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Cough Drop Day – May 13, 2023

Cough Drop Day is observed annually on May 13. In existence since around 1000 B.C, cough drops are small, medicated tablets intended to soothe a sore or irritated throat. In the 19th century in the United States, physicians commenced adding questionable ingredients to their cough drop formulas. Thankfully, this was soon phased out. Today, cough drops are often candy-like, with a sweet taste derived from the sweetening agents included in most products. One can even access various recipes from the internet with ingredients from pears to cinnamon and ginger.

History of Cough Drop Day

The history of Cough Drop Day is largely unknown. Also known as a throat lozenge, a cough drop is a small, medicated tablet intended to soothe a sore or irritated throat. It is usually taken when a person is displaying symptoms of a common cold or influenza. The cough drops are meant to temporarily stop the coughs, and soothe and lubricate the tissues of the throat. Cough drops are typically candy-like in taste.

Originally, most cough drops were shaped like diamonds, as the name ‘lozenge’ is derived from the French ‘losange’ which translates to ‘rhombus.’ The use of candies to soothe throat irritations is said to have begun as far back as 1000 B.C during Egypt’s ‘20th Dynasty.’ At the time, these ancient cough drops were made from honey, flavored with herbs, citrus, and spices. In the 19th century, physicians began using morphine, formaldehyde, and heroin, which they discovered could suppress the cough at the source, which is the brain.

However, these ingredients were considered harmful because of the risk that they might lead to a dependence on opioids. In fact, lozenge manufacturers made it a habit to specify that their lozenges were free of opioids. In 1892, a Keatings Cough Lozenges ad included the statement, “They are invaluable. They contain no opium nor any violent drug.” In 1881, William Luden made history by creating the first menthol cough drops. In 1879, he began as a candy manufacturer, making his products in his family’s small kitchen at the back of his father’s jewelry shop in Pennsylvania. Later, he collaborated with a pharmacist to invent a cough drop formula, which they colored amber.

Luden’s Menthol Cough Drops contained honey, licorice, and menthol and were sold for many years in five-cent packages. Luden is an example of the many cough drop manufacturers that started as candy-makers, confectioners, and bakers. Other examples of such brands include HALLS, Mentho-Lyptus, the Smith Brothers’ Cough Drops, and Ricola.

Cough Drop Day timeline

1000 B.C
Egyptians Invent Cough Drops

Ancient Egyptians make honey cough drops containing herbs, citrus, and spices.

19th Century
Physicians Use Dangerous Ingredients

Physicians use morphine, formaldehyde, and heroin in cough drop formulas.

1881
Luden’s Cough Drops are Invented

William Luden creates the first menthol cough drop called Luden’s Menthol Cough Drops.

1893
HALLS is Produced

HALLS is produced and marketed by the Hall Brothers.

Cough Drop Day FAQs

What makes cough drops sweet?

Sugar and treacle are commonly used as sweetening agents in cough drops.

What are the ingredients in lozenges?

Lozenges often contain benzocaine, eucalyptus oil, anesthetics, menthol, dextromethorphan, gelatin, glucose syrup, and so on.

How many cough drops should a person consume in one day?

It is best to follow the dosage instructions put on the label, as cough drops are still medication. Two per two hours are a good recommendation.

Cough Drop Day Activities

  1. Buy a cough drop

    Celebrate by buying yourself or someone you know a cough drop. You never know when it might come in handy!

  2. Visit a doctor

    Sick or not, it’s important to get routine medical checkups done. Visit a doctor and get all the necessary tests done to ensure that your health is in top shape.

  3. Spread the word

    Spread the word about Cough Drop Day. Tell someone else about it or use the hashtag #coughdropday on social media.

5 Top Ranked Cough Drops, According To Pharmacists

  1. Cepacol

    Cepacol lozenges contain cetylpyridinium chloride and benzocaine and menthol, produced in honey lemon, cherry, and tangerine flavors.

  2. HALLS

    First produced in 1893, HALLS accounts for more than 50% of cough drop sales across the world.

  3. Chloraseptic

    Manufactured by Prestige Consume Healthcare in New York, the active ingredient in Chloraseptic lozenges is phenol.

  4. Fisherman’s Friend

    First produced in 1865 in Fleetwood, England, Fisherman’s Friend produces more than five billion lozenges per year in a variety of flavors.

  5. Ricola

    Based in Laufen, Switzerland, Ricola exports its lozenges to over 45 countries worldwide.

Why We Love Cough Drop Day

  1. Cough drops are sweet

    Medicine has never tasted so good! Cough drops make it easy to forget we’re actually trying to get ourselves treated!

  2. Cough drops are medicinal

    Don’t let its taste fool you. Cough drops contain medication that helps to relieve the throat from itching and irritation. We love cough drops because they make our sore throats feel better.

  3. Prioritizing our health is key

    This holiday reminds us that prioritizing our health is important. As they say, prevention is better than cure. Taking good care of ourselves ensures that we don’t get sick in the first place.

Cough Drop Day dates

YearDateDay
2023May 13Saturday
2024May 13Monday
2025May 13Tuesday
2026May 13Wednesday
2027May 13Thursday

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