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Cinnamon and honey don’t just taste great. They can both help treat colds. Find out why you should be consuming honey and cinnamon for colds.
Cinnamon and honey. The sweet duo might take you back to childhood. Or maybe you still use both of them in recipes. But cinnamon and honey have several uses besides making oatmeal, yogurt, toast, tea and other dishes taste great.
Both cinnamon and honey contain clinically-proven medicinal properties. And when used together, they may be very effective in treating colds. Let’s take a look at using cinnamon as a cold remedy, as well as honey and cinnamon for colds.
Basic cinnamon facts and medicinal properties
An analysis of cinnamon was published in Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. The article describes cinnamon as being one of the most important herbal drugs for centuries. It’s use in Asia has been widespread, dating more than 4000 years.
The article says that as a folk medicine, cinnamon has been traditionally used for inflammation. Traditional cultures also medicinally administered cinnamon for digestive imbalances.
Relatively recently, the chemical compounds of cinnamon have revealed some impressive characteristics. These biological attributes include:
- Fighting bad germs (antimicrobial)
- Preventing viruses (antiviral)
- Protecting against premature aging and cell damage (antioxidant)
- Preventing tumors
- Normalizing blood pressure (antihypertensive)
- Discourages fat from accumulating in the blood (antilipemic)
- Regulates blood sugar levels
- Protects the GI tract (the digestive organs)
- Stimulates the immune system (immunomodulatory)
There are actually about 250 species of cinnamon. The trees from which cinnamon is cultivated are in the evergreen family, some of which grow more than 50 feet. These evergreen trees are mostly found in Southeast Asia, Australia, and South America.
In China, the bark from cinnamomum trees has been used as a traditional medicine for over 2000 years. Its use there as well as Japan includes dispelling colds, treating fever, and increasing appetite suppressed by the flu or cold.
Like cinnamon, honey has been used for countless generations for a wide variety of therapeutic uses.
An article on honey published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine says, “the healing property of honey is due to the fact that it offers antibacterial activity, maintains a moist wound condition, and its high viscosity helps to provide a protective barrier to prevent infection.”
Honey, the article continues, is very effective in healing wounds. This is because pure honey has potent antimicrobial (protects against bad germs) activity. This, says the researchers, is due to the fact that honey produces enzymes that make hydrogen peroxide.
The first written reference to honey is about 4000 years old. A Sumerian tablet mentions honey’s use as a drug and an ointment.
And now, relatively recent medical research confirms these uses for honey.
A study in JAMA Pediatrics involved 105 children aged 2 to 18 years. All test subjects had upper respiratory tract infections and other illnesses lasting a week or less. The test compared the effects of a single nightly dose of buckwheat honey or a honey-flavored over-the-counter medicine (dextromethorphan).
The dose was administered 30 minutes prior to bedtime. Cough frequency, severity, and intensity, as well as child and parent sleep quality were recorded.
Compared to the allopathic cough medicine and placebo, parents rated honey most favorably for symptomatic relief of their child’s nocturnal cough and sleep difficulty. The researchers concluded, “Honey may be a preferable treatment for cough and sleep difficulty associated with childhood upper respiratory tract infection.”
Does the type of honey matter in treating colds?
Another study, this one published in The Journal of Family Practice expanded on the above study. It involved 300 children with nighttime cough and an upper respiratory infection. The study compared three different types of honey (eucalyptus, citrus, and a mixture including sage, mint and thyme). The children administered honey showed much better improvement. There were no major differences between the three types of honeys used.
Although the different honeys tested the same, some people believe raw local honey is best, from a nutritional functional medicine point of view. That’s because raw honey isn’t processed. Processed honey lacks the same nutritional value as raw honey.
And local may be the most beneficial for preventing allergies. That’s because local honey exposes you to the pollen in your area. The nutritional theory with raw local honey is that over time, you’ll be less sensitive to the pollen in your area. When you’re less sensitive to pollen, you’ll experience fewer bouts of allergy-related symptoms.
Reasons to use raw honey and cinnamon for colds and cough
Considering the medicinal properties of both honey and cinnamon, it makes sense to use both of them together. Especially when it comes to fighting colds.
Using both honey and cinnamon for colds is an effective combination. They don’t cancel each other out. If anything they may enhance each other’s medicinal effects.
When it comes to medicinal plants, more is often better. Instead of using only, say, one essential oil or one adaptogenic herb you can combine them for greater strength. And, combining honey and cinnamon together is no different. The two can be a formidable natural remedy to treat colds and sore throats.
In fact, more and more people are using both these ancient remedies. And it’s no wonder, considering these sobering statistics….
According to the Journal of Family Practice, from 2005-2008, the American Association of Poison Control Centers received 64,658 calls for exposures to cough and cold remedies in children younger than two years of age. As a result, the American Academy of Pediatrics set in place strict warnings about the use of over-the-counter cough remedies in children younger than six years.
But merely warning parents not to use OTC remedies isn’t enough. The problem, says the Journal of Family Practice article, is, often, the warning to parents comes without offering an alternative (such as honey and cinnamon). Because of this, unfortunately, many parents continue to use these medications.
Honey and cinnamon for sore throat
To help relieve a sore throat, a simple recipe is using four parts honey to one part cinnamon. Some recipes call for 1 tbsp of honey and a quarter tbsp cinnamon. But, here’s the problem with 1 tbsp to ¼ tbsp: using honey and cinnamon for colds may be effective at easing coughs, colds and sore throat, but it’s not a miracle cure. It will likely take several doses. Slight improvements may be noticed immediately, but it’s probably smart to make a larger batch of cinnamon honey.
You can simply mix the honey and cinnamon together, and slather on toast, stir in Greek yogurt, add to an herbal tea, or top on buckwheat pancakes (Why buckwheat? Buckwheat is gluten-free; or make low-carb friendly pancakes.)
This recipe is very kid friendly. But do not, repeat, do not, give honey to children under 1 year of age.
Can cinnamon and honey cure all?
Is it possible just one teaspoon of honey and a quarter-teaspoon of cinnamon for colds can relieve other imbalances?
The truth is, there’s a lack of scientific evidence of studies involving the combination of honey and cinnamon for therapeutic purposes. If you were to ask a medical doctor about it, they may scoff at the idea.
But considering the fact that the compounds in both cinnamon—especially the Ceylon variety—and honey have been analyzed and confirmed for their medicinal benefits, it’s only logical to assume a cinnamon and honey combo may help with several different health concerns.