Choir boys and girls have surely experienced it: a single squeak or note sung off-key means you’re done for the day, and if you’re particularly unlucky, the choirmaster will order you to ask your parents to make you drink your favorite salabat. Of course, it was never your favorite. It was too spicy, too hot, and the burning sensation it did to your mouth was unbearable. But both your parents and the choirmaster swear by it, saying it alleviates and soothes your voice. But does it really?
Folk tradition and herbal medicine users attest to the efficacy of ginger, touting its many supposed health benefits, from anti-flatulence, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, as well as being an effective deterrent for any aswang attempting something ill towards your life. However, science debunks (or at least is unable to prove) many of its claims. The only scientifically-proven benefits of ginger are its sialagogue action, which helps in producing saliva, as well as its efficacy in treating nausea. The burning sensation you feel when you bite into or drink ginger is due to the volatile oils zingerone, shogaols, and gingerols, and are all responsible for the root’s anti-bacterial medicinal properties.
But why does it work for a lot of people? Maybe it’s because of the fact that it increases saliva production in the mouth and throat, forcing the body to flush out the bacteria as well as heal any tears or inflammation you might be experiencing after exerting your vocal chords too much or for too long.
Regardless of its scientific accuracy, OPM artists from Basil Valdez to Autotelic swear by it, and if it works for them, it could work for you. But whether it worked as a magical cure-all for your numerous vocal and throat problems or not, one thing was certain: we never liked drinking it as a kid. Then again, if it means a better bill of health and a healthy throat, you should probably try it either way.
Pro-tip: add honey and calamansi, and down it like sweet tea. You’re welcome.
Have you tried using salabat before? Did it help your singing? Tell us your experience in the comments below!