Advice published by Public Health England and the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) confirms what many of us have known for years: honey should be the first line of treatment for coughs.1
The advice follows experts’ concerns that doctors too often prescribe antibiotics for coughs and colds.
People suffering from a cough should drink honey and lemon rather than take antibiotics in the battle against superbugs, the recommendations have declared.
Experts are increasingly worried that the over-use of antibiotics allows superbugs to evolve and resist treatment – making antibiotics useless against more serious infections.
And if using a honey, why not upgrade to a Manuka honey this Winter, for its proven anti-microbial benefits that other honey does not display?
Dr Hilary Jones, Television GP and Health Professional for more than 20 years, is a big fan of Manuka honey and recommends the award-winning Manuka Doctor brand from New Zealand.
“The advice from Public Health England is to try honey for a cough before visiting your GP” said Dr Jones.
“I recommend this Manuka honey to all my patients this Winter, but if you are going to buy, be sure to choose a brand that has been independently tested for strength and purity, like Manuka Doctor.”
“The greater the MGO number on the pot, the higher the anti-microbial activity in the Manuka honey.”
Dr Tessa Lewis of NICE said: “In the committee’s view, taking a spoonful of honey or a honey and lemon drink is a good first step for self-treatment of a cough. Honey is a natural remedy which has been tried and tested for generations.”2
NICE’s paper cited a 2014 study of 568 people which found a 10g spoonful of honey significantly reduced the frequency and severity of coughs within a day.3
Dr Lewis added that babies under one year should not be given honey due to the risk of infant botulism.
She said: “If someone has a runny nose, sore throat and cough we would expect the cough to settle over two to three weeks and antibiotics are not needed.
If the cough is getting worse or the person feels very unwell or breathless then they would need to contact their GP.”
3. Oduwole O, Meremikwu MM, Oyo‐Ita A, Udoh EE. Honey for acute cough in children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 12. Art. No.: CD007094. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007094.pub4. https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD007094.pub4/full (as cited by NICE in https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng120/resources/cough-acute-antimicrobial-prescribing-pdf-66141652166341)