Honey is more effective at cough suppression than many over the counter cough syrups.
Hoax or Fact:
Fact with some misinformation.
It is claimed that Honey is more effective as a cough suppressant than many other over the counter cough syrups. It is a fact with some misinformation.
Pennsylvania State University conducted a study in 2007 to examine the effect of buckwheat honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents. The study comprised of 105 children aged between 2 to 18 years suffering with upper respiratory tract infections, and tested for various outcomes along with Cough frequency. The study concluded that honey was most favorable for symptomatic relief of children's nocturnal cough and sleep difficulty due to upper respiratory tract infections. It was also observed that there was no significant differences between the use of honey and the common OTC cough suppressant dextromethorphan.
But it is also a fact that there are many OTC cough suppressants that are not much effective and also have other side effects, especially in children. Most of these are not even approved by FDA. An example of it is the long list of unapproved prescription of medicines for cough, cold and allergies listed by FDA in 2010, which you can see in the reference section below.
Honey for Cough
Although there are no major studies to conclude the effects of honey usage for cough in adults, honey is in fact used in certain cough syrup brands like Robitussin. So considering the potential of honey being an equivalent of cough suppressant, it is worth a try, as it a safer option than the OTC medicines. Coughing generally happens when the body attempts to expel mucus or irritants lying on the surface of the respiratory tract. Honey can work by coating the back of the throat and soothing the irritation, especially in case of of dry cough. But in case of coughs associated with phlegm, it should be brought up, so instead of Honey, it is advisable to use an expectorant medication that will help to loosen the phlegm and remove it. It should also be noted that chronic coughing or coughing accompanied by additional symptoms need consultation of a medical professional.
As far as the dose is concerned, depending on age, 1 to 2 teaspoons of Honey at bed time can be helpful. Adults may need more frequencies in a day. However, one must note that Honey should not be given to children younger than one year, because of the risk of botulism. Also, it must be noted that even raw honey, if consumed in large amounts, will increase your insulin and leptin levels, leading to poor health. And of course, this remedy is not for people with Diabetes. In addition of being a potential cough suppressant, Honey possesses beneficial antioxidant and antimicrobial properties - all this at a significantly less cost. So honey for cough is definitely worth a try!
Tip: As a more effective cough remedy, honey can be taken with a cup of green tea. It can also be taken in the old fashioned way, mixing 1-2 teaspoons of honey with half a fresh lemon and a mug of hot water. Sipping this when warm is also a good source of Vitamin C.
Is it true that honey calms coughs better than cough medicine does?
Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents
Honey as a Cough Suppressant
Unapproved Prescription Cough, Cold, and Allergy Products