The Singer and the Tea

We are delighted to welcome Claudia Kohl to our team of bloggers - learn how to get the most out of your cup out of your pre-performance tea!

What tea shall I drink during my performance?

Back in the days when I began as a coach at the opera, the famous prima donna would stumble backstage to frantically take her cup of tea from the helping hand of her assistant and religiously drink the performance saving elixir. Times have changed and now the thermos cup backstage is simply filled with ginger tea or… - do you wonder what would be best for your voice to drink during your performance or rehearsal?

Nothing you swallow will touch your vocal cords directly and only show its effects when processed by the blood. To directly effect your vocal cords, inhale steam, use nose or mucosa sprays. Yet to keep your mucosa moist and your body healthy and hydrated will have a positive impact on your voice and overall performance.

What are the voice saving super herbs?

Licorice Root: Soothes soreness in the throat and mouth

Licorice Root has so many healing effects on the body that I will only focus on the benefits it might have for the singer – the soothing of soreness in the throat and mouth. It eases irritating coughs and chest problems. The taste is sweet and pleasant. Should you have a tendency to allergies, licorice root can help with its anti-allergic components. As an immune system enhancer, its high potential of glycynhizinic acid stops bacterial growth. Due to its mild relaxing effect on the system it reduces heartburn and headache. Licorice root improves your resistance to stress and can help to boost your mood when feeling depressed.

Mallow: Heals and soothes mucositis

Whenever the mucosa of your throat, mouth or stomach is irritated – mallow is THE best aid. The highly abirritant component will quickly relieve pain, burning sensations and tingling or raspy sensations. Taken immediately when the symptoms appear, its strong anti-inflammatory effect will stop the inflammation from growing.

Mullein Leaf: Clears mucus

Besides soothing the mucosa, mullein leaf, clears mucus and makes it easier to cough. It relieves the pain of a sore throat. Like licorice root it is anti-bacterial. Since it is also anti-spasmodic, it is of great benefit when you are fighting a cough or tend to cough from tightening your throat or neck muscles while singing.

Marshmallow: Moisturizes and coats the mucosa

Marshmallow is my absolute favorite when suffering from dry mucosa, allergic or irritated coughs. Marshmallow coats the mucosa with a moist, anti-bacterial, protective layer. When your mucosa is dry from the air-condition or a viral infect, allergy, pms or whatever the cause-try marshmallow tea. It not only prevents from irritation it also has a lovingly soothing effect on an inflamed throat.

Lemon Myrtle: Refreshes

Lemon Myrtle for sore throats helps with its antiseptic ingredients to fight throat disorders. It is high on magnesia, calcium, zinc and vitamin A and E. So it is also good for your whole body. It tastes fresh and is citrus scented.

Sage: Cools and eases inflammations

Whatever the reason for sore throats or inflamed gums-sage will promote healing of the inflamed mucous membranes in the mouth and throat. It prevents from excess mucosa. It lessons sweating and calms the nervous system.

To find your perfect blend of tea, ask yourself what does my body need? Do I overstrain my muscles? Do I produce excess phlegm or is my mucosa too dry? Am I sensitive or allergic to something? Am I nervous or exhausted? Am I fighting a cold?

Maybe you want to create your own range of blends for the different circumstances: your “sing good tea”, your “sleep well tea”, your “stay healthy tea” or the “to stay sane tea”. Buy the loose leafs at your local drugstore or pharmacy and blend them yourself. To buy organic herbs is always a good idea. To boost your immune system you can add echanicea or ginger to your tea. To keep your mucosa moist you can also add slices of a cucumber or aloe vera. Other herbs you may want to add are peppermint (it reduces phlegm production without drying out) or chamomile (soothing and drying).

In case you would like to sweeten your tea, honey (also a very good antiseptic throat healer), xylitol (does miracles to fight bacteria in the mouth) or propolis will do you good. Sugar and artificial sweeteners will just kill the good you are doing yourself with the herbs as they promote bacterial growth. Milk also promotes phlegm and bacterial growth.

If you can, use spring water from a glass bottle to brew your tea. The water should be warm (also helps relax the vocal cords a little) but not hot. You should not develop a sweat and not burn your lips, of course. How strong you want your tea is up to your taste. I stick to the rule: less is more. I usually use two teaspoons of my tea creation for 1 liter of water. Let it steep for 10 minutes. It should not be too spicy in order not to irritate your mucosa, if it is too strong, add more water after.

Another simple rule is: never drink detox tea on the day of the performance. Besides the reason that you don’t want to disappear from stage every five minutes because you need to go to the toilette, it can dehydrate your system too much and dry out your mucosa.

Claudia Kohl is an artist, Alexander Technique coach, designer and author. She is the founder of The Artists Coaching in Berlin, a studio dedicated to support artists in their creative, artistic process as well as life. She has helped singers, musicians, actors, dancers and circus artists, to build a healthy and inspired carrier. Claudia likes to work with artists suffering from anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, chronic pain, burnout or artists with the courage to start something new. She comes from a background of theatre and dance before studying the Alexander Technique and developing her own method with the artists of the famous Cirque du Soleil. As a nomad and curious soul she has traveled and experienced more than most people do in their lifetime. She believes that art is what we are and that it is our responsibility to make the world a better place. She is known for her down to earth, loving and highly inspired, engaging approach to coaching. Claudia’s insights inspire audiences around the world through her monthly “Inspiration” newsletter and online coaching. For artists in Berlin, besides one on one sessions, she offers weekly Bohemian Brunches and Artistic Vision Quests.
Author: Claudia Kohl
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