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Honey Bunsen Dew?

June 2, 2013

As a kid, my parents gave me cough syrup when I had a persistent cough and cold. Tylenol and herbal tea were also employed. If it lasted weeks, was driving me and them nuts, and I could not sleep, a fancy round bottle would find its way out of the cupboard. Chambord raspberry liquor. It tasted like medicine and it seemed to work.

Then I went to university, and learned in my Darwinian medicine class that fever is a natural defence and suppressing it makes a cold last a day longer than if it had just been left alone. In medical school, I learned that DM cough syrup was ineffective and probably unsafe for kids.

In residency I discovered that honey can help with cough and that there’s evidence for Vick’s rub in symptom control. I had a horrible productive cough and an older friend suggested spiced whiskey. It seemed to work, or at least settled the cough enough to put me to sleep.

Now, with this great review (see below), I see that the evidence for honey is not strong at all. I also read an article recently that says cough typically lasts for 18 days. So we are back to “suck it up” as the only means of managing the Too Common Cold.

Or maybe I should buy some Chambord?

The great review:

Honey Boo Boo | Science-Based Medicine

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