Honey can quieten a child's cough better than any medicine, say researchers

When it comes to helping a child fight off a cough, the centuries-old remedy of honey is still the best, researchers said yesterday.

The natural sweetener is a traditional soother and remains better than costly over-the-counter medicines, they said.

In a study, a dose before bedtime easily outperformed a cough suppressant widely used in commercial treatments. Honey was better at cutting the severity, frequency and disturbance from night-time coughs of those suffering upper respiratory infection.

It also helped their sleep, suggesting that parents may be wasting their money on expensive alternatives sold in chemists and supermarkets.

The study compared honey to dextromethorphan (DM), the active ingredient in many cough mixtures.

Scientists in Pennsylvania found that DM made no significant difference to symptoms compared with having no treatment for the 105 children aged two to 18 in the research. They were divided into groups receiving honey, a honey-flavoured DM medicine or no treatment about 30 minutes before bedtime.

Parents rated honey as significantly better than DM or no treatment, according to the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

The researchers said that honey offered a "safe and legitimate alternative" to DM, which can occasionally cause severe side-effects in children, including muscle contractions and spasms.

Source - Daily Mail


  1. Anonymous5:46 pm

    I'm sorry, but it seems that you were taken in by the highly misleading press release from Penn State university. If you read the paper it says clearly that there was no detectable difference between honey and dextromethorphan. There is a full analysis at http://dcscience.net/?p=209

  2. Thank you David - but I only publish the articles and any links so that people can follow up. I can't make any claim about the veracity of the content. That's why other peoples comments are so interesting.