While we usually put honey with tea, a new study reveals mixing the sweet sap with coffee could have its own unique benefits. According to the work published in the Primary Care Respiratory Journal, this natural combination could be more effective at treating certain coughs than the commonly-prescribed systemic steroids.
The study was specific to something known as a post-infectious cough, or PPC. PPC is a cough that can stick around for weeks after an upper-respiratory infection or common cold. Not only can that nagging cough that doesn’t seem to go away long after your cold is gone can be irritating, it also can lead to a lack of sleep, irritated throat and airways, and general malaise.
Conventional treatments for PPC often include steroids, codeine, antihistamines, bronchodilators, and even narcotics. These drugs all come with other negative health effects—a laundry lists of side-effects that can sometimes be worse than the PPC they intend to treat.
The study looked at 97 patients in Tehran Iran, who had PPC for more than three weeks. The pool was randomized into three groups.
- Group “HC” received a paste of 20.8 grams of honey and 2.9 grams of instant coffee
- Group “S” received 13.3 mg of prednisolone
- Group “C” received guaifenesin, an expectorant
Each participant was told to dissolve their substance into warm water and drink it every eight hours for a period of one week. Before, during, and one week after treatment, the participants were asked to measure the severity of their cough based on frequency.
Before treatment, the HC group measured their cough at 2.9 degrees, the S group at 3.0 and the C group at 2.8 degrees. Following treatment, the S group saw a decrease to 2.4 degrees. The C group saw a less dramatic decrease to 2.7 degrees. But it was the group who received coffee and honey that had the most dramatic results—decreasing their cough frequency from 2.9 degrees to 0.2 degrees.
The researchers concluded:
“Each year, billions of dollars are spent on controlling and trying to cure cough while the real effect of cough medicines is not quite reliable.1,45 Even though PPC is reported to account for only 11–25% of all cases of chronic cough8 and it is not associated with disability and mortality, it can cause morbidity and is responsible for medical costs…13
Honey and coffee are natural edible substances that are safe, agreeable, less expensive than medicines, and easily available. Moreover, they have proved to be effective in a short period of time. For more natural cough solutions, check out these 8 home remedies for cough.