For years, you've used it to sweeten your tea. You've drizzled it on top of your morning yogurt. And apparently, it's way easier to catch flies with it than vinegar. Honey is one of nature's most decadent ingredients that's so versatile, it's easy to forget how often you actually use it on a daily basis. But, it might be more than just a great way to sweeten up your snacks and beverages: According to a recent study, it may be even better at treating coughs and colds than your over-the-counter medicine of choice, CNN reports.
Researching physicians from Oxford University's Medical School and Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences used data from 14 separate studies that compared the use of honey with traditional cold medications when it comes to treating upper respiratory tract infections (or URTIs). The findings show that the use of honey as a home remedy for symptom relief was more effective than its pharmaceutical counterparts.
"Honey was superior to usual care for the improvement of symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections," the study authors wrote in the journal BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine.
Researchers were quick to recommend that physicians use the data to recommend honey to patients with the sniffles, as it's a safer, natural, and more easily accessible option compared to traditional prescriptions (which are often overprescribed).
"[Honey] provides a widely available and cheap alternative to antibiotics," the study authors wrote. "Honey could help efforts to slow the spread of antimicrobial resistance, but further high quality, placebo-controlled trials are needed."
This is not the first study to touch upon the antibacterial and health properties of honey. Previous research has found that it can effectively combat salmonella, E. coli, and dozens of other bacterial strains. And specific types of honey, including manuka, have been found to help patients fight against post-surgery drug-resistant super bacteria.
For more, check out these 5 daily essentials you need to boost your immunity, according to a nutritionist.