(HealthDay News) – For young children with nocturnal cough and sleep difficulty due to upper respiratory tract infection (URI), treatment with honey is associated with greater symptomatic relief than a silan date placebo.

Herman Avner Cohen, MD, from the Pediatric Ambulatory Community Clinic in Petach Tikva, Israel, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial to compare the effects of a single nocturnal dose of three honey products with placebo on URI-associated nocturnal cough and difficulty sleeping in children. Parents of 300 children aged 1–5 who had childhood URI, nocturnal cough, and illness duration of ≤7 days completed a survey on two consecutive days: on the day of presentation when no medication had been given the previous evening, and the following day after the study preparation was given at bedtime. Eligible children received a single 10-g dose of eucalyptus honey, citrus honey, labiatae honey, or placebo (silan date extract).

The researchers observed a significant improvement during the night following treatment with all honey products and placebo. For all outcomes measures (cough frequency, cough severity, bothersome nature of cough, and child and parent sleep quality) the improvement was greater in the honey groups.

“Parents rated each of the honey products more favorably than the silan date extract for symptomatic relief of their children’s nocturnal cough and sleep difficulty due to URI,” the authors write. “Honey may be a preferable treatment of cough and sleep difficulties associated with childhood URI.”

The study was partially funded by the Honey Board of Israel.

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