Honey is best for coughs. But not all honeys are equal. Here's why
- learn how honey helps calm your cough - why raw honey is best - see below our guide to the best three honeys for coughs
Use honey first for a cough, new guidelines say
The papers, TV and radio have been full of stories about how honey should be the first point of call if you have a cough. This is because new guidelines have just been issued by Public Health England (PHE) and the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice).
They’re worried about the amount of antibiotics people take and the burden on doctors' surgeries, when a ‘home cure’ could resolve the issue.
And honey is a key recommendation
This is hardly news to Raw Honey Shop customers and millions of people around the world.
But it is great that the value of honey is being recognised at the highest level for the relief it can provide.
What causes your cough and how can honey help?
When your mucous membranes are inflamed and irritated a throat reflex, in response to the irritation, makes you cough.
So how can honey help?
Honey is a demulcent, that is a substance that can form 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, some honeys are better than others for coughs.)
This protective film helps to reduce the irritation and calm the cough.
Pre-emptive use of honey in the early stages of a cough can help to relieve the inflammation meaning a child (or adult) stands a better chance of recovering quickly.
Which honey is best?
You need a thick honey, with the added benefit of antibacterial properties.
Raw artisan honeys, straight from the beekeeper are often thicker and more viscous than commercial honeys that you buy in the supermarket.
If you examinethe label of a honey on the shelf at your local supermarket, you will often see the following phrase: “A blend of EU & non EU honeys.”
Most of the honey you see on supermarket shelves is a bland blend of honey from all over the world – from places like China, Argentina, Ukraine, IndiaandTurkey.
How can you knowanything about the source of the honey if it comes from so many different places?
Was it produced close to pollution sources?
Was it produced in a place where crops are sprayed with lethal poisons? (Yes, sure of course it will have been tested and safe to eat but with the quantities of honey the supermarkets need there is no way they will have checked all the beekeepers.)
Did the beekeeper treat his bees well and leave them enoughhoney ?
Which flowers was it from?
The result is a bland honey which has no real character. It’s like a cheap instant coffee compared to real coffee from carefully roasted beans.
Raw honey is honey that is basically as it was in the hive. It needs to be coarse filtered to take out any debris but that is it.
You will find that raw honeys have properties according to the plant or tree that it comes from. Dark honeys, in particular are more antibacterial and higher in antioxidants.
Here is our selection of honeys to aid coughs and sore throats
Calluna is a kind of heather and it produces a dark strong honey. 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 -which could discourage secondary bacterial infections in a weakened throat area.
(The antibacterial properties in honey partly come from a mild solution of hydrogen peroxide, which is found naturally in honey, especially dark honeys like Calluna.)
Eucalyptus. Eucalyptus oil is known to improve respiratory conditions and may have anti-inflammatory effects. A lot of Raw Honey Shop customers use this when they have a cough.
Thyme itself is know as a medicinal antibacterial plant and thyme honey is used by many people as a therapeutic honey.
Please note that honey should not be given to children under the age of 1. This is because very rarely honey can contain spores of a kind of botulism that can affect very young children.