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Honey eases cough and improves sleep

A spoonful of honey can ease children's night-time cough and help them and their parents sleep better.

Honey eases cough and improves sleep

A spoonful of honey can ease children's night-time cough and help them and their parents sleep better. There is currently no proven effective treatment for cough due to an upper respiratory infection like the common cold. While dextromethorphan (a cough syrup ingredient) is widely used, there is no evidence that it works. Honey is used around the world as a home remedy for cough, and might provide a safe, effective alternative to a cough medicine. American researchers from the Pennsylvania State University, Hershey, compared buckwheat honey, with a honey-flavoured dextromethorphan preparation and no treatment in 105 children, 2 to 18 years of age, who had sought treatment for night-time coughs due to colds. Parents were surveyed on the day of the doctor's visit and on the next day, after they those in the treatment groups had given their children honey or dextromethorphan 30 minutes before bed-time. Among the three groups, children given honey had the greatest reduction in cough frequency and severity, and the most improved sleep. There are several explanations for why honey might ease cough: it's sweet, syrupy quality may be soothing to the throat, while its high antioxidant content could also be a factor. Honey also has antimicrobial effects. The researchers used a dosage identical to that recommended for cough syrups: half a teaspoon for two- to five-year-olds, a teaspoon for six- to eleven-year-olds, and two teaspoons for children twelve and older. The above study offers an interesting alternative to traditional over-the-counter remedies for cough in children.
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine,
November 2007
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