Honey has been used for centuries to help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with a common cold. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, many things can cause a sore throat. These include infections with viruses, such as colds and flu; sinus drainage; allergies; or cigarette smoking, among others. Sore throats caused by bacteria such as streptococci, are usually treated with antibiotics. Always check with your doctor if you have a fever, or if symptoms continue for more than a few days.
Time is the most important healer of sore throats caused by viruses, but for relief of the irritating symptoms, try a spoonful of honey to soothe and coat your throat. Take a spoonful straight, as often as you need, to relieve the irritation. In between, keep up your liquids with a steaming cup of tea sweetened with honey. For added vitamin C, try mixing in orange, grapefruit or lemon juice.
A 2007 study by a Penn State College of Medicine research team found that honey may offer parents an effective and safe alternative to over-the-counter cough medicine. The study found that a small dose of buckwheat honey given before bedtime provided better relief of nighttime cough and sleep difficulty in children than no treatment or dextromethorphan (DM), a cough suppressant found in many over-the-counter cold medications.
Be aware, of course, that honey should not be fed to infants under one year of age. Honey is a safe and wholesome food for older children and adults.
Source: National Honey Board [www.honey.com]