Definition of demulcent in US English:



  • (of a substance) relieving inflammation or irritation.

    • ‘The mucilages are a very useful group of substances, being in most cases both demulcent and nutritive.’
    • ‘The second type of laxative is a lubricating bulk laxative, including demulcent herbs such as psyllium and flax seed.’
    • ‘The seeds are valued medicinally for their diuretic, demulcent and stomachic properties.’
    • ‘It is an important demulcent laxative, especially when combined with other laxative herbs.’
    • ‘Bronchitis' best herbs are pectorals that combine expectorant action to clear the sputum with demulcent properties to soothe the inflamed tissue, therefore, Aniseed, Angelica root, Comfrey root and Hyssop are recommended.’
    soothing, alleviating, sedative, calmative, calming
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  • A substance that relieves irritation of the mucous membranes in the mouth by forming a protective film.

    • ‘Syrup alone may act as a demulcent and provide antitussive action without side effects.’
    • ‘Simple cough mixtures contain ingredients known as demulcents, for example glycerin, honey and syrup.’
    • ‘For example, comfrey is considered a safe herb and is used as a demulcent.’
    • ‘Many pastilles contain demulcents (relieves irritation) for example glycerine or honey, which can safely be taken by most people to stop their throat from feeling dry.’
    • ‘Both marshmallow root and slippery elm act as demulcents, which coat the lining of the esophagus and protect it from irritation.’


Mid 18th century: from Latin demulcent- ‘stroking caressingly’, from the verb demulcere, from de- ‘away’ + mulcere ‘soothe’.