Acute Laryngitis, know as jí hóu yīn (acute loss of voice) in TCM is a common clinical condition caused by inflammation of the laryngeal mucous membranes. It often results from viral infections such as influenza, rhinovirus or coronavirus. It may also be caused by bacterial infections. It is also common amongst people who overuse their voices.

Other causes of layrngitis include:

  • Allergies to dust, fumes or smoke
  • Smoking
  • Prolonged cough
  • Frequent acid reflux
  • Central heating and air-conditioning are aggravating factors

Laryngitis mostly affects adults, and is more frequent in males than females. The condition can also affect children, and in those under 5 years old, it can often be more severe, due to the larynx being shorter and narrower. In such cases, complications may arise, such as obstruction of the larynx.

Common symptoms include a painful, swollen and itchy throat, loss of voice, a hoarse (croaky) voice, a persistent cough, fever, an aversion to cold and the feeling of needing to clear the throat.

Traditional Chinese medicine principally views laryngitis as being caused by Heat and toxins affecting the Lung, but can also involve other pathogenic factors. It is usually attributed to the following clinical patterns:

  • WindCold attacking the Lungs
  • Wind-Heat attacking the Lungs
  • Phlegm-Heat congested in the Lungs
  • Lung-Yin Deficiency
  • Plumstone Qi

Treating Laryngitis in TCM

In Chinese medicine clinical practice, it is commonly treated with herbal medicine, possibly in combintation with acupuncture. Some commonly used formulas include:

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