NyQuil (aka Narcotics!)

Ever wondered why/how NyQuil works? What could it be that gets you sleeping like a baby for atleast 8 hrs? You all may know its alcohol, but it’s not just that.

Citric Acid : It has been proven that citric acid is effective against flu-symptoms (well, somewhat altleast) ONLY if it is sprayed into the nose. In this case it is swallowed not snorted. So it is probably in there for a tangy flavor or perhaps a base form of preservative.

Acetaminophen : Here is one of the wonders that can be derived from coal tar. It has been used for many centuries as a pain killer/fever reducer but of course without any knowledge of how it works. Now we have figured out that this drug breaks down in the body and turns into a cannabinoid. What is cannabinoid? the same type of compound that makes marijuana so irresistible! Doctors also once thought acetaminophen made users more talkative and outgoing. Not really fully proven though.

Dextromethorphan HBR ( DXM) : A cough suppressant. Actually, in the body it becomes dextrophan, a cough suppressant and levorphanol, a pain killer five times as powerful as morphine. Like ketamine and PCP, this DXM is also a receptor antagonist. The national institute of drug abuse lists it as a dissociative drug. Twelve times the recommended dose of NyQuil leads to distorted perceptions of sight and sound. More dangerously, it produces feelings of detachment, dissociation from the environment and oneself. For people whose bodies are unusually slow in metabolizing this drug, even low doses of DXM can trigger full blown “Lucy in the sky with diamonds” kinda psychedelic trips.

Doxylamine Succinate: Officially this ingredient is an antithistamine according to the label. But it is equally useful as a sleep aid providing a quick and instant Zzzzzzz.

Alchohol: We all know from whatever culture we are from, alcohol is a folk remedy that has been used for centuries as a cure for common cold, despite the fact that there is no theory that proves this and that it really doesn’t work. But according to P&G, alcohol in NyQuil is solely for the purpose of a solvent, keeping the acetaminophen, DXM and doxylamine succinate in solution.

Polyethylene Glycol and Propylene Glycol : These chemical cousins are used as thickeners. To get the consistency just right, somewhere between water and honey. No particular reason for this, but just because we are all psychologically used to having liquid medicines in syrup form.

Sodium Citrate: This is usually used as an anticoagulant. In this context, it might be used as a buffer to maintain the acid-base balance of all the other ingredients.

Flavoring : P&G doesn’t talk about this at all, but I think there is a repulsive taste of NyQuil on purpose just so that you do not take more than a tablespoon or so which could make you potentially talking with god or sitting next to god.

High Fructose Corn Syrup : I call it the instant artery clogger. Research more about this sweet, great tasting poison on the web and you know why it’s the worst possible thing on the face of this earth. The most common, popular form of sweetener used in everything these days from drugs to soda to juice to yogurt. Beware is the word.

Read more such intriguing articles in Wired Magazine


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