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Honey: An effective cough remedy?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/honey/AN01799
- With Mayo Clinic internist
James M. Steckelberg, M.D.read biographyclose window
James M. Steckelberg, M.D.James Steckelberg, M.D.
Dr. James Steckelberg is a consultant in the Division of Infectious Diseases and a professor of medicine at Mayo Medical School.
A native of Fremont, Neb., Dr. Steckelberg was a Rhodes Scholar and graduated from the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine as a resident in internal medicine and a fellow in infectious diseases, and is board certified in both. He is the former director of the Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory at Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Steckelberg belongs to numerous professional organizations. He is a founding member of the Musculoskeletal Infection Society and a fellow of the American College of Physicians and of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. He has served on many Mayo Clinic committees and is a member of the Department of Medicine Leadership Committee and of the executive committee of the Division of Infectious Diseases. He also served on the editorial boards of "Mayo Clinic Proceedings" and "Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy" and has been an editorial reviewer for more than a dozen publications.
Dr. Steckelberg's research interests include experimental models of infection, epidemiology of infection, and antimicrobial resistance and therapy of bacterial infections.
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Honey: An effective cough remedy?
Is it true that honey calms coughs better than cough medicine does?
from James M. Steckelberg, M.D.
Drinking tea or warm lemon water mixed with honey is a time-honored way to soothe a sore throat. But honey may be an effective cough suppressant, too.
In one study, children age 2 and older with upper respiratory tract infections were given up to 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) of honey at bedtime. The honey seemed to reduce nighttime coughing and improve sleep.
In fact, in the study, honey appeared to be as effective as a common cough suppressant ingredient, dextromethorphan, in typical over-the-counter doses. Since honey is low-cost and widely available, it might be worth a try.
However, due to the risk of infant botulism, a rare but serious form of food poisoning, never give honey to a child younger than age 1.
And remember: Coughing isn't all bad. It helps clear mucus from your airway. If you or your child is otherwise healthy, there's usually no reason to suppress a cough.Next question
Neti pot: Can it clear your nose?
- Paul IM, et al. Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 2007;161:1140.
- Chang AB. Cough. Pediatric Clinics of North America. 2009;56:19.
- Bukutu C, et al. Complementary, holistic, and integrative medicine: The common cold. Pediatrics in Review. 2008;29:e66.
- Warren MD, et al. The effect of honey on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for children and their parents. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 2007;161:1149.
- Honey. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed April 5, 2012.
- Botulism: Epidemiological overview for clinicians. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/Botulism/clinicians/epidemiology.asp. Accessed April 5, 2012.
- Shadkam MN, et al. A comparison of the effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and diphenhydramine on nightly cough and sleep quality in children and their parents. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2010;16:787.
- Common cold. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/commoncold/pages/prevention.aspx. Accessed March 6, 2012.