Musical Monday - Honey & Lemon for Singers: Fact from Fiction
We have all had those times when we want to sing well but have a scratchy throat. I have found that a lovely hot cup of tea with honey & lemon really feels great. However, after about the third cup, I am not wanting any more. Below find lots of detail about what honey and lemon do for you. Suffice it to say that REAL honey and lemon will not steer you wrong. Plain water may work just as well. The bottom line is that you have to try different solutions and find what works for you. Sometimes, just resting your voice is what is needed. Read on to see what the expert says.
“Honey & Lemon: It Heals My Flu or Cold”
This claim has been around for a long time; Egyptian physicians used honey to promote health and Greeks believed in its promotion of virility and longevity.
There is some truth behind these historic preferences.
Honey is high in many nutrients including iron, copper, manganese, silica chlorine, calcium, potassium, sodium , phosphorous, aluminum and magnesium.
The darker the honey the higher the nutrient content.
Lemon has been recognized for its natural disinfectant properties. It contains pectin which acts as a vacuum to help clean out the gut including environmental toxins.
The high potassium content aids in the elimination of these pollutants. Lemon has a high source of vitamin C to help fight infection and, like honey, contains calcium, magnesium and potassium.
The combination of the two intensify the antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
Lemons contain almost 90% of vitamin C as a whole fruit which helps repel free radicals and protects the healthy cells from becoming cancerous; all promoting healing when your immune system is compromised.
Caution: But is Honey & Lemon Good All the Time?
Research published by Pediatrics Digest concluded that citrus honey improved the cough symptoms during an upper respiratory infection, leading to a better chance at sleep— I’m talking NATURAL citrus honey not "cough drops".
Remember to always be your own judge. We all react differently to remedies so take the information and personalize what may work best for you.
Give it time to kick in as it may not usher an immediate response
So, is honey and lemon THE cure?
In a word: no. Singers need to deal with the root cause, resting during a cold, learning healthier speaking and singing technique.
Of course, hydration is a part of great vocal health – and has rightly been described as the “engine oil” of the voice.
The thermal effect of the warm liquid will help increase circulation to the affected area and the osmotic effect of the honey will aid in decreasing the swelling of the throat.
But, please, do not underestimate the power of staying hydrated on a regular basis with good ol’ H2O.
“It cleared my throat of mucous so I could sing flawlessly!”
Although a little bit of phlegm may be necessary to lubricate the vocal cords, too much can cause excess vibration.
Here, the combination of warm water and a drop of lemon scores some points.
It can help loosen the buildup of mucous, while the addition of honey can help coat it.
Add a bit of Cheyenne pepper or something spicy to the mix and you can clear up your sinuses to prevent the drip down to your throat.
Sharon Zarabi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Dietitian Nutritionist (RD, CDN) and Certified Personal Fitness Trainer with the International Fitness Professional’s Association (IFPA) and Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA.) She is a contributor to The Singer’s Guide to Complete Health (Oxford University Press) and her work can be viewed at www.sharonzarabi.com/