Hibatullah Abuelgasim et al.
What is already known about this subject?
- Honey is a well known lay therapy for symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs); other medications for URTIs are ineffective and can have harmful side effects
- The use of antibiotics for URTIs is a particular problem, because they are ineffective, and contribute to antimicrobial resistance
- A Cochrane systematic review found that honey can improve cough in children; honey has not been systematically reviewed for other URTI symptoms, or in other patient groups
What are the new findings?
- Honey is more effective than usual care alternatives for improving URTI symptoms, particularly cough frequency and cough severity
- Comparisons with placebo are more limited, and require more high quality, placebo controlled trials
How might it impact on clinical practice in the foreseeable future?
- There are currently very few effective options that clinicians can prescribe for URTIs
- Honey can be used as an alternative to antibiotics by clinicians who wish to offer treatment for URTIs, which may help to combat antimicrobial resistance