It is that time of year again when you have a tickle in your throat, your chest is sore and you constantly cough. But before you reach for an over-the-counter drug to get relief, try honey instead.
According to a new report, honey is more likely to ease your cough than those sticky, brightly-coloured cough syrups.
Honey is the bee’s knees
The report, published by the American College of Chest Physicians, reviewed studies that looked at the benefits of over-the-counter cough medicines, from decongestants and cough suppressants to antihistamines and painkillers.
The researchers found that study after study showed no clear benefits of over-the-counter medicines to help ease coughs. This means that taking a cough medicine will not ease the severity of your cough and neither will it shorten its course.
Then there are also the distressing side effects of these drugs to consider. These include drowsiness and breathing problems. Even more troubling, is an ingredient used in some cough medicines, called an “anticholinergic” agent, which has been linked to an increased risk of dementia!
On the other hand, the researchers found that honey — which comes with absolutely no side effects — could help you cough less and often makes those hacking fits less brutal.
Sounds like a win-win to me.
So, when a winter cold takes hold, turn to honey instead of drugs to quieten those coughing fits. Choose raw, organic honey, which hasn’t had all the enzymes cooked out of it by processing.
You can take it by the teaspoon or stir it into a soothing tea with hot water and lemon. As an added bonus, the hydration and steam from the hot water can help break up mucus in your chest, and the lemon will give you a hit of vitamin C, a natural immune booster.
And honey is also a natural antibacterial, which means it could also help protect against secondary infections like pneumonia.
The report also found that zinc lozenges — if taken within 24 hours of your first cold symptoms — can reduce the duration of your cold or flu symptoms. But make sure that you take the most effective form of zinc, zinc acetate.
Of course, the best way to beat a cough is not to get one in the first place. You can keep your defences strong by getting plenty of rest and taking probiotics and vitamin D.
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Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
What really works to fight a stubborn cough?, published online, chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/sc-hlth-what-cough-medicine-works-1115-story.html