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The Use of Honey to Calm Coughs and Sore Throats

Honey has been used as a natural remedy instead of an over-the-counter treatment for cough. It is no wonder why, since it helps to soothe sore throats and has antibacterial properties that help to fight germs and keep the cough from developing further. Let us see how honey is used for cough in this article.

Types of cough

A cough is a type of reflex of your body to clear away mucus in your airpipes. A cough also clears the throat of irritants like dusts. There are two types of coughs: wet cough and dry cough. For wet coughs, one will typically have mucus (phlegm) that keeps coming up out of the airways and it feels as if there is something that is stuck or dripping at the back of the throat. As for dry coughs, they happen because of inflammation or irritation in the respiratory tract that causes a tickling effect, which stimulates one’s cough reflex.

How does honey alleviate cough?

Honey is a demulcent that forms a film over a mucous membrane, soothing it and removing the inflammation and the irritant that causes the cough reflex. It is said that for children or adults who are more than one-year old, a spoonful of honey is more effective at soothing cough than over-the-counter medicine. In another study, children aged one to five were given two teaspoons of honey before sleep, and the results showed that the children coughed less during their sleep and had an improved quality of sleep. The study also showed that honey has the same effectiveness as dextromethorphan, a typical cough suppressant used in non-prescription medicine. Hence, you can use honey confidently to suppress your cough. However, do note that you should not feed children less than a year old honey, as the risk of developing infant botulism is high. Infant botulism is a serious bacterial infection that causes weakness in muscles and difficulty in breathing and eating.


Manuka honey

Manuka honey is best used for cough because it contains antibacterial properties owing to its high concentration of Methylglyoxal (MGO), which is an active ingredient that gives manuka honey its antibacterial properties. Manuka honey attacks harmful bacteria and contains antioxidants that provide an anti-inflammatory effect, thereby preventing your sore throat from worsening. In a study involving patients who underwent head and neck cancer chemotherapy treatment and consumed manuka honey, researchers found a significant reduction of Streptococcus mutans, a type of bacteria that contributes to sore throats. Hence, it can be concluded that manuka honey helps in reducing bacteria that causes sore throats.


How to use manuka honey for cough

Now that we have seen how effective honey can be in reducing cough and sore throats, let us find out how exactly we may use manuka honey to relieve these symptoms. You can create a traditional honey-lemon drink by simply squeezing half a lemon into warm water, followed by two teaspoons of honey. You may also add some grated ginger if you wish, as it has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce dry cough. Warm drinks are more favourable to the treatment of cough because they increase the production of saliva and phlegm which help to lubricate your throat and relieve dryness. You can also add cinnamon or apple cider vinegar to your drinks for variation. A honey cinnamon combination helps to fight infections, relieve nasal congestion and cough, and shorten the duration of a common cold. Apple cider vinegar is also beneficial to the treatment of cough associated with the common cold because it works as a probiotic that boosts one’s immunity to fight respiratory infections and the common cold.


Seek medical treatment

If your cough lasts for three weeks, or you have persistent fevers, soreness in your body, and headaches, it is advisable to visit the doctor. You should also visit the doctor if you have pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, allergies, reactive airway diseases, etc. Manuka honey may provide temporary relief, but consulting a medical professional who is able to treat the root cause of the cough is safer.


All in all, manuka honey is a wonderful product that helps to soothe sore throats, and its antibacterial properties can help to fight infections of the throat. Moreover, research has shown that it is effective, or even more effective, than non-prescription medicine for cough, so get your manuka honey today!


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