Excess Mucus production
What do we do, as Voice Professionals, when we have to sing a concert, give a presentation or speech, if we wake up the day of our event and have 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 may say that it’s allergy season, or their house is moldy or they have always been prone to sinus problems. These factors are also possibilities in the mucus realm, but almost always, over production of mucus is due to diet. By eating foods that are acidic in nature such as, dairy products, red meat, white refined sugar and white flour, we become acidic. Our pH balance is out of whack and our body begins to react. The lymph glands get swollen and the mucus that is supposed to flow though them easily becomes logged and stuck and is unable to escape and be released from our body. So it has to go somewhere. Almost always the throat and vocal cords take the hit.
Our vocal cords are lined with a small layer of mucus that keeps the cords nice and hydrated so they may vibrate correctly. When the mucus is on overload then the cords are covered with to much mucus and unable to vibrate the way they should. Thus we feel like we have a lump in our throat or a drip and we continually need to clear our throat or swallow what seems like a ball of wax or something like it. This is brutal for the Voice Professional, on both the psychological and physical levels. (Rather than go into the list of foods and dietary habits that need to be addressed to eliminate this problem form your vocal life, this blog is focused on the emergency at hand. Specific foods and diet modification will be in future blogs, so be sure to check in often.)
So what do we do when the mucus production is on overload on the big day. One of the best things you can do it to irrigate your nasal passages. Completely drain them. If your mucus is yellow or green then you are either on your way or already have an infection. But that does not matter so much in regards to your immediate emergency. Here is one suggestion I have given to many of my colleagues and clients. If you have a netti pot then you are in luck. Take a mixture of Goldenseal liquid extract (15 drops), a small pinch of cayenne, and two drops of P73 Oregano oil. Mix them in about a quarter to half cup of water. Use this mixture in your netti pot if you have one. If not then use a cup that is bendable like a plastic cup. Go to the sink and tilt your head to the side while you pour the mixture through one nostril. TAKE NOTE!!! This mixture is not for the weak at heart. It is going to have a real punch and some sting to it. But we are in an emergency situation here. If you really want to attack the mucus and begin the healing process immediately, then this is what will do it.
The Goldenseal has antibiotic properties in it and will begin to heal the infection if need be. The cayenne will attack and break up the mucus and the Oregano Oil will completely clear the mucus out of the nasal passages. Do this draining at least three times per nostril. You shouldn’t need more than that. You will feel almost immediately, the need to blow your nose because the mucus will begin draining right away. You will may also feel the drain down the back of your throat. This is an amazing remedy. Within five minutes my head is clear as a bell and my sinus passages are basically cleared up.
Another solution, though not as immediate and powerful but still very effective, is to drink plain old apple cider vinegar mixed with filtered water. Apple cider vinegar is excellent for the digestive system and an overall body cleanser and tonic. It will break up the mucus and help your body to restore itself back to a proper and healthy pH balance. Drink this throughout the day and during your concert, presentation or speech. You may add a little lemon (half a lemon should do) and honey (add to your taste) to the mixture as well. The lemon will help break up the mucus but do not use to much as it can dry the cords if over used. The honey will soothe and coat the throat helping to fight any possible infections as well as give you a nice energy boost.