Gluten-Free Cough Drops

Updated August 18, 2022
Woman taking a cough lozenge

Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains. It is sometimes added to products for shape and consistency. Gluten can hide in unexpected places, such as in medication, lotions, and, yes, cough drops. If you have a gluten intolerance, it is important to know which cough drops are safe to consume.

7 Cough Drops to Consider if You Avoid Gluten

Many cough drops are naturally gluten-free, or gluten has purposely been eliminated from the ingredient list. Those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance should always double-check the ingredient list for gluten-containing ingredients.

Ricola Cough Drops

According to Ricola, "all Ricola products are considered gluten-free under the Codex Standard." The Codex Standard states that the product does not contain more than 20mg/kg of gluten. Some of the most popular varieties include Cherry Honey, Lemon Mint, and Honey Herb. The company also offers oral anesthetic drops.

Nature's Way Organic Sambucus Zinc Lozenges

Nature's Way offers a gluten-free option in Sambucus organic zinc lozenges. This all-natural cough drop has no artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. This lozenge uses all-natural flavors.

Wedderspoon Organic Manuka Honey Drops

Wedderspoon has made a sweet treat of a cough drop made from honey, cane sugar, ginger, and Echinacea. These cough drops are allergen-free, gluten-free, and sulfite-free. These cough drops are also dairy, nut, and GMO free.

YumEarth Organic Vitamin C Drops

These delicious drops are certified gluten-free, organic, and non-GMO. Ingredients found in YumEarth's drops include brown rice syrup, cane syrup, vitamin C, and natural flavoring. The YumEarth drops are also free from fish, eggs, and soy.

CVS Health Natural Throat Drops Cherry

Certified gluten-free, these cough drops follow suit with traditional cough drops. These CVS-branded drops contain pectin as their active ingredient. The CVS brand also offers gluten-free kids pops.

Jakemans Throat and Chest Lozenges

Although not certified gluten-free, this company maintains gluten-free standards in all its products under the Codex Standard. Depending on a person's gluten intolerance, they could be taken to relieve cough. Jakemans makes a variety of cough drop flavors, including peppermint, anise, honey and lemon, and chili and lime.

Fisherman's Friend

These cough drops are a menthol-based drop available in a variety of flavors. The company states the drops are gluten-free, kosher, and safe for vegans and vegetarians. This cough drop dates back to 1865.

Ingredients to Watch for in Cough Drops

When following a gluten-free diet, it is critical to be an educated shopper. Some ingredients are added to cough drops that contain wheat, barley, rye, or oats. Those with gluten intolerance should be very cautious when consuming drops with these ingredients or avoid them altogether. When checking your cough drop ingredients, you'll want to watch for natural flavoring and malt extract.

Natural Flavoring

The FDA states that this ingredient is an umbrella term to describe extracts or essence "not derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof." The National Celiac Association lists them as unlikely to contain gluten, but they could contain gluten particles.

Malt Extract

Although rarely used, this extract is found in some cough drops and could be a potential hazard for those with celiac disease. Malt is derived from barley, and thus may be a carrier for gluten, according to the National Celiac Association.

Lastly, remember that although most cough drops are made naturally without gluten, some have an increased risk for cross-contamination or contain hidden sources of gluten in the ingredients. Always double-check the ingredient list on your cough drops and consult a registered dietitian if you have concerns.

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Gluten-Free Cough Drops