Does zarbee’s cough and mucus help?

Zarbee’s Naturals Cough Syrup with Dark Honey and Mucus Relief is a popular over-the-counter cough medicine that claims to help thin and loosen mucus, coat and soothe sore throats, and suppress coughs. But does it actually work? Here we’ll take an in-depth look at zarbee’s cough syrup to see if it lives up to its claims.

What is Zarbee’s Cough Syrup?

Zarbee’s Naturals Cough Syrup is made by Zarbee’s, Inc., a company that specializes in natural healthcare products for children and adults. Their cough syrup contains the following active ingredients:

  • Dark honey – Honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It coats and soothes sore throats and suppresses coughs.
  • Agave nectar – A natural sweetener that gives the syrup a pleasant taste.
  • Vitamin C – An essential nutrient with antioxidant properties that supports immune health.
  • Zinc gluconate – Zinc supports immune function and is claimed to shorten the duration of colds.
  • Natural flavors – For taste.

In addition to these active ingredients, the syrup contains inactive ingredients like purified water, vegetable glycerin, and citric acid. It has a dark color and viscous, syrupy texture thanks to the honey.

According to the manufacturers, what makes Zarbee’s Cough Syrup unique is that it contains only natural ingredients and is free of drugs, alcohol, dyes, and artificial flavors. It is marketed as a safer, non-drowsy alternative to conventional cough medicines.

What Does Zarbee’s Claim Their Cough Syrup Does?

Based on the ingredients list and product labeling, Zarbee’s makes the following claims about their cough syrup:

  • Thins and loosens mucus – The honey acts as an expectorant, helping to thin out mucus secretions and make coughs more productive.
  • Soothes sore throats – The viscous honey coats and soothes irritated throat tissues.
  • Suppresses coughs – Honey has demulcent properties that coat nerve endings to suppress cough reflexes.
  • Supports immune health – The vitamin C and zinc support proper immune function to help fight infections.
  • Non-drowsy formula – Free of sedating antihistamines that can cause drowsiness.
  • Safe and natural – Made with only natural ingredients, free of artificial additives.

Essentially, Zarbee’s states their cough syrup can both suppress coughs and help loosen mucus – two main goals of cough treatment. And it supposedly achieves this without causing side effects like drowsiness.

What Does the Research Say About the Ingredients?

But are the ingredients clinically proven to work? Let’s take a look at what the scientific research says:

Dark Honey

Multiple studies have found honey, especially dark honey, to be an effective cough suppressant and expectorant:

  • A 2007 study found honey was superior to diphenhydramine (an antihistamine) for cough suppression and improving sleep quality in children with nighttime cough and cold symptoms.1
  • A 2018 meta-analysis looking at 6 studies found honey significantly improved cough frequency and severity compared to no treatment, and worked better than common OTC cough medicines.2
  • The viscosity of honey is believed to coat and soothe irritated throat tissues, while honey’s antimicrobial properties may help fight infection.

Overall, research strongly supports dark honey as an effective cough medicine ingredient.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most common immune supportive nutrients added to cough products. But does it actually help?

  • One 2013 analysis found vitamin C (200mg/day) reduced cold duration by 8% in adults and 14% in children.3
  • A 2018 review found vitamin C shortened colds by 1-1.5 days when taken regularly at doses of 200mg or more daily.4
  • Vitamin C is believed to support immune cell function and protect against oxidative damage.

Research suggests vitamin C may provide a moderate benefit for preventing and shortening colds when taken regularly in adequate doses.


Like vitamin C, zinc is often added to cold and cough products for its immune supporting effects. But what does the science say?

  • A meta-analysis found zinc lozenges shortened the duration of colds by 33% when taken within 24 hours of symptom onset.
  • Studies show zinc supplements can reduce cold duration and severity in children and adults.
  • Zinc is believed to interfere with viral replication inside host cells.

Evidence indicates zinc, especially in lozenge form, can be an effective supplement for shortening colds and coughs if started soon after getting sick.

Other Ingredients

There is limited evidence on some of the other ingredients in Zarbee’s cough syrup:

  • Agave nectar – No studies support agave nectar for coughs or colds. It likely just acts as a natural sweetener.
  • Natural flavors – May improve palatability but no impact on efficacy.
  • Purified water – No therapeutic effect other than creating the syrup base.
  • Vegetable glycerin – Helps form the viscous syrup texture but no direct cough/cold benefits.

Overall, dark honey and to a lesser extent zinc and vitamin C seem to be the key active ingredients in Zarbee’s cough syrup based on scientific evidence.

What Do Zarbee’s Cough Syrup Reviews Say?

In addition to clinical studies, it’s helpful to look at real-world reviews from people who have tried Zarbee’s cough syrup. Here’s a summary of common feedback:

Positive Reviews

  • Helps suppress nighttime coughs for better sleep.
  • Has a pleasant, honey-like taste kids enjoy.
  • Non-drowsy formula doesn’t cause side effects.
  • Safe for children as young as 12 months.
  • Loosens congestion and mucus buildup.
  • Soothes sore throat pain.

Many positive reviews focus on Zarbee’s cough syrup being effective while also having a good taste and no side effects. Parents often mention it works well for calming nighttime coughs in children.

Negative Reviews

  • Expensive compared to regular cough medicine.
  • Didn’t seem to help suppress coughs.
  • Caused mild stomach upset in some cases.
  • The honey taste is too strong.
  • Did not completely get rid of cough/congestion.

The most common complaints are that Zarbee’s cough syrup is not as effective as expected based on the claims and high price. Some also did not like the thick honey taste and consistency.

Key Takeaways From Reviews

Key takeaways from customer reviews of Zarbee’s cough syrup include:

  • Works well for some, especially as a non-drowsy nighttime cough syrup for kids.
  • Honey flavor and thickness are a pro for some but a con for others.
  • Not a miracle cure – takes multiple doses to start seeing effects.
  • Results are mixed – works great for some but disappoints others.
  • A bit expensive compared to regular OTC cough medicine.

Overall, reviews indicate Zarbee’s cough syrup works for some people but may not live up to all of its claims for others. The honey flavor profile and lack of side effects are pros when it does work.

Does Zarbee’s Cough Syrup Have Any Side Effects?

According to the manufacturer, Zarbee’s cough syrup doesn’t cause drowsiness or other adverse side effects. However, potential side effects and precautions can include:

  • Allergies – Zarbee’s contains honey so is not suitable for those with honey/bee allergies.
  • Cough suppression – Suppressing coughs too much can lead to buildup of mucus.
  • Digestive symptoms – Honey is difficult for some to digest and can cause nausea.
  • Dosing errors – Like any medicine, accidental overdosing can occur.
  • Drug interactions – Honey can theoretically interact with certain antibiotics.
  • Infants under 1 year – Not recommended for babies under 12 months.

While generally considered very safe, Zarbee’s cough syrup does still require care and medical supervision like any OTC medication. It likely has fewer and milder side effects than conventional anticholinergic cough suppressants however.

Professional Recommendations

What do pharmacists, doctors, and healthcare providers say about Zarbee’s cough syrup? Here are some key professional recommendations:

  • May be used for children ages 1-12 but consult pediatrician first.
  • Follow all dosing instructions carefully based on age.
  • Discontinue if symptoms persist or worsen after 7 days.
  • Not a substitute for medical evaluation of chronic coughs.
  • Avoid use in infants under 12 months due to botulism risk.
  • Inform providers of any other medications/supplements child is taking.
  • Monitor child after dosing for potential allergic reactions.

Overall, most healthcare providers consider Zarbee’s a relatively safe option for short-term cough relief in older kids but recommend medical supervision and not using it as a cure-all.


Based on a review of the scientific evidence, product claims, consumer reviews, potential side effects, and professional guidance, here are some key conclusions on Zarbee’s cough syrup:

  • The key active ingredient – honey – is strongly supported for coughs and colds.
  • Other ingredients like vitamin C and zinc have some clinical backing but benefits are modest.
  • Reviews are mixed – works well for some consumers but is disappointing for others.
  • Unlikely to cause major side effects but some precautions still needed.
  • Healthcare providers recommend care in using for young children and close medical monitoring.
  • May provide symptom relief but is not a substitute for medical treatment if cough persists.

In summary, Zarbee’s cough syrup contains ingredients like honey that are scientifically shown to help coughs and soothe sore throats. However, it may not fully live up to all its claims for every consumer.

It appears to be a relatively safe supplemental option for cough and cold relief in children over 1 year and adults when used carefully under medical supervision. But persistence of symptoms merits medical reevaluation.

Zarbee’s is not a miracle cure and some find it disappoints. But it may provide symptomatic relief and help manage nighttime coughs for many based on a balance of existing evidence.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does Zarbee’s cough syrup take to work?

Zarbee’s cough syrup typically starts working within 30-60 minutes but can take a couple hours to fully kick in. Maximum relief is usually felt after 2-3 doses taken 4-6 hours apart. It should start soothing sore throats and quieting coughs within the first day of use.

Is Zarbee’s cough syrup FDA approved?

No, Zarbee’s cough syrup is not approved by the FDA. As an OTC supplement containing natural ingredients, it does not undergo FDA review or approval. However, Zarbee’s adheres to FDA manufacturing and labeling guidelines for supplements.

Can Zarbee’s cough syrup be taken with other medications?

Zarbee’s claims there are no known medication interactions with their cough syrup. However, it’s recommended to consult your pharmacist or doctor before taking Zarbee’s with prescribed medications, especially antibiotics like amoxicillin that interact with some forms of honey.

How much zinc and vitamin C are in Zarbee’s cough syrup?

Each 5mL dose of Zarbee’s cough syrup contains 10mg zinc (as zinc gluconate) and 60mg vitamin C. This provides 100% DV vitamin C and 67% DV zinc.

Can Zarbee’s cough syrup be given to babies under 1 year old?

No, Zarbee’s cough syrup is not considered safe for children under 12 months due to risks of infant botulism from honey. It can be used for ages 1-12 but consult a pediatrician first.

How much sugar is in Zarbee’s cough syrup?

Zarbee’s cough syrup contains 5 grams of sugar per 5mL serving. The sugar comes from natural sources like honey and agave nectar rather than high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners.

How often can you take Zarbee’s cough syrup?

For children ages 1-5, the maximum recommended dose is 5mL every 4 hours. For children 6-12, 10mL can be taken every 4 hours. Adults can take 10mL every 4 hours as needed. No more than 4 doses (40mL) should be taken in 24 hours.

The Bottom Line

Zarbee’s Naturals Cough Syrup with Dark Honey seems to help soothe coughs and sore throats for many based on its unique ingredients like vitamin C, zinc, and especially honey. However, it may not work as well as expected for others.

Requiring proper dosing and medical supervision, Zarbee’s is likely not a standalone cure but can provide temporary relief as part of an overall cough treatment plan. While not a miracle remedy, it appears a reasonably safe option for ages 1 and up when directions are followed.

Those seeking lasting cough relief should see their doctor if symptoms persist beyond one week of treatment with Zarbee’s. But as an additive part of cough management, Zarbee’s dark honey cough syrup seems helpful for some children and adults.

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