Do you hear that? It's the sound of millions of people coughing their lungs out in the distance. Winter is when common colds and sore throats come out in full force–some adults get 2-3 colds per year–and they're not playing around.

For fast relief, people often reach for a cough drop. In 2016 alone, Ricola made $129.9 million. But how do you know which kind to choose? Apart from personal flavor preference, certain ingredients are better for soothing symptoms than others.

Read this list now to help make sense of the pharmacy aisles and thank me later...when your voice is better.

Honey Lemon

Let's start with this classic combo. With a less medicine-y taste than your typical cough drop and a less aggressive flavor than mint, many first reach for honey lemon flavor.

Lemons have tons of antioxidants that are necessary for daily body functions and give a punch of Vitamin C. And, lemons also contain chemicals called saponins, which help to fight off the flu.

Honey on the other hand adds a little sweetness so it doesn't feel like you're sucking on a clump of powdered lemonade. Definitely a great choice if you're looking for a Vitamin C boost with a touch of sweetness.


Cherries are one of the most widely recognized fruits for their bright red color. Ever wonder what that bright red hue actually does? Brightly colored berries are chock full of antioxidants that your body needs, even when not battling an illness.

Antioxidants prevent cell damage and boost your immune system, which are definitely some added pluses during cold and flu season. So, if you want something a little sweeter than the honey lemon variety, cherry cough drops are a great choice!


Okay, confession: sometimes in class, I'll pop a menthol cough drop if I run out of breath mints. And while it's not great to use medicine when you don't technically need it, at least I'm getting some health benefits while I'm at it right?

According to Livestrong, menthol can be used to treat a wide variety of ailments from gastrointestinal issues to colic to hives. Okay, but what about for colds? Menthol has been shown to dilate the bronchioles and take advantage of its expectorant actions, which is just a fancy way of saying that it thins out the mucus in your system. Just don't try it out in menthol cigarettes...


Spearmint and menthol are sisters, but not twins! While spearmint is one of the main ingredients in menthol blends, this little herb has some powers all its own. Many think of this plant in terms of chewing some gum, but there's much more to it than the ability to blow a huge bubble!

Spearmint is full of anti-inflammatory properties and is naturally soothing. Additionally, the strong scent of spearmint has been shown to clear nasal passages, and even improve mental clarity! A cough drop that improves my sore throat and my brain power? Sign me up!

Green Tea 

Why not include one of your favorite wintertime drinks into a cough drop, am I right? Ricola includes a green tea flavored drop in its line of products–and for good reason.

Green tea has the most antioxidants out of the most commercially consumed types of tea. And, some studies show that green tea is full of antibacterial properties. Due to the catechins (a type of antioxidant in tea) in green tea, the drink can often inhibit such illnesses as the common cold and even the flu!  So if you're not down with a fruity or minty vibe, a green tea cough drop might just be your new best friend.

Let's face it: being sick sucks. But, it's definitely easier if you have the right medicine by your side. And while there's no substitution for some good old fashioned rest and fluids, a cough drop (or five) can definitely help. And if not, they can at least hold your cough at bay until you hit up your doctor.