Honey is often only thought of as a soothing additive to a steamy mug of tea. With its comforting consistency, honey is perfect for a dreary day; however, researchers question if the benefits of honey go farther than just being psychological. Rather than just providing us with a soothing sensation, some researchers believe that honey can actually help to alleviate a cough. The next time a cough creeps up on us, should we still buy an over-the-counter cough suppressant, or will honey provide just as much relief? Let’s find out what the researchers are saying.
Honey, a food made by bees using the nectar of flowers, comes in many different varieties. With an abundance of choices at the grocery store, it is important to keep in mind the different qualities each brand contains. Depending on the brand, all honey may not produce the same effects; however, when it comes to easing a cough, it is likely all honey will yield the same results.
According to a medical information website, Mayo Clinic, a study was conducted on “children age 2 and older with upper respiratory tract infections [who] were given up to 2 teaspoons of honey at bedtime.” The study was done in order to determine whether honey could work better than cough syrup when relieving a cough; however, the type of honey used in the study is not specified. The study concluded that “honey appeared to be as effective as a common cough suppressant ingredient, dextromethorphan, in typical over-the-counter doses,” Mayo Clinic states.
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A 2007 study published in The Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, was conducted in order to determine whether honey was a more effective method in terms of relieving a cough when compared to a honey-flavored dextromethorphan (DM). A medical data website, Pub Med, explains that children who demonstrated symptoms of an upper respiratory infection were given either “a single dose of buckwheat honey, honey-flavored DM, or no treatment administered 30 minutes prior to bedtime.” When comparing results, the study concluded that “in a comparison of honey, DM, and no treatment, parents [of those who suffered from a cough] rated honey most favorably for symptomatic relief,” Pub Med explains. Although the results between honey and DM varied only slightly, the study did determine that honey can be used as an effective alternative to cough syrup. Not to mention, it tastes great!
Verdict: Truth. Honey will work to suppress a cough just as well as cough syrup. It isn’t surprising that honey’s ability to alleviate a cough has to do with its soothing consistency. According to Parenting, “the thick syrup coats and soothes the back of the throat, while the sweet taste causes salivation, which thins mucus and reduces the urge to cough.” It is suggested to take “2 teaspoons of eucalyptus honey, citrus honey [or] labiatae honey […] 30 minutes before bed,” Parenting states. Next time a cough is keeping you up at night, skip spending money on cough syrup—try honey instead as a comforting alternative to alleviate your cough! Another good bet? Making a nice concoction of tea with ginger, lemon and (of course) honey!
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What do you think of the honey cough suppressant remedy?