The surprising worst and best throat lozenge ingredients
May 24, 2016
It has happened to us all. That tickle in the throat which turns into a coughing fit (which always seems to happen in the quietest possible moment at the theater), or waking up with a dry lump in the throat, on the day of the big presentation. We grab a bag of lozenges in desperation, but are they helping or hindering? You might be surprised. Here's the worst and best ingredients found in throat lozenges.
The 4 worst throat lozenge ingredients
Wait! What? Methol is number one on the worst list? Menthol is the active ingredient in most cough drops because it numbs the throat, masking the pain, but it’s a terrible ingredient for sore throats. Menthol is drying which is the last thing you want when you already have a dry throat. Further more when the pain has been numbed it makes continued voice strain more likely leading to further irritation.
Like menthol, eucalyptus is another common ingredient in throat drops but it is also a common irritant to sensitive vocal cords and best to stay away from when you have a dry or sore throat.
Sugar is also very commonly found in throat drops, but sugar is food for bacteria, worsening a throat infection and it also coats the throat which only encourages more coughing and straining.
Artificial color and flavor
Because who needs those?
The 7 best throat lozenge ingredients
Tart Green Apple Extract
Apples are known to have high levels of antioxidant polyphenols and are widely considered great for immunity and general health, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" they say. But did you know tart green apple acts naturally as a mucus thinner? Apples are also anti-inflammatory, hydrating and extremely good for vocal cords making apple extract a fantastic ingredient for hydration as well as protection from further damage. Healing benefits aside, who doesn't love tart green apple flavor?
Glycerin is a colorless, scentless, liquid which can come from synthetic or natural sources. Synthetic glycerin, made from petroleum-based oils, is used in antifreeze, e-cigarettes and gets bad press for its use in cheap cosmetics and soaps. Natural glycerin, however, is made from natural (animal or plant) oils and is found in many high end natural skin care, soap and food brands. It's very hydrating and is great for lubricating the throat. Fontus lozenges use all-natural plant based glycerin derived from natural plant oils such as coconut oil.
All honey is great for soothing throats however, Manuka honey, derived from the New Zealand manuka tree, is the gold standard of healing honey with its superior antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Manuka honey provides a soothing effect on the throat muscles (take note singers, this will improve your tone and pitch), assists in breaking down phlegm, and helps voices recover from long work sessions, all leading to healing sore throats faster. Fontus lozenges use Tahi Manuka Honey UMF 12+.
Aloe vera is a thick, short-stemmed plant that has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Each leaf is full of gel that contains bioactive compounds including vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. Aloe vera is best known for its use on burns and other skin injuries but it’s also great for soothing and hydrating dry and scratchy throats.
American ginseng is one of the most popular supplements in the US. It's best known for boosting memory and energy, however it has many other uses. Studies suggest it may boost your immune system, function as an antioxidant and also benefit inflammatory conditions. It may also be useful as an all-around stress tonic, according to research published in the Journal of Herbs, Spices & Medicinal Plants which is interesting because Chinese medicine has been using it for thousands of years as a cool, calming tonic too.
Lysozyme is a remarkable natural antimicrobial and antiviral enzyme. Discovered in 1921 by Alexander Fleming (the guy who discovered penicillin), and since then it has been widely studied and found to be naturally occurring in many living organisms. As one of nature's great antimicrobials, lysozyme is a key element in the immune system's fight against infection. Its natural antibacterial and antiviral properties make it an excellent natural alternative to synthetic preservatives in organic and natural foods.
Orchids have been used in Asia for centuries because of their reparative and protective properties. It is also a humectant so this is another ingredient that provides soothing and moisturizing abilities from its ability to draw in water. Who knew something that was so beautiful and fragrant could be so useful in a lozenge!
The all-natural, best ingredient lozenge: Fontus
Luckily for all of us, a lozenge with all of these great, natural ingredients has been made. Kaitlin Hopkins is the head of the Musical Theatre program at Texas State University. For over 35 years she was a professional actress working on and off Broadway, in film, television and radio. When she sang, she suffered from bad dry mouth. For years she couldn’t find what she wanted in a lozenge and instead used small pieces of tart green apple before she’d go on stage. A few things happened that ultimately motivated her to create a lozenge for herself. Her stepfather had suffered from Parkinson’s disease for almost 20 years and one of the side effects of his medication (and many other medications) is dry mouth. Her dream became two fold; she wanted to offer people who use their voices for a living a healthy product that actually worked, and to offer an all-natural dry throat lozenge to people with compromised immune systems. Although originally a solution for her own performance and her step Dad, she's now helping a wide range of dry mouth sufferers. Frequent travelers, teachers, presenters, singers, people suffering dry mouth from medication, sore throats, people who want to limit their sugar intake - anyone can benefit from this all-natural throat lozenge that actually tastes good.
It's available here, from The Kiwi Importer.
Some other tips for good vocal health
- Stay hydrated. This is probably one of the most important tips as well-hydrated vocal cords vibrate more easily than dry ones.
- Avoid black tea, coffee, cream and alcohol before singing or presenting as these will cause the vocal cords to constrict and can have a dehydrating effect.
- Smoke is the biggest vocal cord irritant – if you need yet another good reason to quit.
- Limit the use of air conditioning.
- Avoid screaming and yelling. If your vocal cords are really strained, try emailing or texting to go them a rest.
- Avoid throat clearing and coughing. Instead swallow with effort using warm water or Fontus throat lozenges as an aid.
- If you are a performer, presenter or teacher, rest your voice and give it a five-minute break, every couple of hours.
The secret is out, everyone loves Fontus
Disclaimer: The content of this blog post is for general information purposes only and does not constitute, nor does it intend to constitute medical diagnosis or treatment or other professional advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regime.
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