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The Truth About Guaifenesin Supplements

Guaifenesin is a natural expectorant, meaning it primarily helps thin mucus in the body. A product of the guaiacum tree, it was first used medicinally by Caribbean natives. European settlers adopted it in the 1500s and ever since, it has been a staple of Western holistic medicine. You can readily buy guaifenesin in pill or syrup form.


Cold & Flu Treatment

shutterstock_320127119 Guaifenesin constricts the blood vessels, and thins any mucus in the lungs and sinuses. That makes it easier to breathe and cough up any pesky mucus. This differs from synthetic cough treatments like codeine, which simply affect the part of the brain that controls coughing. The way guaifenesin works is preferable because it allows the coughing mechanism to do what it should – clear the body of irritants. Guaifenesin is also not a narcotic like codeine, greatly reducing the likelihood of abuse or dependency.

Fertility Treatment

shutterstock_147978782 Cervical mucus plays an important role in helping sperm travel to an egg. But when that mucus becomes too thick, the sperm has a hard time getting around. That's where natural guaifenesin supplements come in. The compound thins cervical mucus in a manner similar to the way the compound thins virus-related mucus. As such, many women trying to conceive take oral guaifenesin supplements. It can help men as well! In one study, a man with low sperm count and mobility was given 600 mg of guaifenesin twice daily. Two months later, researchers noted a significant improvement in his fertility.


Unless you're told otherwise by your doctor, guaifenesin is not a suitable treatment for long-term coughing problems caused by habits like smoking. Guaifenesin can be purchased without a prescription, but that doesn't mean you should keep your doctor out of the loop on your supplement usage. Your doctor will be able to give you tips on dosage and inform you of any potential interactions with your existing medications.

Side Effects

Side effects when taking guaifenesin are very rare and mild. They typically only occur as the body adjusts to the supplement. They can include:
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Hives
  • Stomach pain
  • Skin rash

Looking for a guaifenesin supplement? Here's a good place to start.

You'll want to find a supplement in which guaifenesin is the only active ingredient – especially if you're a woman planing on taking it to increase fertility. Some products contain decongestants, which will cause your cervical mucus to dry up, making it difficult for sperm to thrive.

Do you take guaifenesin? What has your experience with it been? Let us know in the comments!

Sources: International Journal of General Medicine WebMD