It turns out that Nonna knows best!
It’s not surprising that grandmas have recognized all along that honey is an effective treatment for coughs. A study done at Pennsylvania State University confirms this. They found that honey offers parents an effective and safe alternative to over-the-counter children’s cough medicines.
The study found a small dose of honey (about a teaspoon) given before bedtime provided better relief of nighttime cough and sleep difficulty in children. The honey was found to be more effective than no treatment or even treatment with DM. DM is a cough suppressant found in many over-the-counter cold medications.
Honey did a better job reducing the severity and frequency of a nighttime cough than DM. Honey also showed a positive effect on the sleep quality of both the coughing child and the parents, who were not awaken during the night.
The study also found DM wasn’t any better at alleviating symptoms than not treating the cough, at all. The results are especially interesting since an FDA advisory board recommended over-the-counter cough and cold medicines not be given to children less than 6-years-old, because, of their lack of effectiveness and potential side effects.
Ally is a-buzz about honey!
Raw honey has been used for centuries to treat upper respiratory infection symptoms, like coughs, and is considered to be safe for children over 12- months-old.
Babies under a year shouldn’t consume honey.
When bees collect nectar from flowers, they also pick up botulism spores which get mixed into their honey. Adults and children, more than a-year-old, have fully developed immune systems with intestinal bacteria which destroy the spores. Therefore, eating honey is not a problem for them.
But babies under a year have underdeveloped immune systems. A baby’s immature immune system provides a perfect environment for the spores to activate and unleash their toxin. So babies under 12 months should NOT consume honey.
For children over 12-months, raw honey has well-established antioxidant effects. Raw honey has not been pasteurized or filtered. Many of the phytonutrients, enzymes, and bee pollen found in honey are destroyed or lost with heat (pasteurization) and straining. Honey soothes on contact, which may help explain its effect on children with coughs.