Gluten can hide in unexpected places such as in medication, lotions, and yes, cough drops. If you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, it is important to know which cough drops are safe to consume.
Options in Gluten-Free Cough Drops
Many cough drops exist that are naturally gluten-free or gluten has purposely been eliminated from the ingredient list. Either way, those with celiac disease 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 and are therefore suited for persons with gluten intolerance." Some of the most popular varieties include Cherry Honey, Lemon Mint, and Honey Herb. Ricola cough drops can be purchased at CVS and other drug stores locations for about $3.00.
Nature's Way Organic Sambucus Zinc Lozenges
This all natural cough drop is gluten-free, organic, kosher, and vegetarian with no artificial sweeteners or preservatives. These lozenges are available online at Thrive Market for about $4.50 per bag.
Burt's Bees Natural Throat Drops
Reviewers love these all natural drops for their "soothing and moisturizing" qualities without sacrificing flavor. Burt's Bees Natural Throat Drops are not certified gluten-free, however contain no gluten in their ingredient list. These drops should be fine for most following a gluten-free diet however, use caution if you have celiac disease. They can be purchased at Walmart around $12.00 for a three pack.
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. Wedderspoon Organic Manuka Honey Drops with Ginger can be purchased at Thrive Market for around $9.00.
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, can syrup, vitamin C, and natural flavoring. YumEarth Organic Vitamin C Drops can be purchased at iHerb.com for about $2.00.
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 and are only available in CVS stores for just under $2.00.
Jakemans Throat and Chest Lozenges
Although not certified gluten-free, this company maintains gluten-free standards in all their products of containing a "maximum of 20 ppm gluten within a finished product". Jakemans makes a variety of cough drop flavors including peppermint, anise, honey and lemon, and chili and lime. These drops can be purchased Amazon for a wide range of prices.
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. Fisherman's Friend Lozenges can be purchased at Walgreens for around $3.00.
Ingredients of Concern
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 celiac disease should be very cautious when consuming drops with these ingredients or avoid them all together.
- Natural Flavoring - The FDA states that this ingredient is an umbrella term to describe extracts or essence from "a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products". Natural flavoring runs the risk of containing gluten particles. Additionally, some with celiac disease report having problems with natural flavoring.
- 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, thus may be a carrier for gluten.
Gluten in Cough Drops
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.