Handkerchiefs often come out when winter rolls around. Coughs, sneezes, and colds get common. People often rely on OTC – over-the-counter – medication to deal with this situation, but with side effects like lethargy, etc., are better off embracing traditional remedies? One of these traditional remedies, Manuka Honey, has seen a resurgence in recent years. Many medical communities are researching this field, trying to isolate the reasons behind these "superfoods” anti-microbial and anti-inflammation properties.
Why is manuka honey your best choice to beat cold and cough this winter.?
What is Cough?
To unpack the attributes of Manuka Honey against cough, let us dive into what cough is and its types.
A cough is your body's reflex to clear the obstructions out of your windpipes. They can be mucus or other irritants. There are two types of coughs:
- Dry Coughs
- Wet Coughs
A dry cough is a reflex action of your body to clear mucus or irritants. The difference is that no irritants are removed, and as a result, a dry cough can persist for a long time. Because a dry cough doesn't pull any irritants or mucus, it is also a non-productive cough.
The possible causes of dry cough are:
- Asthma: A medical condition that thickens the walls of the windpipe and narrows its passage. While asthma-related coughs can be both productive and non-productive because the narrow airways make it difficult to remove the irritants of mucus, non-productive – dry coughs are the most common.
- GERD: Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a chronic – permanent – acid reflex where the stomach acid intermittently, but regularly, flows into your esophagus. It triggers a cough reflex that is often non-productive.
- Post-nasal Drip: Post-nasal drip I when extra mucus drips down your throat. More prominent in seasonal allergies and colds, post-nasal drip tickles the nerves at the back of your throat, triggering a reflex in the form of a cough.
- Environmental Irritants: Pollen, smoke, dusk, mold, and pollution are common ecological irritants that can cause a dry cough.
Wet cough is a reflex action by the body to clean the irritants of the windpipe. And unlike dry cough, it does bring up fluid. That is why it is also known as productive cough.
The possible causes of wet cough are:
- Respiratory infection: Respiratory infections such as the common cold, acute bronchitis, and pneumonia can lead to a wet cough.
- Bronchiectasis: Bronchiectasis is a condition where the walls of the bronchial tubes – organs responsible for carrying the air in and out of your lungs – become thick, scarred, sloppy, or inflamed. It results in access to mucus production that often leads to the body's reflexive action to get the mucus out as fast as possible.
What does scientific research say about the effects of Manuka Honey on wet and dry cough?
Manuka honey is produced from Manuka bush or Leptospermum Scoparium plant. These plants are native to New Zealand and have been a part of many scientific studies to assess their medicinal properties.
Researchers found that honey acts as a demulcent, forming a film over the mucous membrane to soothe and remove inflammation that causes the cough reflex. They also found that manuka honey – or any honey for that matter – is suitable for adults and children for more than a year to deal with cough. Scientists say that in many instances, manuka honey is more effective and less side-effective than over-the-counter (OTC) medication.
Researchers conducted a study where they gave two teaspoons of Manuka Honey to children from ages one-to-five, and results showed that these children coughed less while they slept – improving their sleep quality. Some claim that another factor that makes Manuka honey a suitable remedy to combat cough as it has the same effect as dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant found in many non-prescription meds.
Studies are still being conducted on Manuka honey's effectiveness. Scientists are trying to discern the impact of Manuka honey's anti-bacterial properties on cystic fibrosis and gastrointestinal diseases.
Why is Manuka Honey so Effective against cough and cold during winter?
Manuka honey has a high concentration of MGO or Methylglyoxal – giving it anti-bacterial properties. Because of the presence of this component, Manuka honey attacks harmful bacteria that can trigger throat reflexes.
Manuka honey also contains antioxidants that give it an anti-inflammatory property that reduces swelling to maintain the width of the passageway so that the patient can breathe easily and experience relief from cough.
The third attribute that gives Manuka honey its effectiveness is its rich anti-fungal properties, which reduce the growth of fungus inside the throat and reduce the severity of the cough.
Researchers did a study on patients who went through head and neck cancer chemotherapy in which they administered Manuka honey. It was found that patients with Manuka honey had a reduced count of Streptococcus Mulan's, the bacteria associated with a sore throat.
What are the best ways to use Manuka Honey to Fight Cough and Cold during the winter?
To get the most out of Manuka honey’s anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammation properties. Using less than the recommended amount won't have any effect, and going overboard will cause discomfort. Therefore, here is the list of the best ways to use Manuka honey to fight cough and cold symptoms this winter.
Daily Dose for Immune Support
In 2005, Wlaschek and Scharffetter-Kochanek concluded that Manuka honey from New Zealand has immunomodulatory properties after observing its effect on repairing tissues. You can take 1-3 teaspoons of Manuka honey a day to get support for your immunity. If you don't want to eat it raw – which often many don't because it is slightly bitter than regular honey – you can use it on yogurt or other foods.
Start Using Higher Grade Manuka Honey if you see symptoms.
If you have started to encounter symptoms, take two to three teaspoons of 300+ MGO manuka honey. You can go with a higher grade of honey if it is available.
Slowly Swallow a Teaspoon of Honey
If you have a throat ache, take a teaspoon of Manuka honey and swallow it slowly. That gives it time to effectively coat the inner walls of your throat to reduce inflammation and provide you with relief.
Take two-three teaspoons for dry cough.
If you're going through a non-productive cough, eat two to three teaspoons of Manuka honey immediately.
For a blocked nose, use Manuka honey to irrigate your sinuses
If you have a blocked nose or it's uncomfortably runny, Manuka honey can help. Dilute one teaspoon of Manuka honey in distilled water and use a nasal irrigation device to rinse your sinuses.
Add it to the Glass of Warm Water.
Take two to three teaspoons of Manuka honey, mix it in 200 ml of hot water and sip it slowly. It will help you deal with the cold symptoms and suppress throat irritation.
Make a Lemon, Ginger, and Manuka Honey drink.
Take three tablespoons of Manuka honey and put it in a glass. Squeeze one lemon and grate 1 inch of ginger. Mix them in warm water and leave them aside for 20 minutes. It is a great, refreshing drink that is good for the immune system and a great tool against colds and flu during the winter.
Manuka Honey Throat Lozenge Recipe
Here is a recipe for a Manuka honey throat lozenge that you can make and store for a long time.
- 100 ml water.
- One bag of lemon-ginger tea.
- Two tablespoons of Manuka honey with a 250+ MGO rating.
- Two tablespoons of carrageenan or gelatin.
- Make tea in the saucepan using less water than you usually would. Make sure that the tea is more concentrated than it normally is.
- Squeeze the teabag and allow the tea to cool down.
- Sprinkle gelatin or carrageenan pouch evenly for the cooled tea. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Put the mixture over medium-low heat. Stir the pot slowly until completely smooth. It shouldn’t take more than three minutes. If it is, crank up the stove.
- Let this mixture cool at room temperature, and then add Manuka honey and stir.
- Put a gummy mold on a baking sheet.
- Pour the mixture into these molds and refrigerate them for at least one hour.
- Take it out and store these Manuka Tea tablets in an airtight container. You can keep them this way for a week.
If you want this "candy" to have a sweeter taste, we suggest adding more Manuka honey.
Beat the Cold with the Right Manuka Honey?
Manuka honey has grown in popularity. However, it has so few visual differences from regular honey that scams in this sector have increased. Therefore, you need to know the difference between counterfeit honey and real Manuka honey.
At Manuka Lab, we source our Manuka honey straight from the north island of New Zealand. Our Manuka is sustainably harvested, rich in flavour and come with labels of authenticity.