The Miraculous Healing Powers of Honey
Honey Treats Coughs Better Than Drugs
There may be hope for parents looking for alternatives to drug-laden cough syrup to calm their children’s coughs — and help might be as close as that golden nectar in the kitchen. Honey can soothe throats and calm coughs, according to a new study.
The study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, found that children who received a small dose of buckwheat honey before bedtime slept better and coughed less than those who received either a common over-the-counter cough suppressant or nothing at all.
- The researchers enrolled 105 children, between ages 2 and 18, in their randomized, partially double-blind study. On the first night of the study, the children received no treatment. Parents then answered questions about their children’s sleep and cough, as well as the quality of their own sleep. The second night, the children were given either honey-flavored cough syrup or honey — or nothing at all. Parents then reanswered the questions in the survey. Parents whose children received the honey rated their kids’ sleep and symptoms as better — and their own sleep as improved as well.
- “Darker honeys have more antioxidants than lighter honeys, and we wanted the best chance to see improvements,” he says, noting that lighter honeys would probably also benefit kids. “At least locally [buckwheat honey] is available. I can get it here at the local supermarket” says lead study author Dr. Ian Paul, a researcher at Penn State College of Medicine.
- Some of the kids who took honey did experience side effects, according to the study. The parents reported slightly more hyperactivity when their kids took honey, compared with when they took cough syrup.
- But it’s also interesting to note that this is not the first time the sweet stuff has been looked to as a remedy. Honey has been used since the time of the ancient Greeks and Egyptians to treat everything from wounds to insect bites. This usefulness can perhaps be attributed to the idea that an enzyme that bees add to the nectar produces hydrogen peroxide, an antibacterial agent.
- “I believe that recommending honey as a cough medicine has merits. It provides a safe option to using chemical based options,” says Paul Doering, co-director of the Drug Information and Pharmacy Resource Center at the University of Florida., adding that honey is part of a trend of recommending more commonplace traditional remedies for ailments.