Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee
President, Heart Care Foundation of India
A spoonful of honey can quieten children’s’ night time cough and help them — and their parents — sleep better.
When compared to the cough syrup ingredient dextromethorphan or no treatment, honey came out on top. As per a study from Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, the results are so strong that one is able to say that honey is better than no treatment and dextromethorphan was not. There is currently no proven effective treatment for cough due to an upper respiratory infection like the common cold. While dextromethorphan is widely used, there is no evidence that it works, and it carries risks.
Honey is used around the world as a home remedy for cough, and might provide a safe, effective alternative to cough medicine. To investigate, the researchers compared buckwheat honey, a honey-flavoured dextromethorphan preparation, and no treatment in 105 children who had sought treatment for night time coughs due to colds. Among the three groups, children given honey had the greatest reduction in cough frequency and severity, and the most improved sleep, as did their parents. Its sweet, syrupy quality may be soothing to the throat, while its high antioxidant content could also be a factor. Honey also has antimicrobial effects. Honey is not recommended for infants younger below one year of age because of the risk of botulism spores.