How to Use Honey to Relieve a Cough

A cough is usually a good thing; it means your body is trying to get rid of mucus that may be collecting in your lungs. However, a persistent cough may be unwelcome if it keeps you up at night or interferes with your activities. Whereas over-the-counter cough medicines contain ingredients that can cause serious side effects, particularly in children, a home remedy using honey may be just as effective. A 2007 study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that honey relieves a child's cough as well as cough syrup.

Step 1

Select darker varieties of honey when shopping, such as buckwheat-flavored honey. The 2007 study indicated darker honeys may be more effective as a remedy than lighter ones, since they contain more antioxidants.

Step 2

Measure 1 to 2 tsp. of the honey and administer right before bedtime. If treating a child, use ½ to 1 tsp. of honey.

Step 3

Swallow the honey undiluted; it must remain viscous to properly coat the throat.


Do not give honey to children under 1 year old; honey contains botulism spores an infant's digestive system cannot handle.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911. If you think you may have COVID-19, use the CDC’s Coronavirus Self-Checker before leaving the house.