Reviewed by Dr Jessica Gunawan and Physician Jolene Chong
Natural Remedies for Your Child’s Hoarse Voice
Published | 5 min read
It's necessary to address the root cause of a child’s hoarse voice. Doing so promotes holistic healing and supports their vocal health.
Hoarseness (dysphonia) strains the voice and changes a person’s volume and pitch. To restore the ability to communicate, treatment of a hoarse voice will consider the underlying causes of the symptom.
Depending on the severity of your child’s hoarseness, you may be referred to an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist and a speech-language pathologist – an expert who studies, diagnoses, and treats communication disorders.
Keep reading to learn what can cause hoarseness in children, and clinical and traditional remedies that can provide your little one holistic relief.
Vocal Nodules, Cysts or Polyps
Overusing the voice by crying, screaming, or talking loudly for long periods can stress a child’s vocal fold tissues. Benign lesions such as nodules, cysts, and polyps may develop and change a child’s voice.
Viral infections, which include a cold or laryngitis – an inflammation of the voice box – are also common causes of a hoarse voice. However, the hoarseness is temporary, and your child’s voice will return to normal after the infection heals.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the development of physical symptoms alongside acute or chronic hoarseness relates to specific pathogens.
“Pathogenic factors and internal imbalances are at the root of acute or chronic hoarseness.
Wind-Heat syndrome causes acute hoarseness accompanied by a fever, runny or stuffy nose, cough with or without phlegm, and a persistent sore throat. Heat-Toxins syndrome is responsible for acute hoarseness with high fever, severe throat soreness, sudden loss of voice, and an inflamed, red throat.
Chronic hoarseness with a persistent dry throat that hurts when swallowing saliva or worsens at night is associated with Yin (passive energy) Deficiency syndrome. Occasional coughing with little or no phlegm or coughing to clear phlegm in the throat may also be experienced.
Yin Deficiency syndrome can also result in sudden hoarseness after recovering from an illness or due to chronic cough.”
Eu Yan Sang Physician Jolene Chong
How to Get Rid of a Child’s Hoarse Voice
Listen to the advice of a clinical physician on how to treat the cause of your child’s hoarseness. Remind your child to use a normal tone instead of whispering, as whispering can be hard on the throat.
Ensure that your child drinks enough water to keep their throat moist. To prevent your child’s voice from becoming raspy, keep them away from smoky environments.
Licensed TCM practitioners may recommend healthy habits to accelerate the recovery process, such as:
- Eating a light and nutritious diet
Avoid prolonged, over, or extreme usage of their voice box
- Gargling salt water twice daily
- Getting enough restful sleep daily
- Spending an equal amount of time indoors and outdoors
- Brushing their teeth and cleaning their tongue properly
- Hydrating the throat and body with enough fluids
A vitamin C supplement or a beverage made from steaming pears with Fritillaria (chuan bei,
You can also use customised formulations to eliminate pathogenic factors or internal imbalances that contribute to your child’s hoarse voice.
A few combinations to consider are:
- Wind-Heat syndrome:
Yin Qiao San( 银翘散) with chrysanthemum flower (ju hua, 菊花), dandelion (pu gong ying, 蒲公英), Houttuynia cordata(yu xing cao, 鱼腥草), and Indian Trumpetflower seeds (mu hu die, 木蝴蝶)
- Heat-Toxins syndrome: Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin (五味消毒饮) with skullcap (huang qin, 黄芩), bellflowers (jie geng, 桔梗), belamcanda rhizome (she gan, 射干), Sophora root (shan dou gen, 山豆根), and cape jasmine fruit (zhi zi, 栀子)
- Yin Deficiency: Sha Shen Mai Dong
soup (沙参麦冬汤) with Dendrobium (shi hu, 石斛), figwort (xuan shen, 玄参), lily bulbs (bai he, 百合), and Schisandra (wu wei zi, 五味子)
- Overall usage: Jie Geng
soup (桔梗汤) with dwarf lilyturf (mai dong, 麦冬), Malva nuts (pang da hai, 胖大海), and monk fruit Tea (luo han guo, 罗汉果)
Applying gentle pressure to specific points on your child’s body may also boost their recovery from a hoarse voice. These include:
- Tian tu (天突, CV22)
- Lian quan (廉泉, CV23)
- Tai xi (太溪, KI3)
- Zhao hai (照海, KI6)
- He gu (合谷, LI4)
- Lie que (列缺, LU7)
- Shao shang (少商, LU11)
Clinical and natural remedies can treat hoarseness effectively but must only be used with the approval of specialists and TCM practitioners. With proper care and attention, your child will regain vocal health and be able to communicate freely in no time.
If you know of other remedies for a hoarse voice, feel free to share them with the All Things Health community in the comments section below.
- Cleveland Clinic. Hoarseness. [online] [Accessed 13 March 2023]
- The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne. Voice disorders. [online] [Accessed 13 March 2023]
- Alberta. Laryngitis in Children: Care Instructions. [online] [Accessed 13 March 2023]
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