What is Guaifenesin? Guaifenesin is a common component of many cold and cough remedies that helps loosen and liquefy mucous. It is derived from a tree bark extract called guaiacum, and was first used in the 16th century. Twenty years ago, the extract was synthesized, pressed into tablets and named guaifenesin.
How Does Guaifenesin Work? Paul St. Amand, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor of Endocrinology at Harbor-UCLA medical center, has a theory of the medicinal effects of guaifenesin based on the premise that excess calcium and inorganic phosphate compounds accumulate within cells to produce a state of hyperpermeability in some people. This condition allows excess fluids, ions and other unwanted substances to flow into cell mitochondria, disrupting normal cell function, including production of ATP, the body’s energy source. Dr. St. Amand believes these factors cause the body to experience an energy deprived state, in which widespread bodily functions are disrupted. Guaifenesin is an expectorant with weakly uricosuric effects that has been shown to effectively release these phosphate and oxalate compounds from the body through urine.