Forsythia & Dragon's beard - two herbs for hoarseness.

Herbs for the Hoarse

Everyone becomes hoarse or loses their voice at some point. And when you do, doesn’t it seem to last forever? Luckily there are things you can do to help get it back even if you’ve done more than temporarily strain it.

First we need to identify why a person has become hoarse or lost their voice. The most common reason is from a sore throat. But hoarseness and loss of voice can also happen from chronic heartburn (GERD), misuse of the vocal chords (often causing inflammation), and from dryness that occurs with age. Each of these requires a different strategy to fix it.

In our practice we typically use herbal medicine to treat hoarseness. Herbal formulas are flexible and this means we can pick just the right herbs to address the cause of the problem. To give an example, here are two of the herbs we use for loss of voice.

Forsythia & Dragon's beard - two herbs for hoarseness.

Dragon’s Beard

One herb that we use a fair amount of in our practice is Ophiopogon japonicus, also known as Dragon’s Beard or Dwarf Lilyturf (we prefer Dragon’s Beard). (This is the top herb in the photo.) The roots of this plant are great for treating hoarseness or loss of voice due to dehydration, age-related fluid loss, or as a consequence of heartburn. They have a pleasant, almost peppery smell, but are very oily when crushed or broken. These oils are vital to helping the body heal from chronic conditions.


Another herb that we use a fair amount is the fruit of the forsythia plant (the bottom herb in the photo). You might recognize this plant as a landscaping shrub or hedge. The fruit pod is an excellent antiviral & anti-inflammatory, and is great for hoarseness or loss of voice from an acute sore throat. Forsythia fruit is commonly used in many East Asian herbal formulas where acute infection is involved.

As we finish here I should offer a last word of caution. Just like any time we talk about herbs, any herbalist should put together a formula for you that accounts for all of what goes on with your health. Taking any herb by itself without guidance is a good way to give yourself a different health problem, and these are no different. So come schedule your consultation today and let us help you get your voice back!