As we embark on cold and flu season, here at Gutbliss we’d like to highlight a natural remedy for upper respiratory tract infections. This is a topic that Dr. Chutkan has written about in her book, The Microbiome Solution. If you haven’t already, check it out here!
When we feel the onset of symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI), many of us reach for our favorite over-the-counter cold meds or seek out a doctor’s prescription pad. But this season, we encourage you to pause before doing so and instead, try focusing on more natural remedies for the common URTI. Your result just might be fewer side effects, a more effective treatment, and shorter infection duration (assuming nothing about your symptoms suggests COVID-19).
So, what natural remedy are we talking about here? Honey! A recent study published in BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine found that honey might be a more effective treatment for URTIs than the usual care, which in this case is most often antibiotic therapy or over-the-counter medications. Researchers reviewed and analyzed 14 randomized controlled trial studies (including 1,345 unique records) and found that when compared to usual care methods, honey was superior in improving overall symptoms and cough severity. Those who conducted the study concluded that honey is a cost-effective and widely available alternative to antibiotics. And best of all, it doesn’t decimate your microbiome the way antibiotics do.
While honey may not move the needle in the right direction for more severe upper respiratory infections (including COVID-19), it might be an effective treatment for the milder, common UTRIs we often experience this time of year and can be a great first step in resolving symptoms.
You may be wondering what kind of honey, and how much. Studies have investigated all different types for treating cough and respiratory infections, and some of the most effective ones include buckwheat, eucalyptus (sage), citrus (mint), and labiatae (thyme), among many others. As a rule of thumb, at Gutbliss we usually recommend Manuka honey, as it not only helps with URTI symptoms, even in the most vulnerable populations, but it also may be beneficial for gut bacteria. 1.5 to 2 teaspoons per day, 30 minutes before bedtime, is an effective dosage and timing for treating URTIs, especially in children.