It’s not uncommon during the winter months for coughing, sneezing, runny noses, and a general feeling of being unwell to plague many of us. But did you know that honey is a wonderful, natural treatment of cold ailments?

Organisations as reputable as the World Health Organization (WHO) cite honey as a potential treatment for cough and cold symptoms.1

Multiple research studies from across the globe have proved the effectiveness of honey in reducing cough and associated symptoms. A Canadian study from 2014 found that a single dose of half a teaspoon of honey before bedtime diminished coughing and the discomfort experienced by children and their parents.

Guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Public Health England (PHE) suggested honey could be used to relieve cough symptoms in people aged five and older.

Unique Qualities

Medical honey scientist and founder of Australian biomedical company Melcare, Anthony Moloney, said that honey has many unique properties that make it ideally suited for use in a range of medical products and was especially suited for managing the symptoms of dry cough and the common cold.

“As studies show, honey can be used to help reduce the symptoms of dry cough. At Melcare, we use standardised Australian medical honeys in many of our products, including our Family Dry Cough Syrup and throat spray, which helps relieve dry cough and throat irritations,” he said.

Three top tips on using honey to treat a cough:

1) A spoonful of honey before bed has been shown to reduce night-time coughing, which might make it easier to sleep. It’s always great to try to soothe a sore throat before bed.

2) In a tradition that goes back a long time, a spoonful of honey mixed into hot water with lemon is easy to drink and can help soothe a sore throat or coughing.

3) Use reputable medicinal products that are derived from honey.

“It’s always important to speak with your doctor or a medical expert if you or your children are experiencing fever, dry cough and tiredness to ensure the cough is not a symptom of a more serious condition,” Anthony said.

What do you like using honey for? Tell us in the comments below.


  1. Department of Child and Adolescent Health. Cough and Cold Remedies for the treatment of Acute Respiratory Infections in Young Children. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2001.

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  • My mother-in-law has recovered from breast cancer, and every night for the last ten years she has taken a spoonful of Manuka honey before bed. She swears by it. Its important to have the right honey though, and these can only be found at the chemist.


  • It’s hard to find good quality honey. So many of the ones in supermarkets are just full of sugar. I love honey on toast on top of peanut butter.


  • I use only pure raw honey and don’t heat it as it will lose it’s nutrients and beautiful benefit. So baking and cooking with honey is a big no for me. Certainly beautiful for sore throats and lovely as topping on bread, pancakes, yoghurt etc


  • I always give my kids lemon and honey when symptops starting.


  • The last time I tried honey with hot water, I threw up. I just eat it on toast now.


  • i always give my little ones some honey when they complain of a sore throat and they say it makes a big difference!


  • Good to know. I hate sore throats esp. with the threat of virus now.


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