Laryngitis is an acute inflammation of the larynx., or voice box, usually
associated with a common cold or overuse of the voice. It is commonly characterized
by swelling, hoarseness, pain, dryness in the throat, coughing, and inability
to speak above a whisper, if at all. It is usually caused by bacterial or
viral infection, which may be either restricted to the larynx or part of
a more general infection of the upper respiratory tract. Where no clear
cut cause is found, such as infection or following overuse, skilled diagnosis
is called for.
Actions Indicated for the Processes Behind this Disease
Demulcent herbs will soothe the mucous linings and ease discomfort.
Anti-inflammatories will reduce the immediate cause of the distress.
Anti-microbial herbs are indicated if there is a causal microorganism
involved. However they are not indicated if the inflammation is due to some
Astringents are often effective as a local gargle, especially when
the problem has been precipitated by overuse of the vocal cords..
Bitters have a toning and stimulating effect upon the mucosal lining
of the area.
The various herbal traditions of the world abound in herbs used for conditions
of the mouth, larynx and pharynx. Osha (Ligusticum porterii) is an
excellent specific, a small piece of the root being chewed to remove symptoms
and promote the bodies’ immune response. In Europe the approach has traditionally
been to gargle with astringent herbs. They should not be drunk here as they
will probably constipate – an unnecessary and unfortunate complication!
Examples of reliable astringent herbs for such local usage include:
Salvia officinalis var. rubia (Red sage)
Potentilla tormentosa (Tormentil)
Achillea millefolium (Yarrow)
Geranium maculatum (American Cranesbill)
Quercus spp. (Oak Bark)
Rubus villosus (Blackberry leaves)
Rubus idaeus (Raspberry leaves)
Sambucus nigra (Elderflowers)
Polygonum bistortum (Bistort root)
One possible prescription for laryngitis:
Echinacea spp. — — — 2 parts
Ligusticum porterii — — — 2 parts
Hydrastis canadensis — — — 1 part to 1ml. tincture every hour
A gargle for laryngitis:
Salvia officinalis var. rubia
Matricaria officinalis — — — equal parts of herb and gargle with
a strong infusion often until symptoms subside.
Malva neglecta or Malva sylvestris
infuse flowers and leaves in lukewarm water overnight, ensuring
the best extraction of mucilage. Gargle as needed.
The supplemental and dietary advice given above for sinusitis should be
followed. Aromatherapy provides some oils that ease the inflammation quite
effectively. Oil of Cypress or Bergamot have much to offer. To use as a
gargle, put 3 drops of the essential oil in half a cup of warm water. Gargle