Got a nagging cough from a rough cold? Research has shown that one SuperFood is better than any cough syrup for an annoying cough that keeps you awake at night.
A nighttime dose of honey has been shown to be more effective than the over-the-counter cough medicine dextromethorphan to help quiet an annoying cough and help improve sleep in children above the age of two. The study from the Pennsylvania State University compared a dose of cough medicine with two teaspoons of buckwheat honey versus no treatment at all in 105 children who had a cough related to a viral upper respiratory infection. The researchers, led by Dr. Ian M. Paul, found that the buckwheat honey provided the best relief from cough. The honey was even better than the cough suppressant medication!
Dextromethorphan is the most commonly used, over-the-counter, cough suppressant. Dextromethorphan is the “DM” in Robitussin DM. It is also commonly found in some of the preparations of Nyquil, Vicks, Triaminic and Delsym. Dextromethorphan is in the narcotic family and can have serious side effects, especially in children. It can cause muscle weakness, severe allergic reactions, hallucinations and other uncomfortable mental shifts. Death has even been reported when overly high doses have been given to children accidentally. Dextromethorphan can also make adults feel cloudy and affect their ability to think clearly, even more than 12 hours after a dose.
Honey, on the hand, is a well-regarded alternative treatment for cough that is even endorsed by the World Health Organization. It doesn’t cloud the mind and it is believed that it soothes the throat with natural antioxidant and antibacterial effects. The best honeys are darker, like buckwheat honey, and have higher levels of phenolic compounds that act as powerful antioxidants.
Best of all, honey is considered safe as a natural cough syrup; however, honey should not be given to infants under the age of one due to a risk for a severe illness.
Sources: Pennsylvania State University