An expectorant is a medication that helps to expel mucus from the respiratory system by liquefying and loosening it up. It is used to treat coughs associated with respiratory infections, bronchitis, and other respiratory conditions.
The active ingredients in expectorants typically include guaifenesin, ammonium chloride, and ipecacuanha. Guaifenesin is the most commonly used expectorant and helps to break down mucous particles, allowing them to be coughed up more easily. Ammonium chloride works by thinning the mucous in the airways, and ipecacuanha stimulates the respiratory system, encouraging the cough reflex.
Expectorants can be taken orally in the form of tablets, syrup, or liquid. They usually take effect within 30 minutes to an hour after consumption and can last up to four to six hours. They are generally safe to use, but may cause side effects such as nausea, dizziness, and headaches.
It is important to note that expectorants are not meant to treat a cough caused by asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If you have any respiratory conditions, it is best to consult your doctor before taking an expectorant or any other medication.