Most commercial cough drops taste like candy (or like an industrial cleaner) and have roughly the same amount of artificial colouring. There are no nutrients to be found in refined sugar, and some homeopaths state that sugar can deplete your immune system’s stores of bacteria-fighting capabilities.
What to Look for in Natural and Organic Throat Lozenges
Look for throat lozenges that are plant based, but keep in mind just because some listed ingredients may be “natural,” they may not necessarily be organic. Some labels can be particularly confusing if they say “contains organic ingredients” but also include some chemicals, like artificial flavouring or colours. Ultimately, if a product contains something non-organic, the product as a whole is not organic.
A natural throat soother can be found in marshmallow root, and pine extract contains anti-inflammatory properties. Naturally derived menthol is both an anti-inflammatory and can also clear lung and nasal passages.
Look for lozenges or pastilles that are sweetened with natural ingredients like honey, cane juice, or fruit sugars. Some use a natural throat drop that is made from yarrow or horehound extracts. Natural horehound drops may not be recommended for pregnant or lactating women nor infants under the age of one.
Ingredients to Avoid in Cough Drops
Many cough drops use artificial colours, such as Red 40 and Blue 1, which are food dyes that are made with petroleum byproducts. If you’re trying to watch your carbon footprint, using something made with limited resources is not ideal for the planet health or your own. Furthermore, those dyes have been banned in the United States and a few countries in Europe.
Throat-Soothing Ingredients Found in Your Pantry
Many websites recommend a natural tea or throat wash to gargle with that is made with fresh ginger and lemon juice. Both are safe if swallowed and can soothe a raw throat, whether used to gargle with or to drink as a tea. Use two heaping tablespoons of ginger, and grate the rind of half a lemon into a mug. Add warm water and sweeten with honey to taste.
There are online resources for those who are inclined to make their own pastilles, but all sites caution that these are not cures for bronchitis nor tonsillitis.
All sites recommend rest and frequent hand-washing as well as making a large batch of pastilles in advance. Nobody wants to be in the kitchen when they would rather be recuperating! If you like puttering around in the kitchen, making your own would allow you to control the ingredients more effectively.