Laryngitis

Laryngitis: Overview

Alternative Names: Acute laryngitis

Laryngitis is the inflammation of the larynx (voice box), which results in irritation and swelling of the larynx and the surrounding area.  It can cause the voice to become hoarse or to disappear altogether.

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Incidence; Causes and Development

Acute laryngitis is most common in late fall, winter, and early spring.

The chronic form is often associated with such irritants as cigarette smoke and industrial fumes.  Other allergens may play a part too.

Signs and Symptoms

Unnatural change in the voice; Hoarseness or loss of voice; Tickling, scratchiness, and rawness in the throat; A constant urge to clear the throat; Fever in some more severe cases; Difficulty breathing if the larynx is swollen.

Treatment and Prevention

Depending on the cause of the laryngitis, treatment can vary from resting the voice to treatments of a bacterial infection.  Antibiotics are used to treat laryngitis cases caused by bacterial infections.  Viral infections are not curable and have to run their course.  Irritants cause some cases of laryngitis.  These can include – talking or shouting excessively, cigarette smoking, chemical fumes.  The best treatment in these cases is to rest the voice and avoid all irritants.

The following gargles may be beneficial:

  • Laryngitis gargle: Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), sage (Salvia officinalis), and marigold (Calendula officinalis) are soothing and anti-inflammatory herbs.
  • Antimicrobial gargle: Coneflower, goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), and myrrh (Commiphora molmol) are antibacterial and immune-stimulating herbs.
  • Pain relief gargle: Propolis, peppermint (Mentha piperita), and ginger (Zingiber officinalis) are antimicrobial and anodyne herbs.

General recommendations:

  • Rest your voice
  • Avoid irritants such as smoke, chemicals or dry air
  • Drink plenty of fluids.

Prognosis

In general, laryngitis resolves within one or two weeks, with or without treatment.

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Laryngitis:

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Laryngitis:

Symptoms - Head - Mouth/Oral

(Recent onset) hoarse voice

The most common cause of hoarseness is inflammation of the vocal cords caused by upper respiratory tract infection, or by speaking, yelling or singing too much or too loud.

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Recommendations for Laryngitis:

Botanical

Frankincense

Breathing the vapors or swallowing small amounts of frankincense may help restore your voice when it has been lost due to overuse.

Garlic

Garlic is antibacterial and supports the immune system.

Olive Leaf Extract

Olive leaf extract is an excellent antibacterial and antiviral agent.

Grapefruit Seed Extract

Grapefruit-seed extract can be taken internally or used as a gargle.

Elderberry / Sambucol

Elderberry extract works well against viruses.

Licorice Root

Drink an herbal sore-throat tea containing slippery elm bark, hyssop, licorice root and sage.

Echinacea (Coneflower)

Echinacea and golden seal stimulate the immune system and are important for helping to clear any kind of infection.  Take one dose of an echinacea and goldenseal combination formula supplying 250-500mg of echinacea and 250-500mg of goldenseal every two hours during the acute phase.  Then cut back to one dose three times a day for up to one week.

Mineral

Zinc

Sugar-free herbal-based lozenges fortified with vitamin C or zinc, a mineral that speeds healing, are very helpful.  Lozenges increase saliva production and help soothe a dry, irritated throat.  Take one lozenge every hour, as needed, for up to one week.

Physical Medicine

Vitamins

Vitamin B-Complex

A B-complex can enhance immune function, especially during times of stress.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

Vitamin C is both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.  Dissolve 1 teaspoon of buffered vitamin-C powder in 8 ounces of water and sip this throughout the day.  Do this for the first forty-eight hours.

Bioflavonoids

Bioflavonoids help to ease inflammation in the throat and fight infection.  Take 500mg of mixed bioflavonoids three or four times a day for the first three to four days.

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