Find our top four cough/cold/sore throat easing honeys below - and our tip for the best way to use them to calm that misery-causing infection.
Horrible isn't it when you've got a cough or cold that you can't shake off.
Right now the cough and cold season is peaking across the country and we're getting lots of calls and messages asking, 'What's the best honey for my sore throat/cough/cold?'
There's no miracle cure because colds and most coughs are caused by viruses but raw honey can help ease the misery. The important thing is to take action as soon as you get a hint that something is wrong.
So how does honey help?
Honey is a demulcent, that is a substance that forms a thick sticky film over the inflamed mucous membranes - hopefully setting you on the road to recovery.
The thicker and stickier the better. (This is important, the thicker honeys are better for coughs.) This protective film helps to reduce the irritation and calms a cough and/or sore throat.
Pre-emptive use of honey in the early stages can help to relieve the inflammation meaning a child (or adult) stands a better chance of
Dark honeys are best, because their antibacterial qualities are generally higher than lighter honeys - and they help to discourage secondary bacterial infections in a weakened throat area and chest area
But which specific honey is best? We've got four recommendations for you. (By the way, if the honey has crystallised then gently warm it on a radiator overnight. I put a thin book or pamphlet on the radiator and then drap a towel over the jar, trapping the warmth around the jar.)
(Please note that Government advice is that honey should not be given to children under the age of one. You should always seek your doctors advice if you find your illness is not shifting.)
1. Thomas' Greek Oak Honey
. Greek honey is particularly thick - and the thicker the honey the better. It will coat the throat for longer. Oak honey is one of our most antibacterial honeys - so great at preventing any follow on bacterial infections. A few years back we had some Oak tested against a Manuka and it came out as more effective than the Manuka in fighting the strep bacteria. Find the honey here.
2. Luisa's Forest Honey
comes from mountain forests in Asturias. It's a wild and uncultivated region. Her Forest is thick and dark, containing Chestnut and Oak, both honeys that will cost your throat and fight secondary infections. Find Luisa's Forest here
3. Ramon's Calluna
(a kind of heather). It has a jelly like consistency, unique amongst honeys. This means that it is quite sticky. It has also featured in various scientific studies and been shown to have quite a strong antibacterial effect -also beating Manuka in some tests I have seen. You can find Ramon's Calluna here
, it was a winner in the Great Taste Awards and it is top honey. (The antibacterial properties in honey partly come from a mild solution of hydrogen peroxide, which is naturally found in honey, especially dark honeys like Calluna.)
4. Thomas' Thyme.
Thyme is know as a medicinal antibacterial plant and thyme honey is used by many people as a therapeutic honey. It is also a milder honey, that many children prefer. Thomas' Greek Thyme would be ideal as it's also very thick. It is here.
Finally, what's the best way to use honey when you have a cough/cold/sore throat?
Basically, you want to coat the throat in the most effective way. Most people have a honey drink but the best way is to take a teaspoon of honey and let it gradually slip down and coat your throat. Tip your head back a little and move it around so that the honey the whole throat, not just one side. Try not to eat or drink anything immediately after so that the honey has a chance to do its work.
You can supplement this with honey drinks, like the one here
that you can store in your fridge.