Does zarbee’s cough syrup and mucus help with congestion?

Quick Answer

Zarbee’s cough syrup and mucus products can provide temporary relief for congestion and cough caused by colds, allergies, and other respiratory illnesses. The active ingredients like honey and ivy leaf extract have demulcent properties that can coat and soothe irritated mucosal membranes. The cough syrups also contain cough suppressants like dextromethorphan that can reduce cough reflex. However, zarbee’s products only treat the symptoms and do not cure the underlying cause. For chronic or severe congestion, see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

What is Zarbee’s?

Zarbee’s is a brand of over-the-counter cough and cold medications marketed for children and adults. Their products contain naturally derived ingredients like dark honey, ivy leaf extract, and vitamin C. The complete ingredient list is available on the packaging and website.

Some of their popular products for congestion relief include:

  • Children’s Cough Syrup + Mucus
  • Children’s Nighttime Cough Syrup + Mucus
  • Adult Nighttime Cough Syrup + Mucus
  • Children’s Allergy Syrup + Mucus

The “+Mucus” formulations contain guaifenesin as an expectorant to help loosen mucus.

How does it work?

Zarbee’s cough and mucus relieving products work in several ways:

1. Soothes irritated membranes

Ingredients like honey and ivy leaf extract coat the throat and nasal passages. This creates a protective demulcent barrier against irritation. The soothing effect can provide temporary relief from cough and postnasal drip.

2. Thins mucus

Guaifenesin is an oral expectorant that helps thin out thick mucus secretions. This makes coughs more productive in expelling phlegm and mucus.

3. Suppresses cough reflex

Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant that can temporarily reduce coughing. It works on the brain to raise the threshold for cough response.

4. Helps clear nasal congestion

Phenylephrine is a decongestant added to some zarbee’s products. It constricts blood vessels in the nasal passages, shrinking swollen membranes and opening the airway. This provides temporary relief from nasal congestion.

Is it effective for congestion?

Studies show the active ingredients in zarbee’s cough and mucus products can be moderately effective for temporary congestion relief:

Dark honey

– Has antioxidant, antimicrobial, and demulcent properties that can soothe sore throats.[1]
– Honey coats membranes and protects against irritants. It may reduce cough frequency and severity.[2]

Ivy leaf extract

– Contains saponins that help thin mucus secretions and stimulate coughs to clear mucus.[3]
– Ivy extract improved cough symptoms in studies with bronchitis patients.[4]


– Helps make coughs more productive by liquefying thick mucus.[5]
– Improved mucus clearance from airways in a study on stable COPD patients.[6]


– An analysis of multiple studies found dextromethorphan reduced cough frequency.[7]
– However, some studies show minimal difference from placebo at suppressing cough from colds.[8]


– Can provide temporary relief from nasal congestion by constricting swollen blood vessels.[9]
– Starts working within 15-30 minutes, but repeated doses can cause rebound congestion.[10]

Overall, zarbee’s can temporarily relieve congestion symptoms but does not treat the underlying condition. It may not be as effective for all patients compared to proper medical treatment prescribed by a doctor.

Zarbee’s Cough Syrup + Mucus Ingredients

Here are the active ingredients in zarbee’s cough syrups with added mucus relief:

Ingredient Purpose
Honey Demulcent that soothes sore throat
Ivy leaf extract Oral expectorant helps thin mucus
Guaifenesin Oral expectorant helps thin mucus
Dextromethorphan HBr Cough suppressant
Phenylephrine HCl Nasal decongestant

Other ingredients like xanthan gum, potassium sorbate, and purified water are used for flavor, consistency, and shelf stability.

Benefits of zarbee’s cough and mucus products

Some benefits of using zarbee’s cough syrups for congestion include:

  • Made with naturally derived ingredients
  • Provides temporary relief for children and adults
  • Helps thin out thick mucus secretions
  • Contains cough suppressants and expectorants
  • Drug-free pain and fever relief options
  • Available without a prescription
  • Various flavors like cherry, grape, and mixed berry

The products are designed to be gentle for use in both children (ages 1+) and adults. They do not contain alcohol, dyes, or unnecessary artificial flavors.

Risks and warnings

While generally safe when used as directed, zarbee’s cough and mucus products do have some risks and warnings:

  • The medications only provide temporary symptom relief
  • Do not take with other cough and cold products to avoid overdose
  • May cause drowsiness or dizziness
  • Should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Consult a doctor before use if you have glaucoma, heart, liver or kidney disease
  • Stop use if nervousness, insomnia, or sleeplessness occur
  • Do not use if you are taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI)

Always follow the dosage instructions based on age and weight. Discontinue use if side effects develop. Seek medical treatment for any severe or persistent symptoms.

Is it safe for kids?

The Children’s Zarbee’s cough syrup + mucus products are specially formulated to be safe for kids ages 2-12 when used as directed. The dosage is adjusted based on age and weight.

Key safety features include:

  • Does not contain alcohol, benzocaine, or unnecessary dyes
  • Uses child-friendly flavors like cherry, grape, and mixed berry
  • Measuring cup with markings helps give proper dose
  • Warnings against use in children under age 1

However, children should be closely monitored for possible side effects like excitability or drowsiness. Do not exceed recommended doses. Consult a pediatrician for guidance on treating coughs and congestion in young kids.

When to avoid zarbee’s products

You should avoid taking zarbee’s cough and mucus products if:

  • You have an allergy or sensitivity to any ingredients
  • You have liver or kidney disease
  • You have glaucoma
  • You have chronic cough such as smoker’s cough or cough associated with asthma, emphysema, or COPD
  • You are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) antidepressants
  • You are taking other cough/cold medications or sedatives that can cause oversedation
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding (unless approved by doctor)

Children under age 1 should not take zarbee’s products. Discontinue use if nervousness, dizziness, or sleeplessness occur. Seek medical advice to identify the underlying cause of chronic coughs.

Alternative congestion remedies

Some alternative remedies to help relieve congestion include:

  • Steam inhalation – Inhaling warm, moist air can soothe nasal passages and loosen mucus.
  • Neti pot/nasal irrigation – Rinsing sinuses with saline solution removes allergens and thins mucus.
  • Hydration – Drinking plenty of fluids keeps mucus secretions thin.
  • Peppermint essential oil – Menthol has a decongestant effect. Add to steam, salve, or bath.
  • Eucalyptus essential oil – Has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to open airways.
  • Chicken soup – Hot broth helps thin mucus and supply hydration and nutrients.
  • Ginger tea – May help reduce inflammation and loosen phlegm.

Proper rest, hydration, and nutrition support the body’s natural ability to recover. See a doctor if congestion persists for more than 10 days or worsens.


Zarbee’s cough syrups and mucus relief products can temporarily alleviate congestion, coughs, and stuffy noses from colds, allergies, and upper respiratory infections. Ingredients like honey, ivy leaf extract, guaifenesin, and phenylephrine work together to coat irritated membranes, thin mucus secretions, suppress coughs, and decongest nasal passages. While generally safe and effective when used as directed in children and adults, zarbee’s medications only treat the symptoms, not the underlying illness. Chronic or worsening congestion requires proper medical diagnosis and treatment prescribed by a doctor. For mild congestion, zarbee’s products provide accessible over-the-counter relief using natural ingredients. However, other remedies like steam inhalation, proper hydration and rest may also help manage symptoms.

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