Upper respiratory infections usually affect the nose and throat and the large airways (bronchi) that lead to the lungs.
There is already evidence of the benefits of using honey in children, and it has long been used as a home remedy for coughs and colds, but the evidence for its effectiveness in a range of upper respiratory symptoms in adults has not been systematically reviewed.
To address this issue, scientists recently studied research data from related studies comparing the use of honey and the foods that contained it with usual medical care materials, most of which are antihistamines, cough suppressants and pain relievers, and they found 14 clinical trials suitable for those studies, in which 1761 participants of different ages participated. .
The analysis of the studies’ data indicated, according to what was reported by the “Guardian” website, that honey was more effective than the usual treatments in view of improving symptoms, especially the frequency and severity of the cough, and two studies showed that symptoms lasted one to two days less among those who were treated with honey.
However, the researchers, Heba Allah Abul-Qasim from Oxford University School of Medicine, and Charlotte Albury and Joseph Lee from the Nuffield Department of Primary Health Care Sciences, indicated that honey is a complex substance rather than a standardized product.
They also indicated that only two studies included the use of a placebo, saying that more of these studies must be done before final conclusions can be reached.
The authors publish in BMJ Evidence Based Medicine that “upper respiratory infections are the most common reason for prescribing antibiotics. In this regard, researchers suggest that honey may provide an alternative when doctors want to prescribe something to safely treat upper respiratory symptoms.”
They concluded, “Honey is a regular remedy that is used frequently and is well known to patients. It is also inexpensive, readily available and has limited harm. When doctors want to prescribe a treatment for upper respiratory infections, we recommend honey as an alternative to antibiotics.”
“Honey is more effective and less harmful than the usual treatment alternatives, and it avoids causing harm through antimicrobial resistance,” they assert.