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Honey ‘beats antibiotics’ for curing coughs or colds: New research shows it is more effective than medication

  • Oxford University experts said patients should have honey instead of antibiotics
  • ‘Nectar of the Gods’ is filled with anti-microbial compounds put there by bees
  • The study found it reduced the frequency of coughing by 36 per cent in patients
  • And that those taking honey had their cough severity reduced by 44 per cent 

It has long been a folk remedy for an irritating cough, sore throats and the common cold.

But research now shows that honey is more effective at treating these ailments than antibiotics or over-the-counter medication.

Experts at Oxford University said doctors should tell patients to have a spoonful of honey rather than prescribing antibiotics which can fuel antimicrobial resistance.

They reviewed studies which compared the effectiveness of honey against cough suppressants, antihistamines and painkillers when treating upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) symptoms – which include a cough and cold.

Overall, honey was found to be ‘superior’ at relieving coughs, sore throats and congestion – and unlike other medications it had no harmful side effects.

Honey was on average 36 per cent more effective at reducing cough frequency than common medications and it cut cough severity by 44 per cent more.

There was also evidence honey reduces the time it takes to recover from URTIs by up to two days.

‘Honey was associated with a significantly greater reduction in combined symptom score, cough frequency and cough severity,’ the study in the British Medical Journal said.

It added that the so-called ‘nectar of the gods’ is cheap, readily available and has virtually no side effects. The authors also said using honey for infections could reduce the overprescription of antibiotics, which is fuelling a crisis of antimicrobial resistance.

Experts are increasingly worried that doctors too often dole out antibiotics for coughs and colds, for which they are rarely necessary because most of these are caused by viruses.

The researchers said: ‘Honey was superior to usual care for the improvement of symptoms of URTIs. It provides a widely available  READ ON