When I was little, I remember my grandmother giving me honey mixed with a bit of lemon juice whenever I had a cough or sore throat. It always made me feel better, a fact I attributed as much to grandmotherly affection as to the remedy itself. My grandmother was a smart lady.

Researchers from Penn State College of Medicine recently completed a study proving that this sweet home remedy is more effective than over-the-counter cough syrup. The study followed 105 children who where having difficulty sleeping due to night-time coughing associated with upper respiratory infection. One group of children was given detromethorphan (DM), a common cough suppressant. Another group was given buckwheat honey and a third was left untreated.  

While the researchers found that DM was no more effective than no treatment at all, honey was able to significantly reduce both the severity and frequency of the coughing. Some of the children who received honey were noted to have increased energy levels after administration, but actually ended up sleeping better. 

Lead researcher, Dr. Ian Paul, noted that efficacy of honey was likely due to its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Honey also coats and soothes the back of the throat, providing symptomatic relief upon contact. Due to the rare risk of infantile botulism, Dr. Paul cautioned that honey not be given to babies under the age of one year. 

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles on this powerful gift from the hive, in order to get the full healing benefits make sure to buy unheated, raw honey and enjoy some sweet relief.  

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