Whether it's because you've been cooped up indoors all season or because of the cold weather (which is actually a pervasive weather myth) winter seems to be the season where everyone comes down with a-choos and the hacking coughs. The first things people usually reach for when they come down with a bad cough is bitter-tasting cough syrup or other over-the-counter medications. But for fast relief that’s also sweet — grab a jar of honey. It’s been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to heal wounds and ward off cold related symptoms.
There is also sweet proof in the medical community to support the treatment. Researchers from the Department of Pediatrics, Public Health Sciences and the College of Medicine at Pennsylvania State University gave children ages two and up who had upper respiratory tract infections two teaspoons of honey at bedtime. It was concluded that honey provided the most significant relief from coughing through the night. It was followed by a common cough suppressant, dextromethorphan.
The reason it works so well is not just in honey’s natural properties, but also the texture. The sticky, silky consistency of honey soothes scratchiness by coating your throat as you swallow. And if you’re dealing with a sore throat, you’ll likely notice some relief right away as it gently glides down. If it’s not already in your pantry and you find yourself needing to go grocery shopping, lean towards the raw, organic, and manuka varieties of honey. These types are unheated, unpasteurized and unprocessed compared to other varieties and tend to be naturally thick and creamy. Honey has inflammation-fighting power and boasts many antimicrobial properties, which means it does even more than just control your cough — it provides a protective barrier to prevent infections in wounds. It’s a great natural, low-cost home remedy that’s widely available and might even replace a few things in your medicine cabinet.
How can I use honey to treat a cough?
You can take honey by the spoonful and just swallow it — or you can mix it with lemon and hot water for a calming sip.
- Squeeze half a lemon into a mug of hot water
- Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of honey and stir
- Drink while it's still warm
A cough is just one symptom that can help you determine if you should be concerned about those sniffles youv'e been dealing with. There are definitely more signs that your sniffles are more than just a cold.