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“NHB-Funded Study Finds Honey an Effective Cough Treatment for Children
Honey has been used as a home remedy for centuries to help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with a common cold. Now researchers have found through a recent study that honey proves a better option for childhood cough than over the counter medicines.

Researchers from Penn State College of Medicine recently published a study, funded by NHB, comparing honey to over-the-counter medicines for relief of upper respiratory infection symptoms, such as cough. Providing a safe alternative for children more than 12 months old, honey out-performed the cough medicine in offering a better night’s sleep and reducing cough severity.

In the study, the researchers enrolled 105 children between the ages of 2 and 18 at a single university-affiliated physician practice site. On the first night of the study, children received no treatment. Parents answered five questions about their child’s cough and sleep quality as well as about their own sleep quality. On the second night, children received either honey, artificial honey-flavored dextromethorphan (DM) or no treatment about a half hour prior to going to bed. Parents answered the same five questions the following morning.

Across the board, parents rated honey as significantly better than DM or no treatment for symptomatic relief of their child’s nighttime cough and sleep difficulty. In a few cases, parents did report mild side effects with the honey treatment, such as hyperactivity.

Ian Paul, M.D., M.Sc., a pediatrician, researcher and associate professor of pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Children’s Hospital said “Additional studies should certainly be considered, but we hope that medical professionals will consider the positive potential of honey as a treatment given the lack of proven efficacy, expense, and potential for adverse effects associated with the use of DM.”

The study results will be presented at the January 8th Honey & Health Symposium in Sacramento, Calif. For more information, visit www.honey.com.

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