The health benefits of honey

Now that its January, you can really feel that extra cold bite in the air and with colder weather comes an increase of winter virus’ such as colds and flu. As if Covid-19 wasn’t enough to worry about, we still have to remain vigilant against everyday common colds and respiratory infections which are hugely prevalent this time of year.  

Luckily the same measures we have been taking all year to combat Covid-19, such as social distancing, wearing face-coverings, washing our hands etc, these simple routines are equally effective at reducing the transmission of other winter bugs. It is crucial that we continue following these safety measures and the latest stay-at-home lockdown rules, not just to protect ourselves, our communities and the NHS from Covid-19, but against all other virus’ that are spread easily this time of year.  


Did you know though, according to new research from the University of Oxford, honey can be used as a natural remedy to help your body fight off upper respiratory tract infection (URTIs) symptoms such as coughs and sore throats. URTIs are a common reason for antibiotics to be prescribed, despite making little difference to the severity of symptoms, since viruses are unaffected by antibiotics. However, new studies have found that the natural properties found in honey can boost your body’s defences against symptoms. 


“Honey has long been known as a traditional treatment for URTI symptoms, such as coughs and sore throat,” said Dr Joseph Lee, researcher, beekeeper and GP, from Oxford University's Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences. “Since 2018 the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Public Health England (PHE) have recommend the use of honey to treat the symptoms of acute coughs in adults and children five years or older.” 


“Honey is cheap and widely available, many people will probably have some sitting in the cupboard anyway, so it’s worth giving it a try before visiting your GP,” said Dr Lee. “Of course, if symptoms are getting worse, or you feel very unwell, then contact your GP.” 


Now that we’ve entered a new national lockdown and the weather is getting colder, it’s important to look after yourself. This is the perfect time to wrap up warm, get cosy and maybe try putting some honey in your tea. Not only is it a comforting and replenishing way to relax, but it’s a vital way of looking after your body during these winter months.  


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