Fisherman's Friend were originally developed by a young pharmacist called James Lofthouse in 1865 to relieve various respiratory problems suffered by fishermen working in the extreme conditions of the Icelandic deep-sea fishing grounds. Originally developed as an extremely strong liquid remedy containing menthol and eucalyptus oil, Lofthouse made this liquid into small lozenges which were easier to transport and to administer. According to the manufacturer, the fishermen soon began to refer to the lozenges as their "friends", hence the name. The lozenges exist in their current form relatively unchanged since their creation. The lozenges still come in their famous paper packets, although these are now foil-lined.
Fisherman's Friend are now available in over a hundred countries, in a variety of flavours, some of which are only available in certain countries. Lofthouse do provide a mail order service allowing UK residents to obtain some of the more exotic or difficult to find flavours. Some flavours are sugar-free, for which the bags are striped:
- Original Extra Strong
- Super Strong Mint
- Sugar-free (using sorbitol)