Can honey cure a cold?

Immune System Expert
Ask a question

29 August 2018

What does the research say?

Lots of research has been conducted into the effects of honey on cold and flu symptoms and so far the results have been promising.

Coughing is a common cold symptom that can disrupt sleep and lead to sore throats but honey has been shown to reduce this.  In one particular study children aged two and over who were suffering from upper respiratory tract infections were given two teaspoons of honey at bedtime. The results showed that this reduced night time coughing and improved their sleep. Also, here researchers concluded honey was just as effective as dextromethorphan, an ingredient that is often used in over-the-counter cough medicines.  

How does honey help?

Unfortunately it isn’t exactly clear how honey helps the likes of coughing and sore throats however, it could be to do with the texture. Honey is thick and soft meaning it could have a soothing effect on irritated throats. 

Other benefits

Avoids need for antibiotics 

Antibiotics have been in the headlines a lot recently with many experts describing a crisis situation. That’s because our reliance on these drugs has increased massively over the past few years and this means they could lose their effectiveness in the near future.2 As a result, many doctors and scientists are now on the search for an alternative and when it comes to colds, honey could well be the answer!

New guidelines were recently published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and Public Health England which recommend that honey should be the first port of all for those suffering from coughs. This will help to treat sore throats and coughs whilst also helping to avoid the antibiotic crisis.3  

Also, these recommendations state that antibiotics actually do little to improve symptoms so as there has been some positive research around honey, this offers up an effective alternative. 

No side effects

Many of the cold remedies we turn to time and time again come can come with side effects such as drowsiness. Therefore, honey offers a natural solution to cold symptoms whilst also avoiding the downside of conventional treatments.

Type of honey

Your local supermarket will probably contain a range of different honey products however, if you are using it to treat your cold symptoms then quality is essential!

I’d recommend mixing honey with a cup of warm water and some lemon for the ultimate cold treatment. It’s both refreshing and comforting and should see you on the road to recovery after a couple of days!

Alternatively, if you’re loaded up with the cold and are after a bit of relaxation then Manuka honey is ideal! Manuka honey has anti-inflammatory properties that could help soothe a sore throat whilst the steam from the hot drink itself could reduce nasal congestion. 

Overall the drink has a sweet, pleasant taste that should help you unwind!


Although honey can bring a range of benefits, there are a few things to bear in mind if either yourself or a family member comes down with the cold.

  • First of all, and most importantly, honey is not recommended for children under the age of one because it sometimes contains bacteria that can cause infant botulism.
  • If your cough gets worse, you feel unwell or breathless then do visit your GP for further advice
  • Antibiotics may be necessary when a cough is part of a more serious underlying illness, or when the person has other chronic health conditions
  • Honey won’t cure a cold, but it can help to reduce symptoms!

Other cold remedies

Have a read of my blog ‘How to beat colds and flu’ fast for my top tips on beating colds quickly. In the meantime though, you may find it useful to try one of our herbal remedies.

Our Sinuforce Nasal Spray for example, can provide relief from nasal congestion and catarrh which often become troublesome during a cold. 

For other symptoms such as headaches and muscle ache then you could turn to our Echinaforce Hot Drink. This is made from fresh Echinacea which supports the immune system. The addition black elderberry on the other hand, gives it a fruity taste.

So, with the availability of herbal remedies and natural products such as honey, you should be able to shift that frustrating cold quickly!




Echinaforce® Echinacea Drops

For relieving the symptoms of colds and flu. Also in 50ml & 100ml drops.
More info

A.Vogel Echinaforce Hot Drink Cold & Flu Echinacea concentrate for oral solution with Elderberry for the relief of cold and flu symptoms, 100ml


£ 12.99

find your local stockist

Echinaforce® Echinacea Hot Drink. Soothing and palatable hot drink.
More info

What's being asked

How long do colds last?

Most colds will not last longer than 10 days. Of course, some people recover sooner than others, and ...
Read more >

What is Flu?

Flu, or influenza, is a specific infection of the upper respiratory tract caused by a group of ...
Read more >

Is sinusitis causing my headache?

Sinusitis can cause headaches but there could be other reasons for your headache. For more ...
Read more >

How long does bronchitis last and will it go away on its own?

The duration of the inflammation caused by bronchitis really depends on the type of bronchitis that ...
Read more >

How healthy are you?

Take our quick quiz to discover just how healthy your immune system is, as well as some useful information about your general health and wellbeing!

Check now

UK 5-day pollen forecast

Stay up to date with the latest pollen information by finding your local pollen forecast from over 30,000 locations across the UK.

Get your local pollen count now

Healthy & nutritious dinner ideas

Get new recipes in your inbox every week. Sign up now