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Treating Cold and Flu with Raw Honey

During cold and flu season, the only thing most are worried about is making it through the day without a sore throat or cough. This is particularly troublesome for children who often spend the nights coughing.

Fortunately, there are a number of studies that show honey may be one of the most effective remedies for both children and adults.

Reduce Symptoms of Sore Throat

Drinking honey tea with lemon is a time-honored way to regain your voice and soothe your sore throat. Studies show that honey makes a very effective remedy for children as well as adults, with none of the side effects generally associated with over-the-counter or prescription medications.

Keep in mind that the regular use of honey may encourage cavities in children who don’t brush regularly and could result in hyperactivity or changes in sleep patterns.

Learn how to make a perfectly healthy tea that will help decrease coughing.

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Reduce Symptoms of Coughing

Honey makes a very effective (and quite tasty) natural cough syrup and studies are demonstrating that honey may be an inexpensive treatment for cough in children with upper respiratory tract infections (URIs).

The result of one study demonstrated that receiving a 2.5-mL dose of honey before sleep resulted in substantially better sleep and decreased cough than patients who received treatments with dextromethorphan (DM) or diphenhydramine (DPH) - both of which are prescribed often for coughs in children.

While more study is needed, the majority of studies have shown children and adults tend to sleep more soundly and recover more quickly when they receive treatment with honey.

In another study, doctors evaluated homeopathic cough syrup (raw honey) against commercial cough syrups in double-blind groups of children ages 3-5 years who were ill with upper respiratory conditions. The homeopathic syrup appeared to be effective in reducing the severity of cold symptoms in the first hour after beginning treatment.

Show Sources

  • Goldman, R. D. (2014). Honey for treatment of cough in children. Canadian Family Physician, 60(12), 1107–1110.
  • Paul IM1, Beiler J, McMonagle A, Shaffer ML, Duda L, Berlin CM Jr. Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007 Dec;161(12):1140-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18056558
  • Mahmood Noori Shadkam, Hassan Mozaffari-Khosravi, and Mohammad Reza Mozayan. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. July 2010, 16(7): 787-793. doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0311.
  • Jacobs, Jennifer and James A. Taylor. "A randomized controlled trial of a homeopathic syrup in the treatment of cold symptoms in young children." Complementary Therapies in Medicine. Volume 29, December, 2016
  • Goldman, R. D. (2014). Honey for treatment of cough in children. Canadian Family Physician, 60(12), 1107–1110.
  • Paul IM1, Beiler J, McMonagle A, Shaffer ML, Duda L, Berlin CM Jr. Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007 Dec;161(12):1140-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18056558

Lithuanian Krupnikas

Learn how to make a delicious healthy tea that will help decrease coughing or try this Lithuanian cold remedy that’s been passed down for centuries.

For adults who are suffering from colds or flu, an alcoholic beverage may be more your cup of tea. This is a fun recipe we happened across and thought you may enjoy.

Lithuanian Krupnikas is a spiced liqueur served warm as a traditional Eastern European cold remedy. Make it in advance, then pop it into the microwave for a minute to warm before serving.