Cure a Cough with Honey?
The old remedy of a spoonful of honey may indeed help young children with a cough.
Dr. Herman Avner Cohen of Tel Aviv University and his fellow researchers randomly assigned 300 children ages 1-5 to have 10 grams of one of three types of honey or a cough syrup made from dates that was sweet but honey-free a half an hour before bedtime.
Parents then reported on their children’s cough symptoms and on how well both they and their kids slept during the night after taking a spoonful of honey or date extract, compared with how well they had slept the night before. Researchers found that cough frequency and severity and sleep problems improved in all groups the night after the sweet treatment was given, but to a larger extent in kids who had honey.
Honey contains antioxidants, including vitamin C and flavonoids, which may inhibit coughing. Sweet liquids also increase salivation, which can thin mucus and lubricate the upper airway, reducing the need to cough.
The American Academy of Pediatrics states that children younger than 1 year old should not eat honey due to the rare possibility of botulism spores. Learn more at pediatrics.aappublications.org by searching “honey.”