As fall marches on and the temperatures drop, people are getting sick left and right. Even I couldn’t escape the plague of sickness that infected the majority of students here at UMASS Amherst these past couple of weeks. Most people can agree that sometimes taking cold medicine 6 times a day every day for a week isn’t always the best way to treat a cold or the flu. Natural home remedies can be just as effective and can be great alternatives to help prevent a cold from happening in the first place! As a pre-med student and aspiring pediatrician, I like to spend a great deal of time trying to find home remedies to use when I don’t feel like tasting the vile flavor of liquid Nyquil in order to get rid of my sore throat and cough. So, what is one ingredient that constantly shows up when I search for natural cold remedies? Good old honey!
Honey is known for its antibacterial properties, which is why your mother used to give you honey and lemon mixed with hot water to soothe a sore throat (well at least mine used to…Mom really does know best). How does honey help fight against bacterial infections? Researchers have found that honey prevents the growth of three main types of bacteria: Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Group A Streptococci, and Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). These bacteria commonly infect wounds, so honey inhibits their ability to attach to tissue, thus preventing the initiation of a bacterial infection. In addition, some bacteria have biofilms, which make them resistant to antibiotics. Honey blocks the formation of biofilms, meaning honey can be used to make antibiotics even more effective! Who knew that Winnie the Pooh’s favorite snack could have such significant contributions to science and health?! What are some natural home remedies you’ve used to treat a cold? Share in the comments below!