New study confirms old truth: honey’s medical properties stand up to scientific scrutiny

The properties of honey are sometimes so incredible that when many of us hear about them from friends or family we often chalk them up to a sort of folklore. After all, how can tiny buzzing insects produce a substance that can act as a disinfectant, an anti-inflammatory drug and a sugary snack at the same time? And did I mention that it cannot go bad?

Well, it appears that we all should have had a little more faith! A study carried out by scientists based in the University of Oxford and recently published in BJM Evidence Based Medicine has found that honey is a more effective treatment for coughs and colds (known in scientific parlance as upper respiratory tract infections, UTRI) than standard antibiotics.

The medical properties of honey have been known for decades, if not centuries, but it is rare to see them advertised in the press to the extent that this study has been. We now live in a world where people are ever-more conscious of the environmental impact of their choices and actions. With people trying to be plastic-free, using less and recycling more, this study could persuade many of them to skip a visit to the pharmacist next time they have a cold and reach for the honey jar instead.

It should be remembered that this is only one study and that many more need to be carried out, especially ones to rule out a possible placebo effect. Honey is no cure-all, but it certainly deserves more attention, and so do the only creatures that can produce such wonder of nature: the humble bees and their flowers.

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