When it comes to colds and coughs, most of us look for relief in all the wrong places.
Your first choice is probably your local drugstore. You’ll find dozens of cough suppressants, antihistamines, decongestants, pain relievers, and other cold medications to choose from.
If you go to your doctor, you’ll likely get a prescription for an antibiotic.
A new analysis shows there’s a natural remedy that works better than anything you’ll get at a pharmacy.
Oxford University doctors reviewed 14 studies that compared honey with over-the-counter cold medicines.
The researchers found that honey is “superior to usual care” to treat sore throats, congestion, and coughs.
Besides relieving cold and cough symptoms, honey is also an effective antibiotic. That’s helpful for illnesses caused by a bacterial infection.
But most colds are caused by viruses. Antibiotics, which only fight bacterial infections, are useless against them. That doesn’t stop doctors from prescribing them anyway.
The resulting antibiotic overuse has given rise to antibiotic-resistant germs. They are virtually untreatable. These superbugs now kill more than 35,000 Americans a year.[i]
What’s more, unnecessary antibiotics needlessly expose patients to side effects.
Antibiotics can cause permanent, disabling damage to muscles, joints, and nerves. And they destroy beneficial probiotic gut bacteria that are important for digestion, immunity, and brain function. They have been linked to cancer and type 2 diabetes. You don’t want to take antibiotics unless you absolutely have to.
“(Honey) provides a widely available and cheap alternative to antibiotics,” the study authors concluded. They also said honey could “help efforts to slow the spread of antimicrobial resistance.”[ii]
The findings are backed up by a study in the journal Archives of Medical Research. Scientists found honey inhibited 13 different types of bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella.[iii]
The Worst Kind of Cough Syrup
There’s something else you should know…
One over-the-counter cough medication may be particularly risky during the pandemic.
New research shows that dextromethorphan, a common active ingredient in dozens of over-the-counter cough syrups, capsules, and lozenges appeared to boost replication of the coronavirus when tested under laboratory conditions.
This doesn’t necessarily mean it does the same thing in the human body. But it is possible, researchers say, that dextromethorphan could make COVID-19 worse.
Researchers at the Pasteur Institute in Paris introduced dextromethorphan into African green monkey cells. The monkeys are widely used for medical research because they are genetically similar to humans. African green monkeys are susceptible to COVID-19, just like people are.
When scientists added coronavirus to the monkey cells that were dosed with dextromethorphan, the germs grew faster and more abundantly than normal.[iv]
This effect has yet to be confirmed in humans. But in the meantime, the researchers recommend that people avoid medications containing dextromethorphan if they have or think they may have COVID-19.[v]
The Sweet Truth About Honey
The next time you get a cold or cough, reach for honey—but not just any honey.
Most honey, probably the kind you have sitting in your pantry, is heavily processed. Your best bet is 100% raw organic honey. It hasn’t been heated, pasteurized, or processed in any way.
Raw honey contains vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. The darker the honey, the more nutrients and flavor. It’s just as sweet as sugar, only much healthier. It also has antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and antioxidant properties. You can buy raw honey at health food stores, online, and at farmer’s markets.
The next time you have a cold, look to nature, not the pharmacy, for relief.
Editor’s Note: Ever wonder why some people seem to catch every bug that’s going around and others never get sick? Discover how to make your immune system so powerful that you won’t ever have to worry about getting colds and the flu.
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