Honey is better than many common remedies for upper respiratory tract infections, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis in BMJ Evidence Based Medicine.
Researchers examined data from 14 randomised trials comparing honey with placebo or various usual-care remedies in patients with upper respiratory tract infections. Among the findings:
• Two of three studies comparing honey with placebo showed a beneficial effect on combined symptoms.
• Honey was superior to usual care for improving cough severity, cough frequency, and combined symptoms.
• When usual-care remedies were examined separately, honey outperformed diphenhydramine and was similar to dextromethorphan.
The researchers conclude: "When clinicians wish to prescribe for [upper respiratory infections], we would recommend honey as an alternative to antibiotics. Honey is more effective and less harmful than usual care alternatives and avoids causing harm through antimicrobial resistance."