Does a cabinet full of herbs and spices have the power to heal your voice?
Item: Superior Vocal Health by David Aaron Katz, published by Vendera Publishing.
Price: Amazon.com: 14.95 USD / Amazon.co.uk: 14 GBP
Mic rating: 2.5/5
At a glance: This book is an extensive A-Z guide of all the weird and wonderful herbs that can have a positive effect on the voice. The author also recommends particular mixtures and tinctures for vocal issues such as a sore throat or excessive mucus. The philosophy behind all this is to get nature’s help before you head to the chemist.
High notes: This book is seriously eye opening regarding the sheer amount of natural remedies that exist in the world. Pandora’s box has been well and truly opened! Besides listing the benefits of herbs and spices, he also catalogues the potential harm and side effects of prescription medication like anti-depressants, antibiotics and anti-allergens. He even mentions particular super foods which could help sustain energy for a busy performer.
Off pitch: It would’ve be more useful to read about fewer natural remedies in deeper detail – perhaps the ones most available and researched. It was surprising to see that honey was hardly mentioned – less than 50 words, and even then the main benefit of honey was not mentioned. Some studies have actually shown that honey can suppress a cough, and Manuka honey is becoming increasingly popular for its antibacterial strength. This book had no references from clinical studies or medical papers, and since the author seems self-taught, I am cynical as to the reliability of this text.
Review: This book is comprehensive and an interesting read. The next time I’m in the grip of a cough or cold I will certainly reach for this, and many singers will find something useful in its pages, BUT research into many of these natural remedies is scarce to non-existent, so it is fair to say: proceed with caution. It is also a possibility that, although this text intends to educate, it may actually encourage singers to be less autonomous with their voice care (hydration, rest, steam) and more likely to reach for a quick fix.