Are Cough Drops Vegan?
Here’s Everything You Need to Know

There are several studies that not only point out the benefits of a vegan diet but strongly indicate it might be healthier. But even with the most nutritious diet, we can still catch the common cough or sniffle.

So when you’re feeling poorly, what remedies and medicines can you reach for without accidentally getting hit with animal products?

Table of Contents

Are Cough Drops Vegan?

green round cough drops

Some cough drops are vegan, some cough drops are not, and some depend on how strict you are.

You have to check the packaging for the particular brand of cough drops that you want.

We will list some of the common problem ingredients to look out for below.

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5 Common Animal-Based Ingredients

1. Artificial Colors

While artificial colors like red 40 or blue 1 are technically plant-based, they also require extensive and continuously updated animal testing to be cleared for human consumption. Personally, that makes them a no-no for me, and it’s not just rats and mice. They’re often tested on dogs too.

2. Honey

Honey comes from bees, and when it’s listed as an ingredient 9 times out of 10 it comes from mass production with the worst possible practices. Some vegans believe there is such a thing as ethically sourced honey, but this won’t be it.

3. Magnesium Stearate

Manufacturers can make this ingredient from plants, but it’s also sourced from pork. It requires contacting the manufacturer directly or finding a “suitable for vegetarians” label on the product to be sure.

4. Glycerin

This is another annoyingly vague ingredient, and it is avoided if you don’t want to risk it. It can be sourced from plants but is also made from animal products. Contact the manufacturer or look for a vegetarian label.

5. Sugar

Sugar is a problem ingredient for strict vegans as some sugars use bone char in the whitening process and it isn’t ever clear on a label. We advise you to choose sugar-free wherever possible to be sure.


6 Natural Vegan Cough And Cold Remedies

banana, pineapple, garlic

I’m a firm believer in the fact that nature has given us all the ingredients we need. Why waste time scanning the labels of cough drops when there are real food options that work the same or better? Let’s have a look.

1. Banana

If you’re feeling sick, it can wreak havoc on your digestive function. Bananas are well known for helping in managing diarrhea and an upset stomach [1]. It is also rich in potassium, electrolytes, and vitamin b6, all ideal for strengthening the immune system.

2. Marshmallow Root

In Germany, marshmallow root has been the go-to cough remedy for a long time. The science behind it points to the mucilage lining the throat and lessening the symptoms. Recent studies have proven the Germans correct, and if you have a dry cough, some marshmallow powder tea can help soothe the tickle [2].

3. Sweet Potato

They’re not only delicious, but they can also help fight off infections and help you stay healthy. Sweet potatoes really can do it all.

“One medium sweet potato provides over 100 percent of your vitamin A for the day, a vitamin that helps regulate the immune system and protects from infections by keeping our skin and internal tissues healthy,”


– Alex Miller, MS, RDN,

4. Ginger

Ginger is one of nature’s cure-alls. Nutritionally it helps to bolster your immune system, but it can also directly reduce nausea and the anti-inflammatory properties providing cough relief [3]. Chuck it raw in a tea or smoothie, or buy some Chimes Ginger Chews. I always keep a steady supply to get me through any coughs or colds.

5. Garlic

This is either going to be a welcome excuse to eat more or wasted space, depending on your garlic stance. It has potent anti-microbial properties and has been shown to alleviate cold symptoms and even prevent sickness [4]. If you can’t stand the taste, there are supplements available.

6. Pineapple

If you’re feeling sick, you must get some bromelain. Pineapple is rich in this enzyme, which has anti mucolytic properties as well as potent anti-inflammatory properties. It will help your body get better while clearing the symptoms [5].



Are Halls Throat Lozenges Vegan?

No, most Halls Throat Lozenges use artificial colors that are tested on animals and not vegan. The Sugar-Free Citrus Blend Flavor is the only one that is arguably vegan friendly.

Are Halls Soothers Vegan?

Yes, Halls Soothers are vegan and even have a “suitable for vegetarians” label to confirm the source of their lecithin and glycerol is plant-based. Avoid the honey and lemon, which is the only flavor to use artificial colors.

Are Ricola Cough Drops Vegan?

Yes, 6 out of the 10 Ricola flavors we checked were vegan. They are made in Switzerland, which means even the sugar content is less problematic and isn’t likely to use bone char. Avoid the honey, and they should be vegan friendly.

Are Vicks Vapodrops Vegan?

It’s not clear whether the caramel in the menthol Vicks is vegan or not, and some are made with milk. Other flavors use sugar and artificial colors, which can be problematic too.

Are Fisherman’s Friends Cough Drops Vegan?

Yes, Fisherman’s Friends Cough Drops are vegan. They even confirm that the magnesium stearate used is plant-based on their website.

Is Strepsils Vegan?

No, most Strepsils use artificial colors and can’t be considered vegan. The cool lozenges flavor is the only one without artificial flavors.

Are Luden’s Throat Drops Vegan?

No, all Luden’s Throat Drops flavor options are not vegan and have a question mark over at least one ingredient. Whether that be an artificial color or if the caramel uses milk at all, it’s probably easier to avoid.

Can Cough Drops Be Vegan?

Yes, as with all things, there are cough drops out there that are plant-based if you’re willing to look.

I would personally recommend a tea with raw ginger, lemon, and some marshmallow root.

When you need something a little more potent than lemon, syrup, and menthol, I do recommend chimes ginger chews; they’re a beautiful little cure-all but especially suited for sore throats and coughs.

What is your go-to cough remedy? Let us know in the comments below.

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Jason Hughes
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