Honey has been my go to for a sore throat for as long as I can remember. Every scratchy throat and unrelenting cough was met with a spoonful of honey, or honey and lemon, and my throat always felt better and the cough soothed. As a kid, I thought that the sticky honey simply coated my throat and made everything feel better, as an adult I did I bit of digging and found out the real reasons honey is great for sore throats and nagging coughs.
Honey has anti-inflammatory properties that lessen inflammation and swelling. Less swelling means there is less discomfort while eating, drinking or simply swallowing. The honey also soothes irritated skin and membranes.
Natural unprocessed honey contains glucose-oxidase an enzyme which fights against infections. Sore throats are commonly caused by a bacterial or viral infection, overuse, environmental factors, and allergies. Consuming a spoonful of honey will fight that infection at the source and increase the rate of healing. Raw honey has been used for centuries as a healing agent due to its great antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
Honey is hypertonic, which means it draws water away from other cells, in turn reducing inflamed tissue, reducing swelling and pain. Water is drawn away from other cells, causing those to shrivel and die, destroying the infection and reducing the swelling that is causing the pain.
Honey on its own my be too sweet to handle on its own, so here are a few variations that all add their own unique health benefit to the honey.
Honey and warm tea. Dissolve the honey in warm tea and drink several times a day. The tannin in the tea act as an astringent, aiding the honey’s health benefits.
Honey and lemon. Fresh squeezed lemon mixed with pure honey, add a pinch of cayenne pepper and you have yourself the best sore throat remedy straight from my grandmother! The lemon is an astringent, it shrinks tissue within the body, once again reducing the inflammation and aiding in healing.
Honey and warm milk. Sweet dreams are coming as the warm milk aids some in falling asleep and the honey will continue to soothe.