’t lean in too close. If you can’t that, consider a mask.
The principle here is the same as with smoking or breathing in allergens. It’s in your best interest to set your vocal cords up to win, and that means giving them a clear playing field. Although it’s impossible to 100% coddle yourself, do what you can to keep nasty stuff out of your throat.
32 – Avoid Cold Dry Air
The optimal weather for your larynx is warm and humid. Think a muggy summer day in Florida. Unfortunately, that’s not where most people live, and much of the voice industry is in Los Angeles. LA ranges from hot and dry to cold and dry, and the air is rarely ideal for vocal health.
If the air outside isn’t humid enough and you feel a scratch coming on, spend a little extra time taking care of your voice. Taking a long, hot shower or bath will go a long way, as the steam will loosen up the muscles in your larynx and soften the skin. If you don’t have time for that, try a steam inhalation therapy like the one described below.
31 – Over the Counter Lozenges
There are dozens and dozens of retail products available to help ease a sore throat. They can work just as well to keep your throat from getting sore in the first place. Pop a lozenge or two between takes while recording, or during breaks. Be sure to follow any indications on the packaging and avoid exceeding the recommended daily dosage.
Lozenges that contain pectin are especially useful. Pectin is a powerful and natural moistening agent that will keep your vocal cords running smoothly. Luden’s is a good choice, as are Halls Breezers. Avoid lozenges with menthol, as it can cause damage with prolonged use, as well as altering the timbre of your voice in the short term.
30 – Honey
Along with a slew of other health benefits, honey is wonderfully effective to treat a sore throat. The sweet nectar coats the throat and keeps it moist. Stir it into hot tea or just eat a spoonful a few times a day. Choose raw, organic honey. Locally-sourced honey, although pricey, can also help with allergies.
Since honey tends to stick around in the throat, it also makes a great delivery agent for other remedies. There are numerous herbs you can mix into your honey. The combination makes both ingredients more effective, as the honey helps the other remedy stay in contact with your larynx for longer.
29 – Ginger
The spicy root is effective in treating a variety of ailments, from digestion to joint pain to throat inflammation. Fresh ginger root is available in most supermarkets in the produce section, and simply eating small slices throughout the day is very effective. It can be a little unappetizing, though, and ginger tea or even candies are nearly as good for you.
One trick is to keep a jar of crystallized ginger with you in the recording booth. They can easily be chewed during short breaks, or even dissolved into tea or coffee. Crystallized ginger is available in some markets, or online.
28 – Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper is available in any supermarket spice aisle, if it’s not already in your pantry. Be sure to pick up powdered cayenne pepper, not crushed red pepper, chili powder, or similar spices. This herb has been used as a natural remedy for ages, and it is well-known to be stimulating for the entire body. The spiciness is good for treating a sore throat, calming inflammation, and even stopping infections from developing.
To use cayenne pepper as a vocal remedy, stir a pinch into warm water or tea along with a spoonful of honey. As we mentioned, honey is a great conductor for many other throat remedies, as it will help them stick to the larynx. For even greater effectiveness, try a few drops of cayenne extract in the same solution.
27 – Black Pepper
If cayenne makes you a little too hot under the collar, black pepper is also wonderfully effective. This commonplace herb is prominent in ayurvedic medicine, where it is considered a warming spice that aids the flow of oxygen throughout the body. The voice is very much aided by a strong respiratory system, and even Western science has shown that there is much to learn from Ayurveda.
A pinch of black pepper may be mixed with honey in tea or warm water, like cayenne. The traditional Ayurvedic method to treat hoarseness with black pepper is to mix one half teaspoon of pepper with one teaspoon of butter or ghee.
26 – Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has scores of health benefits both real and imagined. It has been credited with healing everything from a sore throat to acne. Science has shown that there are plenty of reasons to take a little apple cider vinegar each day, provided it is done correctly and safely.
ACV, as it is known, is extremely acidic and should never be taken undiluted. To use apple cider vinegar to protect your voice, mix about a teaspoon with 4 ounces of water. A little honey and cinnamon will improve the flavor and provide additional health benefits. Drink the tonic slowly, over the course of several hours if possible.
25 – Steam Inhalation
One of the cheapest and easiest ways to protect and heal your vocal cords is a home steam inhalation therapy. Warm, moist air supports your voice and throat and helps it heal faster. If you don’t have access to a steam room or sauna, you can easily create a miniature one just for your head.
Simply bring some water to a simmer or slow boil and pour it into a bowl. Drape a towel over your head and lower your face over the water. The towel should hang down, creating a sort of tent over the bowl. Close your eyes, breathe deep, and relax. Stay there for 1-2 minutes. If you become uncomfortable, it’s OK to let in a little bit of cool air by raising your head.
24 – Add Essential Oils
Home steam inhalation therapy is even more effective with essential oils. There are dozens if not hundreds of oils available that heal specific ailments, support your mood and health, or just smell nice. For the respiratory system, wood oils like cedarwood, eucalyptus, and pine are especially beneficial.
Simply add a few drops of essential oil into the bowl of warm water. Don’t add it to the pot, or the heat will reduce the effectiveness of the oils. To make the whole process easier, there are special steam inhalation machines available on Amazon or other online retailers. These regulate the temperature of the water, letting it steam without becoming too hot.
23 – Licorice Root
Tea isn’t just a vehicle for honey and other vocal remedies. Certain brews support your voice all on their own, and are only aided by adding honey or herbs. Licorice root tea is just about the best choice you can make when supporting your voice. It’s available as tea bags online, although we recommend brewing it from loose leaves using an infuser or other “fancy” tea brewing contraption.
Licorice is a strong digestive aid, and it will provide a pleasant numbing effect on the back of your throat. It’s sort of like a natural cough drop, and it will help you keep going strong even after many hours of recording and performing. If you can’t stand the taste of black licorice, add some honey and flavorful spices to the tea to help hide the flavor. Keep a Thermos of it on hand during sessions, and your vocal cords will thank you.
22 – Marshmallow Plant
Marshmallow, or althaea officinalis, is a perennial plant that grows over much of Europa, Asia, and Africa. It has little to do with the sweet little puffs that carry the name today, although that treat may have been adapted from an ancient Egyptian recipe that used the roots of the plant.
The sap of the marshmallow plant is sweet and tasty, and makes a pleasant tea. For the voice actor or singer, the tea is wonderful to soften the tissues inside the throat, as well as helping clear up phlegm and other fluids. Marshmallow really is a miracle cure from the ancient world, and it’s just as effective today as it was thousands of years ago. The plant is available in tea form or as pills, though the tea is much better for the voice.
21 – Propolis
Although it is used in much the same way as herbal remedies, propolis isn’t an herb at all. Rather, it is a product created by honeybees when they gather from tree buds and sap. Propolis is also called “bee glue”, and it used to seal gaps when building a beehive.
Like honey and royal nectar, propolis has a number of outstanding health benefits. Some say the substance is as effective an antibacterial as penicillin, although the science is still out on that claim. What is well-known and proven is that propolis will help reduce swelling in the throat, break up mucus in the sinuses, and even help fight infections.
Mixing a tablespoon into warm water is the most common way to take this natural medicine. Propolis is available online, and it should be noted that it doesn’t take very good. Sometimes, voice actors need to sacrifice for their art.
20 – Sage
This pungent herb is significant in a number of ancient religions, and has also been found effective as a remedy for the throat. Fresh or dried sage is available in most supermarkets, and can be found growing wild in many places around the world. Choose organic if possible, as with all herbs and spices.
To use sage in support of your voice, make a tea by steeping the herb in warm water. Gargle the tea for about 30 seconds, or add honey and drink it slowly. Sage works especially well when mixed with licorice root and propolis. The herb is also available in a tea bag. To create your own vocal support herbal blend, take one licorice root tea bag and one sage tea bag, and steep it with honey.
19 – Slippery Elm
Slippery elm has the properties of a demulcent, meaning that it coats the throat and soothes the membranes inside. This natural herb is an active ingredient in many over-the-counter cough syrups and throat lozenges, along with remedies created especially for vocalists and voice actors.
Slippery elm has many of the same effects as menthol, but is more practical for those who rely on their voices because it does not dull the throat. One brand we especially recommend is Thayers, which was formulated in 1847 especially for opera singers. Thayers makes a selection of slippery elm lozenges in various flavors, all of which are available online.
18 – Peppermint Tea
This cooling herb is easily available as a tea from most supermarkets, or online. Peppermint is a natural source of menthol, which helps to thin excess mucus and other fluids, as well as providing a pleasant numb sensation in the throat. Along with keeping your breath minty fresh, this herbal tea helps fight bacterial and viral infections.
Choose an organic tea if possible, and use plenty of it. We recommend brewing a Thermos full of hot peppermint tea and keeping it with you during a performance or recording session. Use about 4 bags to 3 cups of water, leave the bags in throughout the day.
To make it even more effective (and tasty!) add honey and lemon juice. The honey will help the tea coat your throat, while the lemon aids the tea’s decongestant and anti-inflammatory properties.
17 – Port Wine
In general, we don’t recommend alcoholic beverages while performing or recording, and they should be drunk in moderation even at the after-party. Alcohol is a natural diuretic that will dry out your body, causing your voice to become hoarse and raspy. That’s to say nothing of the morning after!
One exception, though, is port wine. Port is red wine that is fortified with brandy during the fermentation process. The result is thick, sweet, warming, and soothing. It has long been thought to help ward off the flu and other sicknesses. In India, the beverage is sometimes even mixed with warm water and used as a gargle.
Like other red wines, the health benefits of port aren’t an excuse to drink it to excess. Drink a small amount slowly, and enjoy it. The standard serving size for port is 3 ounces, a little smaller than other wines.
16 – Onion Syrup
It sounds gross. To be honest, it is gross. Nonetheless, onion syrup is a time-honored traditional remedy for an inflamed larynx or laryngitis. If you find yourself hoarse before you need put your pipes to work, you may just need to take a hit for your team and slurp down some onion syrup.
Chop 3 or 4 medium sized white onions, open a window, and simmer the pieces in 4 cups of water until the whole thing thickens into a stinky goop. Pour a glass of warm water, and add one tablespoon honey, five tablespoons of the onion syrup, and a little lemon juice. Drink it slowly, and know that your voice will be better soon.
15 – Mouthwash
Many of the herbs and other remedies that support your voice are very effective when gargled or used as a mouthwash. Although over the counter alcohol-based mouthwashes are tough on the throat and generally a bad idea for the voice actor, it’s easy and inexpensive to make your own alcohol-free version that incorporates cinnamon, peppermint, and other voice remedies.
We like the recipe over at DIY Natural best. Mix ½ cup distilled water, 2 tsp baking soda, 2 drops tea tree oil, and 2 drops peppermint oil. Shake it up, and gargle a bit every day, or before you perform. You’ll save money, feel better, and sound better.
14 – Lemon
The natural acid in lemon juice make it a great expectorant, loosening mucus and clearing the larynx and sinuses. Lemon also has antibacterial and antiviral properties, meaning it helps you fight off infections and sickness, or stop them from developing in the first place.
A little bit of lemon juice can be added to tea or warm water, along with honey and many of the other remedies listed on this page. To get a real lemon kick, follow this simple recipe. Squeeze one lemon into warm water. Spoon in a little bit of salt, and gargle the solution for 30 seconds. Try not to swallow too much of the solution, as the salt can be unhealthy.
13 – Garlic
Another stinky but effective option to keep your voice strong is garlic. Garlic has a slew of health benefits, and is a natural antimicrobial agent and expectorant. If you and your significant other don’t mind, one of the best things you can do for your voice is to simply eat a clove of garlic raw. Chew it well and swallow.
If that is a little strong for you, then you can also create a tonic by soaking several chopped garlic cloves in equal parts distilled water and ACV. Shake it up and let it sit on a counter in a sealed container for about 4 hours. Add several tablespoons of raw honey, and then place it in the fridge. On performing days, swallow 1-3 teaspoons of the tonic twice a day.
12 – Cinnamon
Cinnamon is another natural antimicrobial agent, and a good deal better for your breath than garlic and onions. The spice makes a great herbal tea, and is already an ingredient in many popular blends available at any supermarket. It’s also available in powdered form or, of course, as cinnamon sticks.
To create a highly effective home remedy for your voice, boil one cup distilled or filtered drinking water. Add one teaspoon of cinnamon powder and honey to taste, about three teaspoons. Drink slowly, letting the honey coat your throat. Your breath will smell great, and your voice will stay strong.
11 – Clove
Clove, especially as an essential oil, is a classic home remedy and general health booster. The fragrant herb is naturally antiseptic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. Essential oil of clove is available from multiple online retailers, as well as natural food stores.
To use clove in support of your voice, mix 4 drops with one teaspoon of honey and swallow. It’s fast, simple, and effective. Do this morning, noon, and night on performance days, or if you find yourself hoarse.
Clove candies and lozenges are also available. While not as effective as the oil, they will help support your voice and larynx as well.
10 – Leafy Greens
Not specific to the voice, but a good idea in general, is a diet rich in leafy greens and other vegetables. Your body is a complex system, and the fuel we put in greatly affects our performance. This includes how you heal, your endurance, and even the speed at which you think.
By giving your body plenty of vitamins and minerals in the form of real food, you keep your throat clean and healthy. You’ll heal faster from the strains of vocal performance, whether that’s an operatic aria or a crazy cartoon voice, and you’ll feel better all around. Good eating is good living, and good living is the key to success in all things.
9 – Pull Your Tongue
For a quick fix if you find your vocal cords inflamed, grab your tongue with clean fingers or a clean towel. Gently pull it out of your mouth and move it in all directions. Hold each direction for a few seconds, and repeat the process two or three times.
The larynx is largely composed of muscles, and it is squarely connected to the tongue. This exercise will literally stretch your larynx just like you would stretch your legs after a jog. It feels strange, but it works fast. Be careful not to pull too hard, and be sure to wash your hands first.
8 – Thyme
Another herbal remedy that works well to support the voice is thyme. Although this spice is easily found in any supermarket in dried form, although fresh will work a bit better if you can find it. Thyme is another natural expectorant that will help loosen the mucus in your throat, clearing the way for your vocal cords to work.
Wash the thyme if fresh, and place it in a mug. Boil some distilled or filtered drinking water, and pour it in. Let the “tea” steep for about 10 minutes, and drink slowly. You can feel free to add honey, lemon juice, or other remedies to boost the effect. Thyme is also available as an essential oil, and two or three drops will work just as well as fresh.
7 – Plantain
Plantain fruits are something like giant bananas, and are the most commonly used part of this plant. However, the leaves are also highly effective in treating insect bites and skin irritation. These same qualities make it ideal for treating irritation of the throat and larynx.
Plantain leaf can be difficult to find, but is available online and from some natural food stores. Using it to support your voice acting is much the same as sage. Steep the leaves in hot water for about 10 minutes, then slowly drink or gargle it. As always, adding honey before drinking will allow the infusion to coat the inside of your throat, increasing its effectiveness. Don’t add honey if gargling.
6 – Olive Oil
Plain, regular old olive oil contains a slew of health benefits. It’s at the center of the Mediterranean Diet, after all. Olive oil is soothing to the vocal cords and larynx, and just drinking a tablespoon each day will make you feel better in a lot of ways.
To really supercharge olive oil as a voice remedy, mix one tablespoon with one tablespoon lemon juice and two tablespoons honey. Eat the mixture up one or more times per day, and you’ll find that your throat lasts a lot longer during taxing performances.
Choose extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil. Organic if possible.
5 – Agrimony
This is an herb that grows in temperate regions, and is easily available online or from health food stores. Agrimony contains high levels of tannins, and serves as an excellent long-term support for your voice and vocal cords. Regular use of agrimony will strengthen your larynx and prevent hoarseness.
Agrimony is best used as a gargle. Steep one tablespoon of agrimony in one cup of hot water for about ten minutes, then gargle for at least 30 seconds. The herb may also be drunk as a tea, with honey and lemon juice added. Adding honey to a gargle is generally not advisable.
4 – Basil Leaf Juice
Believe it or not, fresh basil can be juiced in a regular electric juicer. Or just squeeze it! The concoction is extremely healthy as well as tasty, and it serves as a natural expectorant. Basil juice is available online, but it’s so easy to just squeeze it from a fresh bunch bought at any grocery store. Choose organic basil if possible.
To use as a vocal support remedy, add 1 teaspoon of basil juice to 1 tablespoon of honey. Eat the mixture a few times a day. Your break during a voice acting recording session is a great opportunity. To supercharge this remedy, drink a cup of hot ginger tea with honey at the same time.
3 – Drink Just Right!
As in not too hot, and not too cold. It’s Goldilocks rules.
Your larynx and vocal cords need to be warm but not scalded in order to operate at their best. Enjoy your hot tea and coffee, and definitely enjoy that icy cold beer at the end of a gig, but not while you’re working. Let your hot drinks cool a bit before sipping them, and stick to room temperature water otherwise.
Most of the herbal remedies listed here require a long steeping time of about ten minutes, so they will naturally have cooled off by the time you’re drinking them anyway. If you’re one of those people who put their hot coffee in the microwave to bring it to roughly the surface temperature of the sun, you may need to sacrifice that habit when you’re on the job.
2 – Papaya Enzyme Tablets
If your voice is gone and you have an acting gig later in the day, you need to get it back fast. Just about the fastest acting voice remedy is papaya enzyme tablets.
These are available online or from some health food stores, and are generally dissolved against the upper gums. Although the tablets are chewable, don’t in this case. You want the stuff to coat your mouth and throat.
The main benefits of papaya enzyme are to support your digestive health and nutrient absorption, but with this method your voice should improve within a few hours.
1 – Bromelain Tablets
Bromelain is derived from pineapple stems, and works similarly to papaya enzyme. It is also available online or from health food stores, and should be swallowed on an empty stomach. It is a strong natural anti-inflammatory, and will help keep your vocal cords from swelling even under heavy use.
Naturally, you shouldn’t do every single one of these remedies all at once. Experiment with what works best for you, both in terms of efficacy and palatability (taste matters!). It can also be good to cycle them over time, especially for the herbal remedies. Whatever you end up with, you should find some good habits here that will help you in your voice acting endeavors. Good luck!