Today I want to share a little voiceover “hack” with which you may or may not be familiar.It’s apple cider vinegar. What is apple cider vinegar? Well, first off, it’s not obscure health nut elixir – it’s something you can pick up at pretty much any grocery store for just a couple bucks. And as far as composition (without bringing us all back to high school chemistry class), apple cider vinegar is basically just aged, distilled apple juice.
And, not only is it quite healthy, but it can also be a boon for your vocal cords.
Using apple cider vinegar to improve your speaking voice is actually an old trick that’s been around for generations. Performers of all kinds – teachers, speakers, actors – have been making and drinking a simple and tasty tonic for those days when the voice needs using and just doesn’t seem to want to cooperate.
Now, before I share the recipe: is this something you want to make and drink every day? Probably not – I’d recommend doing it on an as-needed basis. The last thing we want is to feel we need any sort of crutch to lean on to do our best work when we sit down in front of the mic . But – this can be a really great tool to have for those days (or nights) where you’ve got long audiobook sessions or animation work booked, or even when you’ve just got a couple of hours set aside for auditions or podcasting.
Okay – without further ado, here’s the recipe. It’s simple, inexpensive, healthy, – and, with the right tweaks, can taste great, too:
Mix a splash of apple cider vinegar (a tablespoon or two) with some honey, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and room temperature water. That’s it. Feel free to play with the proportions until you find a combination that works well for you.
Also, if you’re not of the honey-consuming ilk (like me), you can substitute some maple syrup (Grade B is best) or agave nectar. Or – you can try store bought throat coat teas; they work great, too. You should be able to find several different variations on a “throat coat tea” at the grocery store, but the key ingredients you’re looking for are licorice root and / or slippery elm bark. Your throat and vocal cords (and taste buds) will love either of those.
And lastly, of course, you’ll want to do your own research and consult your doctor or physician before trying any new home remedy or ingredient with which you’re unfamiliar. Be smart, be resourceful, be safe.
Have you ever tried a home remedy like this? What has been your experience? Or do you have your a home remedy of your own to share? We’d love to hear – leave a comment below.
Hope this helps!
Apple cider vinegar has a long history of health benefits, but there are a couple of cautions. Make sure that you read the label to insure your source is organic and without additives. And, as inferred, never ingest undiluted as it can cause serious irritation. Besides helping to clear the sinuses, it is commonly used as a daily detox agent.
Nothing beats Fred Tatasciore’s Hulk Juice (aka Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa). Buy a three-pack on Amazon, use as-needed, rinse, and repeat.
I find a simple green tea soothing and restorative. Jasmine green tea is aromatic and great for sinus, keeping vocal qualities consistent. Recommend loose leaves with an infuser and drinking with raw honey.
I’ll have to try that Hulk Juice though.
Jon is correct, organic is best. It is slightly more expensive, but not by much. One of the benfits that I use if for is to reduce arthritis pain. I know it sounds crazy and that is what I thought, but it does help. I use one tablespoon of vinegar in six ounces of water, three times a day. It helps arthritis (doesn’t eliminate it) and clears the vocal cords.
Make sure the apple cider vinegar is organic and unfiltered. Trader Joe’s has their own unfiltered organic brand and/or Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar (found at most grocery stores and always at health food stores) is awesome. Other vinegars,the non-organic, filtered ones, i.e. the clear ones, are processed with petrochemicals and all nutritional value has been removed.
Get Unfiltered, organic. Great stuff. !! Great overall tonic for the body, too! Tastes great.
Apple cider vinegar indeed has a long history of being a terrific remedy and overall health tonic. I agree with Marsha (above comment) that Bragg’s is the way to go, not the supermarket brand. It’s raw and unfiltered, so a little shake, shake, shake to distribute the sediment is necessary before pouring. It’s great to clear phlegm, particularly for those of kapha dosha. (more info at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dosha
Now for more of a throat coat kind of beverage, which is so important to our audiobook work, I have tried the pre-packaged tea bags. I found that the viscous substance slippery elm produced when boiled, is not released through a tea bag or fully produced with hot water poured over the bag. It’s 1000x more effective if slippery elm is boiled for 15 minutes and unfiltered. I also add a separately brewed tincture of rose hip seeds for maximum vitamin Combine the 2, a little coconut oil for an even smoother texture, some freshly ground nutmeg for flavor and honey AFTER it’s cooled to drinking temperature. (One should never overheat honey. As close to raw is best.)
All this is a big pain, so I do it for a few performer friends and in concentrated form. They later add hot water to just a few tablespoons of it. I recommend storing it in ice cube trays, so you pop out one cube at time and just add boiling water and honey just before drinking.
If you’d like to be part of my throat concoction brew list, send me a message at email@example.com. Hope that helps, everyone!
I was taught to bring apple slices into the booth with me. Seems to work to re-salivate (?) my mouth, but I look forward to trying the vinegar tonic!
Funny you should mention slippery elm bark, David. On one of last season’s episodes of “Hell on Wheels,” I believe slippery elm bark was used to induce abortions, at least according to that TV western. I recently fell for one of Sean Hannity’s product plugs and tracked down some Pine Bros throat relief which Hannity indicated is the final answer for people who make their living talking. Personally, I found it nothing more than harmless candy and had no medicinal effect at all. So much for truth in advertising!
I’ve used apple cider vinegar for many, many things for years and love your very well-written and informative article. I’ve enjoyed the benefits of Throat Coat Tea ever since you recommended it to me in class. I also love Fennel Tea as well. They both tend to dry out my mouth, though, so then I use a tiny swig of The Natural Dentist – Healthy Balance All Purpose Rinse, which purports to moisten mouth tissue. Works for me.
I like Throat Coat Tea with a teaspoon of organic coconut oil, a bit of squeezed lemon, and some royal jelly. This works well for me especially on long sessions for audio books when I am smoked :/
Thank you, Trevor! I’ll be looking into some of these suggestions.
I always have a bottle of Clyor’s “Voice 37” product around, for times when I can’t make tea. It contains slippery elm bark and horehound, along with a few other herbs, in a base of vegetable glycerin, which is naturally sweet, and doesn’t spike my blood glucose. Plus, it tastes good enough that on the run I can just squeeze a dropper full into my mouth and actually enjoy it! Mind you, the vinegar is still worth having when you can, for it’s host of health benefits. But I’d still sweeten it with organic vegetable glycerin. Visit https://clyor.com for their products (no, I don’t get any kick-backs!)
As some people have already mentioned, I too, love the overall health benefits of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar! To know it helps with our voice health is such a bonus!
I also use an essential oil-based Throat Spray found on AnneGanguzza.com in the “shop” tab at bottom of page, called VOcal Throat Spray. You’ll be able to see the safe and effective natural oils that are combined and distributed by Anne! I always keep it handy! (This is not a paid endorsement. Lol)
Perfect timing on this. I’ve been struggling with the throat gunkies lately and it’s cutting into my recording time. This makes perfect sense and I have everything on hand! Thanks!
Crush a clove of garlic. Either stir it into any of the above mixtures, or take it straight from a spoon and wash it down with a whole glass of water.
Bonus: keeps away vampires.
Ive been a proponent of apple cider vinegar for years! I drink a couple capfuls every day in water (though I have friends who have no problem throwing it back straight and uncut). It was on accident that I discovered gargling with it clears my sinuses – which is a boon for recording and for sickness. Since I started drinking ACV, I have rarely been sick. When I have been sick, I can usually track it back to a lapse in my ACV regimen. The uses of ACV are legion; I feel like I discover a new benefit every few months or so :-)
My only word of caution is to remind everyone that every body is different, so listen to it :-)