MONDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Instead of reaching for a commercial medicine when your child is coughing through the night because of a common cold, Israeli researchers suggest giving honey a try.
A teaspoon or two of honey before bedtime can safely relieve the symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection, they report.
"The cough due to a viral [upper respiratory infection] is generally a self-limited disease," said study author Dr. Herman Avner Cohen, chairman of the Pediatric Community Ambulatory Care Clinic with Clalit Health Services in Petah-Tikva, Israel.
"However, parents often [want] some active intervention," Cohen said. This often leads to the use of over-the-counter cough medications, which are potentially dangerous because of the possibility of accidental overdose, he said.
For this reason, "honey may be a preferable treatment for the cough and sleep difficulty associated with childhood [upper respiratory infection]," said Cohen, who also hails from Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Israel's Tel-Aviv University.
"In light of our study, honey can be considered an effective and safe alternative, at least for those children over 1 year of age," he said.
Cohen's investigation, funded by the Israel Ambulatory Pediatric Association, the Materna Infant Nutrition Research Institute and the (for-profit) Honey Board of Israel, is published online Aug. 6 and in the September print issue of Pediatrics.
The authors pointed out that honey has long been appreciated for its antioxidant properties, derived from vitamin C and flavonoids among other sources. It is also known for its antimicrobial potential.
Some researchers have suggested that the proximity of the nerve fibers that control coughing with the nerve fibers that control sweetness may empower sweet substances with a natural ability to suppress coughing.
Still others believe th
All rights reserved