OBJECTIVES: To compare the effects of a single nocturnal dose of 3 honey products (eucalyptus honey, citrus honey, or labiatae honey) to placebo (silan date extract) on nocturnal cough and difficulty sleeping associated with childhood upper respiratory tract infections (URIs).
METHODS: A survey was administered to parents on 2 consecutive days, first on the day of presentation, when no medication had been given the previous evening, and the following day, when the study preparation was given before bedtime, based on a double-blind randomization plan. Participants included 300 children aged 1 to 5 years with URIs, nocturnal cough, and illness duration of ≤7 days from 6 general pediatric community clinics. Eligible children received a single dose of 10 g of eucalyptus honey, citrus honey, labiatae honey, or placebo administered 30 minutes before bedtime. Main outcome measures were cough frequency, cough severity, bothersome nature of cough, and child and parent sleep quality.
RESULTS: In all 3 honey products and the placebo group, there was a significant improvement from the night before treatment to the night of treatment. However, the improvement was greater in the honey groups for all the main outcome measures.
CONCLUSIONS: Parents rated the honey products higher than the silan date extract for symptomatic relief of their children’s nocturnal cough and sleep difficulty due to URI. Honey may be a preferable treatment for cough and sleep difficulty associated with childhood URI.