Photo: Getty Images
If you are looking for a last-minute gift idea, consider a beautiful glass jar of honey with a delicate red bow.
For centuries, honey has been known for its healing properties, and today leading medical experts have confirmed it as an alternative medicine.
For example, nearly three percent of all outpatient visits in the United States are due to coughing. To relieve a nagging cough or sore throat, we rely on over the counter medicines containing dextromethorphan. This popular cough suppressant is found in Dimetapp DM and Robitussin DM.
A new study by the Penn State College of Medicine research team found that honey offers parents an safe effective alternative to over the counter medicines. The study found that a small dose of buckwheat honey given before bedtime provided better relief of nighttime cough and sleep difficulty in children compared to no treatment or a DM cough suppressant.
Also, honey reduced the severity and frequency of the nighttime cough from upper respiratory infections when compared to using DM or no treatment. Honey showed a positive effect on the sleep quality of both the coughing child and the child’s parents. DM was not significantly better at alleviating symptoms.
However, never feed honey to a child under the age of one. Honey can make baby very ill and in rare cases it can cause infantile botulism.
"Our study adds to the growing literature questioning the use of DM in children, but it also offers a legitimate and safe alternative for physicians and parents,ʺ said Dr. Ian Paul, a pediatrician, researcher and associate professor of pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Children’s Hospital.
The rationale is that the sweet substance helps soothe the back of the throat and breaks up mucus in the airways.
The Honey Association recommends a soothing honey drink for a sore throat. Mix 1-2 tablespoons of honey with the juice of half a lemon, add boiling water, stir and drink.
Also, honey is known to have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. If you're feeling low in energy, try a spoonful of honey as a pick-me-up.