This is particularly good news since an FDA advisory board recently recommended that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines not be given to children under 6 years old due to of their lack of effectiveness and the potential for side effects. Some of these medicines have since been voluntarily recalled.
I wrote about this issue here and here a month or so ago. In those posts I included some links to lists of alternative methods of relieving coughs. Some, but not all of the sources I quoted included a tiny little mention of honey as a cough reliever.
I guess someone noticed the…um…”tinyness”…the study I quote above was sponsored by….
…an unrestricted research grant from the National Honey Board, an industry-funded agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Hmmm…. What exactly does that mean? Well, let’s take a look.
OK- so the group that sponsored this study is an industry group of honey producers whose job is promote honey. That doesn’t necessarily mean the report is suspect. Almost all research studies are sponsored by one of several entities: industry groups, the government, private investors with an interest in proving one thing or another.
Did you think scientists went into their own pockets to fund research? Oh, you thought that studies were funded by schools or by the government. Actually, I did too and that is often correct…however, most research is funded by grants. That is, a scientist comes up with a study idea and then apply to a variety of different “money pots” to fund it. These money pots can be private or industry supported boards, government agencies or private individuals with gobs of money. In any and all cases…everyone has a vested interest in seeing a certain outcome.
Now, generally, the scientists are not in the business of tweaking the results to please their sponsors. But, once the study is complete how does the word get out to consumers? Well…through the publicity efforts of any organization that benefits from the study results.
Ergo, Honey Board pays for study to be conducted. Results say, “honey is great for coughs”. The Honey Board sends out press releases to every news outlet they can touting the results of the study.
And so, one must take this new information with a grain of salt. Actually, I like to take all information I receive with a grain of salt.
Did you know that a salt water gargle is also great for relieving a sore throat? (I wonder if I know that because of a study sponsored by the Salt Board.)