Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Is Cough Medicine Helpful? Probably Not, Says the American Chemical Society

Researchers at the American Chemical Society examine whether or not cough medicine has scientific merit. 

Americans spend around $4 billion each year on cough medicine. Researchers at the American Chemical Society showcase how we may be wasting our money.


In a new video posted on the American Chemical Society's Reactions YouTube site ("Does Cough Medicine Really Work?"), chemists argue that there is no conclusive evidence that cough medicine is effective. The group of researchers came to this conclusion after examining a number of systematic reviews that compared data from numerous studies.

Here the overall take from the American Chemical Society's Reaction team:

"There’s very little evidence that cough syrup is effective at treating coughs. And carefully performed clinical trials show that these medications are generally no better than a placebo." 

As the Reactions team pointed out, clinical trials showed that widely-used cough medicines generally did no better than a placebo in treating symptoms. They examined Antitussives (blocking cough reflex), Expectorants (loosening the mucus), Decongestants (narrowing the blood vessels of the lung and nose to reduce congestion), and Antihistamines (decreasing mucus associated with allergies).

While the researchers found little benefit to over-the-counter cough medicines, they also stated that there was no real medical downside (outside of an overdose, especially with children) to taking the medication. The improvement of health one may feel from taking cough medicine may be tied in with the well-documented placebo effect. ("Placebos Relieve Pain, Even When Patients Know the Treatment Isn't Real")

Treating Your Cold Without Pharmaceuticals 


There are an endless array of natural remedies that people use to soothe coughing and reduce the symptoms of a cold. The researchers at the American Chemical Society touched upon the popular usage of zinc, vitamin C, and echinacea and determined that likewise there was little scientific backing to the health claims. Honey, however, may have some merit and is in new of continued study.

The three suggestions made by the American Chemical Society's Reaction team was to:

1. Drink plenty of fluid in order to lower your cough reflect and thin out mucus.


2. Take a steamy shower, or use a humidifier, to reduce congestion

3. Use a hard candy or cough drop to increase saliva production, which will soothe an irritated throat.

Lastly, there is always the old standby of chicken noodle soup. Outside of its nostalgic appeal, there may be some scientific merit in having a cup of soup when suffering through a cold. According to the Mayo Clinic

[I]f you're sick, chicken soup may help you feel better. Warm liquids, such as chicken soup, tea or warm apple juice, help speed up the movement of mucus through the nose. This relieves congestion and limits the amount of time viruses are in contact with the lining of your nose. Plus, soup and other liquids help prevent dehydration.


Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

Why are these borders so weird?

New book focuses on some of the world's most peculiar borderlines.

The bizarre international border at Märket Island is just one of dozens highlighted in Zoran Nikolic's 'Atlas of Unusual Borders'.

Image reproduced by kind permission of HarperCollins
Strange Maps
  • Borders have a simple job: separate different areas from each other.
  • But they can get complicated fast, as shown by a new book.
  • Here are a few of the bizarre borders it focuses on.
Keep reading Show less

Why is everyone so selfish? Science explains

The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.

Credit: Adobe Stock, Olivier Le Moal.
Personal Growth
  • Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
  • New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
  • Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.
Keep reading Show less

How Hemingway felt about fatherhood

Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.

Ernest Hemingway Holding His Son 1927 (Wikimedia Commons)
Culture & Religion

Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?

Keep reading Show less
Videos

The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast