Honey to soothe a child’s cough

Hearing their little ones cough in the night is difficult for any parent to bear, and they are willing to try anything to relieve their children’s sore throats! The good news is that a very simple remedy could be a treatment of choice to assuage coughing in young children: administering a small quantity of buckwheat honey before putting a child to bed.

Hearing their little ones cough in the night is difficult for any parent to bear, and they are willing to try anything to relieve their children’s sore throats! The good news is that a very simple remedy could be a treatment of choice to assuage coughing in young children: administering a small quantity of buckwheat honey before putting a child to bed.

In a recently published American study, buckwheat honey given at bedtime in quantities ranging from half a teaspoon to two teaspoons, depending on the age of the child, was quite effective at relieving children’s cough symptoms. Although dextromethorphan is commonly used to treat coughs, it did not prove effective at all during the course of this trial. On the other hand, honey clearly demonstrated its efficacy. Remember however that honey should not be used in children less than 1 year old.

Coughing is a complex process for which the medications currently available on the market only have limited effects. We know that the efficacy of the active ingredient dextromethorphan, which is found in most cough suppressant syrups, is very weak in its existing doses. Consequently, we should not be surprised to learn that honey, a simple and relatively inexpensive remedy, can be more effective than the medications currently available. In fact, it is thought that the levels of sugar contained in cough syrups and lozenges are actually responsible for their efficacy, as sugar serves to hydrate and soothe a sore throat, consequently diminishing the cough reflex. Honey is known to contain antioxidant and antimicrobial compounds, and these may also contribute to its antitussive properties.

With the current controversy around children cough and cold products, many parents may look for another option to relive their child’s cough. A little buckwheat honey may very well be a treatment of choice to relieve sore throats and coughs in young children, and just about anyone for that matter. Drinking plenty of liquids such as water, juice, chicken broth, also contributes in thinning secretions and mucus, and reducing cough symptoms. Sometimes, the best medicine is in your pantry!

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