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A demulcent cough drop

A demulcent (derived from the Latin: demulcere "caress") is a mucilaginous or oleaginous preparation[1] that forms a soothing protective film over a mucous membrane, relieving minor pain and inflammation of the membrane.[2] However, they generally help for less than 30 minutes.[3]

Demulcents are sometimes referred to as mucoprotective agents. Demulcents such as pectin, glycerin, honey, and syrup are common ingredients in cough mixtures and cough drops.[4]


Natural demulcents include slippery elm, pectin, licorice-root and marsh-mallow.

Synthetic demulcents include methylcellulose, propylene glycol, and glycerin.


  1. ^ "Definition of DEMULCENT". Retrieved 2022-02-19.
  2. ^ Mandel, I. D. (1987). "The Functions of Saliva". Journal of Dental Research. 66 (2 suppl): 623–627. doi:10.1177/00220345870660S203. ISSN 0022-0345. PMID 3497964. S2CID 23498530.
  3. ^ Frye, R; Bailey, J; Blevins, AE (May 2011). "Clinical inquiries. Which treatments provide the most relief for pharyngitis pain?". The Journal of Family Practice. 60 (5): 293–4. PMID 21544279.
  4. ^ Boyd, Eldon M. (1952). "Cough medication and antihistaminic drugs". Can Med Assoc J. 67 (4): 289–92. PMC 1822606. PMID 13009543.

Further reading[edit]

Tripathi, K. D. (31 October 2018). Essentials of Medical Pharmacology, 8th Edition. Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers. ISBN 978-93-5270-499-6. OCLC 1050280101.

External links[edit]