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Is honey a better treatment for coughs and colds than over-the-counter medications and antibiotics? A new review of research says yes — though with the caveat that over-the-counter medications don’t actually offer much relief for sore throats, hacking coughs and sniffling noses. In other words, the bar for success isn’t very high. (And antibiotics do absolutely nothing for viral infections such as colds.)

Treating colds with honey may sound a little hippie-dippy, but it’s been a standard recommendation from doctors for children for at least a decade. The research on adults and honey is a bit murkier: Only five out of the 14 studies in the new research review, which was published Aug. 18 in the journal BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, included adult patients, and several of those studies included combination treatments like honey in coffee, or honey-and-herbal syrups. (Some of the underlying research was also funded by a honey company.)

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