I'm always looking for the best throat soother, especially when I have a heavy storytelling schedule and a headcold. I know the rules: warm up the voice before performing, drink lots and lots of water to hydrate the vocal chords, avoid mint and decongestants (they dry the throat), don't whisper, rest when possible, keep the throat warm. Still, there are times when I need to take decongestants because I straight out can't breathe through my nose and there are times when I need to use cough drops. When I'm having a coughing fit in the middle of a performance, as I did today, I have to do something quickly.
My very favorite are propolis candies. Here's a selection of caramelos de propoleo (caramelo is the general word for hard candy) I've found here in Argentina:
Not all of these are created equal. The very best are those in the brown wrappers, available from health food stores and some pharmacies. I put one in my mouth and had an immediate sense memory: Bulgarian Orthodox churches. Huh? They taste like beeswax candles, which are lit in profusion in Bulgarian Orthodox churches. The other two kinds have a small amount of propolis, but are mostly sugar candies.
I've also been using regular cough drops:
These are not considered to be cough drops in most of Latin America, as far as I can tell. They're eaten as candy or breath mints and they're available at kiosks, newsstands and grocery stores.
I've also been drinking a concoction of lemon, chopped ginger and honey, heated with water. Yum! Though my cold is mostly gone, I'm going to be drinking this for the rest of the tour. I've done 54 performances in the last four weeks, with nine more before I leave for home on Friday.