Kenya’s dark honey best for treating cough in children - study

Christopher Nzuki holding a honey comb with bees
Kenya’s dark honey is better for treating cough in children than commercial syrups, a new report shows.

The 10-year review published in April shows honey, specifically the dark type from Kenya, offers best results compared to cough syrups, other types of honey, placebo or no treatment.

“Honey was most effective in relieving symptoms associated with the common cold whilst the drugs or placebo offered no benefit,” wrote the researchers in the East African Medical Journal.

The review compared studies that tested effectiveness of various honey types; from Asia, US, Middle East and Kenya in relieving cough in children.

The studies, covering 899 children aged 12 months to 18 years in Iran, Israel, the USA, Brazil and Kenya, had pitted their local honey types against commercial syrups.

Honey and placebo

The studies had also compared honey to placebo or no treatment at all.

The Cochrane review, appearing in April, is the third within a decade on cough treatment and most comprehensive compared with the others published in 2010 and 2012.

The review says while the search for best cough treatment is not conclusive, Kenya’s dark honey has so far shown the best results.

Honey was found to relieve cough symptoms, reduce duration and improve sleep to a greater extent than no treatment, commercial syrups and or placebo. A placebo does not contain medical value, and is used in research.

The review dubbed Honey for acute cough in children, appearing in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, included a recent study by the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi.

The Aga Khan team, led by Dr Adil Warris, involved 145 children. The medical researchers put 45 of the children on placebo, 57 on honey and 43 on commercial cough medicines. []

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