Honey is the best home remedy for cough, says my mom

Honey has many nutrients, making it beneficial for our health. It can also be used as a home remedy for cough. Know more about using honey to stop coughing.
View All Images Honey in a bowl
Honey can help to treat cough. Image courtesy: Freepik
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 21 Apr 2024, 17:00 pm IST
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Whenever the season changes, I start coughing. My doctor says it simply happens due to an allergy, and I can use medicines to treat it. But they make me feel drowsy. So, my mom suggested me to have honey to stop coughing. It is a natural food item produced by honey bees. It not only adds sweetness to dishes or drinks, but also has many health benefits. So, when my mom told me have honey to get rid of cough, I listened to her advice. It helped me for sure. But does science support this home remedy for cough?

What are the health benefits of honey?

Honey comprises various substances, including sugars (primarily glucose and fructose), water, amino acids, vitamins such as vitamin C and B-complex vitamins, says nutritionist Saniya Simon. It also has minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and enzymes like glucose oxidase. Honey also contains other bioactive compounds like flavonoids and phenolic acids, which contribute to its health benefits.

Honey in a jar
Honey has anti-inflammatory properties. Image courtesy: Freepik

Here are some of the benefits of honey:

  • Its antioxidant properties help neutralise harmful free radicals in the body, reducing oxidative stress and lowering the risk of chronic diseases.
  • The antimicrobial properties of honey, attributed to substances like hydrogen peroxide and phenolic compounds, make it effective against various pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
  • Honey’s anti-inflammatory properties can help alleviate inflammation in the body, contributing to the management of conditions like arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

How does honey help to stop coughing?

Honey may help in treating cough and sleep issues associated with childhood upper respiratory tract infection, according to a 2007 study published in JAMA Pediatrics. Another study published in the BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine journal found honey to be superior to usual care for the improvement of symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections. As per the 2020 study, honey provides a cheap alternative to antibiotics.

Honey’s soothing effect on the throat and its antimicrobial properties can help alleviate cough symptoms, says the expert. It forms a protective layer over the irritated throat, reducing irritation and promoting healing. Honey’s antimicrobial properties may also help combat the underlying infection causing the cough.

What is the best time to have honey to stop coughing?

Honey is most effective for alleviating cough symptoms when taken prior to bedtime, says Simon. Consuming honey before sleep allows it to coat the throat and provide soothing relief throughout the night. By forming a protective layer over the irritated throat, honey helps to reduce irritation and suppress coughing, facilitating better sleep. Also, taking honey before bedtime can help improve sleep quality by promoting relaxation and minimising nighttime disturbances caused by coughing fits.

A coughing woman
Have honey before bedtime. Image courtesy: Freepik

But make sure to give honey only to children older than one year. A single dosage of 2.5 ml of honey before bedtime can be given to them, says the expert. As for adults, they can take honey as needed, but moderation is key due to its calorie content.

How to use honey to treat cough?

Honey can be consumed directly or mixed with warm water, lemon juice, or herbal teas for added relief. It can also be combined with other ingredients like ginger or cinnamon for enhanced therapeutic effects.

What are the side effects of honey?

Honey is generally safe for consumption, but one primary concern is the risk of infant botulism, says the expert. It is a rare but serious condition that can occur in children under one year of age who have honey. This is due to the presence of Clostridium botulinum spores, which can thrive in the digestive tract of babies and produce toxins. This is why it is recommended to avoid giving honey to babies under the age of one.

When it comes to older children and adults, moderate consumption is best to avoid weight gain.

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Honey is an effective way to get rid of cough, but make sure not to have it in excess.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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