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What are Expectorants and How do they Work?

No one wants to have a cough that just won’t stop. Whether you’re hacking up nasty mucus or coughing so much your throat hurts, you’re going to want to feel better, fast. Luckily, modern medicine has given us expectorants. We’ll go further into what an expectorant is, what expectorants do, and how expectorants work below.

Man coughing from chest congestion

So, What is an expectorant?

Expectorants are our not-so-secret weapons against wet coughs and chest congestion. They are:

  • A medicinal or natural ingredient that thins out phlegm in the lungs and helps to bring it up and out of the airways (lungs, bronchi and trachea).
  • Guaifenesin or glyceryl guaiacolate is the most popular medicinal expectorant used in cough syrups and other cough medicines.
  • Some natural expectorants are honey, steam and peppermint. These work best when taken with a medicinal expectorant. 
  • Staying hydrated and drinking up to 8 glasses of water a day, in conjunction with expectorants, will help loosen mucus. 
Image of guaifensin

Guaifenesin or glyceryl guaiacolate is the most popular medicinal expectorant used in cough syrups and other cough medicines.

What does an expectorant do?

  • Expectorants are used in the treatment of wet coughs due to cold or infection.

How does an expectorant work?

  • During a cold or respiratory infection, the airways in the lungs become infected and produce excess phlegm. This causes blockages in the lungs and throat, leading to congestion, shortness of breath and a wet cough.
  • An expectorant thins and loosens phlegm, breaking up the congestion and clearing the phlegm from the airways. 
  • This makes it easier to expel phlegm via coughing. 

Recommended Buckley’s Products

Many Buckley’s products contain expectorants, along with additional ingredients to treat the other symptoms of cough, cold, flu and infection. If you’re sick of your wet cough, congested chest and sticky phlegm, these Buckley’s products will give you the relief you seek.

Buckley's Complete + Mucus

Box of Buckley's Complete + Mucus
  • Cough
  • Mucus & Phlegm
  • Sore Throat Pain
  • Headache
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Fever & Chills
  • Sinus Congestion
  • Body Aches & Pain

Buckley's Cough, Mucus & Phlegm

Buckley's Cough Mucus & Phlegm
  • Cough
  • Mucus and Phlegm

Buckley's Cough, Chest Congestion

Box of Buckley's Cough Chest Congestion
  • Cough
  • Mucus and Phlegm

Buckley's Complete + Mucus Liquid Gels – Day/Night

Box of  Buckley's Complete + Mucus Liquid Gels – Day/Night
  • Dry Cough
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Runny Nose

See a Doctor

Over the counter cough medicine can be dangerous to certain conditions or age groups. Your symptoms may also be the results of a more serious condition. Speak to your doctor if:

  • You have a fever
  • You have a cough that lasts for more than a few weeks
  • You wheeze when you cough or breathe. This could signify the need for a prescription medication
  • Your cough keeps coming back