Kiwi honey producers 'excited' after study proves its effectiveness at treating colds, coughs

It's long been a home remedy, but now science is backing the claim that honey is a genuine treatment for coughs and colds. 

The new research has confirmed what many have long suspected.

Bees are now creating a buzz in the medical world because their sweet honey is now proving to be more effective than many over the counter medicines. 

"It's nothing short of truly exciting," said Jim McMillan, True Honey co-founder.

Scientists from the University of Oxford in the UK have given doctors the green light to recommend it to patients who are suffering from coughs and colds. 

"It's good we've got a credible alternative so when people come in we can say to them 'look, honey's going to help reduce the amount that you're coughing and the severity of your cough'," explained respiratory physician Dr Michael Maze.

Not only is honey comparatively cheap and readily available - it's the lack of side effects that have scientists excited. Using honey for respiratory illnesses could help decrease the overuse of antibiotics.

"It means we are less likely to give people things that are ineffective and that's going to hopefully, in turn, reduce the pressure on antibiotic resistance which is a massive issue in New Zealand and globally," Dr Maze said.

The researchers reviewed 14 studies to find honey was more effective at treating respiratory infections than conventional treatments. Two of those studies showed the symptoms lasted one or two days less for the honey users. 

Honey's health benefits are widely known and worldwide lockdowns have seen demand for New Zealand's famous manuka honey skyrocket. 

The renewed evidence of its benefits can only be good news for our honey producers. 

"The more research that's done to validate and increase our understanding in that area I think will have potentially significant benefits for the wider New Zealand honey industry," McMillan said.

Science proving a spoonful of honey is all you need to help the inflammation go down.