Contents At A Glance
Cough Drops: Quick Relief!
When you have a cough, it’s a good idea to keep a lozenge or cough drop handy, which do actually provide fast and effective relief for many types of cough.
Cough drops only provide temporary relief, but most of the time that’s exactly what you need…quick, temporary relief from an immediate coughing bout. Plus, cough drops can be used in conjunction with other cough remedies you may be using.
When you’ve got a cough and cold or a dry cough, you want a cough drop . . . you need a cough drop. But, what kind? Over the counter cough drops with benzocaine, menthol, or pectin? Natural herbal cough drops?
Here are a few tips from an episode of The Doctors TV show where the discussion included pointers from the doctors on how to choose the right lozenges for your cough.
Another option is to make your own cough drops. Homemade cough drops can be made without the unwanted additives such as fructose, food dyes, and other unhealthy ingredients found in OTC cough drops. Refer to the section below on homemade cough drops for more information.
Over the Counter (OTC) Cough Drops
OTC cough drops typically contain one or both of the following active ingredients: menthol and/or eucalyptus oil, both of which are cough suppressants. Some lozenges contain benzocaine, a topical pain reliever that causes a slight numbing sensation that helps provide relief when a cough is accompanied by a sore throat.
Cough drops can be purchased in stores everywhere and there are numerous, good quality, reputable brands available. Our top three favorite store bought cough drop brands are listed below:
OTC cough drops do typically contain food dyes and artificial sweeteners so be sure to read the product label. You can, however, make your own homemade cough drops, and avoid these artificial ingredients altogether. The following section on this page provides information on homemade cough lozenges.
Natural and herbal lozenge packages can also be found in stores for purchase. Some of these natural types of cough drops use pectin, which is a good option because the carbohydrate comes from fruit coating the throat, making this a safer choice for children as well as a good choice of cough drops during pregnancy.
Homemade Cough Drops
Cough drops can be made at home easily and inexpensively. Cough drops are one of the best quick fixes for a cough and if you want to have the benefit of a soothing cough drop but don’t want the unnatural ingredients like FD&C blue2, FD&C red 40, artificial flavors, glucose syrup, high fructose syrup, etc., then homemade cough drops are the answer!
In the videos shown below are two different methods of making your own homemade cough drops.
This video demonstrates how to make homemade herbal based lozenges to soothe a dry cough and also serve as an expectorant.
In the following video a master medical herbalist and author uses a different method of how to make homemade herbal cough drops.
Cough Drop Alternatives
Cough Drop Tea
Sometimes a cough drop can be a little strong when you’re not feeling well. One very simple and creative cough suppressant remedy is to brew your favorite cup of tea and simply drop in your favorite cough drop and stir it around in the hot tea.
If the cough drop you’re using contains menthol then you can also enjoy the aroma from the menthol as you drink your tea which provides you with a mini aromatherapy treatment as well.
Periodically stir the cup of tea to dissolve more of the cough drop into the tea. When you’re about halfway through your cup of tea it’s a good idea to remove whatever is left of the undissolved cough drop to prevent a choking hazard.
Great option to avoid choking hazard: This cough drop tea is a great solution for individuals who have difficulty with safely sucking on cough drops and hard candy and are a choking hazard, such as young children and even some late-stage Alzheimer’s or dementia patients. In this instance, it’s important that after you stir the tea and cough drop thoroughly that you make certain you have removed the cough drop from the cup before giving the tea to the child or individual to drink to prevent a choking hazard.
Cough Drop Relief Without The Cough Drop
Saline Gargle Solution
The doctor may suggest you gargle with a saline gargle solution, which is the same thing Grandma told you to do when she said to gargle with warm salt water.
Because salt naturally draws out moisture, gargling with salt water helps get rid of your cough by doing the following:
- Dries up bacteria and prevents it from growing
- Loosens mucous
- Flushes away post nasal drip
- Washes away dead white blood cells promoting healthy new tissue
- The warmth of the solution fights infection by increasing blood flow to the area
Salt Water Solution Recipe
To make your own salt water solution simply mix approximately 1/4 teaspoon salt with 1 cup of water. There’s no hard and fast rule as to exactly how much salt is used in the mixture, but while the water should taste salty, too much salt can dry out the membranes in your throat causing further irritation and inflammation.
Gargle with the saline salt water solution every four to eight hours, by gargling a few times in a row, for about 10 to 15 seconds with each gargle.
You can also add other ingredients to this salt water solution; for example, squeeze in a little lemon juice into the mixture which will also help fight against bacteria and viruses. Cider vinegar, ginger tonic or syrup, and peppermint oil are a few other optional ingredients you may want to try adding to this gargle solution.