tea and honey

How Much Does Honey Really Help?

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You might not think about it, but the sugar in your coffee or tea could adversely affect your voice and the level at which you are able to perform!

I recently experienced this to be true and was shocked by the difference a couple spoonfuls of honey made.

Now, I’m not a doctor, but I do know what I experienced. Have you benefited from the healing properties of honey, too?

Hear from a variety of voice professionals and share your thoughts honey and how honey is good for your voice.

Sugar Be Gone?

Voice professionals know how critical it is to treat their main instrument with great care. What we drink – in and around performances as well as when we’re not performing – can have a direct bearing on the outcome.

Some people steer clear of dairy products, for instance, while others purposefully consume them using prior experience as their guide.

Might the same be true of sugar or honey?

Honey has long been a go-to ingredient in our community, but how do we really know if it’s the best solution for keeping our voices in top condition? And what other tips and tricks should we keep in mind before our next audition or recording session?

We decided to ask our own community of voice professionals. And did they ever deliver.

Voice Over Community Chimes In

Michelle Deco – I’ve never used sugar, always honey. It makes my throat smoother and there’s no roughness in my voice when I record. I also like to add a touch of lemon as well.

Morgan Garcia – I’ve never used sugar. Honey not only soothes my throat, but it has so many added benefits that sugar just doesn’t have. Sometimes I’ll just eat a tablespoon of raw honey because it’s so soothing and delicious.

Pocholo De Leon Gonzales – I used to have asthma and a rough voice because of the coughing. When I used honey it made my voice smoother and my asthma disappear. I also put it on my tea with lemon, mint, cucumber and ginger.

Juliette De La Plante – Honey is a super food. As far as the voice it does soothe the throat with no real coating to the cords. A dash of lemon in water is good to clean off the cords. All in moderation of course. Personally I live on honey. The other byproducts of bees are also mighty in nutrition.

Amie Breedlove – I’ve never used sugar either – and I love that honey helps my vocal chords be as smooth as silk.

Laila Berzins – Raw honey is even better! Smooth and silky for the throat.

Laurie Smith – I drink a cup of warm peppermint tea with two teaspoonfuls of liquid honey stirred in before and during each recording session, and I find that it really does make my voice much more mellifluous than tea with sugar. It seems to soothe and smooth my vocal cords, while sugar (or rather Splenda, since I’m diabetic) has no noticeable effect at all.

Ian Russell – Well, Stephanie, it was how Pavarotti chose to keep his vocal chords in tip top condition. If it was good enough for him it should be alright.

Anne Vydra – We actually had a PhD in vocal/speech therapy (or something…I can’t remember) come speak to our VO Meetup group. They said something that shook us all to our core: Liquids don’t matter because they go down your esophagus, not your throat where your vocal cords are. Makes sense right? They recommend warm steam. (I still drink green tea for the benefits and the warm feel on the back of throat.)

Nicola Redman – Honey can soothe your throat but yes it doesn’t touch the chords. Steam is the only thing that can actually hit them and have a positive effect. Honey does have excellent health benefits generally though, so maybe there’s something in that?

Tom Tucker – Steaming is great for hydrating the chords. Honey is helpful, if you have problems going on. Honey’s biggest bonus could be as a cough suppressant, since it has dextromethorphan. Nothing beats water – day in and day out – for the voice.

Liisa Lee – Just make sure it’s raw honey, so you’re getting all the benefits.

Amy Tallmadge – There’s a reason my voice coach uses the compliment, “That was a honey of a read!” Honey makes me happy. I just don’t like the taste of artificial sweeteners or sugar in my tea anymore. I find it helps cut down on phlegm, too.

Randy ThomasAlways honey. Remove all sugar from your pantry. And local honey has immune boosters.

Alice Khuu – Refined sugar eventually turns into acid so you’re basically burning your vocal cords by consuming sugar. As mentioned already, honey is a superfood, naturally sweet and has so many benefits. I think honey and lemon together in tea or even just water is beneficial, not just for your voice but the entire body.

Jon Bailey – It’s always helped me but I never drink regular tea. Never liked it with or without sugar. Warm honey lemon tea always makes me sound better if I’m having sinus problems or if I have a sore throat right before recording.

Amy E. Fisher – I had an acting coach in NYC who swore by maple syrup as being the lesser evil sweetener. She used it in her coffee. But all the research I’ve seen says sugar is sugar. Some are higher in calories, minerals or vitamins than others, but it’s all broken down into fructose and glucose eventually. As for throat health, EWABS had Lara Hirner (teaches through Edge Studio) on Vocal Health on recently and all the questions about throat sprays, alkalol, green apple etc. were met with the advice to just drink more water. Hydration is key to health overall.

Josh Keaton – Whole milk for me.

Carissa DeWhitt – Honey, hot water, and lemon juice: For me, that is the magic formula for “pre-gaming before recording” rituals. Caffeine has a tendency to “tense” up our muscles; I can relate to the rougher feeling, especially when trying to project the voice. I use this as a reference when I need to: http://uthscsa.edu/oto/voice.asp

Laurie Smith – It’s very true that anything swallowed doesn’t touch the vocal cords — if it did, you’d start hacking right away. But what I can say is, it feels like it has a soothing effect. Which might by purely psychosomatic, but hey – if it works, it works. And yes, sugar is sugar from a metabolic point of view, whether it’s in the form of granulated sugar, honey, or maple syrup. I also find that coffee with milk and Splenda makes my voice “feel” a bit rougher. Again, could be purely in my mind, but I still stick to the peppermint-tea-and-honey-before-recording ritual.

Dani Thompson – Honey in my coffee every morning. Clears the cobwebs and it’s wonderful for the vocal cords!

Andy Boyns – All I can add to this is that my brother said in my sleep I used to say, “Grandad, could I have some honey in my tea.”

Your Turn!

As you can see, there’s no shortage of great voice care advice in our community. If you’ve got a particular ritual that works for you, we’d love to hear all about it: Just leave us a comment!

Take care,
Stephanie

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Comments

  • Roberto Pompili
    April 7, 2015, 2:16 am

    I found that food has a direct impact on my voice, and I hear all the time that digestive tract is a weak spot for a voice artist. Fellow actors and dubbers also say that gastric reflux is a professional disease for a voice talent over 45 or something. As all of you will know we are food fanatics here in Italy, and there is aplenty of advice on what to eat in order to take care of your precious instrument. For example, if you have trouble with reflux, don’t eat anything after 19:00, or in the long run will affect your vocal cords. Everyone swears by honey, specially “Sulla” variety, because of its many good proprerties, which are carried about by the mucosa and the thin esophagus walls. Mint, coffee and tomatoes are to be avoided, if you suffer from gastric reflux, because they can worsen the problem. One condition for honey to be effective , though, is that it has to be bio, or from a small producer; industrial production is known for denaturating all those good enzymes and making it just another sweetener. That’s it from Italy.

    Reply
  • Rose C
    April 7, 2015, 4:18 pm

    I loved reading everyone’s thoughts on the subject! I sometimes use raw honey when my throat is hurting, but not as a usual item to take before a recording session. I sometimes use avocado to feel like I’m “soothing” my voice, but again – it’s short-lived & is not really helping my actual vocal chords! Steam is the way to go ~

    Reply
  • Rica rivera
    January 31, 2019, 7:32 am

    Hiii 🙂 im 13 years old,can i also use processed honey for voice?

    Reply