What Happens If You Eat Too Many Cough Drops?

Cough drops are commonly used to provide relief in cases of cough. Some cough drops contain pharmacological ingredients which tend to quell your cough, while others contain ingredients which moisten a dry cough. Just like any other medicine, cough drops have negative effects when consumed more than prescribed. So, you should be careful with cough drops, even though they may look like a candy to you.

What Happens If You Eat Too Many Cough Drops?

Menthol is the primary active ingredient in almost all of the medicated cough drops. In cases of an overdose with cough drops, menthol is the one causing possible side effects. On average, cough drops contain about 5 mg to 10 mg of menthol. The symptoms of menthol overdose vary from one person to the other. Age, weight, and current health condition play an important role. 

The common symptoms of menthol overdose are as follows:

Heart and Blood
  • Heart palpitations
  • Rapid heartbeat
Nervous System
  • Unsteady walking
  • Dizziness
  • Tremor
  • Convulsions
  • Unconsciousness
Stomach and Intestines
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Rapid breathing
  • Shallow breathing
Bladder and Kidneys
  • Blood in the urine
  • No urine output

Make sure to consult your doctor about how many cough drops you can take in a single day safely without experiencing negative side effects. If you are still concerned about cough drops and their dosage during a day, you can always choose non-mentholated cough drops.

If you think that you have consumed more cough drops than recommended, or if you have started to experience any signs and symptoms of an overdose with menthol, seek emergency help. The sooner you seek medical help, the better your recovery is. However, you are more likely to experience indigestion before serious side effects occur.

You can always call the National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) as well, and tell the physicians which type of cough drops you have been taking, the amount you have taken during the day, the signs and symptoms you are experiencing and the amount of menthol that a single cough drop contains. 

Homemade Cough Drops

What happens if you eat too many cough drops? It has been answered. Due to the possible side effects of overdose of cough drops, you can try to make them by yourself at home. The homemade cough drops are effective and contain only natural herbal ingredients, meaning that there is no risk for any side effects. Here is how to make ginger honey cough drops at home.


  • ½ cup honey
  • 1.5 cups of sugar
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 1.5-inch segment of fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ cup of superfine sugar, needed for dusting


Get All the Supplies Needed

For making homemade ginger honey cough drops, the following items are needed:

  • Saucepan
  • Thermometer
  • Zester
  • Strainer
  • Parking knife
  • Candy molds
  • Container jar

Make the Necessary Preparation

  • Before starting to cook this at-home cough medicine, peel the ginger. After peeling it, make sure to cut it in very thin slices as well. Ginger can help fight against inflammation. For this reason, it is used in many cough medicines, such as chest decongestant and antihistaminic.
  • Use a zester to get 1 tablespoon of lemon zest.

Start Cooking the Cough Medicine

What happens if you eat too many cough drops? There is no need to worry this question with homemade cough medicine.

In a saucepan over high heat, boil one cinnamon stick together with sliced ginger and water. Once the pot is fully boiling, you will need to lower the heat.

Simmer for About 10 Minutes

After simmering for about 10 minutes, you will need to remove the cinnamon stick and ginger. A great and easy way to do it is by using a strainer.

Add the Rest

  • Once you have removed the ginger and the cinnamon stick, and have a clear liquid on a pot, add other ingredients like ½ honey and 1.5 cups of sugar.
  • You should boil this mixture over high heat, constantly stirring the fluid. Make sure that the sugar added is completely dissolved.

Use Candy Thermometer

  • Once the sugar is completely dissolved, use the candy thermometer to monitor the heat. 300-305 degrees Fahrenheit is necessary to get the liquid into a hard and candy stage.
  • When the necessary temperature is reached, remove the saucepan from heat.
  • Make sure that the liquid does not get burned.

Add Final Ingredients

  • Final ingredients needed for homemade cough drops are lemon zest and lemon juice.
  • Be careful when adding these ingredients as it may splash and you can get burned.
  • Mix the liquid carefully by stirring it for a couple of minutes.

Pour Hot Liquid into Molds

  • Once you are done cooking the cough medicine, pour the liquid into the candy molds.
  • It will take a couple of hours for them to be cooled. Crack cough drops out of the molds when cooled.

Put the Cough Drops in a Jar

  • Once your cough drops are made, put them into a lidded jar.
  • You can sprinkle some superfine sugar to prevent cough drops from getting sticky. You can use powdered sugar or regular granulated sugar as well.
  • There is no need to refrigerate the cough drops. You can use them whenever you need them.

These homemade cough drops don’t contain menthol which can lead to side effects. What happens if you eat too many cough drops? With homemade cough drops, there is no need for you to worry about overdose. 

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