Recently I was contacted by Pine Bros., makers of “Softish Throat Relief” drops for 140 years! Pine Bros. had just released two new flavors (Sugar Free Wild Cherry and Vitamin C Orange) and wanted to know if I was interested in several free bags of these vegan, gluten-free drops in exchange for an honest review.
As it happened, I was already a fan, having been turned on to these drops by my vegan friend Waka Flocka Flame one morning as we were baking blueberry muffins and swapping granola bar recipes.
Ok, so that’s not exactly true. It IS true Waka Flocka is a Pine Bros. fan and spokesperson. But the rest of the truth is a bit dull. I had severe food allergies and sinus infections as a child, which left me vulnerable to sinus issues and that irritating post nasal drip. Most cough drops and sore throat lozenges have menthol, which is supposed to be soothing but always makes me cough MORE! Pine Bros. has no menthol and doesn’t taste like medicine. And the glycerin and gum acacia not only provide the legendary “throat coating action,” but also help with the dry mouth that’s often a side effect of sinus medications and nasal decongestants.
Since I was already a fan, and since Pine Bros. sent me eight bags of drops, I decided the best way to research this review was to share the drops with my friends and co-workers and get their opinion.
Vitamin C Orange
This vegan, gluten-free drop has 25% of the RDA for Vitamin C and is naturally colored with carrot extract. The flavor comes from orange oil, which makes these lozenges taste extra-bright and citrusy. I love oranges, so this was immediately a favorite with me.
Multiple taste testers made some form of the comment, “Hey, this doesn’t have menthol in it! Surprised me at first but now I like that!”
The orange flavor was, in general, a hit. Several people commented they were glad for another flavor in throat drops – “Everything seems to be cherry or lemon lime.” One person thought the orange flavor was too strong, but then again two others especially liked the “bold orange taste.”
I couldn’t find a tester with a sore throat or cough (my friends tend to be disgustingly healthy), but consensus was they believed the drops would be soothing.
Sugar Free Wild Cherry
This cough drop/sore throat lozenge is also vegan and gluten-free, as well as sugar free (Sucralose is the sweetener used.) It also has natural flavoring and gets it cherry color from elderberry extract, not artificial dyes.
The Sugar Free Wild Cherry was a huge hit with everyone, perhaps because of the familiar wild cherry flavor. This time, more people commented on the unique “softish” texture – a little firmer than gummies, a little softer than jujubes. (Maybe I’m coming up with candy comparisons because it is sooo easy to eat these lozenges like candy. And since these drops don’t actually have medicine, just glycerin and gum acacia, you can do just that. With other cough and sore throat drops, you risk stomach upset and elevated heart rate if you exceed the dosage.)
While I was testing these Sugar Free Wild Cherry drops, my friend Jules came to work looking and sounding like she’d been up all night, drinking whiskey and smoking cigars. Since I know she neither drinks nor smokes, I correctly deduced she had one heck of a sore throat. I offered her a softish throat drop. She came back for another. When she came back for a third, I gave her the bag. Her review? “They are very, very soothing. They taste great. And they’re sugar free – important because I’m diabetic!”
Verdict: Both new flavors are winners. I highly recommend Pine Bros. if you are looking for a safe, natural, and effective way to treat a sore throat or dry mouth. And although Pine Bros. is emphatic this is a throat drop and not a cough drop, I personally find the drops very effective in treating that scratchy, dry cough that comes from postnasal drip and sinus drainage.
You can find Pine Bros. at most major supermarkets (Harris Teeter, Wal-Mart) and drugstore chains (CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens). You can also buy them online from the Pine Bros. website or from Amazon. In addition to these two new flavors, they also make Original Wild Cherry, Licorice, Lemon-Lime, and Natural Honey. (The Natural Honey flavor is not vegan, because of the natural honey.)