At this time of year there is one ingredient that features prominently in many Jewish holiday recipes. Honey is a staple eaten plain with apples or challah, in baked goods, even in vegetable dishes like tzimmes (carrot casserole).
Now it seems, according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics, honey could also be a useful remedy for children suffering from persistent coughs due to colds or the flu.
At a pediatric medical clinic in Petah Tikva, just outside of Tel Aviv, Professor Herman Avner Cohen and his team measured the effects of honey on night-time coughs in children suffering from upper respiratory tract infections due to colds.
Over 300 children between the ages of one to five were given honey or a placebo silan (rub syrup), a date extract, 30 minutes before going to bed. Parents were then asked to record their children's cough frequency, cough severity and the sleep quality of both parent and child.
Parents recorded that there was significant improvement in both test groups. However, it was found that the improvement was greater in the children that received the real honey.
Researchers concluded that honey had a higher rate of relief for children's coughs at night and that it could be a preferable treatment for children dealing with upper respiratory infections.
It was cautioned, however, that honey should only be given to children over the age of one, as the sweet treat contains botulinum, allergens found to be harmful to babies under a year old.
Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life