By: Brett Manning
Yes, it's that time of year again! Your eyes seem to itch for no reason, you throat gets all scratchy, and your sinuses are easily infected. No one likes dealing with allergies, but for singers they are especially problematic. As human instruments, our tonal quality is dependent on the health and condition of our “instrument,” and nothing wreaks havoc on it quite like allergies.
The singer simply won't live up to his or her standard of singing if allergies set in. There are over sixty muscles that directly influence singing. If any of those muscles are affected by excess mucous production or by allergy-induced edema (muscle swelling) of the chords themselves, the singer will find that the voice is a stubborn instrument indeed. Fortunately, there is hope
Many allergy specialists throughout the country have actually had success treating allergies medicinally. Unfortunately, the side effects are especially problematic for singers. Antihistamines, for example, cause such significant drying of the vocal tract that most singers find it impossible to perform with them. That, among other reasons, is why I usually recommend nutritional and herbal treatments.
For me, it’s really an issue of nourishing my body's endocrine (hormone) system and my respiratory system. Through my own research, I've learned that the majority of allergies are caused from weaknesses in these different systems. The two herbal formulas I've used throughout the years are called Prime Again and Conco. I’ve been taking them for allergy prevention faithfully for over ten years now and have remained allergy free. As a singer who nearly quit a few times due to vocal inconsistency, I feel truly blessed to finally have some relief! Naturally, I’ve been recommending Prime Again and Conco to my students for many years with great success, and we have recently added them to our website as well. I also recommend a few herbal teas that work wonderfully for singers with allergies, including Calli Tea for prevention and Fortune Delight for quick relief.
Nutrition is also a very important factor. For starters, you should avoid refined sugars, excess dairy products, and wheat during the spring months. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids (but you do that anyway, right?) and lots of vitamin C. A great source for both is grapefruit juice, which helps by thinning mucous and carrying it out of the body. Radishes are also particularly helpful.
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and as a singer, nothing is more important than maintaining the health of your “instrument.” Also be sure to check out our online store for a complete list of recommended vocal health products.