Honey is a sweet, viscid fluid produced by honeybees (Apis melliflera) from the nectar of flowers. Honey's therapeutic importance as a known antibacterial agent has been recognized since 1892. Modern research has been conducted on the role of honey in chronic wound management and other indications. However, high quality studies are lacking, and further research is warranted to establish the therapeutic effect of honey in any indication.
In a new study, researchers randomly assigned 300 children with upper respiratory tract infections to one of three honey products, including a eucalyptus honey, a citrus honey and a labiatae honey, or to a placebo group, which received silan date extract. All children were given 10 grams of their assigned treatment 30 minutes before bedtime. Parents were given a survey the night before treatment was administered and then again the day after. Parents reported data on cough frequency and severity, as well as sleep quality.
The researchers found that coughing and sleeping symptoms significantly improved for all honey groups as well as the placebo group; however, improvements were larger in the honey groups. The authors noted that parents gave the honey products better scores for improvement in coughing symptoms and sleep quality.
The authors concluded that honey may benefit children with upper respiratory tract infections and related sleeping problems. Additional research is needed to further evaluate these findings.
In addition to honey, early research suggests that American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) root extract may be safe and well tolerated in children for the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections. However, additional studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.
For more information about integrative therapies for upper respiratory tract symptoms in children, please visit Natural Standard's Comparative Effectiveness Database.
For more information about honey, please visit Natural Standard's Foods, Herbs & Supplements Database.