Coughing is the body’s natural way to expel mucus and remove irritants that can lie on the surface of your respiratory tract. For chest colds, coughing is an effective way to loosen and remove phlegm from the body; however, dry coughs do not produce any phlegm and can irritate the back of the throat and become bothersome at night by interrupting or preventing sleep.

Honey is a time-honored way to soothe a sore throat, but is it an effective and natural dry cough suppressant as well? The Mayo Clinic has studied honey as a cough suppressant and an alternative to cough medicine and has found supporting evidence that honey may be an effective cough suppressant for adults and children age 2 and older.

In a study among children ages two and older, with respiratory tract infections, honey was found to reduce nighttime coughing and improve sleep. Children in the study were given 10 milliliters or 2 teaspoons of honey at bedtime and this dose of honey was found to be as effective as dextromethorphan, a common cough suppressant ingredient found in over-the-counter medicines.

Because raw honey is low-cost, natural, and widely available, it could be an effective way to help provide your child with a full night of sleep the next time they come down with dry cough. However, because of the risk of infant botulism, a rare but serious form of food poisoning, never give honey to a child under the age of 1.

If you have additional questions about treating a cough, or if coughing persists and is accompanied by additional symptoms, contact a medical professional for consultation.