Throat Coat: Is it a cure all?
I had a sore throat earlier this week, mostly due to late nights and catching up with old friends (I actually had 4 whole days in a row off!!) Regardless, I wasn't really complaining about it, but it did cause me to have a scratchy voice and more than one person suggested "Throat Coat", which I had never heard of. Due to the fact that a good night sleep was not in the cards for me, I decided to go check it out, and see what exactly were the magic ingredients in Throat Coat actually are.
What is Throat Coat?
It is a tea that is made from licorice root and slippery elm bark, which is viscous (thick) and touted to literally coat your throat and make all soreness and scratchiness vanish. Slippery elm bark has been long since used as a homeopathic treatment for stomach ailments and sore throats, but there has been no real science behind it; it is a demulcent, just like honey, which is a thicker liquid that can coat a membrane and soothe irritation (it can be pretty bitter). The Licorice root is added for sweetness, but beware when ingesting it over periods of time, licorice root can effect your cortisol (stress) response, thus putting strain on your kidneys, which can make you waste potassium, and increase your blood pressure, and sometimes even pee a lot. It is warned, right on the box, not to take it if you have liver or kidney problems OR any heart disease or high blood pressure, also if you take diuretics of any sort, and/or have low potassium levels normally. Also, it can interact with many medications (i.e blood pressure, MAOIs). It states on the box that it is "clinically tested" but the studies aren't available on the web site, and after an extensive literature search, I came up with nothing on this product.
Does it work?
Again, it has never been scientifically proven, but many people report feeling that their sore throats and/or scratchy throats feel better after drinking this tea BUT there are similar results from people drinking hot tea with honey and lemon or hot water with honey and lemon. So, it may just be the hot thick liquid that soothes your throats (let's keep it clean, here people- I tried writing that a million different ways and each time I knew the comments I would get!) Honey can act the same way, as it is also a demulcent, and it can help to soothe irritated membranes. So, in a word, yes, it does seem to work.
Would I use it?
No. All of my avid readers by now know that I don't use things that are not FDA approved and that have no science behind them....plus, even though I really don't take any medications, it creeps me out to know that it has so many interactions, and that it can increase your blood pressure, make you hypocalcemic (low in potassium), and cause strain on your liver/kidneys. When I have a sore throat, I stick to peppermint tea, regular black tea with honey, or (like what happened last night- finally) a good nights sleep cured me of my ailments!
And, if you do live and die by Throat Coat (which it seems to be either you drink it and are obsessed or you could care less about that "soothing earthy flavor") you should just talk to your HCP about it if you have any medical problems, especially liver/kidney problems, high blood pressure, or hyopcalcemia. I tend to think that any tea that may taste like earth (i.e. dirt) and has this many side effects, may be better off left on the shelf, and drink something that tastes good to you AND makes you feel better, that way, everyone's a winner!
**Also, just to point out that because an organic/herbal supplement says that it is "clinically tested" or that it is supported by "Doctors" does not mean that they have had independent studies performed for safety. This means that it doesn't have to be a good study, in that it can be a "study" of two people, that the company "scientists" choose to be a part of the study, and the results mean nothing. If you are ever unsure of the safety of a product, email me, ask your HCP, but please don't trust the companies marketing!
Yours in Good Health