Honey, also known as nature’s nectar, is a reservoir of various medicinal properties. It is rich in antioxidants, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin B3 (niacin). Honey is an ingredient which is cheap, readily available and has virtually no side effects. Recently, scientists from Oxford University compared the effectiveness of honey to that of antibiotics in case of cold and cough.
Oxford study: Honey is better than antibiotics for treating cold and cough
Experts at Oxford University reviewed 14 studies, which included 1,761 participants and was based on determining the impact of honey against cough suppressants, antihistamines and painkillers while treating upper respiratory tract infections which include a cough and cold.
The result of the study showed that honey was 36% more effective at reducing cough frequency and 44% more effective at reducing cough severity as compared to the prescribed antibiotics. The scientists concluded that honey can help in relieving coughs, sore throats and congestion more effectively than other medications, without any harmful side effects.
Moreover, honey also reduces the time a person takes to recover from an upper respiratory tract infection by up to two days. Researchers believe that the use of honey to treat infections can help in reducing the overprescription of antibiotics, which is increasing the cases of antimicrobial resistance in people.
Honey should not be given to children under the age of one year as honey contains bacteria which can produce toxins in a baby's intestines, leading to a potentially fatal condition called infant botulism.
The many benefits of honey
1. Honey to relieve cough: A study published in the journal Pharmacy showed that the cough syrups which had glycerol, honey and lemon as its ingredients were helpful in treating cough in both children and adults. You can add a few drops of lemon and some grated ginger in a tablespoon of honey. Consume it once daily to get relief from dry cough and congestion.
2. Honey for better skin: Honey has antioxidant and antibacterial properties which prevent acne and simultaneously soothe the skin too. Make a face mask by adding 1tbsp of honey into 1tbsp of rosewater and apply it on your face and neck. Leave it to dry for 10 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water.
3. Honey for chest congestion: As established, honey helps in relieving the chest congestion. Studies have shown that honey has antiviral and antibacterial properties which help in relieving infections that are caused due to different bacteria and viruses. Studies have shown that buckwheat honey can be used to treat upper respiratory tract infections in children, irrespective of getting standard medications. For this, consume one tablespoon of honey every 3 to 4 hours, until the symptoms ease.
4. Honey reduces cholesterol: Studies have shown that honey can help in reducing the levels of low-density lipoprotein (also called bad cholesterol and LDL) and triglyceride within 30 days. A study including 70 men showed that consumption of 70 grams of honey daily for 4 weeks can reduce the levels of LDL and total cholesterol, while simultaneously increasing the levels of good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol).
5. Honey for hair: Honey is an excellent antioxidant and humectant, which can help in retaining the moisture of your scalp and also reduces the damage caused by free radicals. Studies have shown that massaging the scalp for a few minutes with honey can help in the preventing itching and also helps in removing dry patches from the scalp within a few weeks. Honey also helps in preventing hair loss.
For more information, read our article on Honey.
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