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The best cough lozenges

Updated February 21, 2017

Cough drops are medicated lozenges that dissolve slowly in the mouth to lubricate and soothe irritated throat tissues that feel sore, often from a common cold or flu. Most types of cough drops should be consumed in moderation, as they contain active ingredients that could be toxic if taken in large quantities. Typical ingredients include menthol, pectin, benzocaine, eucalyptus oil and honey. Each ingredient's effects meets different needs.

Menthol

When your throat hurts, reach for a cough drop that contains menthol, as this has a cooling effect that soothes skin irritation and even serves as a natural mild anesthetic, temporarily and slightly numbing the sore areas.

Pectin

Pectin is another effective cough lozenge ingredient because, as a demulcent, it creates a smooth film over your sore throat and decreases inflammation.

Benzocaine

Benzocaine is the strongest ingredient in over-the-counter cough drops. It's very effective because it's a stronger anesthetic than menthol. However, it's an unnatural ingredient with side effects in larger doses, so only ingest it moderately when you suffer from a very painful sore throat.

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil squelches the secretion of mucus. The oil is also extremely helpful due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Honey

Honey is an effective ingredient for your throat lozenge because, as a natural antiseptic, it fights throat infection. It also reduces inflammation.

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About the Author

Lindsay Haskell began writing fiction and nonfiction in 2008. Her debut novel, "Grace," is to be published in January 2011. Having lived in five different countries and traveled across five continents, Haskell specializes in Third World social and political issues, with a concentration in the Darfur conflict. She is currently a first-year student at Wellesley College studying history, Africana studies and English.