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Food As Medicine: Honey

Updated: Aug 21, 2020

A recent report from researchers at Oxford University have reported that honey may be better than conventional treatments for Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (URTIs)

such as coughs, blocked noses, and sore throats.

Honey has a long tradition of being used as a home remedy for treating coughs and colds. Although evidence for its effectiveness for a range of upper respiratory tract symptoms in adults has not been systematically reviewed. To address this scientists from the University of Oxford reviewed research databases for relevant studies comparing honey and preparations that included it as an ingredient with usual care, these were antihistamines, expectorants, cough suppressants, and painkillers. They found 14 suitable clinical trials, involving 1,761 participants of varying ages.

Data analysis of the studies indicated that honey was more effective than usual care for improving symptoms, especially the frequency and severity of coughing. Two of the studies revealed that symptoms in those treated with honey lasted one to two days less.

Writing in the journal BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, the authors said: “Upper respiratory tract infections are the most frequent reason for an antibiotic prescription. Since the majority of URTIs are viral, an antibiotic prescription is both ineffective and inappropriate.”

The researchers suggest honey could provide an effective alternative when doctors want to prescribe something to safely treat upper respiratory tract symptoms.

They conclude: “Honey is more effective and less harmful than usual care alternatives and avoids causing harm through antimicrobial resistance.” although the NHS warns against giving it to children under 1 year because of the danger of botulism.

Source- The Guardian.

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