Got a sore throat? Have a throat lozenge! The action of popping in a lozenge comes easy to most of us. We just want to quickly get rid of the nasty pain in our throat. But really, what’s in a lozenge that works to soothe the pain?
Lozenges are available in various colours and taste, and contain different ingredients to soothe sore throats.
When you pop a lozenge into your mouth, it dissolves in your mouth slowly and releases its active ingredients.
The ingredients stimulate your salivary glands, causing extra saliva to be produced. Your saliva mixes with the ingredients and coats your throat lining.
Now let’s look at the various active ingredients that can be found in different types of lozenges:
- Honey has been used for centuries to heal wounds as it has antimicrobial properties i.e. kills germs. Honey also contains nutrients like carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals, all of which are important in healing wounds.
- Lemon is rich in vitamin C and provides an acidic environment, which is bad news for bacteria and viruses. Lemon can also help to shrink swollen tissue in the throat besides increasing saliva production and keeping the throat moist.
- Peppermint can relieve sore throats by thinning mucus and healing sore throats. It has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties, which aid in healing sore throats.
- Eucalyptus is able to reduce inflammation, thus improving immunity as well as reducing congestion.
- Menthol can offer instant relief by acting as a decongestant. Its cooling sensation is soothing for sore throats.
- Lidocaine works well for really quick relief from pain, as it is a local anaesthetic. So, when you pop this lozenge into your mouth there is some numbness in your throat. And you get your much-needed quick relief from pain.
- NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) provide pain relief and also reduce swelling and inflammation. This helps to soothe the sore throat while the pain relief helps the sore throat to heal.
- Antibacterial lozenges help to get rid of the germs that are causing the infection in your throat. But, these only work against bacteria and not viruses.
- Antitussive medications in some lozenges may help to get rid of the cough, which is sometimes present with a sore throat.
You need to take 1 lozenge every 2-3 hours or as indicated on the lozenge package. If you have any doubts as to which lozenge you should take, do consult your pharmacist or doctor for advice.
References: 1. Choice. Available at www.choice.com.au 2. Dr. Axe. Available at http://draxe.com 3. Healthline. Available at www.healthline .com 4. Reader’s Digest. Available at www.rd.com 5. The HealthSite. Available at www.thehealthsite.com 6. WebMD. Available at www.webmd.com