A little while back I had a bad cold and I was in desperate need of throat lozenges.
But when I went to a local pharmacy, I found out that many popular cough drops are not vegan.
As a result, I’ve put together this page to help you quickly find a vegan option so that you don’t have to waste time reading the ingredients in a store.
Common Non-Vegan Ingredients to Watch Out for In Throat Lozenges
I’ll go over which of the most popular lozenges are and aren’t vegan in a second, but first, here are the main ingredients to look out for if you’re looking at ingredients labels yourself:
- Artificial colors: These will always be listed as a color followed by a number (e.g., blue no. 1, red no. 40, yellow no. 5). Some vegans are okay with these, while others are not due to extensive animal testing around them. Here’s a detailed post on whether or not artificial colors are vegan. Make your own choice.
- Honey: Not vegan of course.
- Magnesium stearate: Usually made from pork, but can be made from vegetables. You need to contact the company to find out, or look for vegetarian label or something to indicate the source.
- Glycerin: Can come from either animal or plant sources. You need to contact the manufacturer to find out if not specified.
Are Halls Throat Lozenges Vegan?
If you’re okay with artificial colors, almost all Halls would be okay for you.
If you’re a fairly strict vegan who avoids artificial colors, you wouldn’t consider most Halls to be vegan.
Here’s a summary table of potential non-vegan ingredients in each flavor:
|Flavor||Potential non-vegan ingredients|
|Cherry Flavor Menthol||Blue #2, red #40|
|Extra Strong Menthol Flavor Drops||Blue #1|
|Honey Lemon Flavor Cough Drops||Honey|
|Ice Peppermint Flavor Cough Drops||Blue #1|
|Menthol-Lyptus Flavor Cough Drops||Blue #1, red #40|
|Mint Bliss Flavor Cough Drops||Blue #1, yellow #5|
|Orange Flavor Cough Drops||Red #40, yellow #5|
|Strawberry Flavor Cough Drops||Red #40|
|Tropical Fruit Flavor Cough Drops||Red #40|
|Sugar Free Assorted Mint Flavors Cough Drops||Blue #1|
|Sugar Free Black Cherry Flavor Cough Drops||Blue #1, red #40|
|Sugar Free Citrus Blend Flavor Cough Drops|
|Sugar Free Honey Berry Flavor Cough Drops||Blue #1, red #40|
|Sugar Free Honey Lemon Flavor Cough Drops||Glycerin|
|Sugar Free Mountain Menthol Flavor Cough Drops||Blue #1, red #40|
|Cherry Flavor Cough Drops with Soothing Syrup Center||Blue #2, red #40|
|Honey Lemon Cough Drops with Soothing Syrup Center||Honey, glycerin|
If you’re a strict vegan, then only the Sugar Free Citrus Blend Flavor Cough Drops would be vegan friendly.
If you’re okay with artificial colors, just avoid the ones with honey, there aren’t too many.
Finally, a couple have glycerin in the ingredients, which could be from plants or animals. I contacted Halls asking for clarification, but only received a generic “we don’t know for sure either way”. So the glycerin could be from plants, but I’d avoid it to be safe.
Are Fisherman’s Friends Cough Drops Vegan?
In one word: Yes!
Here are the 3 main flavors and ingredients in them:
|Original||Capsicum, dextrin, eucalyptus oil, natural licorice, sugar, tragacanth|
|Cherry||Acesulfame K, cherry flavor, herbal flavor, magnesium stearate, sorbitol, sucralose|
|Refreshing Mint||Magnesium stearate, peppermint flavor, sorbitol, sucralose|
The only potential non-vegan ingredient is the magnesium stearate in both the cherry and mint flavors.
According to Fisherman’s Friend’s FAQs however, all their cough drops are suitable for both vegans and vegetarians, which means they almost certainly use a plant-based magnesium stearate.
If you want to be 100% sure, just stick to the original flavor, but I’d feel fine with any personally.
Are Luden’s Throat Drops Vegan?
Finally, Luden’s is also fairly popular.
They have a wide range of flavors, some vegan, some not. So let’s break them down.
|Flavor||Potential non-vegan ingredients|
|Original Menthol||Caramel color (probably okay)|
|Wild cherry||Blue #2, red #40|
|Honey Licorice||Glycerin, honey|
|Green Apple||Blue #1, yellow #5|
|Strawberry-Banana||Blue #2, red #40, yellow #6|
|Wild Honey||Caramel color (probably okay), honey|
|Honey Lemon||Yellow #5, honey|
|Wild Berry||Blue #1, blue #2, red #40|
|Black Cherry||Blue #1, red #40|
|Kiwi-Strawberry||Blue #1, yellow #5|
|Blue Raspberry||Blue #1|
So if you’re okay with artificial colors, you have a lot of options.
If you’re not, the only option is the original one. Caramel color can be non-vegan (milk ingredients), but it usually is vegan friendly.
Summary: Look for These Vegan Throat Lozenges and Cough Drops
From the context of a vegan who wants a clearly vegan option, Fisherman’s Friends is your best choice, as all their flavors are vegan friendly.
Otherwise, you’ll need to specifically track down Hall’s Sugar Free Citrus Blend Flavor Cough Drops or the Original Menthol Luden’s flavor.
There’s going to be differences of opinion on something like this, but you should have all the information you need here to make your own decision.