Pectin vs. Menthol
What’s in YOUR cough drop?
Haha, life is sometimes quite humorous in what it gives you, even how it can go in a circle and bring you back to where you’ve been before — only different. :O>
I say this because I’ve had somewhat of a head/chest cold these last couple weeks (December 2016), and the “defense” I’ve spontaneously adopted is the same one used by my own MOTHER, lol.
My memory of my mother — in her pre-dementia days — is of a woman who is constantly drinking tea and ALWAYS has at least several cough drops in at least one pocket of every jacket and sweater and hoodie she’s ever worn (along with tissues). Even the nooks and crannies of her car could be counted on to yield up their own collection of “Halls Mentholatum” cough drops. She preferred “the red ones“.
This month I have become quite familiar with hot tea and cough drops. I have also developed enough appreciation and gratitude for PECTIN that I would like to share it with you.
I’ve been familiar with pectin since my early days of domesticity, when I learned its value in making homemade jams and jellies. In that application, it is a congealant — something that converts liquid into a thicker, jelly-like texture. This pectin is often derived from citrus fruits, but there is enough of it in apples and rose hips that those fruits do not need added pectin to their juices to “set up” a jelly.
But this month I had a new experience with my friend pectin.
I usually do have an open bag or two of cough drops laying around the house somewhere, just in case any of my household members could use a little throat-soothing. However, I’ve not paid much attention to their ingredients other than to notice that my husband prefers the “black bag” type that has something like three times the amount of menthol as the “red bag” version that was my mother’s daily fare.
However, when I started to get a tickle in my throat that I did NOT want to develop into an annoying cough, I reached for my daughter’s bag of “green apple” cough drops, with a vague recollection that they had pectin in them rather than menthol.
As my cold worsened and I started drinking hot tea — black cherry berry with hibiscus — and sucking on cough drops almost constantly to soothe my itchy throat and AVOID coughing, I learned that there is a BIG difference between pectin and menthol!
I had already walked to Walmart (I haven’t had a car for over 8 months now, my bad) and come home with 2 bags of my new best friends — Halls Breezers with 7mg of pectin per drop — twice the pectin of the green apple ones I’d had around home.
Despite my appreciation for the Breezers and their help, I decided to try a medium-strength menthol cough drop for comparison.
I regretted it, almost immediately.
As the menthol did its job of clearing away the “junk” in my throat along with whatever minute amount was in my nasal passages (I was not very congested), I lost all the good I’d done, sucking on the pectin drops. I wanted to scream, “No! I WANT that protective coating BACK!”
And I learned a valuable lesson:
If you are congested and want to CLEAR UP your airways, menthol is DEFINITELY the way to go.
BUT, if your problem is an itchy, tickly throat and your body threatens to make you COUGH if you breathe too deep (hence beginning the cycle of cough – OUCH! – COUGH, COUGH, COUGH — ouch, ouch, OUCH!), then PECTIN is your friend, and menthol is more of an enemy!!
Now, I do not pretend to know the best route to go if you are badly congested AND have that itchy throat…!
I was blessed that I never got so congested, perhaps being helped by the tea, my homemade soup, and the Tussin MAX I was taking, lol.
I did notice, however, that every so often I DID need to cough — just enough to get out a tiny bit of phlegm, get it out of the way, and go back to maintaining that cozy soft mucus coating on my throat that was keeping me from coughing when I didn’t NEED to.
I feel extremely grateful to God for teaching me another little way in which to care for this body He made for me. LOL 😛
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