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Is honey more effective than antibiotics in treating colds?

8th September 2020
Posted by Aston Avery

A new study has shown honey to be more effective in treating colds and respiratory infections than antibiotics. The study published by the University of Oxford found honey was on average 36% more effective at reducing cough frequency, while also cutting cough severity by 44%. Additionally, symptoms lasted one to two days less when compared with antibiotics.

Antibiotic resistance is predicted to kill more people than cancer annually by 2050. However, despite this rise, there has been no new classes of antibiotics discovered since the 1980s, leading many to seek alternative treatment in the form of honey. Many doctors are now recommending honey as a suitable alternative in the fight against antibiotic resistance.

Honey contains natural antibiotics called reactive oxygen species which destroy bacteria and are produced naturally by the body to fight infection. The TA (total activity rating) of each honey, represents the antimicrobial power of the product. However, not all honey can provide these health benefits. Some sources report that the pasteurized honey we find on supermarket shelves contains few, if any of the health benefits listed above. This is because pasteurization exposes the honey to high temperatures, destroying honey’s natural properties.

Aston spoke to Shamus Ogilvy, honey guru at Nectar & Hive to discuss the research in further detail.