How Can Honey Help Your Cough

Honey- A Tough Remedy For Your Cough!

Well well, you must be here because of someone you know or your own caackoo caackoo days where you are coughing your lungs out.

Sometimes you just feel like ripping your throat or lungs out eh?

It is certainly a dreadful feeling that disrupts your daily life activities like sleeping for example.

You must have heard that honey helps soothe your rough throat.

When you are out of medications or are looking for natural remedies to ease your throat then honey will do the trick in relieving your cough.

Honey is a time-honored cough suppressant that can be added to warm tea or warm lemon water.

It helps calm your cough by lubricating your throat and soothing your irritated mucous membranes.

This article explores if honey is a good option to relieve your cough.

What are the causes of coughing?

What are the causes of coughing

Coughing can be caused by a variety of factors that include:

  • Bacterial and viral illnesses like pneumonia, influenza or a cold
  • Allergies
  • Runny nose
  • Heartburn
  • Asthma
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Coughing gets worse at night when you lie down because of gravity, your mucus will start pooling in the back of your throat and cause more congestion and heartburn.

Post-nasal drip is the main cause of coughing and once you start coughing, it can be hard to stop, your body will reflexively cough.

However, coughing is an important reflex that helps protect your lungs and airway from irritants.

Coughing helps expel particles, germs, dust and other irritants out of your lungs and throat and so coughing occasionally is normal.

Is honey a good remedy for your cough?

Is honey a good remedy for your cough

Most over-the-counter and prescription cough medications for children carry negative side effects.

Recent studies have demonstrated that giving children and their parents one dosage of honey before bed can reduce cough, mucus secretion and discomfort.

Honey showed good demulcent and antioxidant properties in a study from Israel where parents of 300 children aged between 1-5 years old with upper respiratory infection were given 10 g of eucalyptus honey, labiatae honey, citrus honey or silan date placebo before bedtime.

Parents of the children reported that their children’s cough severity, cough frequency, and their sleep improved after being treated with honey.

Another study from Italy gave evidence for using 3 consecutive doses of wildflower honey and milk for children with nonspecific acute cough.

Honey was compared with over-the-counter medications like dextromethorphan and levodropropizine which is a peripheral antitussive with no central nervous system activity.

In this study, among the 134 children, 80% of the honey and milk group and 87% of the group taking over-the-counter medications saw a reduction in cough of more than 50% from baseline to the end of the treatment.  

A study published in Nature Primary Care Respiratory Journal on adults with a persistent cough lasting longer than three weeks after a respiratory infection had cleared up were enrolled in a double-blind, randomized control trial in Iran that compared honey and coffee to a steroid or to the expectorant guaifenesin.

According to the researchers’ findings, honey and coffee therapy significantly reduced the frequency of coughing.

What does honey do to your cough?

What does honey do to your cough

Honey is a viscous liquid that has healing properties for your throat that include:

  • Antibacterial components that work directly to combat the virus responsible for the common cold
  • Lubricates and calms an inflamed throat with its high viscosity
  • Sweet like most cough syrups causes salivation that helps thin mucus
  • Reduces inflammation in the bronchial tubes within the lungs
  • Less harmful and more effective than medications and avoids causing harm through antimicrobial resistance
  • Helps maintain a moist wound condition and repair wounds to prevent throat infection

Honey is a low-risk endeavor to treat respiratory symptoms.

It is also readily available and cheap and has been used as a home remedy for soothing sore throats and calming coughs.

Along with chicken soup, honey mixed with hot water and lemon is one of grandma’s go-to cold remedies.

Not to mention in Ayurveda, the healing system of India’s ancient Vedic culture, honey is particularly known as a natural remedy for respiratory infections.

Since most upper respiratory tract illnesses are caused by viruses rather than bacteria, honey is a particularly effective substitute for giving antibiotics. 

Overusing these medications also causes microorganisms to develop antibiotic resistance. 

According to a 2014 Cochrane study, no evidence was found to support the effectiveness of over-the-counter cough medications in adults.

Who can use honey to help relieve cough?

Who can use honey to help relieve cough

Honey does not run the risk of drug interaction like over-the-counter medications that have risky side effects.

Any adult can use honey to relieve a cough except for those who are allergic to it or have swallowing difficulties.

However, due to the danger of botulism, which is a rare kind of poisoning brought on by toxins that attack the nervous system, babies less than 12 months old should never be given honey.

Babies’ digestive systems are too immature to handle Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium found in soil that will result in bacterial growth and produce toxins in their intestinal tract.

This will result in breathing difficulties and weakness and so urgent medical attention will be needed. 

How to use honey for a cough?

How to use honey for a cough

Get yourself a cup of tea or warm water and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey, or you can spread it over toast. 

Although honey can be used as needed, it also contains calories and sugar, which should be avoided. 

Try to restrict your daily intake of honey to no more than 6 tablespoons since the American Heart Association suggests no more than 30 grams of added sugar each day.

Take away

Honey has been long used as a home remedy for coughs and colds and could be a better treatment than over-the-counter medicines.

It’s because of its demulcent property that helps coat the throat and soothes mucus membranes.

Antioxidants and antibacterial properties are also present, which helps promote the healing process.

Honey is a low-cost and widely available product that is natural and has no risky side effects than over-the-counter medications.

Honey should never be given to 1 year olds or less because of the risk of botulism.


Atqia Bilkis

Atqia Bilkis is a content writer, educator and editor whose work comes from passion. As a fighter in life, she believes knowledge is the key to enlightenment and success in life. She enjoys writing about health sciences and technology and has written articles and guides on sports, animals and more.

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