Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Homemade Honey Cough Syrups That Really Work - Now Backed By Science

Honey works better than many over-the-counter cough syrups. A study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (December 2007) shows that honey works better than a leading cough syrup drug, dextromethorphan.

It looks like they've finally discovered what our grandmothers knew all along. Honey is good medicine.

An excellent article by Anne Harding for Reuters Health news service highlights this study with an interview with one of the study's authors, Ian M. Paul of Pennsylvania State University.

Here is an excerpt from the article reporting the results of the study.

To investigate, they compared buckwheat honey, a honey-flavored dextromethorphan preparation, and no treatment in 105 children who had sought treatment for nighttime coughs due to colds. Parents were surveyed on the day of the doctor's visit and on the next day, after those in the treatment groups had given their kids honey or dextromethorphan at bedtime. Among the three groups, children given honey had the greatest reduction in cough frequency and severity, and the most improved sleep, as did their parents.

There are several explanations for why honey might ease cough, Paul and his team note; its sweet, syrupy quality may be soothing to the throat, while its high antioxidant content could also be a factor. Honey also has antimicrobial effects.

Honey isn't recommended for infants younger than one year old, because of the rare but serious risk it might cause a type of food poisoning known as botulism, Paul said in an interview.

For older kids, however, it is generally safe.
He and his colleagues used a dosage identical to that recommended for cough syrups: half a teaspoon for two- to five-year-olds, a teaspoon for six- to eleven-year-olds, and two teaspoons for children twelve and older.

My favorite simple cough syrup is plain honey. Sometimes I dress it up a bit:

Basic Honey and Lemon Cough Syrup

3 or 4 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup honey

Take one or two teaspoons every other hour or as needed. Thin it with a tiny amount of water, if desired. If water or lemon juice is added to honey, keep it refrigerated.

Most coughs come complete with a sore throat. Here's an old remedy for that.

Cajun Sore Throat Soother

Mix equal parts of honey and lemon juice and a dash of cayenne pepper, or Tabasco sauce. Before you know it, the cayenne pepper will help zap the pain of a sore throat, and will help speed healing. Honey and lemon are soothing with a healing antimicrobial effect. Honey, lemon and cayenne...now that's a potent triple whammy.

If you'd like to experiment with a whammy of a different kind, try one of these old favorites. They won't cure the cause of coughs, but they are guaranteed to make you feel much better.


4 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons whiskey


4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons whiskey


1/2 c. whiskey
1/2 c. honey
Juice of 1 lemon

You can take these syrups by the spoonfuls (take 1-2 tablespoons every 3 hours) or add a couple of spoonfuls of the prepared cough syrup to a cup of hot water or tea. Mix all ingredients well before taking.

This copyrighted material may be reprinted by you for noncommercial use, if the following credit is given:

This article and recipe is an excerpt from Mrs. Tightwad's Handbook #2: HOW TO MAKE HOME REMEDIES THAT REALLY WORK. For more information, see the left sidebar on this site: http://purecajunsunshine.blogspot.com/

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