There are many powerful natural remedies for flu and home remedies for a cold, which can make all the difference for a singer! Focusing on the special needs of singers, this post is a valuable guide for treating colds and flu, with some wonderfully effective natural remedies.
Once a virus bug has got you, then your only choice is to play catch-up. And insisting on “powering through” has a great potential of backfiring horribly on a singer!
It is so much better to focus your efforts on preventing colds and the flu. And I would very much like to help reduce your suffering, with both prevention and treatment options.
An ENT doctor (ear, nose & throat specialist) explained to me that vitamin C is particularly crucial for singers, because it supports the mucosal lining, fortifies it, making it more resistant to cold viruses. It is only when a cold virus or flu is allowed to penetrate the mucosal lining that we become infected, sick, congested, and feel unwell. So, vitamin C is both smart prevention and excellent treatment — a true hero among the natural remedies for flu and home remedies for a cold.
Great Sources: Vitamin C
As mentioned in another post, our bodies do not produce or store vitamin C. We must get Vitamin C from foods and from supplements. Please do not use chewable forms of vitamin C supplements, because they are known to be hard on your teeth and gums.
Just a few of the everyday foods that are rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, potatoes, peppers, garlic, and Brussel sprouts.
When using supplements, remember that the worse your cold or flu is, the more vitamin C you can use without experiencing side effects. So, the sicker you are, the more vitamin C your body can safely process.
In any case, do not exceed 20,000 milligrams (20 grams) of vitamin C per day, from both foods and supplements.
For vitamin C supplements, your starting dose should be 500 – 1000 milligrams (one half gram – one whole gram). Especially when you are sick with colds or flu, you should increase your dose gradually. If stomach upset occurs, immediately reduce your dose of Vitamin C. Experiment to find the dose that best suits you, given the severity of your cold or flu.
The maximum doses is 20,000 mg. (20 grams). This is a huge dose, intended only for when you are terribly sick with a great deal of congestion. Even then, you must build up gradually to this huge dose — if at all. Constantly observe yourself for side effects. Reduce the dose immediately, or stop taking the supplement entirely, if side effects occur.
Drinking your water is a fundamental line of defense in warding off the type of germs that can ruin your singing. So, what are some other natural remedies for flu to support the mucosal lining?
As covered in the first post, the mucosal lining must be kept moist!
Experienced singers know that the best natural remedies for flu and effective home remedies for a cold boil down to prevention! And your go-to simplest forms of prevention can be said in three words: hydration and sleep.
Therefore, unless your doctor says otherwise, I always recommend drinking lots of clean, unflavored water (80 – 100 ounces per day, especially when traveling by air).
No Substitute for Sleep
Also, you need adequate sleep, as you already know. Do everything you can to safeguard the hours you plan to sleep, so that time is sacrosanct. Nothing should be allowed to stop you from sleeping comfortably and for enough consecutive hours.
Your voice loves a good sleep and will respond by working better, when it’s been well rested. You’ll be able to feel and hear the difference—how much better and more responsive the voice is all around—when you respect the body’s need for plenty of good sleep.
Vitamin C tablets are an enormous help, when you have a virus. I keep them on hand.
During the winter, indoor air is incredibly dry. There are legitimate reports measuring indoor air quality, which demonstrate that in the winter indoor air is every bit as dry as the Sahara desert!
For singing, exposure to dry air is a problem all by itself. Again, the mucosal lining is not happy, when it is not kept moist. Dry air will cause the mucosal lining to produce thick phlegm, resulting in a great mess for singing.
Protecting our singing voices from dry air means we’ve got work on staying ahead of this problem. What are some of the best solutions here?
Using a room humidifier is a smart choice, for combating dry air. Have it working so you can breathe the mist while you’re sleeping.
Please keep the humidifier clean!
Molds will quickly accumulate inside an unclean humidifier, and you can become ill from breathing that moldy mist. As long as it’s clean and working well, a good humidifier is a wonderfully valuable tool for keeping you well.
Consider the HumidiFlyer!
For air travel, please strongly consider purchasing the HumidiFlyer.
Note that the manufacturer is calling this a “jet lag mask.” Whether or not this is your best remedy for jet lag, the mist—the moisture—you will be getting from this device is absolutely vital to your vocal health. You will feel and hear a positive difference in your singing, when you pamper your voice with lots of gentle mist.
Elderberry Boosts Your Immunity
Can’t say enough great things about elderberry! I highly recommend you try this fantastic herb, unless your doctor advises otherwise.
Elderberry is more potent than echinacea, for boosting the immune system. It is naturally loaded with vitamin C!
I agree with Dr. Weil that elderberry is an effect natural remedy for flu. In his 2003 article on this topic, Dr. Weil points out that elderberry has demonstrated it can shorten the duration of the flu, but he believes it will not necessarily work to prevent the flu.
You can get elderberry in liquid extract, in tea, in lozenges, and in capsules. And, yes, there is elderberry wine. Note that the tea will tend to stain teeth. However, the tea will generally work faster than capsules.
This is a great brand of elderberry tea. Adding honey to your tea is soothing to the throat.
And these elderberry lozenges are tremendously helpful, particularly for singers!
Here are two important articles on the marvelous healing properties of elderberry herb, written by trusted sources:
Aloe Vera Juice or Gel
This remedy helps reduce inflammation by retaining moisture. Aloe vera juice and aloe vera gel have no flavor, no taste.
Drinking small sips of aloe vera juice or gel will help reduce inflammation of the throat, including the vocal folds. Dr. Andrew Weil recommends aloe vera gel more so than the juice. This is because sometimes aloe vera juice can actually irritate the stomach.
I typically suggest having food in your stomach, when you’re taking any new remedy. It will be easier on your stomach if it is not empty, when you take supplements.
And I personally feel this way about taking prescription meds as well: I don’t take anything on an empty stomach, unless it is specifically directed for the specific medication. If there is no directive to “take on an empty stomach,” then I err on the side of caution, to avoid stomach upset: I take whatever it is with at least some food in my stomach. My opinion is that you should do the same, again, unless otherwise advised by your doctor. According to Dr. Weil, the dosage for aloe vera gel is 30 milliliters, 3 times per day.
This one requires some extra thought.
First, you should be aware of the side effects usually caused by zinc supplements. You might read this article from the Mayo Clinic, a trusted source of health information:
And you can’t beat Dr. Andrew Weil for the best advice:
Foods Rich in Zinc
A partial list of everyday foods that are rich in zinc include oysters, beef, pork, eggs, and cashews. There are lots more to discover.
But when you are first coming down with a cold, zinc is usually going to be most effective if you take zinc supplements (mainly lozenges). This is because you can control the dosage with supplements. With foods, you are probably not sure how much to eat, for stopping a cold in its tracks.
With this in mind, if you would rather try getting your zinc from foods, I support this choice and would encourage you to speak with your physician.
A registered dietician will likely be knowledgeable and can recommend foods that deliver a healthy level the mineral zinc.
If you believe in zinc supplements and you are aware of the pitfalls but still want to try it, I would generally support this decision as well.
Listening to Your Body
Please pay close attention to what is happening with your body and be aware if side effects become a problem.
You must immediately stop taking any food, any remedy, any substance whatsoever, which you suspect is causing any side effect. Always speak with your doctor about natural remedies for flu and for any ailment.
Zinc supplements are most effective when you start taking them at the very first sign of a cold. Often, the first sign will be a sore bump on the tongue, or a sore spot on the inside of the mouth. Another early sign is a very dry scratchy red throat.
Learn what those earliest signs of a cold are, in your own body. Start these remedies instantly, the moment you recognize that a cold virus or possibly the flu is trying to take hold.
As mentioned in another post, Yerba Maté (herbal) tea will reduce swelling on vocal cords. It is a powerful herb and works with the adrenal glands, to reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Avoid yerba maté if you have high blood pressure. A helpful article is found here.
One excellent brand of yerba maté tea:
Common Sense Precaution
You should try any of these remedies only if they make sense to you. It is always wise to check with your doctor.
When trying a new remedy, it is smart to begin with a small dose. Give it a few days and get the feel of whether it might be helping. And always read the product labels for dosage instructions. Trust your judgment, use your common sense, ask your doctor, look for specific articles, and feel free to ask me as well, if issues arise.
Once more, IMMEDIATELY STOP TAKING ANYTHING THAT YOU BELIEVE IS CAUSING YOU ANY SORT OF TROUBLE!
Please err on the side of caution: just stop taking the product immediately and consult your doctor.
Hearing positive reports about this herbal product, mainly used to clear the respiratory tract of mucus: Loquat Syrup from Amazon.
Some singers like to massage Tiger Balm into the neck and shoulders, for particularly soothing relief. The camphor and the menthol will help decongest the respiratory system: About Tiger Balm.
You can buy Tiger Balm here.
Ask me about private singing lessons! You are welcome to email me directly: Gretchen@SingingAndYou.com. Details are available on request and I’m eager to hear from you!
Our topic of this post outlines 11 natural remedies for flu and home remedies for a cold. The information throughout this website is intended to be a powerful, supportive guide for singers!
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In the comments below, please tell us what some of your favorite cold and flu remedies are that help you keep singing, when the chips are down!
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