How does honey relieve a sore throat/cough?


It’s interesting how despite all differences, a great variety of cultures all share the same remedy for cough and/or sore throat: honey.
Whether they make you drink it in tea, or give it to you straight with a spoon.
The best thing: it works. But how does it work? And how did so many different peoples come to the same conclusion?

In: 2990

Honey is a protease, which means it breaks down proteins. It’s commonly used in marinades for tougher meats as well. Since it breaks down proteins so well.

Mucus is effectively a protein. So when you swallow or cost your throat with honey, the honey begins to break down your mucus allowing it to either be swallowed or spat up easier. Honey also coats the throat, potentially protecting the throat from further irritation. I don’t know how multiple cultures figured it out though.

Pineapple juice and pineapple slices serve a similar use, pineapple will also break down proteins in a similar manner.

A few methods, but also the sugar content is so high it draws water out of the infectious cells.

Tbh, I think a huge part of it is that it coats the throat, protecting it from further irritation.

Honey is too sugary for bacteria to live in. If you coat your throat with it, nothing bad can really live there and continue to irritate it

Sugar is a mild short-term pain reliever. It also helps temporarily cause your mouth to water, increasing saliva and bringing some additional fluids to dry or sore tissues in your throat. Sucking on a spoon full of honey (or sucking or licking a lollipop or hard candy, or chewing on gum) also increases saliva production and is a popular remedy for sore throats.

In terms of alleviating congestion, hot water or hot tea is more likely the active ingredient. The steam and hot liquid can help loosen up congestion and open your sinuses. The honey makes the liquid taste better and the sugar in the honey helps relief a bit of discomfort while you’re drinking it.

The healing property of honey is due to the fact that it offers antibacterial activity, maintains a moist wound condition, and its high viscosity helps to provide a protective barrier to prevent infection. Its immunomodulatory property is relevant to wound repair too. The antimicrobial activity in most honeys is due to the enzymatic production of hydrogen peroxide. However, another kind of honey, called non-peroxide honey (viz., manuka honey), displays significant antibacterial effects even when the hydrogen peroxide activity is blocked. Its mechanism may be related to the low pH level of honey and its high sugar content (high osmolarity) that is enough to hinder the growth of microbes. The medical grade honeys have potent in vitro bactericidal activity against antibiotic-resistant bacteria causing several life-threatening infections to humans. But, there is a large variation in the antimicrobial activity of some natural honeys, which is due to spatial and temporal variation in sources of nectar.