04 December 2007

Honey As Cough Medicine

A US study has found that buckwheat honey is more effective than over-the-counter cough medicines.

Dextromethorphan, the active ingredient in over-the-counter cough medicines, had no significant impact on symptoms. DM can also have side-effects of severe involuntary muscle contractions and spasms.

Honey has been used in medicine for centuries:

All honey acts as a disinfectant, having strong anti-bacterial and antimycotic properties (the latter preventing the growth of moulds and fungi). It is a great healer of wounds, wonderful for a host of upper respiratory diseases including the common cold, beneficial for heart diseases (improvement of the cardiac muscles are helped by honey), also for gastric and intestinal diseases – generally improving the digestive system and assimilation of food. The liver and its filtering function is aided by honey, while the nervous system is indebted to the natural glucose and its other components. It is a general help to skin diseases, eye diseases and for post-operative care, combining nutrition and healing factors.


SomeDumbYankee said...

Interestingly, a lot of these cough medicines have had other news recently because pediatricians have rejected them as useless.

A lot of them were grandfathered in before the FD&C Act required testing (Kefauver-Harris amendments in the 60's), so they're not as supported scientificaly.

Just as a point of interest for honey, do *not* feed it to infants. It often contains spores of C. botulinum, which the adult digestive system has no problem with. Infants cannot, and botulinum toxin from the bacterium is a nasty neurotoxin which can be fatal.

It's entirely possible, but it may not be that honey is a wonder drug, but rather that the drugs that are available aren't particularly effective.

David Colquhoun said...

I'm afraid you have been deceived by the rather misleading press release. If you look at the paper itself, it says very clearly

"Comparison of honey with DM [standard cough medicine] revealed no significant differences."

There is a full analysis of what the paper actually said at http://dcscience.net/?p=209

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