It's no secret that honey makes everything better. From desserts to sauces and marinades, we celebrate this golden treat for its endless uses in the kitchen. But how about in your medicine cabinet, too? Studies have shown that honey is as effective as conventional over-the-counter cough suppressants that contain dextromethorphan.
For thousands of years, humans have prized honey for its sweet taste and medicinal qualities. Egyptians, Greeks, and other ancient cultures used it in salves to treat wounds and infections of the eyes, ears, and skin. Now we know honey has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that are responsible for its healing power. The thick, syrupy texture makes it ideal for calming coughs and soothing throats, too. Pure Acacia honey is one ingredient found in Chestal Honey and Children's Chestal Honey cough syrup.
Eating honey straight off the spoon may be the simplest route to relief, but here are other ways to use it medicinally. Any variety will do, but make sure it's raw. Regular, commercially-produced honey goes through a pasteurization process that removes beneficial nutrients and enzymes. However, bacteria can contaminate raw honey, so you'll only want to give it to children who are 12 months of age or older.
Mix it in tea with lemon. When you're sick, take your tea without milk and sugar. Instead, try a spoonful of honey and a squirt of fresh lemon. Together, they create the perfect drink that cuts through congestion and soothes the throat.
Stir it into crushed garlic. Garlic is a superfood known to enhance immune function. When crushed or chopped, it releases a substance called allicin that offers antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory benefits. The addition of honey makes this a winning combination for treating coughs and colds.
Make your own honey lozenges. While coughing is necessary to clear out mucus from the lungs, a nagging, dry cough can be irritating. Cough drops are a convenient way to keep your throat moist. You can make your own using all-natural herbs and honey with this recipe from Wellness Mama.
*Claims based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted medical evidence. Not FDA evaluated.