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.
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 is another effective cough lozenge ingredient because, as a demulcent, it creates a smooth film over your sore throat and decreases inflammation.
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 squelches the secretion of mucus. The oil is also extremely helpful due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Honey is an effective ingredient for your throat lozenge because, as a natural antiseptic, it fights throat infection. It also reduces inflammation.