Cough is a frequently reported childhood condition, that nearly all of us underwent through when we were kids. It is a voluntary response of the body to clear mucus, irritants or other foreign substances from the airways. In rare instances, coughing becomes severe and chronic. However, it does affect the normal sleep and daily activities of the kid. The hacking sound of cough disturbs other family members too. Thus, using honey for cough in children is considered to treat the condition naturally.
Medicinal Benefits of Honey
The use of honey by mankind can be traced back to 8000 years. It is the oldest known sweetener having curative properties. The effectiveness of honey in soothing cough, treating wounds and skin symptoms are documented in traditional medicine. It is a storehouse for sugars, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The medicinal benefits of honey are attributed to its antioxidants, ant-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. These medicinal benefits make honey a reliable cure for cough in children.
How to Use Honey for Treating your Child's Cough?
When it comes to advocating cough suppressants and other cough medications, they are not free of adverse effects. And kids being sensitive to drugs, home remedies for alleviating cough are better alternatives. As per the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) guidelines, over-the-counter cough medicines are not safe for children below 6 years of age. Thus, parents prefer resorting to natural ways to treat cough. Honey is the choice of alternative treatment, which can be used in different forms.
One word of caution regarding use of honey for cough in children is not to feed infants who are below 1 year. Upon studies, it is shown that honey contains botulinum spores, which act as triggers for botulism (a type of food poisoning), especially for babies having an underdeveloped digestive system. But what about giving honey for soothing cough in children? There are several ways of using honey for cough treatment, of which some are explained below.
Honey for Nocturnal Cough
A study was conducted to check the effectiveness of buckwheat honey in addressing night-time cough in children (age group 2 - 18 years). The participants were children who had been suffering from respiratory tract infection associated with cough and sleep difficulty for the last 1 week. A single dose of buckwheat honey (5 - 10 ml) was given half an hour prior to sleep. The result was, they got relief from nocturnal cough.
Using Manuka Honey
There are several brands of honey in the market. However, the Manuka honey with the UMF logo (Unique Manuka Factor) is gaining popularity for use in therapeutic applications. With a strong antibacterial property, it is touted as a potent remedy in alternative medicine. For curing children cough, give a teaspoon of this honey before bedtime everyday, until cough disappears completely.
Honey with Lemon
Not all children like the taste and flavor of honey. In such a case, you can prepare a concoction of warm water, honey and lemon for cough in children. Honey and lemon is a great combination to combat children cough. While lemon neutralizes the body's pH, honey kills the causal pathogens. So, prepare a solution by mixing pure honey, freshly squeezed lemon juice and warm water, and let your child drink it.
Herbal Tea with Honey
The health benefits of herbal tea in treating common cold and cough need no introduction. This alternative treatment is effective for children cough too. Boil 1 cup water and steep 1½ tablespoon basil leaves in it for 4 minutes. Strain and sweeten it with pure honey. You can also add a slice of fresh lemon zest, and give it to your child. This holy basil tea with honey will help in reducing your child's cough.
This way, you can use honey as a remedy for cough in children without worrying about the typical side effects of cough medicine, like sleepiness and dizziness. Honey provides a soothing effect to the throat and relieves cough. Besides, avoiding allergenic substances, like dust, pet dander, pollen and fumes is necessary to cure cough in both children and adults.