Last updated: August 12, 2021

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Welcome to our big cough drop test 2021. Here we present all the cough drops that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best cough drops for you. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of when buying cough drops.

The most important

  • Cough drops are not considered medicines, they are freely available and are suitable for taking for mild coughs or scratchy throats.
  • Cough drops are available in different varieties with different types of additives, mostly on the natural basis of medicinal herbs.
  • You can also make your own cough drops or choose one of several alternatives.

The Best Cough drops: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying cough drops

Who are cough drops suitable for?

In order to be able to answer this question, we first have to distinguish between two types of cough drops:

1. expectorant cough drops

2. Cough drops that soothe cough irritation

Expectorant sweets stimulate certain processes in the body which have an expectorant effect.

The latter stimulate the flow of saliva with the help of essential oils. This in turn counteracts the unpleasant tickling in the upper throat area, which promotes a cough.

Expectorant cough sweets contain herbal mixtures such as sage or thyme, which are supposed to liquefy the tough mucus in the respiratory tract and make it easier to cough up. (Image source: unsplash.com/ Charron Mccutcheon)

Such cough sweets are often enriched with peppermint or eucalyptus. Some sweets also contain pain-relieving ingredients that soothe irritated mucous membranes.

So if you suffer from a sore cough or excess mucus in your throat, a suitable cough drop is a good choice.

What are the alternatives to cough drops?

Icelandic moss

Expectorant cough drops contain herbal mixtures such as sage or thyme, which are supposed to liquefy the tough mucus in the respiratory tract and make it easier to cough up.

An alternative are pastilles made from Iceland moss. The special plant extract contained in this lichen consists of more than 80 % mucilage.

Pastilles made from Icelandic moss are an alternative to cough sweets. The special plant extract contained in this lichen consists of more than 80 % mucilage, which helps to soothe unpleasant irritations. (Image source: unsplash.com / Darion Queen)

These mucilages dissolve like a balsam when sucked, and then spread into the mouth, throat and pharynx. There, the mucins form a protective film that shields the mucous membranes from irritation and attack.

Pastilles made from Icelandic moss are now available in many different flavours. Furthermore, the pastilles are vegan and sugar-free.

Tea

“Wait and see and drink tea” is an old saying that apparently also works well for coughs.

Well-tried teas for irritating coughs are ribwort, anise, thyme or ginger. Honey is also often added to the tea.

Proven teas for a chesty cough are ribwort, anise, thyme or ginger. Honey is also often added to the tea. (Image source: unsplash.com / Miti)

Medicines

If a cough does not respond at all to cough drops or alternatives, you should turn to medicine. As a general rule, if the cough lasts longer than four days and is accompanied by yellowish sputum or fever, you should go to the doctor.

Taking good care of the mucous membranes is especially important now that the days are getting colder and the heating season is beginning. The mucous membranes tend to dry out more and can cause unpleasant scratching as well as an irritating cough.

Decision: What types of cough drops are there and which one is right for you?

Cough drops can be divided into different types, mainly based on their active ingredients. The target group can also be a type of cough drop. We would like to introduce the following ones:

  • Cough drops with essential oils
  • Cough drops with medicinal herbs
  • Cough drops for children

In the following section, we would like to go into more detail about these types and present their advantages and disadvantages. In this way, you will be informed about different types of cough drops and can determine which ones are suitable for you.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of cough drops with essential oils?

Cough drops with essential oils help to stimulate the flow of saliva. Many people know the unpleasant feeling that occurs in the throat area when suffering from a cough.

The stimulated salivation is supposed to counteract exactly this unpleasant feeling. In addition to the essential oils, the sweets are often enriched with additives such as peppermint or eucalyptus.

Advantages
  • Stimulates salivation, counteracts inflammation
Disadvantages
  • none

On the one hand, these additives have a taste-enriching effect, but on the other hand they often help to counteract inflammation.

Pelargonium root, for example, has a particularly antibacterial effect.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of cough sweets with medicinal herbs?

There are a number of medicinal herbs that are also used in cough drops to treat coughs and hoarseness. On the one hand, there are medicinal plants that contain mucilage, such as marshmallows, ribwort, and mallow. These protect the damaged surface of the respiratory tract and are particularly effective against dry, irritating coughs.

Advantages
  • Broad spectrum of effects, different areas of application
Disadvantages
  • soft cough sweets: not suitable for vegans

Sapions are soap-like plant substances that are found, for example, in ivy or primrose root. They irritate a nerve in the stomach, causing the bronchial tissue to release more thin mucus. The stuck secretion can be coughed up more easily with the help of this thinner mucus.

Cough drops are often offered in both hard and soft varieties. Depending on the manufacturer, soft cough sweets are often made with gelatine, so they are not suitable for vegans.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of cough drops for children?

Cough drops for children often have a slightly different recipe. The taste is usually adapted to children and the menthol content is lowered. Some of these special cough sweets also contain an extra portion of vitamin C.

To counteract tooth decay, many manufacturers have thought about this and also provide a sugar substitute. Cough sweets for children are available loose in the form of a tin or a cardboard box as well as individually packaged.

Advantages
  • partly higher vitamin C content, adapted taste, tooth-friendly
Disadvantages
  • possibly somewhat more expensive than conventional cough sweets

The advantage of individually wrapped sweets is that they stay “fresh” longer. Of course, this is countered by the ecological aspect of producing as little waste as possible. In addition, individually wrapped sweets are also somewhat more expensive.

Depending on the duration of use or the size of the packaging, the aspect of the type of packaging is also worth considering.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate cough drops

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate cough drops. This will make it easier for you to decide whether certain cough drops are suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • Active ingredients
  • Availability
  • Duration of use

Active ingredients

Depending on the nature of the complaint, certain types of cough drops may be preferred.

Below we have compiled a list of a few natural active ingredients and explained their effects in more detail:

Active ingredient Effect
Essential oils Slightly disinfectant effect, good expectorant, moisten the mucous membranes, liquefy the bronchial secretions, facilitate coughing up
Mucilaginous medicinal plants protect the damaged surface of the respiratory tract
Sapiones Stuck coughs can be coughed up better
Antibacterial preparations Antibacterial effect, expectorant

For mild coughs, a normal salivary product can be used. It may also be possible to consider certain medicinal herbs that support the desired effect.

For moderate to severe pain, a product with an analgesic effect can be used, which is usually available in pharmacies.

If the complaints persist for several days even with such a preparation, a specialist should be consulted. The doctor can then prescribe a product that has a better effect on the symptoms.

Availability

Depending on the form of the active ingredients and the concentrations offered, some cough drops are over-the-counter or prescription-only. You will find a large selection of over-the-counter products in many drugstores and pharmacies.

Many cough drops are available without a prescription in pharmacies and drugstores. Some are only prescribed by a doctor. (Picture source: 123rf.com / belchonock)

Cough drops that require prescriptions are usually stronger and can also have stronger side effects. A prior opinion from the respective specialist is required.

In general, you can try an over-the-counter product for mild cold symptoms, but if you don’t have any success, it makes sense to see a specialist who may prescribe a prescription product.

Duration of use

With over-the-counter products, the duration of use is usually not limited. However, it does not make sense to take a cough drop for pleasure when you do not have any symptoms.

In the case of prescription products and therefore stronger products, the duration of use is limited and consultation with a specialist should take place.

Trivia: Interesting facts about cough drops

How long do cough drops last?

The general rule is that all sweets, including cough drops, can be kept for at least 12 months at normal room temperature.

Cough drops do not count as medicines. In the case of the latter, the situation is different and the instructions in the package leaflet should be followed.

Can I make my own cough drops?

There are actually many recipes for making your own cough drops. Below we have put together a recipe that you can use to make your own cough drops (sage honey).

Sage is one of the classic medicinal herbs for colds and is ideal for people who want to prepare themselves for the cold season.

With the following recipe you are well equipped. The herbal sweets can be made quickly and are great to take with you on the go.

The following ingredients are needed:

ingredient amount
sage leaves a handful
white sugar 100g
water 2 tablespoons
honey 1 tablespoon
freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon
icing sugar something, to dust

Then proceed as follows for the preparation:

  1. First, chop the sage leaves very finely.
  2. Then measure out the honey and lemon juice and prepare them.
  3. Put the sugar and water in an uncoated saucepan or pan and bring to the boil slowly over a low heat. Do not stir actively, just swirl the pan gently to keep the liquid moving. Remove the pan from the heat as soon as the water has evaporated and the sugar begins to turn liquid and brown. Avoid letting the sugar get too hot, otherwise it will burn and the sweets will taste bitter.
  4. Then stir in the chopped sage leaves, honey and lemon juice.
  5. Now you should work quickly. Drop the mixture quickly onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, or alternatively pour it into a silicone sweet mould and leave to cool.
  6. The last step is to remove the mixture from the baking paper or mould. To prevent the sweets from sticking together, it makes sense to dust the sweets with a little icing sugar before storing them and put them in an airtight jar or tin for storage.

Source: https://www.smarticular.net

Have fun with the preparation!

Image source: 123rf.com / belchonock

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