A trio of researchers from the Univerity of Oxford, UK, published a metastudy indicating that honey should be the treatment of choice for mild respiratory upper tract infections instead of other usual care treatments, including antibiotics.
The aim of the metastudy was to find ways of curbing antibiotic resistance determined by over-prescription in upper respiratory tract infections in primary care. And when looking for an effective alternative to antibiotic prescribing, the researchers turned to honey. Honey is a lay remedy but it also has an emerging evidence base for its use. Its antimicrobial properties are well documented, and various guidelines recommend honey for acute cough in children.
The Oxford meta-study combined 1,345 unique records in 14 studies and established that, compared with usual care, honey improved combined symptom score, cough frequency, and cough severity.
"When clinicians wish to prescribe for upper respiratory tract infections, we would recommend honey as an alternative to antibiotics."
So not only that honey is superior to usual care for the improvement of symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections, but it provides a widely available and cheap alternative to antibiotics. Using more honey in mild upper respiratory tract infections could help efforts to slow the spread of antimicrobial resistance.
The study appeared in BMJ Evidence-based Medicine.