Have you ever had a cold? Well, the answer must be yes. Then, have you ever been told to drink warm lemon water mixed with honey when you had a cold? Did it work?
Researchers recently found that honey is a better treatment for upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) than traditional remedies. In other words, honey does work.
What is URTI
An upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) is generally caused by an acute infection in the upper airway. It may be rhinitis, sinus infection, the common cold, pharyngitis, epiglottitis, laryngitis and tracheitis, based on the body part involved.
Most infections are viral in nature and can resolve on their own spontaneously; occasionally the cause is bacterial. Symptoms of URTI are like cough, nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, sore or scratchy throat, low-grade fever, painful swallowing, and lethargy. You must have known what that feels like. The truth is URTI has become one of the most frequent diagnoses in the outpatient setting in the United States.
Honey in the URTI treatment
Mainstream medications for URTI are not always effective. Over the past years, due to the abuse of antibacterial agents, some bacteria have been found to be resistant to the drugs, posing challenges for URTI treatment. Honey may then be a better choice, and evidence has indicated its effect in treating URTI, especially for coughing.
According to the paper published in BMJ Evidence-based Medicine, honey is found to perform 36% better at reducing the amount of coughing and 44% coughing severity than traditional remedies. It is also able to reduce the average duration of infection by two days.
Other health benefits of honey
Honey is not only one of the most popular daily foods among the globe; it has been used in medicine for millennia. Including the effect in treating URTI mentioned above, honey is believed to have wide health benefits based on its potential antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Reduce risk of heart attacks
Honey is found to be rich in antioxidant compounds, which can help lower blood pressure. Studies also show that honey when used as a sugar substitute can lower triglycerides and have a positive effect on cholesterol levels. These together proved the role of honey in preventing heart disease.
Heal burns and wounds
Honey is used to heal burns and wounds due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. One study reported a 43.3 percent success rate in using honey for wound healing. It has also been found to be effective as a burn treatment, especially for partial-thickness burns. Manuka honey is one typical example of honey for medical use as it is proved to boost healing time and reduce infection.
Last but not least…
More families are using honey to suppress cough in children with upper respiratory tract infections. However, it must be noted that honey should never be given to infants less than 12 months old as they can’t digest the spores in honey and result in infant botulism.