NMA: Nonprescription Medicines Academy

Honey Better Than Placebo for Nocturnal Cough

August 29th, 2012

A single-night study that included 270 Israeli children 1 to 5 years of age provides additional information about the efficacy of honey for upper respiratory tract infection (URI)–associated cough.

Children were eligible for the study if they presented to one of six general pediatric community clinics with a chief complaint of nocturnal cough that was attributed to a URI (defined by the presence of cough and rhinorrhea for 7 days or less). Participants received a single 10-g dose (approximately 1 teaspoon) of eucalyptus honey, citrus honey, labiatae honey, or placebo (silan date extract) administered 30 minutes before bedtime. A survey was administered to parents on the day of presentation and again the next day (after the study treatment had been administered). Main outcome measures were cough frequency, cough severity, bothersome nature of cough, and child and parent sleep quality.

There was a significant improvement in symptom scores from the night before treatment to the night of treatment for all three honey groups and the placebo group. However, the improvement was greater in the honey groups for all of the main outcome measures.

The authors concluded that honey can be considered an effective and safe treatment for cough and sleep difficulty associated with URI in children older than 1 year of age.

Pediatrics. 2012 Aug 6. [Epub ahead of print]