Excessive mucus production
What do we do as voice professionals when we have to sing a concert, give a presentation or a speech, when we wake up on the day of our event with an excess of mucus on our vocal cords and in our throat? This is one of the many challenges of the voice professional. Excess mucus is almost always due to one thing. Diet.
That’s right, diet. Some people might say it’s allergy season, or their house is moldy, or they’ve always been prone to sinus problems. These factors are also possible in the mucus area, but overproduction of mucus is almost always due to diet. Eating acidic foods like dairy, red meat, white refined sugar, and white flour makes us acidic. Our pH balance is thrown off balance and our body begins to react. The lymph glands swell and the mucus that should be flowing through them easily gets pinched and sticky and cannot escape and be released from our body. So it has to go somewhere. The throat and vocal cords are almost always hit.
Our vocal cords are lined with a small layer of mucus that keeps the vocal cords nice and hydrated so they can vibrate properly. When the slime is overloaded, the cords are covered with too much slime and cannot vibrate as they should. As a result, we feel like we have a lump in our throat or a drip and we have to constantly clear our throat or swallow what looks like a ball of wax or something. This is brutal for the voice professional, both psychologically and physically. (Rather than going into the list of foods and dietary habits that need to be addressed to eliminate this problem from your voice life, this blog focuses on the emergency at hand. Specific foods and dietary changes will be covered in future blogs, so be sure to check in often .)
So what to do when mucus production is overloaded on the big day? One of the best things you can do to clear your nasal passages. Empty them completely. If your mucus is yellow or green then you are either on the way or already have an infection. But that doesn’t matter that much in relation to your immediate emergency. Here’s a suggestion I’ve given to many of my colleagues and clients. If you have a netti pot, you’re in luck. Take a mixture of goldenseal liquid extract (15 drops), a small pinch of cayenne pepper and two drops of oregano oil P73. Mix them in about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water. Use this mixture in your netti pot if you have one. If not, use a cup that’s bendable like a plastic cup. Go to the sink and tilt your head to one side as you pour the mixture through one nostril. SOMETHING TO NOTE!!! This mix is not for the faint of heart. It will have a real punch and some sting. But we are in an emergency situation here. If you really want to attack the slime and start the healing process right away, then this is the way to go.
Goldenseal has antibiotic properties and will begin to heal the infection when needed. The cayenne pepper will attack and break up the mucus and the oregano oil will completely clear the mucus from the nasal passages. Do this at least three times per nostril. You shouldn’t need more. You will feel the need to blow your nose almost immediately as the mucus will drain away immediately. You may also feel the discharge in the back of your throat. This is an amazing remedy. Within five minutes my head is clear as a bell and my sinuses are basically clear.
Another solution, while not as immediate and powerful but still very effective, is to drink plain old apple cider vinegar mixed with filtered water. Excellent for the digestive system, apple cider vinegar is a general body cleanser and tonic. It will break up mucus and help your body bring itself back to a proper and healthy pH balance. Drink this throughout the day and during your concert, presentation or speech. You can also add a little lemon (half a lemon should be enough) and honey (add to taste) to the mixture. The lemon will help break up the slime, but don’t use too much as it can dry out the cords if used for too long. The honey will soothe and envelop your throat, which will help fight any possible infections and give you a nice boost of energy.
Thanks to David Aaron Katz