Honey is the Best Cold Cure

Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash

Honey is the Best Cold Cure

Scientists have confirmed that the old family remedy for coughs and colds, a spoonful of honey, really does work.

In fact, researchers at Oxford University say that honey is a better cure for upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) than antibiotics and over the counter medicines.

Their findings come from a review of 14 previous studies which examined the effectiveness of honey against URTIs compared to the widely accepted treatments from doctors and chemists.

The results, reported in the British Medical Journal, showed that honey was more effective at treating symptoms especially the frequency and severity of coughing. Sufferers treated with honey had symptoms for up to two days less than those who were not.

The Oxford team say that doctors should recommend honey as an alternative to antibiotics for the treatment of URTIs which as well as the common cold include sinusitis and laryngitis. These conditions are the most frequent reason for doctors to prescribe antibiotics.

The researchers said “Honey was superior to usual care for the improvement of symptoms of UTRIs. It provides a widely available alternative to antibiotics”

In 2018 a directive to doctors from Public Health England officially advised doctors to turn to honey as a cough treatment because of the evidence that existed on its effectiveness. The guidance applied to adults and children over 5. It is advised not to give honey to children under a year old because it can sometimes contain a bacterium which is harmful to them.

Honey has been used medicinally since ancient times because of its antimicrobial properties which may be linked to the hydrogen peroxide it contains. Different honeys have varying properties. Manuka honey, made by bees in New Zealand from the flowers of the manuka bush, has strong links to wound healing and the support of digestive health.