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What is a Pastille?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2016
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A pastille is a lozenge which is designed to be chewed or dissolved on the tongue. Historically, pastilles were used to deliver medicines and remedies and some companies still produce pastilles for this purpose today. Many people are more familiar with the pastille in the form of a candy, however, pastilles are often sold in the candy section whether or not they are designed for medicinal purposes.

The origins of the pastille appear to lie in pellets of herbs which were designed to be burned like incense. People believed that burning herbs conferred health benefits and would use pastilles of various formulations to address medical issues. Over time, people began taking them orally as tablets, and eventually the modern pastille was born. The pastille may also be known as a troche.

Pastilles are made by creating a thick, syrupy solution of the desired ingredients and then pouring it into a mold which has been coated to resist sticking. Once the solution dries and hardens, the pastilles can be unmolded and packaged for sale. Commonly the mold has a stamp or mark which will leave an impression on the finished product. Producers may mark their pastilles with logos or icons or symbols which are designed to provide directions for their use. Commonly the finished products are slightly dusty as a result of the product used to coat the mold to prevent the pastilles from sticking.

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Medicinal pastilles can include a variety of herbs and other components which are believed to provide medical benefits. The pastille may be sweetened with sugar to make it more enjoyable. Pastilles sold as candy are classically sweetened and colored to make them more visually interesting and they may be flavored with fruit extracts and other ingredients. Many producers sell mixed pastilles in a variety of flavors as candy assortments.

Several companies continue in medicated lozenge production. Pastilles are available for things like coughs and sore throats to soothe irritated and inflamed throats. Practitioners of alternative medicine may also utilize other types of pastilles to treat their clients. When using a pastille to treat a medical problem, it is advisable to consult a doctor to make sure that its use is not contraindicated. For example, someone with corn allergies using medicated pastilles for a sore through might experience a reaction to cornstarch, a common ingredient in pastilles and could in fact feel worse as a result of using lozenges.

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