Honey is used since ancient times as a nutritional element in cosmetics and medicine. We all know that honey has many health benefits. We would have heard our grandma saying that honey is good for soothing your throat and reducing cough. Some of us would have tried a mixture of honey and lime early morning to reduce belly fat. A few of us have also applied honey to our face to reduce acne and oily skin.
But is honey just limited to these benefits? No, each drop of honey has more benefits than you would even imagine. In this blog, we will unbox the respiratory health benefits of honey that might not be known to everyone.
Cough is a common problem that mainly affects children. The most common symptom among all people with respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis, COPD, and tuberculosis is cough. This may not just impact their daytime activities but may also reduce their quality of life.
Most of us would just go to a pharmacy and get a cough syrup which would generally contain Dextromethorphan (it is a medicine that is usually present in all the cough syrups for dry cough), but did you know that honey is more effective than dextromethorphan?
Honey is known to provide a soothing effect on the throat. A study showed that a single dose of honey was more effective than dextromethorphan in reducing the frequency and severity of cough in children. It also helped in improving the sleep quality of children.
Acts as an antibiotic:
Streptococcus pyogenes and Streptococcus pneumoniae are the most common bacteria that affect the respiratory tract and may cause strep throat, acute sinusitis, otitis media, etc.
The most commonly used antibiotics for respiratory infections include amoxicillin, azithromycin and amoxicillin-clavulanic acid. They show action against a wide range of bacteria.
A study has shown that a mixture of honey and lemon juice is more effective against these bacteria when compared to the most commonly used antibiotics. i.e., Azithromycin and Amoxicillin-Clavulanic acid.
The antimicrobial property of most kinds of honey is primarily due to the production of hydrogen peroxide.
Other ways by which honey kills bacteria include-
- Due to high sugar content (high osmolarity)
- Due to low pH (acidic nature)
- Due to its hygroscopic nature. i.e., honey can draw moisture content from the environment, which can dehydrate microbes
Reduces inflammation in sinusitis, asthma, nasal polyps and bronchitis:
Sinusitis, asthma, nasal polyps and bronchitis are types of inflammatory conditions. Due to inflammation in different areas like the nose, sinuses, throat and airways, people experience different symptoms like blocked nose, nasal and sinus congestion, difficulty swallowing, cough, wheezing, breathing difficulty, shortness of breath, etc.
The presence of flavonoids and phenolic compounds in honey shows anti-inflammatory properties.
Oxidative stress plays an important role in ageing and the development of chronic diseases, including respiratory conditions. During oxidative stress, the body releases free- radicals and reactive oxygen species, which are harmful to the body.
Honey is known to possess antioxidant properties that may help to deal with the ill effects of oxidative stress.
The antioxidant properties of honey are due to the presence of flavonoids, phenolic acids, vitamins (such as C and E), enzymes and trace elements. The antioxidant property of honey is directly related to its brightness. i.e., the honey with greater brightness will have more antioxidants.
Prolonged inflammation and oxidative stress may lead to different human cancer. Since honey shows anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (phenolic compounds), it can be used in the treatment of different cancers as an adjunct therapy.
Immunity building properties:
There are many ways by which honey can improve immunity such as:
- It helps to fight against the infections causing microbes.
- It improves the digestive system.
- It provides a high nutritional value to our diet.
- The antioxidant properties of honey help to reduce stress and improve immunity.
How BIBO helps!
Breathofy syrup: Bibo has launched Breathofy syrup that contains 40% honey, which is more than any mainstream brand in India. With maximum honey, you can get the maximum benefits. It helps to manage respiratory conditions including sore throat, cough, cold, allergies, sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis, COPD, smoker's cough and lungs.
- Paul IM, Beiler J, McMonagle A, Shaffer ML, Duda L, Berlin CM Jr. Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007 Dec;161(12):1140-6.
- Samarghandian S, Farkhondeh T, Samini F. Honey and Health: A Review of Recent Clinical Research. Pharmacognosy Res. 2017 Apr-Jun;9(2):121-127.
- Eteraf-Oskouei T, Najafi M. Traditional and modern uses of natural honey in human diseases: a review. Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2013 Jun;16(6):731-42. PMID: 23997898; PMCID: PMC3758027.