What are throat lozenges?

What are throat lozenges?

If you’re suffering from a cold or the flu, it’s likely you’ll experience several unpleasant symptoms such as a headache, a raised temperature, a blocked or runny nose, a loss of taste and smell, physical pains across your body and frequent sneezing. Other common symptoms affect your mouth and throat such as a sore throat and coughing. But as these specific symptoms can impact your ability to carry out normal tasks such as eating, drinking and speaking, it’s important that you find an effective solution[1].

Throat lozenges are a common remedy for sore throats and other problems that affect the throat and mouth. In this blog, we explain exactly what they are, why they’re used and whether or not they actually work.

What is a lozenge?

Usually made from sugar or syrup, a lozenge is a flavoured sweet that contains medicinal properties that are designed to counteract the symptoms of a cough, cold or throat infection. Menthol lozenges usually contain eucalyptus oil or an anaesthetic ingredient known as benzocaine, whereas non-menthol alternatives use pectin or zinc gluconate glycerine. 

The word originally comes from ‘losenge’ – an old 14th century French word that refers to a diamond shape. However, today, lozenges are often circular or ovular but larger in size than a typical tablet or capsule. The use of throat lozenges date back as far as 1000BC where they were created from a mix of honey with citrus and various herbs and spices. Although going through a period of being mixed with opioids, the introduction of modern medicines made lozenges into a safe, common remedy for problems affecting the throat.

What are lozenges used for?

Due to their anaesthetic and antiseptic properties, lozenges are used to treat a number of different conditions in the mouth and throat. Common problems lozenges are used to treat include coughs, sore throats and irritations in the mouth and throat. However, they’re also effective in treating sore gums, mouth and throat ulcers and injuries sustained to the mouth and gums.

Not only are lozenges capable of aiding multiple problems, but they also come in different flavours to suit the personal preference of the person taking them. For instance, Chloralieve offers different flavours to suit the individual’s taste, with the option of both Mint Throat Lozenges and Honey and Lemon Throat Lozenges.

Do lozenges work?

A tried and tested solution to sore throats and other problems affecting the mouth and throat, lozenges are effective in relieving pain and soothing affected areas. They do this by increasing the production of saliva in the mouth to keep the throat lubricated. Meanwhile, the ingredients ease the symptoms of a cough, reduce pain in the mouth and throat and neutralise the treated area to combat harmful germs and prevent viruses from forming and growing.

To use a throat lozenge, simply remove all packaging and place it in your mouth. It doesn’t matter where, but it would be advisable to put it somewhere between your gums and the inside of your mouth as it will stay in this area and allow you to carry out normal duties such as speaking and drinking. As it sits in your mouth, the lozenge will begin to dissolve. To avoid choking or damaging your teeth, you should ensure that it dissolves and resist the temptation to chew or swallow the lozenge. Once fully dissolved, swallow the leftover liquid along with your saliva to coat all affected areas.


[1] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/common-cold/