Lemon and honey is the go-to organic remedy for singers and professional speakers needing to soothe their precious pipes. But is this age-old combination really the best option for keeping those chords in check?
Yes and no.
Both lemon and honey have anti-mocrobrial and anti oxidant properties that can be beneficial to your vocal chords, however both can also have adverse effects if consumed in large quantities.
Your vocal cords are surrounded by a mucous membrane which is important to keep hydrated in order to keep your voice functioning properly. If you feel like you have too much mucous or phlegm in your throat or you have to clear your throat all the time, it’s because the mucous is too thick. Drinking water will help thin the mucous membrane out but adding lemon to your water will flush out that excess thick mucous faster.
Throat feeling irritated? Environmental pollutants, a long singing or speaking engagement, or being sick are just a few things that can dry out your vocal chords and cause irritation. This is when honey should be introduced into your diet. The nutrients in honey and its thick, coating consistency will help sooth a dry throat and introduce helpful nutrients into your irritated vocals.
To help guide you through the proper use of lemon and honey for your professional voice, here are some of the benefits and negatives of this age-old concoction.
In addition to being a natural disinfectant, lemon is an astringent. High in pectin and potassium, lemon can clear your system of environmental toxins. The astringent quality of lemon in you system can clear your vocal chords and throat of mucous, however for professional vocalists and speakers, too much can dry out your vocal chords and cause irritation. Only use it when you feel like you have tons of mucous and avoid adding slices of lemon to your beverages on a daily basis.
If you want to clear up mucous in your throat, mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice + 1/4 teaspoon baking soda + one cup warm water and gargle at a high pitch. Gargling the mixture at a high pitch will cause your vocal cords to contract and rise closer to the back of your throat where you are gargling the mixture. Spit and repeat several times.
In addition to its body cleansing capabilities, lemon is an excellent source of vitamin C, which can help rid your system of free radicals and help your body fight infection—which is another good reason for professional vocalists to consume the yellow super fruit.
An ancient remedy, honey (especially dark honey) is believed to cure a number of ailments including a common due to its high nutrient content. Honey is high in iron, calcium, phosphorous, copper, manganese, silica chlorine, potassium, aluminum and magnesium.
According to studies, natural citrus honey can also help sooth your throat and vocal chords by easing coughing fits, which is beneficial to professional vocalists and speakers battling the flu or cold—or simply sooth an overworked throat after a long concert of speaking engagement. It is important not to consume a large amount of honey prior to a performance as its coating properties will make it difficult to control your pitch and cause too much vibration (like singing with a phlegmy throat).
Hot or Cold?
Warming your lemon and honey beverage (we recommend mixing with water, as certain teas can be harsh on your vocals) will help increase circulation to the irritated area.
So, put quite simply: lemon will help loosen a coated throat and honey will help coat an irritated throat. So per your needs, add more honey or lemon depending on how dry or coated your throat feels.
A good ratio to start with is one quart of water + the juice of two fresh lemons.
For any vocal health issues or to schedule an appointment with a leading ENT surgeon, visit the ColoradoVoiceClinic.com.