Every morning when my children have a cough or runny nose I always give them a spoonful of honey. The two types of honey I purchase are local honey from a farmer's market or honey from the store harvested near me. The best honey to buy is local from a farmer's market. There are many uses for honey. Some people use it as a sweetener for baking or tea. (I prefer my green tea with honey) Some people, like me, use it as a "cough syrup" and/or an allergy "medicine." However, did you know that you can also use it as a topical ointment to aid in wound care, healing, and antibacterial? It is amazing all that you can do with honey to make your life a little sweeter or to heal the inside and outside of your body.
Normally for a cough parents will purchase over-the-counter cough medicine. However, these medications can cause some pretty serious side effects. One of the most common ingredients in over-the-counter cough medicine is Dextromethorphan. The national library of medicine lists the possible side effects like nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, unsteadiness, change in vision, difficulty breathing, fast heartbeat, hallucinating, seizures, and coma. (1) These are a lot of side effects for something that may not even work. A study was done with 100 children all with upper respiratory infections and in that group, it found that the over-the-counter cough medicine did not show any significant difference from the placebo. (2)
So what helps a cough? Honey. If you have a child above one-year-old, then honey is a safe and effective treatment for a cough. A study was done with 139 children 24 to 60 months old set out to find the most effective cough treatment. The children were separated into 4 groups. The first group was given honey, the second and third were given types of cough medicine and the fourth was a control. 24 hours after treatment the children were reevaluated for their symptoms and the results showed that honey was the most effective treatment among the 4 groups. (3)
Honey is not only good for upper respiratory infections but it may also be a good treatment for allergies. In a study, 40 patients were divided up and given honey, allergy medicine, or a placebo. At week 4 both the allergy medicine and the honey group showed improvement in their symptoms. However, at week 8 only the honey group showed improvement in their symptoms. (4)
Honey has been shown that it may have positive effects on cough and allergies, but did you know it also has topical use? A study done in vitro shows that honey may even help speed up the wound healing process. (5) There is even a topical cream called Medihoney which is sold in Europe and Australia. It is a cream made from a honey indigenous to New Zealand and used for burns and wounds.
Honey is an amazing, and safe treatment for coughing, allergies, wounds, and burns. Compared to over-the-counter medication for children it has shown to be just as effective if not more and has way less dangerous side effects. It works well in our family and my kids actually enjoy eating it as well!