Here’s Why So Many Medicines Are Cherry-Flavored

Everyone has similar memories of being sick as a child. Whether you were coughing, sneezing, or suffering from a fever, the solution was usually the same: artificially flavored medicine. Even if your parents reassured you that the cough syrup or antibiotic would taste “just like candy,” you knew that wasn’t the case. Cherry flavoring — which tastes nothing like the sweet, delicious fruit — is usually a drug’s masking flavor of choice. One reason so many medicines are cherry-flavored is simply because of the power of association. Before the invention of synthetic drugs, medical professionals turned to bold flavors like cherry to mask the taste of bitter herbal medicine. According to Pfizer, up to 50% of people struggle to swallow medication, and the unappetizing flavor is a contributing factor. Cherry isn’t the only flavor drug companies turn to. Grape is another popular option, and it’s likely you’ll see orange and other citrus flavors on store shelves as well.