It’s been a good month for honey research.
National newspapers around the world covered a story that honey is superior to other treatments for coughs and upper-respiratory tract infections.
The new research from Oxford University1 is the latest in a series of expert backing recommending people try honey.
In fact, it’s even Government advice in the UK.
In guidance published by Public Health England and the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) in 20182, the committee recommends what many of us have known for years: honey should be the first line of treatment for coughs.
And it is advice that Dr Hilary Jones, Television GP and Health Professional for more than 20 years also supports.
Hilary is a big fan of Manuka honey, and we are proud to have been working with him as an expert for several years.
Talking to us about the research into honey, Hilary commented:
"The advice from Public Health England is to try honey for a cough before visiting your GP."
"I recommend 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 recent scientific findings follows experts' concerns that doctors too often prescribe antibiotics for coughs and colds, when honey would work well instead to help symptoms.
In an interview, 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.3
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.4
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."
And if you are buying a jar of honey to keep at hand this Winter, why not upgrade to a New Zealand Manuka honey?
As the Oxford University researchers note, not all honey is created equal.
Their report states that honey is a complex and diverse substance, so some types of honey may be more effective in treating coughs and colds that others.
What makes Manuka honey different to other honey, is its unique anti-microbial properties that other types of honey do not display.
The naturally occurring compound that gives Manuka these properties is called Methylglyoxal, or MGO for short.
The strength of Manuka honey is usually measured in MGO level. The higher the number the more milligrams of MGO is contained in the pot of honey.
Or as Dr Hilary told us: “The greater the MGO number on the pot, the higher the anti-microbial activity in the Manuka honey.”
You can read more on the latest scientific research here: Coughs, colds, sore throats? Experts recommend honey.
4. 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.
(as cited by NICE in https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng120/resources/cough-acute-antimicrobial-prescribing-pdf-66141652166341)