By Stephanie Ciccarelli
September 2, 2009
When I last posted about vocal health and remedies to restore the voice, I received an interesting email from Crystal Tips about her experience drinking a rather unpalatable beverage to kick her voice into overdrive during a session where she was down for the count.
Hear more about this bizarre concoction and how it gave Crystal's voice a boost here at VOX Daily.
VOX: How was it suggested to you that you should have a hornet tea? Was this a normal thing for someone to do where you were or was this out of the ordinary?
CRYSTAL TIPS: Yes, my boss suggested that I drink the hornet tea. My voice was nearly gone. All that was left was a raspy, squeaky voice that kept cracking. It is not common to drink and was a last ditch effort to record my parts before I left for Christmas break since it had to go to air.
VOX: Remind me of your symptoms that prevented you from doing voice over. How were you feeling prior to taking the tea?
CT: I had lost my voice, it wasn't completely gone, but it was rough and raspy, not clear, and kept cracking like a teenage boy. I was unable to do my different voices for the various characters I needed to play. I didn't feel overly sick, my voice was just extremely tired from too much dubbing.
VOX: What did the concoction consist of and how was it made?
CT: The concoction came wrapped in a piece of brown scrap paper. There was the big hornet, some herbs, and something that smelled a little bit like licorice. I don't know what was in it. My boss bought it for me from a Chinese Herbal Medicine Doctor down the street from the studio. We had to crush the hornet and herbs by smashing it in the paper.
VOX: What did it taste like? Did it have a particular smell? How hard was it to drink?
CT: It smelled musty and like dirt with a hint of licorice. And tasted the same! We put it in a tea cup with hot water and I drank it while holding my nose. I didn't swallow the bits. It tasted gross but not rancid. I've had worse.
VOX: What properties did the tea possess that gave you your voice back temporarily? Was that made known to you or is it just assumed that the hornets were the source of the vocal balm?
CT: I don't know what the secret to it was but I'm guessing the hornet had some histamine in it that jump-started my vocal cords. No one told me what it was in the mixture that would make it work. And no one told me the ingredients! It was a mystery.
VOX: Did your voice return at full strength? How long exactly were you able to maintain a consistent vocal delivery because of the tea?
CT: After about 15 minutes my voice came back full strength for about an hour and I was able to deliver and finish all of my lines perfectly. Then just like that, it was gone again.
VOX: Have you had the tea since?
CT: I did have the tea a second time, perhaps a year or two later. I get the feeling it's not something one is supposed to take all the time. Really a last ditch effort. I don't think it harmed me in any way though. It did seem to give me a little buzz. HA HA.
VOX: Would you recommend someone try this as a means to get their voice back for a short period of time?
CT: I would recommend it to anyone who needed it in an emergency situation. Otherwise I use Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa, an over- the-counter Chinese Herbal Cough syrup. It works well if you have a cold or have an itchy throat.
Give the bug juice a try if you are near a Chinese herbal medicine doctor and definitely try the Pei Pa Koa. We nicknamed it Paper Cow!
If you've tried hornet tea or some other irregular measure to quickly regain your voice, I'd love to hear about it!
Looking forward to hearing from you,
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