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Originally published July 21 2008

Honey Better Than Cough Medicine For Soothing Kids' Cough Symptoms

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Honey is a more effective cough remedy for children than many over-the-counter medications, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine and published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

"Honey provided the greatest relief of symptoms compared with the other treatments," lead researcher Ian Paul said.

Researchers studied 105 children between the ages of two and 18 who were having trouble sleeping due to cough. The participants were given either a small dose of buckwheat honey, honey-flavored dextromethorphan or no treatment at all a half-hour before bed.

Dextromethorphan is the primary cough-suppressant in most over-the-counter cough and cold medications.

Children who were given the honey had less frequent and severe nighttime coughing than either the children given dextromethorphan or those given no treatment at all. Honey appeared to induce a brief period of hyperactivity in the children, but even so both children and parents slept better after children were given honey compared with dextromethorphan or no treatment.

Honey has a long history of use as a treatment for upper respiratory symptoms, and research suggests that it also contains antioxidant and antifungal properties.

"The World Health Organization has cited honey as a potential therapy," Paul said.

In contrast, the FDA recently advised against the use of over-the-counter cough and cold medications in children under the age of six, saying that such medications may cause dangerous side effects and have not been proven effective in that age group.

"With honey, parents now have a safe and effective alternative to use for children over age one who have cough and cold symptoms," Paul said.

Paul warned that children under the age of one should not be given honey, as it may induce infant botulism in rare cases. He also noted that the experiment used dark honey, and it is not known if different varieties of honey would have the same effect.

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