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  • Writer's pictureDr. Sherry Barnett

Honey and night time cough

With the start of the cough and cold season upon us many families are interested in remedies to relieve symptoms that do not contain medicine. The good news is that honey has been studied in both adult and pediatric populations with regards to suppressing cough at night. In the pediatric study children 2-18 were given ½ to 2 tsp honey mixed with warm water at bedtime or Dextromethorphan (active ingredient in Delsym) or no treatment. The honey treatment group had significantly less cough frequency & severity than the untreated group and about the same improvement in symptoms as the Dextromethorphan-treated group. More importantly, honey is safe for children over the age of one year and not likely to cause any unwanted side effects vs. medicated cough syrups. The honey used does not have to be local, unpasteurized or unfiltered to work as it’s effect on cough is not related to local pollens. If you happen to get a cough and find that the only honey in your pantry has crystalized, don’t fret, just warm up a pot of water and put the honey container in the hot water until it returns to a liquid.


Oduwale, O. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Mar 14;(3). Honey for acute cough in children.

Paul, IM. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007 Dec; 161(12): 1140-6. Effect of honey, dextromethorphan and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents.

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